To consider (a) the appointment of Proper Officers where the Chief Executive is currently the sole appointed Proper Officer, including a minor amendment to the Constitution; (b) proposed amendments to the terms of reference of the Joint Appointments and Disciplinary Committee arising from the resignation of the Chief Executive; (c) other amendments to the Constitution to deal with any periods during which there is no Chief Executive in post; and (d) amendments to the Financial Procedure Rules relating to virements and grants (Report of the Deputy Leader (Council), and Executive Manager – Governance (Deputy Monitoring Officer) enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Deputy Leader of the Council, and the Executive Manager - Governance (Deputy Monitoring Officer) to consider the appointment of Proper Officers where the Chief Executive is currently the sole appointed Proper Officer, including associated amendments to the constitution; together with amendments to the Financial Procedure Rules relating to virements and grants.
In respect of the amendment to the Financial Procedure Rules, the Executive Manager Governance (Deputy Monitoring Officer) reported that there was a current requirement for Council to agree acceptance of grants in excess £100k along with approving the terms of the grant and the spend of the same. However, the Council’s role was actually to approve any necessary budget amendment. Approving the terms of the grant and its spend was an executive function. In addition, some grants (such as those issued under s31 Local Government Act 2003) were non-discretionary and would not require a budget amendment as funding was received for a specific purpose and had to be paid on (such as recent Covid business grants). It was therefore proposed that, in cases where the s151 Officer considered that there was no material impact on the budget, she would be authorised to certify that this was the case and that Council approval of the grant would therefore be unnecessary. The Executive Manager – Governance (Deputy Monitoring Officer) suggested that members may wish to incorporate into the Financial Procedure Rules the reference to s31 payments as an example.
(a)(i) Proper Officers - that all Directors, including any Directors employed on a temporary basis, be appointed, in addition to the Chief Executive, as Proper Officers for the following functions which come under the Local Government Act 1972:
Section 13(3) (Acting, along with the Chairman of the parish meeting, as Parish Trustee for any parish where there is no parish council)
Section 83(1)-(4) (Witness and receipt of declaration of acceptance of office)
Section 84 (Receipt of declaration of resignation)
Section 88 (Convening of meeting of the Council to fill vacancy in the office of Chairman of the Council)
Section 210(6) and (7) (Charity functions of holders of offices with previous authorities transferred to Proper Officer, if no equivalent officer)
Any reference to any enactment passed before or during the 1971-72 session of Parliament other than the Local Government Act 1972 or in any instrument made before 26 October, 1972 to the Clerk of the Council which, by virtue of any provisions of the said Act, is to be construed as a reference to the Proper Officer of the Council.
(a)(ii) Proper Officers - that paragraph 3 of Part 3 Section F2 (Delegations to Chief Executive) of the Constitution be amended to read as follows:
"3.0 to be (along with any other officers duly appointed to act as Proper Officer, which appointments are detailed in the list of Proper Officers maintained by the Senior Legal Officer) the Proper Officer of the Council in relation to:"
(b) Terms of reference of the Joint Appointments and Disciplinary Committee - that, arising from the resignation of the Chief Executive, the proposed amendments shown in Appendix A to the report be approved, and the Constitution be amended accordingly;
(c) Other amendments arising from the resignation of the Chief Executive - that the Constitution be amended as shown in Appendix B to the report to deal with any periods during which there is no Chief Executive in post; and
(d) Virements and Grants - that the Financial Procedure Rules contained within the Constitution be amended as shown in Appendix C to the report insofar as they relate to virements and grants and that an example be added in respect of payments under s31 Local Government Act 2003.