COMMITTEE MINUTES

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					                      GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – 23 MARCH 2009



                                GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE

                                        23 MARCH 2009


     Present:      Councillor K Allsopp (Chairman), Councillors B Burgess, R Hall, T Hodgson,
                   Dr P Lea, A Rebeiro, K Rushen, S Rose (Substitute)


     Officers:     Philip Lloyd-Williams - Director of Corporate Governance
                   Deborah Merry - Democratic Services Manager
                   Adrian Cattell - Acting Head of Human Resources and Equalities
                   Peter Ellmer - Corporate Support Manager


     Apologies:    Councillor J Reeve



1.   DECLARATION OF INTEREST
     There were no declarations of interest.

2.   QUESTIONS AND DEPUTATIONS
     There were no questions or deputations.

3.   MINUTES
            RESOLVED
            The minutes of the meeting held on 3rd November 2008 be approved as a correct
            record.

4.   MEMBERS’ ALLOWANCES SCHEME 2009-10
     The Democratic Services Manager referred to the report of the Independent Remuneration
     Panel which set out the Panel's recommendations for the Council's Members Allowances
     Scheme for 2009-10.
     She reported that the Panel had recommended an increase of 2.4% on the current year's
     allowances, in line with the Retail Price Index rate of inflation.
     She then referred to the Council's request for the Panel to review the issue of broadband
     costs.
     The Committee noted that historically, the Council had installed and met the cost of
     broadband connections for some Members who had not got their own connections, and also
     met the broadband costs for some Members who had chosen to use their own connections.
     In more recent years, where newly elected Councillors had been able to access Council
     systems using their own existing connections, the emerging pattern was for the Council not
     to meet the cost of Members’ existing broadband service.
     The Panel had acknowledged that having access to broadband was an essential
     communications tool without which Members could not be expected to fulfil their duties
     effectively. The Panel had recognised that broadband connections would be used by
     Members for personal and political business as well as Council business and had therefore
     recommended a flat rate monthly contribution of £9 be made available to Members who
     used their own broadband connections for Council business.
                      GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – 23 MARCH 2009




     The Committee agreed that current arrangements with existing Members should continue for
     the time being and that a flat rate payment of £9 per month should be made available to
     Members who were currently meeting their own broadband costs.
            RECOMMENDED
            (i)    That the draft Members Allowances Scheme for 2009-10
                   be adopted with effect from 1st April 2009; and
            (ii)   That with effect from 1st April 2009 a payment of £9 per
                   month be made available to Members who pay for their
                   own broadband connection and use it for Council business

5.   MANAGING ALLEGATIONS AGAINST EMPLOYEES
     At the request of the Head of Human Resources and Equalities this item was withdrawn from
     the agenda.

6.   REVISED RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION POLICY
     The Head of Human Resources and Equalities presented a report on proposed changes to
     the Recruitment and Selection Policy, which had been updated to reflect changes in
     legislation and also safeguarding requirements. He explained the key differences in the
     policy, which included a requirement that at least the chair of a recruitment panel should
     have passed the Corporate Recruitment and Selection Course.
            RESOLVED
            That the revised Recruitment and Selection policy and procedure be noted.

7.   MANAGING STRESS AT WORK POLICY
     The Director of Corporate Governance presented a new Managing Stress at Work Policy,
     which was designed to enable the Council to comply with legal obligations and also support
     managers and staff to effectively manage work related stress.
     The Acting Head of Human Resources and Equalities reported that although overall staff
     sickness absence levels were falling, the number of working days lost due to stress was
     increasing and represented 25% of all sickness absence.
            RESOLVED
            That the new Managing Stress at Work Policy be approved.

8.   STANDARDS COMMITTEE – APPOINTMENT OF AN INDEPENDENT MEMBER
     The Director of Corporate Governance reported that, at the end of the current civic year, Dr
     R G Moore would be standing down as an independent member of the Standards
     Committee.
     He advised that the recruitment of a replacement would need to be carried out in accordance
     with guidance issued by the Standards Board for England.
            RESOLVED
            That each of the 3 political groups be asked to nominate a
            Member to serve on a Panel to oversee the recruitment process,
            interview applicants and make a recommendation to Council for
            the appointment of an independent member of the Standards
            Committee.
                       GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – 23 MARCH 2009



9.    NEW WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY
      The Director of Corporate Governance presented a new Whistleblowing policy which was to
      replace the previous Speak Up policy. He explained the key points of the new policy and
      advised that it was necessary to identify a body to have overall responsibility for monitoring
      the procedures. It was suggested that the Governance Committee should take on this role.
             RECOMMENDED
             That the Whistleblowing policy be approved and the Governance
             Committee be responsible for monitoring the whistleblowing
             procedures.

10.   COUNCILLOR CALL FOR ACTION
      The Director of Corporate Governance presented a report relating to the Councillor Call for
      Action provisions.
      The purpose of the report, following the publication of a Statutory Instrument and Guidance,
      was to enable the Committee to consider a scheme and local guidance for implementation of
      the provisions and any consequential changes required to the Council’s Constitution.
      He reminded Members that the Constitution already provided for any Member to request that
      an item be put on an agenda for a Scrutiny Board meeting. However some minor changes
      to the Constitution were needed in order to comply with legislative requirements.
      The Overview and Scrutiny Management Board had considered the same report and had
      supported the adoption of the local scheme and guidance.
             RECOMMENDED
             (i)     That the CCfA provisions and the Best Practice Guidance
                     be noted;
             (ii)    That the local guidance for Members be approved; and
             (iii)   That the Constitutional changes demanded by CCfA be
                     approved.

11.   STANDING ORDER 30 – SEALING OF DOCUMENTS
      The Committee considered the report of the Director of Corporate Governance which set out
      revised arrangements for designation of officers for the purpose of sealing documents.
             RESOLVED
             That the following Officers be authorised for the purposes of
             Standing Order 30 (to replace all earlier authorisations): -
                     Corporate Director of Education and Children’s Services
                     Corporate Director for Places
                     Strategic Director Community and Economic Regeneration
                     Director of Corporate Governance
                     Director of Business Support
                     Director for Commissioning
                     Head of Financial Operation
                     Head of Legal Services
                       GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE – 23 MARCH 2009



12.   REVIEW OF PLANNING AND REGULATORY COMMITTEE
      The Director of Corporate Governance referred to his report and invited Members to
      consider the option of dividing the functions of the Planning and Regulatory Committee by
      allocating the functions to a Planning Committee and a separate Licensing Committee.
             RESOLVED
             (i)     That Council be asked to establish a single Planning
                     Committee to determine planning and non-licensing
                     matters and a Licensing Committee to deal exclusively with
                     licensing and gambling functions;
             (ii)    That the terms of reference of the new Committees be as
                     set out in the appendices to the report;
             (iii)   and The new Committees be appointed at the 2009 Annual
                     Council meeting.

13.   REVIEW OF AUDIT AND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEES
      The Director of Corporate Governance referred to his report and invited the Committee to
      review the functions of the Audit Committee and the Governance Committee with a view to
      combining and their functions and re-allocating certain non-executive functions.
      After a lengthy debate it was agreed that the functions of the Audit Committee and the
      Governance Committee should be kept separate and the existing structure should be
      retained.
             RESOLVED
             That no change be proposed to the existing Audit Committee and
             Governance Committee arrangements.

14.   PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SCHEME
      The Acting Head of Human Resources presented his report on the Council’s new
      Performance Management Scheme. He explained the main features of the new scheme
      and responded to Members' questions about the scheme.
             RESOLVED
             That the proposed new Performance Management Scheme be
             approved.

				
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