Agenda and minutes

Constitution Committee - Monday, 18th July, 2022 10.30 am

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 Councillors Bellamy, Fellows and Griffin.


    Councillor Griffin was substituted by Councillor Adam Stokes.


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 16 May 2022 pdf icon PDF 209 KB

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    The minutes of the meeting held on 16 May 2022 were proposed, seconded and AGREED.


Updates on Actions from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 92 KB

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    Actions from the previous meeting had been completed.


Amendments to the Council's Constitution pdf icon PDF 222 KB

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    The report provides the Constitution Committee with an opportunity to consider revisions to the Council’s Constitution since the adoption of a new format and respective parts of the document at the Annual Meeting of Council held on 26 May 2022.

    Additional documents:


    The report before Members considered proposed amendments to the Constitution following the adoption of the revised Constitution at the Annual Council meeting held on 26 May 2022. 


    Councillors Baxter and Cleaver had proposed amendments to the Constitution at the Full Council meeting.  The Chairman of the Constitution Committee offered to give due consideration to the amendments at the next meeting of the Constitution Committee and the amendments were withdrawn at the Council meeting.


    During a development session for Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Committees, the terminology associated with the person presiding the meeting was highlighted and how this was reflected in the Constitution, on agendas and minutes.  It was agreed that considerations should be given to whether this was still appropriate, from a gender-neutral perspective.  Also, the recent variation of an Overview and Scrutiny Committee date had drawn attention to the fact that the wording associated with the Chairman’s powers in relation to rescheduling a meeting needed more clarity.


    The Committee discussed the use of the word Chairman. The Chairman of the Committee felt that this was an issue that could be brought before an informal session of the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Committees which met quarterly for informal discussions.    It was questioned whether this was a public meeting to which other Members could attend, to which the Chairman replied that it was not.  The sessions considered best practice arrangements and the Chairman of the Constitution Committee indicated that the terminology within the Constitution could be an issue for this group of Members to consider.


    It was suggested that the Councillor presiding each meeting should indicate how they were to be addressed, Mr Chairman, Madam Chairman, Chair etc. and Members of that Committee should respect that decision.  A discussion followed on the topic and examples given of instances where changes had been made to titles such as “refuse operatives”, rather than “bin men”.  Some Members felt that the use of the word Chairman should remain and that whoever presided at a meeting should be given the opportunity to state how they wished to be addressed.  


    A proposal was made that the person presiding the meeting should be referred to as Chair as this was gender inclusive, however the proposal failed to receive a seconder.


    A further proposal was made that the “Chairman” should be referred to as the “person presiding” the meeting. This proposal received a seconder and on being put to the vote there was an equality of votes for and against the proposal, the Chairman used his casting vote in favour of the proposal.  A short discussion followed on whether this also referred to the section in the Constitution relating to the Chairman of the Council but it was confirmed that this was only in respect of Committee meetings.


    Recommendation to Council


    That the word Chairman be replaced within the Constitution with Person Presiding in respect of Committee meetings.


    The Committee then discussed the wording around the variation of dates for Committees and the suggested amendments to Paragraph 7  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


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

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    A question was asked about the Scrutiny Review and the Chairman stated that it would be coming to the next meeting of the Committee.


Close of meeting

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    The meeting closed at 1:05pm.