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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 09/07/2002
Review of Waverley's Constitution



This report was considered by the Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 25th June 2002 and updates Members on the latest situation on the review of the Constitution, which was agreed by the Council when it adopted its new Executive arrangements in December 2001. All members of the Community and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committees were also invited to attend the Committee and participate in the debate.

The report has some staffing resource implications, but no other major resource, environmental or community safety implications.
APPENDIX J

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 9TH JULY 2002


Title:
REVIEW OF WAVERLEY’S CONSTITUTION
[Wards Affected: N/A]


Summary and Purpose

This report was considered by the Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 25th June 2002 and updates Members on the latest situation on the review of the Constitution, which was agreed by the Council when it adopted its new Executive arrangements in December 2001. All members of the Community and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committees were also invited to attend the Committee and participate in the debate.

The report has some staffing resource implications, but no other major resource, environmental or community safety implications.


Background

1. When the Council adopted its new Executive arrangements and its Constitution, in December 2001, it agreed that there should be a review after approximately six months of operation of the Constitution to see if there were improvements that could be made to it in the light of further experience.

2. It was also agreed that the Chief Executive should keep a running list of issues raised by Members where improvements might be made and a copy of this list is attached as Annexe 1.

District Auditor Audit

3. The District Auditor has been asked to carry out a democratic renewal audit as part of its work in looking at the key changes the Council has to make under the Modernising Agenda.

4. This audit offers an opportunity for an independent and objective review of the Council’s arrangements. The District Auditor will be able to draw on his experience of democratic renewal in other Councils and can provide best practice comparisons, so that Waverley can make improvements based on the experience of a whole range of other Councils.

5. A preliminary meeting has been held between officers of the Council and the District Auditor’s staff and the District Auditor has also been asked to look at corporate governance, as part of the preparation for the Council’s comprehensive performance assessment.
Timetable for Review

6. It was the view of the Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee that there should be no delay in starting both reviews and that in preference they should be run in parallel. Members considered it important that they should be able to make the comments and adjustments that would shape the development of Waverley's Constitution.

Resource Implications

7. There are staffing resource implications in terms of officer time, but it is hoped that the considerable investment of Member and officer time last autumn through the New Constitution SIG will mean the Council has a firm foundation for its constitution and that refining its Constitution will not be a large task.

Observations of the Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee

8. The Committee wished to make the following observations to the Executive:-

(a) that the list of issues raised at Annexe 1 to this report be endorsed;

(b) that there was merit in a Special Interest Group (SIG) being set up to deal with the unfinished business of the New Constitution SIG in relation to the following:-

(i) Member/Officer Protocol
(ii) Management Structure; and
(iii) Scheme of Delegation;

(c) that the Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee should be the main channel for conducting the six month review and that this might include a member workshop to which all members of the Council would be invited to attend; and

(d) that the review should be run in parallel with the District Auditor democratic renewal audit and commence as soon as possible.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:-

1. the proposed framework for the review, as set out at paragraph 8 above, be approved; and

2. the list of issues for inclusion in the review, as set out at Annexe 1, be endorsed.

Background Papers (CEx)

District Auditor draft project specification for Democratic Renewal Audit.


CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mr R Pellow Telephone: 01483 523222
E-mail: rpellow@waverley.gov.uk
comms/exec/2002-03/103