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

29.

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

Decision:

Apologies had been received from Councillor Theo Dennison.

 

There were no declarations of interest, and no other communications.

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Councillor Theo Dennison.

 

There were no declarations of interest, and no other communications.

30.

Minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2015 and matters arising pdf icon PDF 161 KB

Decision:

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

 

There were no matters arising.

31.

Report of the Head of Governance -Constitutional Review and Workplan pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Caroline Eaton, Interim Head of Governance, led Members through her report.

Minutes:

Caroline Eaton, Interim Head of Governance, led Members through her report. Following consideration of the recommendations in the report, shown in 31.1 to 31.4 below, Members resolved:

 

a)    To continue to follow the revised procedure for the execution of documents under seal;

b)    To maintain the key decision financial threshold at £250K, whilst keeping this under review;

c)    To defer the review of urgency procedures and timescales to the next meeting (18 April 2016), in order to ascertain the scope of the review from Councillor Theo Dennison; and

d)    To agree the amendments to the Work Plan and the priority for each matter to be presented for authorisation to Borough Council and timescales.

 

 

31a

Review of revised process for execution of documents under the Council's "common seal"

Decision:

Resolved:

To continue with the agreed procedure, as Members were content that it was working well.

Minutes:

(3.2 and 3.3 of the report attached to Agenda item 3)

Members were advised that the new procedure was working well.  On most occasions the Mayor and Interim Head of Governance had been signatories to the process, although the Head of Democratic Services had occasionally  deputised for the Head of Governance.  The day of sealing had been changed from Wednesday on four occasions, and had not proved problematic to Officers.  On the one occasion that neither the Mayor or his Deputy had been available, Councillor Smart had deputised.

 

Members were advised that there had been no complaints from the public.

 

Members were content that the process be continued, and agreed to review this periodically.

31b

Key Decision financial threshold

Decision:

Resolved:

That the level of Key Decision financial threshold remain at £250K, and to keep the matter under review.

Minutes:

(3.4 to 3.7 of the report attached to Agenda item 3)

The Head of Governance pointed Members to the statistical data for other London Boroughs and other Local Authorities, at 3.6 of her report.  She explained that the financial impact of the level of Key Decision threshold was dependent on the budget for the service area.

 

Councillors asked when the threshold had last been changed, and believed that this was at the end of the previous administration.  The Chair asked what the impact would be on running the Council budget, and was advised that it would affect the Forward Plan, as well as when the guarantee of Member involvement would arise.  Members noted that the higher the limit, the greater would be the perceived risk.

 

Councillor Hughes confirmed that the Audit Committee had not been aware of any matters that had been hindered by the current threshold of £250K.  Members agreed to maintain the key decision financial threshold at the current level of £250K, and would keep this under review.

31c

Urgency Procedure Review

Decision:

This item was deferred to the next meeting, in order to receive input from Councillor Dennison as to the scope of the review of urgency procedures.

Minutes:

This item was deferred to the next meeting, in order to receive input from Councillor Dennison as to the scope of the review of urgency procedures.

31d

Review of work plan and items to be added

Decision:

Members noted and agreed the following in respect of Work Plan Areas for this Working Party:

 

 

Area

Status/ Action

To MCWP meeting

1

Key Decision financial threshold

Completed

 

2

Urgency Procedure

Deferred

April 2016

3

Members’ Code of Conduct

In progress (To Standards’ Committee in March 2016

April 2016

4

Town Planning Code of Practice

In progress – need Officer/Member Panel to be set up

 

5

Scheme of Delegation

In progress – need Officer/Member Panel to be set up

 

6

Accurate and timely update of the Constitution on the website and intranet

In progress – to be taken over by Committee Services and maintained through Modern.Gov

 

7

Health & Safety Committee

No terms of reference within the Constitution – need to be reviewed and agreed by Borough Council

 

8

Employee Relations Committee

Terms of Reference are within the HR Policy, not separate. Voting rights need to be clarified

 

9

Delegation to Area Forums

NEW – there are currently no financial limits – agreed £250K, to be reviewed in due course

 

10

Review of Regulatory Delegations

NEW – to look at the Area Forum delegations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Members reviewed the Work Plan Areas (Appendix A of the Report attached at Agenda Item 3):

 

Item 1 – Key Decision financial threshold       - completed as noted above.

 

Item 2 – Urgency procedure                                - deferred to next meeting

 

Item 3 – Members’ Code of Conduct                 - This needs to be reviewed, including the clarification of the role of the Independent Person, and will go to the Standards’ Committee on 7 March, followed by Borough Council on 15 March 2016.  It will return to MCWP on 18 April 2016. 

 

Councillor Hughes highlighted the need to include the application of the whistle blowing policy to procurement and contracts and Members.  The Head of Governance suggested that Councillor Hughes liaise with the HR lead.

 

Item 4 – Town Planning Code of Practice       - Members noted that this document was out of date and needs a complete revision.  It was suggested that a sub-group consisting of Officers and Councillors Elizabeth Hughes, Sheila O’Reilly and Bob Whatley (Chair of Planning Committee) should be set up to review this.

 

Item 5 – Scheme of Delegation                           - Members were advised that this currently reflected Executive functions (Cabinet), but not regulatory functions.  It was hard to understand what applied.  Additional information was required, especially in terms of panning.  Members felt that one sub-group could be convened to cover this and item 4 above.

 

Item 6 – Accurate and timely update of the Constitution on the website and intranet                                                                        - The Head of Governance advised Members that a large number of changes had been made to the Constitution since June 2015 that had been noted by the Committee Services team.  However, to update the online Constitution required much external input, and was very costly.  Mike Smith, Team Leader of Committee Services, had suggested that this could be carried out by the team through Modern.Gov, the application that was used to publish Agendas and minutes of Council meetings.  This would allow easy access and search facilities, and would mean that Committee Services would be able to update the Constitution promptly.  Members agreed this plan of action.

 

Item 7 – Health and Safety Committee              - Members noted that there were no Terms of Reference for this Committee in the Constitution.  Appointments to the Committee were agreed annually at the May Borough Council.  Members agreed to review the Terms of Reference and recommend for ratification at Borough Council.

 

Item 8 – Employee Relations Committee         -  Members noted that the Terms of Reference for this Committee were included within a HR policy, and not within the Constitution.  It was agreed to produce a discrete Terms of Reference document, which was clarify voting rights of its members.

Item 9 (New item) – Delegation limits to Area Forums – The Head of Governance advised Members that there were currently no financial limits for matters discussed and agreed at Area Forums.  Members noted that most Local Authorities have a delegated limit.  After some discussion, Members agreed that the limit should be £250K, although they would review  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31d

32.

Any other matters which the Chair considers urgent

Decision:

There were no matters of urgent business.

Minutes:

The Chair noted that this would be Caroline Eaton’s last meeting of the Members’ Constitution Working Party, and thanked her for her hard work as Interim Head of Governance.

 

There were no other matters of urgent business.

 

33.

Date of next meeting - 18 April 2016

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 18 April 2016, at 5pm.  Due to Committee Rooms and LPCC being block-booked by the Elections Team, Room 11 in the Orange Zone has been booked for the meeting.

Decision:

The next scheduled meeting will take place on Monday 18 April 2016, at 5pm, in Room 4 in the Orange Zone.

Minutes:

The next scheduled meeting will take place on Monday 18 April 2016, at 5pm, in Room 4 in the Orange Zone.