Agenda, decisions and minutes

Constitution Committee
Wednesday, 5th October, 2016 10.00 am

Venue: Delyn Committee Room, County Hall, Mold CH7 6NA

Contact: Maureen Potter 01352 702322  Email: maureen.potter@flintshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

Nominations will be sought for a Vice-Chair for the Committee.

Decision:

That Councillor Nigel Steele-Mortimer be appointed Vice-Chair of the Committee.

 

 

Minutes:

 

Councillor George Hardcastle nominated Councillor Nigel Steele-Mortimer as Vice-Chair of the Committee.  This was duly seconded and supported by the Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Councillor Nigel Steele-Mortimer be appointed Vice-Chair of the Committee.

 

 

2.

Declarations of Interest (Including Whipping Declarations)

Purpose: To receive any Declarations and advise Members accordingly.

Minutes:

Councillor Glyn Banks declared a personal interest in the following item:

 

Item 5:  Contract Procedure Rules

 

 

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Purpose: To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting.

 

Decision:

 

That the minutes be received, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

Minutes:

 

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 27 April 2016 were submitted.

 

Matters arising

 

Councillor Chis Bithell referred to his comments on page 4, concerning declarations of personal and prejudicial interest and asked if the Chief Officer (Governance) had received a response to the request for clarification from the Ombudsman.   Councillor Bithell also asked if the Chief Officer had received a response from the Welsh principal councils concerning the upper level of gifts and hospitality which did not require registration.   The Chief Officer reported that the Ombudsman had recently issued revised guidance on the Code of Conduct which would be circulated to all Members.  He advised that there was no change to the current procedures concerning declarations of personal and prejudicial interest.  The Chief Officer explained that there was no further information to report regarding the level of registration of gifts and hospitality. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes be received, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

4.

CONTRACT PROCEDURE RULES pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To approve revised contract procedure rules

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Committee recommends Council:

 

  • adopts the proposed CPRs
  • harmonises delegated authority levels for spending decisions within the Constitution with effect from 1 November 2016

 

 

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Governance) introduced the report to seek approval of the revised contract procedure rules (CPRs).  He provided background information and explained that it was appropriate to revise the CPRs in light of changes to European procurement law, the introduction of the Well Being of Future Generations Act, the move to electronic procurements and the introduction of the new welsh language standards.  He advised that the proposed new CPRs were simpler and more consistent in terminology, which would improve understanding and compliance, and put greater focus on planning the procurement route and early approval/authorisation. 

 

The Chief Officer reported on the key changes in the proposed CPRs, and the work being undertaken around community benefits, as detailed in the report and the document appended.   He also referred to the need for awareness training for those people who specifically undertake procurement.  The Chief Officer commented on the concerns around contract management which had been raised by the Audit Committee and said these would be addressed by the revised CPRs. 

 

Councillor Aaron Shotton spoke in support of the aim to achieve as much as possible out of public procurement for the benefit of the community; citing the opportunity for apprenticeships as an example.  He also referred to the positive outcomes gained in England as a result of the Social Value Act. 

 

The Chair invited Members to raise questions.

 

Councillor Clive Carver referred to the community benefits and expressed concern regarding how they might be perceived.  The Chief Officer responded to the points raised and explained that the cost of the benefits would not necessarily be passed back to the Authority through the contract.

 

Councillor Dave Mackie said there was no reference to Equality Impact Assessments in the report.  He also commented on the reference to ‘approved lists’ in section 1.11 of the appended report and asked for more information on this.  Councillor Mackie raised further concerns around the All Wales Agreement which he felt excluded the opportunity for local businesses/tradespeople to compete for business.

 

The Chief Officer responded to the matters raised by Councillor Mackie.  He explained that the mechanism to address the Authority’s obligation to carry out Equality Impact Assessments was addressed under the risk management section of the report and added that the CPRs would require the contract to be compliant with the Council’s equality duties and those under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act .   He also commented on  the approved lists which had been used by the  Authority for a long time and said contractors on the lists had not always been given work and the lists were not as accurate as required.     

 

Addressing the concerns raised by Councillor Mackie regarding the All Wales Agreement the Chief Officer explained that the Agreement was expected to provide better value for service overall.  However, if that proved not to be the case  and a better local arrangement was available and evidence of such provided  to the national procurement service, then the All Wales service would not be used.  He explained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

INTERNAL AUDIT CHARTER pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To update the Internal Audit Charter contained in section 29.1 of the Constitution.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the updated Internal Audit Charter, as approved by the Audit Committee, be agreed.

 

Minutes:

The Internal Audit Manager introduced the Principal Auditor who would be presenting the report.  The Principal Auditor provided background information and advised that the current Charter had been reviewed to ensure it met all legal and regulatory requirements.  The report detailed the results of the review and the revised draft Charter, which had been considered and approved by the Audit Committee at its meeting on 26 September 2016, and was appended to the report.

 

Councillor Dave Mackie commented that it was difficult to compare the changes between the revised and the existing Charter on an ‘i’pad and suggested that it would be helpful if a copy with tracked changes was provided to the Committee in future.  It was agreed that this would be done.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the updated Internal Audit Charter, as approved by the Audit Committee, be agreed.

 

6.

Review of the New Report Format pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To update the Committee following a year of using the new format.

Decision:

That we continue to use the new report format which will include revised guidance on the Quality Impact Assessments.  

 

 

Minutes:

The Member Engagement Manager introduced a report to update the Committee following a year of using the new format,    He advised that the feedback from Members and Officers had been positive and only a slight change was required concerning the guidance on completion of the Risk Management section.  It was suggested that the report format be reviewed regularly to ensure it is effective.  

 

                        Councillor Dave Mackie suggested some improvements to make reports more ‘i’pad friendly.  He also referred to the need to include track changes where revised documents were submitted for consideration to ease comparison. 

 

                        In response to a query from Councillor Arnold Woolley concerning Equalities Impact Assessments (EIAs) the Member Engagement Manager advised that the issue of EIAs would be addressed by revising the guidance on completion of the Risk Management Section. 

 

Councillor Chris Bithell commented on the need to reduce duplication of information in reports to the Planning Committee.  The Member Engagement Manager agreed to raise the matter with the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment) and acknowledged the need for consistency in report writing.  The Chief Officer also emphasised the need  for all report writers to be aware of providing clear and succinct reports.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That we continue to use the new report format which will include revised guidance on the Quality Impact Assessments.  

 

 

7.

Draft Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To enable the Committee to consider the draft Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report for the 2015/16 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Having considered the Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report for 2015/16 the Committee was satisfied with it and commended it to the next meeting of the County Council.

 

Minutes:

 

The Member Engagement Manager introduced a report on the draft Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report for the 2015/16 municipal year.  He advised that the draft Report for 2015/16 included an article on the use of the call in process, as requested at Council on 20 October 2015. The Member Engagement Manager explained that the foreword had not been drafted as it was suggested that this be done to reflect the Committee’s consideration of the Annual Report and be inserted before submission to Council.  He went on to suggest an appropriate form of words to reflect the discussion which had taken place.  The draft report was appended for comment and approval.

 

RESOLVED:

 

Having considered the Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report for 2015/16 the Committee was satisfied with it and commended it to the next meeting of the County Council.

 

8.

Members of the Press and Public in Attendance

Minutes:

There were no members of the press or public in attendance.

 

 

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