(a) Changes to the Constitution - All Party Working Groups
The Council were informed the County Council’s Constitution required amendment to reflect changes to Council structures, ensuring alignment with the priorities and ambitions of the Administration. The proposed changes included the establishment of All Party Working Groups (APWGs) – (previously 4 All Party Member Groups), which would continue to be tasked with providing a forum to drive the debate and overview around the medium to long term issues that affect the communities of Staffordshire and how public services, working with the private and voluntary and community sector, could plan for and address these issues. It was the intention that there would be two All Party Working Groups, taking an even more rigorous focus on developing new ideas and solutions to key challenges. The investigations would be driven by community and digital first thinking, draw further on community perspectives and Elected Member’s key role to help shape policy and reform of public services.
Mrs Woodward indicated that she did not support the proposal as the Leader of the Council had failed to consult her, as Leader of the Opposition, on the matter She also expressed the view that the value of the All Party Member Groups had not been proven; and that the proposals could change the nature of the relationship with the Select Committees and that more discussion was needed on this.
Mr McMahon stated that that, unlike Mrs Woodward, he did not see the proposals as preventing Select Committees from undertaking an overview function. He also suggested that it was important that in undertaking their work on policy development APWGs should be requested to consider the “health implications” of any proposals.
Following a vote, it was:
RESOLVED – (a) That, following on from the Audit and Standards Committee’s consideration and approval, the proposed amendments to the Constitution, as outlined below, be approved.
(i) That the Constitution be amended to reflect the changes to the All Party Member Groups (as detailed in appendix 1 to the report) and authority be given to the Political Group Leaders to agree Membership (to a maximum size of 10 Members per Group) following Full Council.
(ii) That the Constitution be amended to reflect changes to the Cabinet Support Titles with detailed responsibilities being determined by the Leader following Full Council.
(b) That the Director for Strategy, Governance and Change be granted authority to make the necessary changes to the Constitution to give effect to the changes set out in the report.
The Council considered proposed revisions to the terms of reference for the Audit & Standard’s Committee following publication of CIPFA’s latest guidance - Practical Guidance for Local Authorities and Police 2018 Edition.
Mrs Woodward commended the work of the Chairman and Members of the Audit and Standards Committee and suggested that all Members of the Council should be made aware of the range of work which the Committee undertakes.
RESOLVED – (a) That the proposed revisions to the terms of reference for the Audit & Standard’s Committee, as detailed in appendix “B” to the report, be approved.
(b) That the revised terms of reference be included within the Council’s Constitution.