Your Councillors


COUNCIL MEETING

26 September 2018

 

REVIEW OF ALLOCATION OF SEATS ON COMMITTEES

 

Final Decision-Maker

Council

Lead Director

Mark Green, Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Lead Officer and Report Author

Sam Bailey, Democratic and Administration Services Manager

Debbie Snook, Democratic Services Officer

Classification

Public

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

Following the Headcorn by-election on 13 September 2018 and the return of Councillor Webb to the Liberal Democrat Group, it is appropriate to review the allocation of seats on Committees to the different Political Groups represented on the Council pursuant to Section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

 

This report makes the following recommendation to Council:

1. That the allocation of seats on Committees be determined.

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Council Meeting

26 September 2018



REVIEW OF ALLOCATION OF SEATS ON COMMITTEES

 

 

 

1.    INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

1.1     The Council has a statutory requirement under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 to ensure political proportionality in the membership of Committees.  Following the Headcorn by-election on 13 September 2018 and the return of Councillor Webb to the Liberal Democrat Group, the composition of the Council is as follows:

       

Conservative Party

25

Liberal Democrat

21

The Independent Group

4

Labour Party

3

Independent Maidstone

2

Total

55

 

1.2   The Constitution (Part 2.1) prescribes the following exceptions to the overall rule about proportionality:

 

(a)     Urgency Committee - the Leaders of the five largest groups represented on the Council must be appointed to this Committee.  

 

(b)     Employment Committee – membership of 12 Councillors, to include the Group Leaders of the five largest groups).

 

        This is in accordance with Section 17 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, which provides for exceptions to the political balance       requirements. 

 

1.3   Subject to this exception, steps must be taken to ensure that in allocating seats to the various Committees, the total number of seats across all of the Committees reflect the overall number of seats allocated to each Group as required by the legislation.

 

1.4   When there is no overall control with one party achieving a higher number of Members than the total of the other Members from other Political Groups and any Independent Members, proportionality is achieved through negotiation by the Political Groups and Independent Members for relevant Committees in accordance with the 1989 Act.  This enables those Political Groups/Members that have a potential claim on the seats that remain unallocated to agree how the seats should be allocated between them.  This accords with Section 15(2) which enables the Authority to take such steps “so far as reasonably practicable” to achieve political balance for these Committees.

 

1.5   Seats are allocated to ensure that each Political Group has the same proportion of seats as it holds on the Council as a whole.  Once the allocation of seats has been decided upon, there is a duty to give effect to the allocation by making appointments to the Committees in accordance with the wishes of the Political Groups.

 

1.6   Following the election on 3 May 2018, the seats on the various Committees were allocated by full Council at the Annual Meeting on 19 May 2018 in accordance with the above process.

 

1.7   The Council has an ongoing duty to review the allocation of seats to the Political Groups on certain Committees.  In addition, requests have been received for a review of the allocation of seats on Committees pursuant to Section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

 

 

2.    AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

2.1   Group Leaders are being consulted on any adjustments required to ensure an appropriate political balance in membership of Committees and the outcome will be reported at the meeting.

 

 

3     PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

3.1   It is proposed that the Employment Committee and the Urgency Committee are not politically balanced, as, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution, the membership of these Committees must include the Leaders of the five largest Political Groups represented on the Council.  Any adjustments to the allocation of seats on individual Committees to achieve overall political balance will be determined at the meeting following consultation with the Group Leaders.

 

 

4.    RISK

4.1  The review of the allocation of seats on Committees will ensure an appropriate political balance in membership of Committees.

 

 

5.    CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

5.1   Group Leaders are being consulted on the allocation of seats on Committees and the adjustments required, and the outcome will be reported at the meeting.

 

 

6.    NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

6.1   Once the allocation of seats has been decided upon, there is a duty to give effect to the allocation by making appointments to them in accordance with the wishes of the Group Leaders on behalf of their respective Political Groups.

 

 

7.    CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

There are no direct impacts on corporate priorities arising from this, but the Committees when in place discharge the functions delegated to them having regard where appropriate to the Council’s strategic objectives.

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Risk Management

See section 4 above.

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Financial

The Committees appointed having regard to the political balance requirements form part of the original plan for the committee system of governance and as such there are no additional financial implications.

Section 151 Officer

Staffing

There are no staffing implications

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Legal

The legal implications are set out in the body of the report.

 

Legal Team

Privacy and Data Protection

No specific issues arise.

Legal Team

Equalities

The review will ensure an equitable political representation in membership of Committees.

Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer

Crime and Disorder

No specific issues arise.

 

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

Procurement

No specific issues arise.

 

Director of Finance and Business Improvement

 

8.    REPORT APPENDICES

 

None.

 

9.    BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None.

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