Agenda item

Notice of Motion Constitution Amendment - A13 Questions by Members


Members considered a motion in relation to written answers to members’ questions, notice of which was given in accordance with Standing Order A14.


It was proposed by Councillor Sanders and seconded by Councillor Darling (S):


Council Standing Order A13 permits Members to submit questions for response at Council meetings.  However, Council Standing Order A13.8 requires responses to take the form of a direct oral answer.  In the interests of open government, transparency and public engagement answers to written questions should be recorded in the minutes.


Therefore, it is proposed that the Council’s Constitution be amended as follows (changes shown in bold):


A13.8        Responses

An answer to a question or a supplementary question may will take the form of:

(i)       a direct oral written answer and attached to the minutes of the Council meeting; or

(ii)      where the desired information is in a publication of the Council or other published work, a reference to that publication.

An answer to a supplementary question will take the form of a

(i)       a direct oral answer; or

(ii)      where the desired information is in a publication of the Council or other published work, a reference to that publication.

Where the member to whom the question was asked is either absent and no other Member is able to respond, the question will be referred to the next meeting where the member is present.  If the member asking the questions wishes a response prior to the next meeting, they may request a written answer from the member concerned. 

Where a written response has been prepared by officers, the Governance Support Manager will make arrangements for these to be included on the Council’s website as soon as practicable after the meeting at which the question was asked.  (NB.  Recordings of all Council meetings are available from the Governance Support Team on request.)


In accordance with Standing Order A14.3(b), the Chairman advised that the motion would be dealt with by this meeting.


An amendment was proposed by Councillor Tyerman and seconded by Councillor King:


(ii)        that in addition to the Constitution amendments set out in the Notice of Motion, the Monitoring Officer be authorised to further amend the Constitution in respect of Members’ Question to:


(a)       limit the number of questions to three per member for each Council meeting.  At the Council meeting each member will present their first question in turn, when all the first questions have been dealt with the second and third questions may be asked in turn;


(b)       that the time for members’ questions at Council meetings be limited to a total of 30 minutes to reflect the practice for public questions.  On expiry of 30 minutes if a response is being provided to a question, the member who asked the question shall have the right to ask his or her supplementary question and on the response that supplementary question being provided.  Any questions not dealt with after 30 minutes to be deemed as withdrawn and the member may resubmit as one of their three questions to the next Council meeting;  and


(c)        require written answers to be circulated at the start of the meeting and read out at the meeting.


On being put to the vote, the amendment was declared carried.


The substantive motion (the original motion with the addition of the amendment) was then before members for consideration.


On being put to the vote, the substantive motion was declared carried.

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