Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee - Monday, 16th May, 2022 2.00 pm, NEW

Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

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    Apologies for absence were received from Councillor David Bellamy and Councillor Ray Wootten.


    Councillor David Bellamy was substituted by Councillor Mark Whittington.


    The Chairman on behalf of the Committee wished Councillor Ray Wootten a speedy recovery.


Disclosure of interests

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    Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.


    None disclosed.


Minutes of the meeting held on 25 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

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    Minutes of the meeting held on 25 April 2022 were proposed, seconded and AGREED.


Updates on Actions from the previous meeting

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    No actions were made at the previous meeting of the Committee.


    There were no updates from the previous meeting.


Contract Procedure Rules updated pdf icon PDF 355 KB

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    The report provides details of the proposed updated Contract Procedure Rules.

    Additional documents:


    The Chief Finance Officer presented the report on the updated Contract Procedure Rules which had been debated and supported by the Governance and Audit Committee at the meeting on 20 April 2022.  The Contract Procedure Rules were last approved by Council in January 2020 and were an integral part of the Constitution and governed the way in which the Council procured goods, services and works.


    Since the Contract Procedure Rules had last been approved, procurement best practice had developed significantly along with changes to legislation since the United Kingdom left the European Union. 


    The amended Contract Procedure Rules were consistent with the other six (Authority) Welland partners to enable collaboration and shared working and to enable procurement activities to be maximised.  The Council had also incorporated a dedicated procurement officer in its staffing structure and continued to have operational support and strategic advice from Welland Procurement.  The Contract Procedure Rules had been reviewed with guidance from Welland Procurement.


    Key changes to the document included clarity and transparency around authority level thresholds and the hierarchical sequency depended on the amount of the total contract value and not the annual amount.  The authority levels were:


    ·             Up to £50k – Heads of Service or equivalent level (manager)

    ·             £50k up to £100k – Assistant Director, or in the absence of the Assistant Director, then Director

    ·             £100k up to £200k – Director (or any Corporate Management Team officer) in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Member

    ·             £200k and above – Key Decision taken by Cabinet through the Forward Plan mechanism


    The Committee was asked to recommend the updated Contract Procedure Rules to Council.


    Discussion on the proposed changes followed with questions being asked about the same supplier being used for tenders under the £10,000 threshold.  The Chief Finance Officer stated that the Contract Procedure Rules were an overarching policy and procedure document.  Officers would require training and support to enable consistent practices to be adopted across the Council. It was confirmed that the Procurement Officer would start on 6 June 2022.


    A further question was asked about whether the Contract Procedure Rules also applied to the Council’s wholly owned Companies.  It was stated that the Companies had Articles of Association and this would be referenced within this documentation. The Deputy Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer stated that he would find out the information for the Member and forward the information on.





    Information on whether any of the Council’s wholly owned Companies followed the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules to be circulated to Members.


    Clarity was sought in respect of information contained within the updated Contract Procedure Rules and the mapping document appended to the report to which the Chief Finance Officer replied.  It was noted that there was a discrepancy with the numbering on page 94 (repeat of 10.12) of the agenda pack and this would be amended before the document was sent to Council.


    The recommendation contained within the report was proposed, seconded and unanimously AGREED.




    The Constitution Committee recommends to Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Review of Financial Regulations pdf icon PDF 336 KB

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    The report sets out the proposed changes to the Council’s Financial Regulations which form part of the Council’s Constitution.

    Additional documents:


    The Chief Finance Officer presented the report which proposed changes to the Council’s Financial Regulations which formed part of the Council’s Constitution. The Financial Regulations had been to the Governance and Audit Committee on 20 April 2022 and the Committee had supported and recommended the proposed changes to the Constitution Committee.


    As with the Contract Procedure Rules document the Financial Regulations had last been last been updated and approved at Council in January 2020.   The Financial Regulations had been reviewed and updated in line with the CIPFA guidance and the CIPFA management code.  The Regulations had been updated following learning and feedback received from both Members and Officers when using the current Regulations.


    The proposed changes to the Regulations included:


    ·       External grant funding – senior officers to sign off application before its submitted to ensure that any resource implications of the grant are known before the application was submitted.

    ·       Amendments to the revenue and capital budget virement limits for Officers and Members of the Council.

    ·       Amendments to the in-year budget framework for both Cabinet and Council.

    ·       The introduction of in-year financial thresholds to access discretionary reserves for one-off spends, excluding the Local Priorities Reserve and the Regeneration Reserve.


    A mapping document was appended to the report showing the proposed changes.


    Discussion on the document followed and again a question was asked whether these Financial Regulations included the Council’s wholly owned Companies.  It was stated that the document before the Committee was in respect of the Council.  The Companies were private companies and would have their own financial regulations.


    A question was asked in respect of the review of the document and it was stated that the document would be kept under review but the main review would be undertaken on a bi-annual basis.


    The recommendation as contained within the report was proposed, seconded and unanimously AGREED.




    The Constitution Committee recommends the updated Financial Regulations appended to the report at Appendix A to the Council for approval.


Constitution Review

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    ·       Part 4 – Procedure Rules


    ·       Part 1 (Explanation and Summary) & Part 2 (Articles of the Constitution) – decision to recommend to Council deferred from Constitution Committee held on 25 April.

    Additional documents:


    The Cabinet Member for Governance and Licensing introduced the report on the Constitution review.  At its meeting on 30 September 2021 Council agreed to undertake a review of the Constitution. The format was based on the following parts:


    ·       Part 1 – Summary and Explanation

    ·       Part 2 – Articles

    ·       Part 3 – Responsibility for Functions

    ·       Part 4 – Rules of Procedure

    ·       Part 5 – Codes and Protocols

    ·       Part 6 – Members’ Allowance Scheme

    ·       Part 7 – Management Structure


    Part 3 had already been agreed at Council, Parts 1 and 2 were discussed at the last meeting of the Committee but a decision deferred until Part 4 was available. 


    Several workshops had been arranged since the last meeting of the Committee to which all Members had been invited to attend.  The workshops had been very productive and typographical, grammatical and format errors had been highlighted.  Reference was made to the mapping documents appended to the report and Members were reminded that yellow was for additions, blue for amendments, red for deletions and green, the text to be included in the final document.


    The Assistant Director of Governance and Deputy Monitoring Officer stated that the workshops had been very constructive and helpful.  The mapping documents in respect of Parts 1 and 2 were not appended to the report as these had been discussed at the last meeting. Clean versions of Part 1 and Part 2 were appended to the report. No significant comments had been made during the workshops in respect of these documents.


    Part 4, the Procedure Rules, had been the most challenging aspect of the Constitution review, currently these rules were dotted throughout the Constitution.  By putting all the Procedure Rules together, it was hoped that they would be easier to follow.  The workshops on the Procedure Rules had been well attended, with further discussions taking place with Members by email and in person. 


    The workshop sessions had been split, one session had covered the Council Procedure Rules, Access to Information Procedure Rules and Budget and Policy Framework Procedure Rules.  The second session had covered, Cabinet Procedure Rules, Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, Licensing Procedure Rules, Officer Employment, Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure Rules and Temporary Appointments to Town and Parish Councils Procedure Rules.


    One of the key aspects of the review was to deliver consistency throughout the Constitution.  Currently at Council meetings members of the public could only ask a question or make a statement on a topic on the Council agenda, however a Councillor could ask a question on anything and it was therefore proposed to remove this requirement from the Constitution.  This would then allow the public to ask a question or make a statement at Council on any topic.  The public could also ask two questions together with supplementary questions. A supplementary question without notice contradicted the requirement to notify the Council of the questions to be asked, therefore it

    was proposed to remove this from the Constitution.  Councillors were only allowed to ask one question with no  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.


Any other business which the Chairman, by reasons of special circumstances, decides is urgent

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    A question was asked about when the Scrutiny Review would be considered.  It was stated that a joint meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees would be looking at the review and this would take place after the AGM in May 2022.


Close of meeting

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    The meeting ended at 15:20.