Hounslow Council


Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Irene Bowles, 020 8583 2075, Email: irene.bowles@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

20.

Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members

Decision:

Apologies had been received from Councillors Elizabeth Hughes and Amrit Mann.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Councillors Elizabeth Hughes and Amrit Mann.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

21.

Minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2015 and matters arising pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Decision:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2015 were agreed as a true and accurate record, and were signed by the Chair.

 

There were no matters arising.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2015 were agreed as a true and accurate record, and were signed by the Chair.

 

There were no matters arising.

22.

Key Decision financial threshold and Members' Code of Conduct

Decision:

The Key Decision financial threshold was deferred to the next meeting.

 

The Members’ Code of Conduct would be reviewed at the next meeting of the Standards Committee in March 2016, and would be an Agenda item for the Members’ Constitution Working Party in April 2016.

Minutes:

The Key Decision financial threshold was deferred to the next meeting.

 

The Members’ Code of Conduct would be reviewed at the next meeting of the Standards Committee in March 2016, and would be an Agenda item for the Members’ Constitution Working Party in April 2016.

23.

Update to Constitution - Overview and Scrutiny Committee Procedure Rules and Contract Procedure Rules pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Members noted that there were two chapters of the Constitution to be considered in this report. 

 

a)   Contract Procedure Rules:  Members noted that financial values had been amended to reduce the bureaucracy in decision making.  Legislation changes implemented in February 2015 also required changes to be made.

Members agreed that “London Living Wage” should be included in the list of compliance requirements in 15.1.4.

 

Resolved:

i)        Variations to the Contract Procedure Rules as outlined in appendix B of the Report be agreed for presentation to Borough Council on 24 November 2015 – with the addition of “London Living Wage” into 15.1.4.

§         To support recommendations to Borough Council for authority to be delegated to the Director of Finance, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Corporate Performance and Customer Care, to make any further minor changes to the Contract Procedure Rules as may be needed from time to time to reflect changes to post titles/ Council structure, minor legislative changes and/or to remove any anomalies that may become apparent through the practical application of the Rules, and to delegate authority to the Head of Governance to make the necessary changes to the Constitution.

 

b)   Overview and Scrutiny Committee Procedure Rules – Section 16 Call-in:  Members reviewed the suggested changes in the report paragraph by paragraph.

 

Resolved:

To support a recommendation to Borough Council on 24 November 2015 for the changes to the Overview and Scrutiny procedure Rules as outlined in appendix A but subject to the following:

§         All references to the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee being able to call-in an executive decision to be retained.

§         16.b.         To be amended to record that key decisions to be taken by officers to be published the day following the decision being taken.

§         16.c.          Consideration be given as to the number of members required to be able to call-in a decision.  It was agreed that the Chair of the Members’ Constitution Working Party be authorised to liaise with the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee to propose a reduction in the number of members required to initiate the call-in process, and to take Chair’s Action to amend the recommendations accordingly.

§         16.g.         To add to the amendment to enable a substitute should the member leading the Call-in not be available to attend a meeting.

16.h. and 16.i.      These paragraphs be deleted and subsequent numbering to be revised.

16.j.           The wording to be amended to include an option for an extension of time to be agreed and to delete the sentence “No member who has signed the Call-In may sit as a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which considers the Call-In request” as members will be able to make declarations at the start of the meeting to avoid any inference that they are predetermined or may volunteer to step down of their own accord should they believe they are.   

§         16.l.         The timescale to include any additional time agreed under 16j

§         16.o.         The addition at  ...  view the full decision text for item 23.

Minutes:

Members noted that there were two chapters of the Constitution to be considered in this report. 

 

a)   Contract Procedure Rules: 

Daniel Austin (e-procurement Officer), explained the proposed changes to Members, who noted that financial values had been amended to reduce the bureaucracy in decision making.  Legislation changes implemented in February 2015 also required changes to be made.

In response to questions from Members, it was confirmed that:

§          7.3 – the Departmental Contracts Board has been replaced by the Strategic Procurement Board; details of this are being finalised within the Strategic Finance restructure.

§         15.1.4 - “London Living Wage” should be included in the list of compliance requirements.

§         15.1.4 – Council policies are part of the open data; the Council website is currently being updated to make it more user friendly.  There would be a dedicated Procurement page.

§         16.3 – All variations to contracts would be signed off by the Head of Procurement Hubs (Mark Pearson), using the appropriate template.  This information would be included in the updated Constitution.

 

Members thanked Daniel Austin for his presentation and explanations.

 

Resolved:

i)        Variations to the Contract Procedure Rules as outlined in appendix B of the Report be agreed for presentation to Borough Council on 24 November 2015 – with the addition of “London Living Wage” into 15.1.4.

§         To support recommendations to Borough Council for authority to be delegated to the Director of Finance, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Corporate Performance and Customer Care, to make any further minor changes to the Contract Procedure Rules as may be needed from time to time to reflect changes to post titles/ Council structure, minor legislative changes and/or to remove any anomalies that may become apparent through the practical application of the Rules, and to delegate authority to the Head of Governance to make the necessary changes to the Constitution.

 

b)   Overview and Scrutiny Committee Procedure Rules – Section 16 Call-in: Caroline Eaton (Head of Governance) led Members through the proposed changes paragraph by paragraph.  She explained that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had met on 12 October 2015, and had generally agreed with all proposed suggestions.  They had made some minor proposed amendments, which were included in the discussion below.

 

In response to questions raised from Members, it was confirmed that:

§               16.b. 

Ø      This point had been re-worded to ensure clarity on publication dates for key decisions made by Officers.  Members asked if the publication timing for all decisions – whether made by Cabinet, individual Cabinet members, Cabinet Committees or Officers – could be consistent: ie all straight after the decision is made, or all at the end of the month in which they are made.  Caroline Eaton advised Members that this would have resource implications for Democratic Services staff, but key decisions made by Officers could be published straight away, following consultation by the Report Author and Head of Governance.  Members noted that Officer decisions were not included on the Forward Plan.

Ø      A  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Amendments to Chapters 1 and 15 (as requested by Councillor Todd) pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Decision:

Members considered the report (attached at item 5 of the Agenda pack), and noted the proposed changes to Parts 1 and 15 of the Constitution.  They supported all the proposed changes, with one amendment: Part 15 – Urgency Procedures Summary, point 2.7.1: delete “also” in the last sentence.

 

Resolved that:

1.                  The proposed changes to the Constitution be supported, with the minor amendment to Part 15, 2.7.1 as above.  

2.                  The Head of Governance be requested to agree the changes, using her delegated authority to make small changes of this nature.

Minutes:

Members considered the report (attached at item 5 of the Agenda pack), and noted the proposed changes to Parts 1 and 15 of the Constitution.  They supported all the proposed changes, with one amendment: Part 15 – Urgency Procedures Summary, point 2.7.1: delete “also” in the last sentence.

 

Resolved that:

1.                  The proposed changes to the Constitution be supported, with the minor amendment to Part 15, 2.7.1 as above.  

2.                  The Head of Governance be requested to agree the changes, using her delegated authority to make small changes of this nature.

25.

Items to add to the work plan

Decision:

There were no items to add to the Work Plan.

 

Councillor Dennison asked that the Urgency Procedure should be reviewed.

Minutes:

There were no items to add to the Work Plan.

 

Councillor Dennison asked that the Urgency Procedure should be reviewed.

26.

Any other matters which the Chair considers urgent

Minutes:

There were no urgent matters to be considered.

27.

Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 25 January 2016.

Decision:

The next meeting is scheduled for 25 January 2016.

Minutes:

The next meeting is scheduled for 25 January 2016.

28.

Appendix - Updated Work Plan

Minutes:

 

Updated Work Plan

 

Area

Explanation

Status

To MCWP Meeting

1.

Key decision financial threshold.

Following the review by Overview and Scrutiny and the report to Cabinet as to its findings on 7 July 2015, it was agreed to review the financial threshold for key decisions.

In progress – Head of Governance to obtain benchmarking data

January 2016

2.

Urgency procedure and guidance to officers.

Progress was made with an urgency procedure entry drafted for inclusion in the constitution and guidance for officers.  That work has not however been completed due to the departure of the Assistant Director Corporate Governance.  This should now be addressed as a priority.

Completed

 

3.

Leader’s Scheme of Delegation to Directors and Statutory Officers.

In late 2014 Officers worked with the Members Constitution Working Group to develop changes to the Scheme of Delegation, which had been revised in November 2013.  It would seem appropriate to review this given that it has now “bedded in” and to ensure any anomalies are rectified.

Completed

 

4.

Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules

Officers were in late 2014 reviewing the urgency and call-in sections of the Overview and Scrutiny procedure rules to ensure they met Access to Information Rules. This work appears not to have been completed for the reasons outlined in 2 above and should therefore be resurrected. 

To be presented to Borough Council on 24 November 2015

 

5.

Access to Information Procedure Rules

Officers were in late 2014 involved in the process of reviewing the Access to Information Procedure Rules to ensure these accurately reflected the statutory requirements.  This work is linked to that in 2 above and requires completion.

Completed

 

6.

Members’ Code

of Conduct

Officers are reviewing the Members’ Code of Conduct to ensure it accurately reflects current processes. Any suggested changes would be brought to a future meeting of the Members Constitution Working Party.

In progress – to go to Standards Committee in March 2016, then MCWP

April 2016

7.

Urgency procedure review

Review of how urgent decisions are being made, under what part of the Constitution and any improvements required to ensure compliance with statutory requirements and to promote openness, accountability and transparency.

New