Council 15 April 2015 Joint meeting of Appointments, Licensing

Council
15 April 2015
Joint meeting of Appointments, Licensing,
Corporate, Pensions and Standards Committees
15 April 2015
Review of allocation of seats to political groups and amendments to the Members
Allowance Scheme.
Wards: All
Report Authorised by: Chief Executive: Sean Harriss
Contact for enquiries:
[email protected]
Alison McKane, Head of Legal Services, Integrated Support, 020 7926 2353
Report summary
A review of the allocation of seats to political groups is required at, or as soon as practicable
after, each Annual Meeting of the Council or when notice is received of a change in the
composition of a political group. The administration proposes the following changes to the
current position:
(a) Following the formation of the Council’s new Pensions Committee, to allocate the five
seats on that Committee as detailed below.
(b) Following the formation of the Council’s new Pensions Board, to allocate the [three
seats] on that Board allocated to elected members as detailed below.
The report also deals with amendments to the Members Allowance Scheme with the
recommended introduction of a discretionary flexible sickness payments to members.
Finance summary
There are no financial implications arising from this report any changes to the Members
Allowances Scheme will be met from within the existing budget.
Recommendations
Council
(1)
That the report of the Chief Executive setting out the recommended allocation of
seats to political groups, as set out in Table 2 below, be adopted.
(2)
That accordingly the Council reappoints its Committees with the sizes and allocation
of seats between political groups as set out in Table 2 of the report and invites the
Whips of the two party groups to make nominations to fill the seats on these
committees.
(3)
That the Appointments Committee be invited to note the constitution of and confirm
the sizes of the sub-committee and allocation of seats between political groups on
the sub-committee as set out in table 2 of the report, and that the Whips of the two
party groups be invited to make nominations to fill the seats on that sub-committee.
(4)
That it is noted that Councillor Rachel Heywood has been unable to attend Council
Committee meetings due to ill health and the last meeting Cllr Heywood attended
was on 19 November 2014.
(5)
That on the basis of the continued ill health of Cllr Heywood the Council agree that
Cllr Heywood will continue to be a member of this Council even if she does not
attend a meeting of this local authority (as defined in section 85(2) of the Local
Government Act 1972) by 18 May 2015 and that the Council agrees that Cllr
Heywood has until 18 November 2015 to attend a meeting of the authority (as
defined in section 85(2) Local Government Act 1972) failing which she will cease to
be a member.
(6)
That the Members Allowance Scheme be amended to enable the Chief Executive to
agree a discretionary flexible sickness payment in accordance with the wording set
out at Paragraph 3.1 below.
Appointments Committee and Licensing Committee
(1) That the size of sub-committees and allocation of seats between political groups on
those sub-committees as set out in table 2 of the report be confirmed.
Context
1.1
Following the local elections on 22 May 2014 the political composition of the Council is
Labour (58 seats), Conservatives (3 seats) and Green Party (1 seat) One seat is
currently vacant pending a by-election on 7 May 2015.
1.2
Section 15(1) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 requires the Council to
review the representation of the different political groups on committees and subcommittees:

At or as soon as practicable after, the Annual Meeting of the Council or

Where notice is received of a change in the composition of political groups.
1.3
The Chief Executive is under a duty, whenever such a review takes place, to submit a
report to the Council showing what allocation of seats would in his opinion best meet the
requirements of section 15 of the 1989 Act.
1.4
As there is only one elected member from the Green Party, that party cannot be
constituted as a political group on the Council, as Regulation 8 of the Local Government
(Committees and Political Groups) Regulations 1990 (“the Regulations”) prescribes that
a minimum of two members is required to constitute a political group. However the
member of the Green Party can be allocated any spare seats available once the
proportionality rules have been applied.
2.
Proposal and Reasons
2.1
Section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 does not impose any specific
requirement on the Council to consult the political groups as to which committees the
seats should be allocated; this only applies to the actual allocation of a seat to a
particular member.
2.2
However it is clearly preferable if all groups have an agreed position as to which
committees are to be adjusted, provided that the agreed position does not conflict with
the Council’s duty, which is “to make only such determinations as give effect, so far as
reasonably practicable, to the principles specified in subsection (5).”
2.3
In summary these principles of determination (“principles”) are that:
(a) All the seats are not allocated to the same group;
(b) The majority of seats go to the group (if any) which has an overall majority on the
Council (i.e. more than 32 seats);
(c) Subject to the above two principles, that the number of seats on the total of all the
ordinary committees allocated to each group bears the same proportion to the
proportion on the full Council; and
(d) Subject to (a) and (c), that the number of seats on each ordinary committee and
each sub-committee allocated to each group bears the same proportion to the
proportion on the full Council.
Overall Party split on the Council
2.4 Following the local elections on 22 May 2014 the parties have the following seats on the
Council:
Party
Seats
Calculation
%
Seat Entitlement
Labour
58
58/63
92.06%
34
Conservative
3
3/63
4.76%
2
Green
1
1/63
1.58%
0
Vacant
1
TOTAL
63
100%
36
Committee sizes
2.5 The Council has six Committees to which the duty to achieve political proportionality
applies. These are: Appointments, Corporate, Overview and Scrutiny, Planning,
Standards and Pensions. Table 1 below shows the current size of these committees and
the proposed changes to the current position:
Table 1
Committee
Appointments
Corporate
Overview and Scrutiny
Planning
Standards
Pensions (new Committee
wef 1.4.15)
Total
Current Size
Proposed New Size
5
5
5
5
9
9
7
7
5
5
0
5
31
36
2.6 On the basis of the size of the committees and the total number of seats available the
entitlement Accordingly the committees and sub-committees which the administration
proposes to be appointed in 2015/16 are set out in Table 2 as follows, together with the
entitlements which each group has in relation to each individual committee and subcommittee, adjusted to reflect the current agreed position on each committee and sub
committee.
2.7 TABLE 2
COMMITTEE OR
SUBCOMMITTEE
TOTAL
LABOUR
CONSERVATIVE
GREEN
Ordinary
Committees
Appointments
Corporate
Overview &
Scrutiny
Planning
Applications
Standards
Pensions
TOTALS
5
4
1
0
5
4
1
0
9
8
1
0
7
6
1
0
5
4
1
0
5
4
1
0
36
30
Entitlement
Adjustment
required
NB To give
effect to
requirement that
not all seats are
allocated to the
same group
Adjusted Totals
34
2
0
-4
+4
0
30
6
0
Sub-Committees
of the
Appointments
Committee
Appointments
Sub-Committee
5
4
1
0
2.8 In addition the Council has three other Committees, the Licensing Committee, the Health
and Wellbeing Board and the Pensions Board which are not subject to the political balance
requirements. The Council proposes the following allocation of seats to those Committees:
Table 3
Committee
Labour
Conservative
Green
Total
Health and Wellbeing
Board
Licensing
3
1
0
4
9
1
0
10
Pensions Board
3
2.9 Licensing Sub-Committees are drawn from the Licensing Committee to hear individual
licensing applications. Pursuant to section 9(1) of the Licensing Act 2003, each subcommittee must comprise of 3 members drawn from Licensing Committee.
2.10 Following the allocation to a political group by the Council, or a committee, of a seat or
seats on a committee or sub committee respectively, regulation 15 of the relevant
Regulations provides that the political group has a period of three weeks from the date that
notice is given to express its wishes in relation to the appointment to such a seat or seats.
If the group fails to express its wishes within the prescribed period, the Council or
committee may make such appointment to that seat or seats as they think fit. Further, the
group to which a seat has been allocated is entitled to express a wish that the seat be filled
by a member of a different political party. However, that seat remains, in law, allocated to
the first group and that group therefore retains the right to terminate the appointment.
2.11 The Council proposes to amend the Member Allowance Scheme as detailed in paragraph
3.1 below to enable a discretionary rather than mandatory payment to be made to a
member under certain exceptional circumstances when they are suffering from long term
sickness and as a consequence are unable to fulfil their duties as a councillor. Unlike
employed officers members do not benefit from any statutory sickness scheme given they
are elected officials rather than employed officers. The decision to allow the discretionary
payments will be determined by the Council’s Monitoring Officer in consultation with the
Head of Paid Service on a case by case basis and no precedent shall be set as a result of
any historical payments having been made.
Members will be aware that due to a long term illness Councillor Rachel Heywood has not
been able to undertake her duties as a Cabinet Member. It is proposed that a payment
equivalent to the SRA for 6 months be retrospectively approved, with effect from 15th
January 2015, in recognition of the huge commitment and contribution Councillor
Heywood has made during her time as both a councillor and a cabinet member.
Going forward the constitution is proposed to be amended to allow the Monitoring Officer
in consultation with the Head of Paid Service to sanction such discretionary payments on
an exceptional case by case basis without creating any precedent, provided that any
sickness payment be within the overall financial budget for Member Allowances. It is
hoped that Councillor Heywood will make a full recovery and will be able to take up her
role as a councillor soon.
3.1
It is proposed that the following wording be inserted into the Members Allowance Scheme:
Discretionary Sickness Payments
The eligibility for flexible sickness payments is to be determined by the Council’s
Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Head of Paid Service. It would be payable
where a member who is in receipt of a special responsibility allowance is unable to fulfil
their duties as a councillor due to long term illness.
In these circumstances the member would be eligible to receive a discretionary sickness
payment. Any discretionary sickness payments will be made for a period of up to six
months up to the full amount of the SRA. All flexible sickness payments need to be within
the overall financial budget set for Member Allowances.
4
Finance
4.1
There are no financial implications arising from this report any changes to the Members
Alowances Scheme will be me from within the existing budget.
5
Legal and Democracy
5.1
These are covered in section 2 above, and generally.
5.2
Under Section 111 the Local Government Act 1972 a local authority shall have power to
do anything (whether or not involving the expenditure, borrowing or lending of money or
the acquisition or disposal of any property or rights) which is calculated to facilitate, or is
conducive or incidental to, the discharge of any of their functions.
6
Consultation and co-production
6.1
None
7
Risk management
7.1
None
8
Equalities impact assessment
8.1
Not applicable
9
Community safety
9.1
None
10
Organisational implications
None
11
Timetable for implementation
11.1 Not applicable
Audit trail
Consultation
Name/Position
Sean Harriss
Mark Hynes
Martin Crump
Wayne Chandai
Dave Burn
Councillor Paul Gadsby
Councillor Tim Briggs
Councillor Lib Peck
Lambeth
cluster/division or
partner
Chief Executive
Director of Corporate
Affairs
Integrated Support –
Financial Planning &
Management
Democratic Services
Manager
Head of Democratic
Services & Scrutiny
Chief Whip
Conservative Group
Leader and Whip
Date Sent
Date
Received
30.03.15
30.03.15
07.04.15
07.04.15
30.03.15
07.04.15
30.03.15
07.04.15
30.03.15
07.04.15
30.03.15
30.03.15
07.04.15
Leader of the Council
30.03.15
07.04.15
Report history
Original discussion with Cabinet Member
Report deadline
Date final report sent
Report no.
Part II Exempt from Disclosure/confidential
accompanying report?
Key decision report
Date first appeared on forward plan
Key decision reasons
Background information
Comments in
para:
4
n/a
01.04.15
07.04.15
178/14-15
No
No
N/A
N/A
Relevant Legislation:
Local Government and Housing Act 1989
Local Government (Committee and Political
Groups) Regulations 1990
Appendices
None.
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