Agenda and draft minutes

Constitutional Review Working Party
Thursday, 21st November, 2019 3.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent

Contact: Emily Kennedy 

Items
No. Item

118.

Apologies for Absence

119.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 113 KB

    To receive any declarations of interest.  Members are advised to consider the advice contained within the Declaration of Interest advice attached to this Agenda.  If a Member declares an interest, they should complete the Declaration of Interest Form 

     

    Minutes:

    There were no declarations of interest made by Members of the working party.

     

    Mr Tim Howes, Director of Corporate Governance and Monitoring Officer declared an interest as the subject under discussion in agenda item 3 as the matter was about employment conditions for council employees.

     

    One Member requested that Mr Howes recused himself from the meeting due to the declared interest. Mr Howes further advised Members that his role in the meeting was to advise Members as the Monitoring Officer about legal and constitutional matters before Members could make any recommendations regarding the adoption of standing orders for council employees.

120.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 73 KB

    To approve the Minutes of the Constitutional Review Working Party meeting held on 24 September 2019, copy attached.

    Minutes:

    Councillor Piper proposed, Councillor Stevens seconded and Members agreed the minutes to be a correct record of the meeting that was held on 24 September 2019.

121.

STANDING ORDERS IN RELATION TO STAFF pdf icon PDF 256 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Dr Sexton, Chairman of the working party opened the discussion by stating that the report before Members reflected the state of the situation as at the 24 September working party meeting. He then invited Mr Tim Howes, Director of Corporate Governance & Monitoring Officer to introduce the report. Mr Howes advised Members that the council had received advice from JNC, which was included in the updated report and made the following comments:

     

    • The flowchart had been amended to remove reference to the filtering mechanism;
    • Paragraph 12.2 had been amended to reflect the advice given by the JNC (this advice was from both the employers and employees side of the JNC); which is that the filtering process should be light touch and should not have substantive Member involvement other than the Chair of the IDC.

     

    Members made comments and asked questions seeking clarifications on a number of issues in the officer report. These are detailed below:

     

    • Was the title Chairman of Independent Disciplinary Committee (IDC) interchangeable with Chairman of GPC?
    • There was little reference in Table 1 and Table 2 to the decisions made at the meeting on 24 September;
    • In response to the point raised above, the Chairman indicated that the substance of the whole discussion had been embedded in the report;
    • The suggestions Members were putting forward were intended to protect the statutory officers;
    • In other councils, they had the Head of Legal Services as a receiving officer of cases for filtering, who would then signpost the issue to an appropriate body for consideration. 
    • There should be a sub-committee for investigations and another for presiding over appeals;
    • It was important to get the membership numbers that would ensure viable political proportionality on these sub committees, whilst maintaining a reasonably sized sub-committee that would not be intimidating to an employee that would come before it;
    • In urgent cases, the committee meeting would need to be convened using council procedures for calling urgent meetings. 

     

    Responding to Member comments and questions Mr Howes made the following points:

     

    • The title of chairman of IDC and GPC Chairman as reflected in the report section in question could be used interchangeably. This was because the GPC Chair would be acting as the Chairman of IDC;
    • Most of the discussion that took place on 24 September was captured in the minutes and the reported captured the essence of that discussion;
    • The filtering process had been removed from the process under discussion and the working party had to focus on the recommendations in the officer report without encroaching onto human resources functions;
    • The recommendations were requesting the working party to consider proposals that would ensure that the council would fulfil legal requirements for adopting standing orders for council employees;
    • Members ought to note that the purpose of the meeting was to agree standing orders and not to consider employment contracts;
    • TDC through its Scheme of Delegations, delegated the authority to other bodies to carry out the human resources function;
    • It was a viable option to establish two sub-committees  ...  view the full minutes text for item 121.