Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Virtual Meeting Via Skype. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330
The Chairman explained that the meeting would be conducted in accordance with the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panel (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 No. 392.
In welcoming all Members, the Chairman explained which Swale Borough Council officers were in attendance.
To approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 December 2020 (Minute Nos. 341 - 345) as a correct record.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 December 2020 (Minute Nos. 341 – 345) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves or their spouse, civil partner or person with whom they are living with as a spouse or civil partner. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
The Chairman will ask Members if they have any interests to declare in respect of items on this agenda, under the following headings:
(a) Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI) under the Localism Act 2011. The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared. After declaring a DPI, the Member must leave the meeting and not take part in the discussion or vote. This applies even if there is provision for public speaking.
(b) Disclosable Non Pecuniary (DNPI) under the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council in May 2012. The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared. After declaring a DNPI interest, the Member may stay, speak and vote on the matter.
(c) Where it is possible that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts would conclude that there was a real possibility that the Member might be predetermined or biased the Member should declare their predetermination or bias and then leave the meeting while that item is considered.
Advice to Members: If any Councillor has any doubt about the existence or nature of any DPI or DNPI which he/she may have in any item on this agenda, he/she should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer, the Head of Legal or from other Solicitors in Legal Services as early as possible, and in advance of the Meeting.
No interests were declared.
The Deputy Leader introduced the report which sought to recommend changes to the Council procedure rules on motions with notice (Rule 15) and amendments to motions (Rule 17). He said the proposals would allow for better debate and gave more clarity. He proposed the recommendation which was seconded by Councillor Ben J Martin.
In highlighting the significant implications that might arise without advance consideration, the Monitoring Officer said the proposals allowed for more consideration of an evidence-based decision. He drew Members’ attention to pages 10 and 12 which set out the updated wording.
In the debate that followed, Members raised points which included:
· the proposed changes would assist in making informed judgements;
· welcomed the changes as it was sometimes difficult to read amendments in small font on a screen during a virtual meeting;
· would give a better debate; and
· sought clarity on the discretion of the mayor to allow points of order or urgent amendments.
The Monitoring Officer said that the raising of points of order during Council needed to be handled with greater reference to the definition of a point of order given in the procedure rules.
(1) That the changes to the Council procedure rules as set out in the appendices to the report be recommended to Full Council for adoption.
To follow paper added 10 March 2021
The Leader introduced the report which sought to recommend a provision for parental and sickness leave for Councillors in the Members’ allowance scheme, as recommended by the Swale Independent Remuneration panel. He said the amendment to the scheme sent an important message, supported diversity and had a limited cost implication. He proposed the recommendation which was seconded by Councillor Mike Baldock.
Members spoke in support of the proposal, which some other Boroughs already supported, and said that the change removed barriers and might encourage a more diverse range of residents to stand for election in the future.
(1) That the changes to the Members’ allowances scheme as set out in paragraph 3.3 in the report be endorsed and recommended to Full Council for adoption.