Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee - Monday, 9th September, 2019 10.30 am

Venue: Newton Room - Guildhall Arts Centre, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Lucy Bonshor 

No. Item


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 10 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 183 KB

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    The notes from the meeting held on 10 June 2019 were agreed subject to the typographical error on page 5 paragraph 3, third line from the bottom up “do” to read “to”.


Companies Committee - Governance Arrangements pdf icon PDF 207 KB

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    Report from the Deputy Leader of the Council.


    Before the report was discussed, reference was made to the lateness of the report.  Although the papers had been sent by post, Members had not received the report and not everyone looked at their IT equipment over the weekend, agendas and reports should be sent out together not separately.  The Deputy Leader of the Council did apologise for the late distribution of the report and the Interim Chief Executive said that he would look into the distribution of papers going forward.


    The Monitoring Officer then presented a report which updated the Committee on the revised terms of reference for the Companies Committee. Members had received a detailed report at their June meeting on the establishment of the Companies Committee and had discussed the issue at the meeting.  Following the meeting the Chairman had requested that the terms of reference be revisited following a wider discussion with Members and Officers.  The principles of the Companies Committee, aims and objectives remained the same.  The terms of reference had been changed to clarify the strategic nature of the Committee.  


    Points 1 and 2 of the terms of reference related to new companies and enabled the Companies Committee to provide pre-formation scrutiny of any proposed new company before a recommendation was made to Cabinet, any recommendation being based on evidence that the Committee had looked at.


    Point 2 of the terms of reference was to approve the strategic business plans of any new company/joint venture together with any substantive changes to those plans. 


    In relation to Point 3 the Companies Committee would have an oversight on an annual basis of the strategic business plans of the companies that already existed, notably Gravitas, EnvironmentSK and InvestSK.   The operational and day to day running of the company was for the company board to discuss, the key distinction was the strategic oversight that the Companies Committee provided, with the aim to increase transparency and accountability.  


    Point 4 dealt with strategic performance and the Companies Committee would receive reports and evaluate the strategic performance of the Companies, this would include financial performance against the Strategic Business Plans for example whether value for money was being received. 


    Point 5 of the terms of reference dealt with the Companies Committee scrutiny role in relation to its oversight of the companies, making recommendations to the Cabinet in relation to having the appropriate skills and expertise at Board level, strategic objectives of the companies and the strategic direction of the companies. 


    Point 6 approved the appointment of company directors, however this was subject to the Articles of Association of the company concerned.  The removal of company directors could be for any number of reasons and what was contained within the Articles of the company concerned and would be looked at on a case by case basis.

    The main changes to the terms of reference related to clarity and transparency.  Training was currently being arranged for a date in October and it was proposed that this would be mandatory for all members on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Constitution Review

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    The Interim Head of Legal will update Members on the review of the Council’s Constitution.


    The Monitoring Officer referred to the last meeting of the Committee when they had agreed the way forward in relation to the Constitution Review.  Due to the recent changes at both Officer and Leadership level work had been pushed back.  She informed the meeting that a Scrutiny Officer had been appointed and that interviews had been scheduled for the Head of Governance who would head Democratic Services. 


    The Deputy Leader stated that the Constitution, in his view, needed to be much more accessible, the current document was dated and contradicted itself. He was happy that a review was taking place and he felt that the review should take as long as necessary.  He gave the example of how questions were asked which had been raised earlier and how this was not clear within the Constitution, with rules different for Members and the public. The document needed to be modernised.


    It was suggested that a timetable and workshop plan be submitted to the next meeting.  A model constitution from the LGA should be looked at and how this can be related to the Council’s requirements.  The proposed constitution would be in a modular version.  A hard copy of the current document had been circulated to Members of the Constitution Committee. 


Close of meeting

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    The meeting closed at 11:15am.