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Constitution

Section 7: Council procedure rules (standing orders)

Last updated 19 July 2021, Version 8

1. Meetings of the Council

1.1 Venue, Timing, Notice, Summons

  1. All meetings of the Council will normally be held at the Wyre Forest House, Finepoint Way, Kidderminster.

  2. Meetings will start at 6pm, unless the Chairman agrees to a different time.

  3. If the business of the meeting is not completed by 10pm the meeting will be adjourned to a date and time agreed before the close of the meeting.

  4. Notices containing the dates, times and venues for all Council meetings will be publicly displayed at least five clear days before a meeting, in accordance with the Access to Information Rules.

  5. At least five clear days before a meeting, the Proper Officer will send a Summons to every Member of the Council by post, or electronically, or will leave it at their usual place of residence. The Summons will give the date, time and place of each meeting, specify the business to be transacted and will be accompanied by such reports as are available.

1.2 Annual Meeting of the Council

  1. In a year when there is an ordinary election of Councillors, the annual meeting will take place within 21 days of the retirement of the outgoing Councillors. In any other year the Annual Meeting will take place in March, April or May. In line with this requirement, the Annual Meeting of the Council will normally be held on the third Wednesday of May every year.

1.3 Order of Business at the Annual Meeting

  1. To elect a person to preside if the Chairman of the Council is not present.
  2. To elect the Chairman of the Council.
    NB. If there are an equal number of votes cast for two candidates, the person presiding will have the casting vote;
  3. To elect the Vice-Chairman of the Council.
    NB. If there is an equal number of votes cast for two candidates, the Chairman has the casting vote;
    (NB. In the absence of both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council at the meeting, those Members present will choose one of their number to preside at the meeting, and that person will have the powers of the Chairman in relation to the conduct of the meeting).
  4. To receive apologies for absence.
  5. To receive any declarations of interest.
  6. To approve as a correct record the Minutes of last meeting, and any extraordinary meeting, of Council.
  7. In accordance with the Council’s Scheme for Public Speaking at Meetings of Full Council, to allow members of the public to present petitions, ask questions, or make statements.
  8. To receive questions submitted by Members of the Council and the replies of the Leader of the Council, or relevant Cabinet Member, in accordance with Standing Order 1.8.
  9. To receive announcements from the Chairman.
  10. To elect the Leader of the Council.
  11. To appoint at least one Scrutiny Committee, an Ethics and Standards Committee and other committees as the Council considers appropriate.
  12. To agree a programme of Ordinary Meetings of the Council for the year.
  13. Any Other Business as set out in the Notice.

1.4 Appointment to Other Committees and Outside Bodies

At the Annual meeting, the Council will in respect of the Committees established under 1.3 (xi) above:

  1. Decide the size and Terms of Reference for those Committees.
  2. Decide the allocation of seats to Political Groups in accordance with political balance rules.
  3. Appoint the chairman and vice-chairman of each Committee (with the ability at an ordinary meeting to make any appointment to fill a casual vacancy among the chairmen and vice-chairmen, or to make changes to those appointments);
  4. Subject to any resolution of the Council at any time during the municipal year, authorise the group leaders to appoint other members of committees in accordance with political balance; and
  5. Appoint Councillors to serve on each outside body (with the Cabinet appointing to any vacancy that arises during the municipal year, in accordance with Section 4 of the Constitution).

1.5 Ordinary Meetings of the Council

1.5.1 In addition to the Annual Council, the Council will hold at least four other ordinary meetings in the Municipal Year, unless there is insufficient business when the agenda closes at 12 noon on the day of publication, and the Chairman or in his absence the Vice Chairman decides that the meeting should be cancelled. The meetings shall be as nearly as possible at regular intervals, the dates of which will be agreed at the Annual Meeting.

1.5.2 Order of Business at Council Meeting will be as follows:

  1. To elect a person to preside if the Chairman and Vice-Chairman are absent.

     

  2. To receive apologies for absence.

     

  3. To receive any declaration of interests.

     

  4. To deal with any item required by Statute to be done before any other
    item.

     

  5. To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the last
    meeting, and any extraordinary meeting, of the Council.

     

  6. In accordance with the Council’s Scheme for Public Speaking at
    Meetings of Full Council, to allow members of the public to present
    petitions, ask questions, or make statements.

     

  7. To deal with any business expressly required by a Statute to be done.

     

  8. To receive any communications the Chairman or Leader may wish to
    put before the Council.

     

  9. To take decisions on recommendations in reports, whether from the
    Cabinet and the Council’s Committees or from the Council’s officers.

     

  10. To deal with any business (if any) remaining from the last Council
    meeting.

     

  11. To receive questions submitted by Members of the Council and the replies of the Leader of the Council, or relevant Cabinet Member, in accordance with Standing Order 1.9.

     

  12. To consider Motions in the order in which notice has been received.

     

  13. To consider Emergency Motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 4.1 (i).

     

  14. Other business, if any, specified in the Summons.

     

1.5.3 With the exception of items (i) to (ix), the Order of Business may be altered by the Chairman of the Council or by resolution following a Motion moved, seconded, put to the meeting without debate and carried.

1.6 Extraordinary Meetings of the Council

The following may request the Proper Officer to call Extraordinary Council Meetings in addition to the ordinary time-tabled meetings:

  1. The Council by resolution.
  2. The Chairman of the Council or, if the office of Chairman is vacant, or if the Chairman of the Council is unable to act for any reason, the Vice-Chairman.
  3. The Monitoring Officer.
  4. Any five Members of the Council if they have signed a requisition presented to the Chairman of the Council and he/she has refused to call a meeting, or fails to do so within seven days of the presentation of the requisition.

1.7 Business to be Transacted

The only business that will be dealt with at an Extraordinary Meeting are items for which the meeting has been specifically convened which is limited to urgent or emergency items.

1.8 Members’ Questions at Council Meetings

  1. The Council will, if necessary, at the Annual Meeting and at every Ordinary Meeting, devote up to thirty minutes to questions asked by any Member of the Council to the Cabinet.
  2. A Member may ask any question on any matter where the Council has powers or duties, or which affects the District.
  3. Where the question meets the requirements of paragraph iv (a1) below, the Solicitor to the Council will give a copy of each question to every Member attending the meeting.
  4. A question:
    (a1) Must be delivered in writing by e-mail to the Solicitor to the Council no later than 12 noon seven working days before the meeting of Council; or
    (a2)In the case of an urgent matter that has arisen since the deadline mentioned in sub paragraph (a1) and could not reasonably have been known about at that time, must be delivered in writing by e-mail to the Solicitor to the Council no later than 9 am on the day of the meeting of the Council and
    (b) Shall be asked and answered without discussion, but the person to whom the question is addressed may decline to answer. The Member shall be allowed one further or supplementary question (in relation to each question or series of questions if they cover the same general topic) provided that it arises directly out of the original question, or reply, and it is not introducing new subject matter. No debate shall take place arising out of the question or its reply.
    (c) If a member has submitted more than one question under paragraph (a1) and (a2), the member must when submitting the questions indicate their order of priority (1st, 2nd etc.) and, in the absence of such an indication of priority, the priority shall be assumed to be the order in which questions have been submitted;
    (d) questions will be listed on the agenda in the order received from members but so that any questions of first priority appear before and are answered before questions of second priority (if any); questions of second priority appear before and are answered before questions of third priority (if any); and so on.
  5. An answer may take the form of:
    (a) A direct oral answer, or
    (b) Where the desired information is contained in a publication of the Council, a reference to that publication, or
    (c) Where the reply to the question cannot conveniently be given orally, a written answer circulated to all Members of the Council as soon as reasonably practicable.
  6. If any question asked is not replied to at the Council Meeting, the appropriate Member shall give a written reply for publication in the Minutes of the meeting.
  7. If a Member who has submitted a question is not present when the question is called, the question may, with the consent of the Chairman, be asked by another Member. Paragraph (iv) (b) above shall apply but there will be no right to ask a supplementary question.

2. The Cabinet and Committees

2.1 Appointment and Constitution of Committees

  1. The Council shall, at the Annual Meeting, appoint such Committees as it is required to appoint by, or under, any statute and such other Committees as are necessary to carry out the work of the Council.
  2. The Council may at any time appoint such other Committees, etc. as are necessary to carry out the work of the Council.
    Provided always that, subject to any relevant statutory provision:
    1. No such appointment shall continue beyond the next Annual Meeting of the Council.
    2. The Council may at any time dissolve a Committee or alter its membership.

2.2. Appointment of Sub-Committees

  1. The Council and every Committee appointed by the Council may appoint Sub-Committees for purposes to be specified by the Council or the appointing Committee.
  2. In those cases where they are not otherwise appointed a Member of such Sub-Committee, the Chairman of the appointing Committee shall be ex-officio a member of the Sub-Committee appointed, but shall not be permitted to vote.

2.3. The Cabinet

  1. The Leader of the Council (or in their absence the Deputy Leader of the Council) will chair the Cabinet.
  2. Members of the Cabinet each have a particular area of responsibility, but all decisions will be taken collectively by the Cabinet as a whole, unless a decision is specifically delegated to a Cabinet Member by the Cabinet or the Leader.
  3. No Cabinet Member can be substituted by a non-Cabinet member.
  4. No co-opted Members will be allowed on the Cabinet.
  5. The Cabinet will consist of no fewer than three and no more than ten Members (inclusive of the Leader of the Council).

2.4 ‘Call-in’ Procedure

The detail of the Call-In Procedure is set out in Section 10, paragraph 1.11 of this Constitution.

2.5 Scrutiny Committees

Scrutiny Committees may require Cabinet Members and Officers of the Council to be present at their meetings and answer questions from the Committee. They may also request other person(s) and outside bodies to be present at their meetings to answer questions.

2.6 Chairmen of Committees

  1. Subject to paragraph (iii) of this Standing Order the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of each Committee shall be appointed at the Annual Meeting of the Council.
  2. At every meeting of a Committee, the Chairman of that Committee shall, if present, take the Chair, or in their absence the Vice-Chairman shall do so. If the Chairman and Vice-Chairman are both absent, the Committee shall elect a Member to chair the meeting until the Chairman or Vice-Chairman arrives.
  3. Wherea vacancy arises in the office of Chairman or Vice-Chairman of a Committee, the Council shall at its next meeting (other than an extraordinary meeting) appoint a Member to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the municipal year. If the vacancy is that of a Chairman of a Committee, the Vice-Chairman of such Committee shall exercise all the duties of the Chairman until the vacancy is filled as above.

2.7 Special Meetings of Committees

The Chairman of a Committee, or the Chairman of the Council, may call a special meeting of a Committee at any time with adequate notice being given in line with Standing Order 1.1(v) wherever possible. A special meeting shall also be called on the requisition of a quarter of the whole number of the Committee delivered in writing to the Solicitor to the Council, but in no case shall less than three Members requisition a special meeting. The Agenda for the special committee meeting shall set out the business to be considered, and no business other than that set out in the Agenda shall be considered at that committee meeting.

2.8. Notice, Summons, Timing and Venue

The points set out in 1.1 apply to Committees, with the exception that in respect of venues, Committees can be held in any of the Council’s offices or buildings, or other suitable location.

2.9 Regulatory Committees

No Member shall be allowed to serve on Regulatory Committees unless they have completed the appropriate training as arranged by Council Officers.

3. Procedural Matters Relating to Meetings Generally

3.1. Quorum

  1. The Quorum at meetings of Council or any of its Committees is half of its membership. If, during the meeting of the Council, a Quorum of Members is not present then the meeting shall be adjourned immediately.

    If the lack of Quorum only relates to particular item(s) then that particular item(s) shall be deferred.

    The remaining business will be considered at a date and time fixed by the Chairman. If he/she does not fix a date, the remaining business will be considered at the next Ordinary Meeting.
  2. Except where authorised by Statute or ordered by the Council, business shall not be transacted at any meeting unless the quorum as set out below is present.

    Fractions of numbers are to be rounded up.

3.2. Minutes

  1. The Chairman of the Council or the Chairman of a Committee will ask the meeting to confirm that the Minutes be approved as a correct record.
  2. Only the accuracy of the Minutes may be discussed and any material amendments as to the accuracy shall be by means of a Motion. As soon as any Motion has been dealt with (or if no Motion is moved), the Chairman will sign the Minutes subject to any amendments set out in any Motion approved by the Council or Committee.
  3. Minutes of meetings of the Cabinet will include the following details:
    1. A record of the reasons for the decision.
    2. Details of any alternative options considered and rejected by the Cabinet at the meeting at which the decision was made.
    3. A record of any conflict of interest in relation to the matter decided which is declared by any member of the Cabinet.
    4. In respect of any declared conflict of interest, a note of any dispensation granted by the Ethics and Standards Committee.
  4. The Minutes shall be available for public inspection at the Wyre Forest House, Finepoint Way, Kidderminster, or such other places as the Council may direct.

3.3 Voting

  1. All matters requiring a decision of the Council or Committee shall be decided by a majority of the Members present and voting.
  2. In the case of an equality of votes, the Chairman of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote. There will be no restriction on how the Chairman chooses to exercise a casting vote.
  3. Subject to (iv) below, the Chairman will take the vote by show of hands, or if there is no dissent, by the affirmation of the meeting.
  4. If, before the Chairman begins to take the vote, a proposition is moved, seconded and carried that the voting on any Motion shall be recorded in the Minutes so as to show which way each Member voted or whether they abstained:
    1. the Solicitor to the Council or his/her representative will call the name of each Member present, and each Member will state whether they are for or against the Motion or whether they are abstaining from voting, and;
    2. will record in the Minutes each Member’s response.
  5. Where any Member so requires immediately after a vote has been taken, the Minutes must record that Member’s vote for or against or their abstention.
  6. Named and recorded votes shall only be permitted at Council, Cabinet and Overview and Scrutiny committees.
  7. Immediately after any vote on the budget calculation or precept is taken at a budget decision meeting of the Council, there must be recorded in the minutes of the proceedings of that meeting the names of the persons who cast a vote for the decision or against the decision or who abstained from voting.

3.4 Voting on Appointments

Where more than two persons are nominated for any position to be filled by the Council, and of the votes cast there is no overall majority in favour of one person, the person who received the least number of votes must be eliminated from the voting and a fresh vote taken, and so on until a majority of votes is given in favour of one person.

3.5 Record of Attendances

  1. Members present at a meeting of the Council, or of any of its Committees, should have their attendance recorded on the attendance sheet.
  2. A record of attendances shall be published with the Agenda of the Annual Meeting of the Council.

3.6 Declaration of Interests by Members – interests of members in contracts and other matters

Declarations of Interest are a standard item on every Council and Committee agenda and each Member must provide a full record of their interests in the Public Register.

In addition, alongside the Register of Interest, the Local Members Code of Conduct (“the Code”) requires the Declaration of Interests at meetings. Members have to decide first whether or not they have a disclosable interest in the matter under discussion.

Please see the Members’ Code of Conduct as set out in Section 14 of this constitution for full details.

Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI)

A DPI is an interest defined in regulations made under the Localism Act 2011 and set out in the Code.

If you have a DPI (as defined in the Code) in a matter being considered at a meeting of the Council (as defined in the Code), this Standing Order requires you to leave the room where the meeting is held for the duration of any discussion or voting on that matter.

If you have an Other Disclosable Interest (ODI) you must check the provision set out in Section 14 to determine whether you need to leave the room.

3.7 Attendance by Member as an Observer

  1. A Member may be present at any meeting of the Cabinet or other Committee of which they are not a Member. They cannot vote but may be allowed to speak at the discretion of the Chairman.
  2. A Member who is observing is subject to the same provisions regarding the Declaration of Interests as Members of the Committee.

3.8 Disorderly Conduct by Members

  1. If the Chairman of any meeting considers and states to the meeting that a Member’s conduct is disorderly, then he/she or any other Member may move “Not to hear a particular Member further” and, if seconded, the Motion shall be put to the vote without discussion. Disregarding the ruling of the Chairman, wilfully obstructing its proceedings, or behaving improperly, offensively or irregularly shall, for these purposes, be considered disorderly.
  2. If the Member’s disorderly conduct continues after the Motion has been carried, the Chairman can either:
    1. move “to require the Member to leave the meeting” in which case the Motion shall be put to the vote without seconding or discussion, or
    2. adjourn the meeting of the Council or Committee to an appropriate time.
      In the event of a motion being passed under paragraph (ii)(a), the member’s connection will be terminated to a meeting being held remotely in accordance with the section 78 regulations.
  3. The Chairman may, in the event of general disturbance disruptive of the proceedings, adjourn the meeting for an appropriate length of time. Such action may be taken irrespective of other available powers and without putting the matter to the meeting.

3.9 Disturbance by Members of the Public

If a member of the public interrupts or disrupts the proceedings at any meeting, the Chairman will issue a warning and if the interruption continues, the Chairman shall order their removal. In the case of a general disturbance in any part of the public gallery, the Chairman shall order that part to be cleared.

3.10 Access to Information

All Agendas and reports and other documents relating to business which is to be transacted in the public part of a meeting shall be available for public inspection, subject to the provisions of Section 100B of the Local Government Act 1972 and Section 22 of the Local Government Act 2000.

Please see Section 8 of this constitution for further information.

3.11 Substitutes

  1. Every Agenda for a Committee meeting shall contain an item immediately following Apologies for Absence in the following terms:
    “To receive the name of any Councillor who is to act as a substitute together with the name of the Councillor for whom he/she is acting.”
  2. When any member of a committee or sub-committee is unable to attend a meeting, he or she may appoint another member of the Council to attend as a substitute, subject to the following:
    1. Members nominated as substitutes must be members of the same Political Group. Independent Members can only substitute for another Independent Member.
    2. No substitutes are permitted on the Cabinet.
    3. Only members who have had the appropriate training may act as substitutes at Regulatory Committees.
    4. Only Members who are on the Parent Committee may act as a substitute at a Sub-Committee.
    5. Only non-Cabinet members may act as substitutes at the Audit and Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
    6. To ensure continuity in scrutiny reviews, substitutes should only be appointed for the Scrutiny Committee in exceptional circumstances. Substitutes are not allowed on Review Panels.
    7. Whilst the substitute will have full powers of discussion and voting, he or she will not be able to exercise any special powers or duties exercisable by the person they are substituting.
    8. Substitutes are not permitted to act for any Member who attends part of a meeting only.
    9. If a Member for whom apologies have been given and a substitute appointed, subsequently attends part of the relevant meeting, they shall do so as an observer only.

3.12 Petitions

All petitions received by the Council will be processed in accordance with the Petition Scheme. See Section 21.

Petitions which Trigger a Debate by Council

Petitions receiving 987 or more signatures will be debated at a meeting of the Council, unless the petition calls for a Director to give evidence at a public meeting.

The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by councillors for a maximum of 15 minutes. The Council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting. They may decide to take the action the petition requests, not to take the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate, or to commission further investigation into the matter, for example by a relevant committee.

Other Petitions

  1. The petition organiser must submit both the petition and a summary of points they wish to raise at the meeting to Democratic Services no later than 12 noon on the Monday a week before the meeting.  Petition organisers may not speak at the meeting if they do not provide this information by this deadline.
  2. If the technology used by the Council to permit remote participation in meetings allows a person who is not a member or officer of the Council to speak only for a period permitted by the Council, the petition organiser may speak for up to three minutes at the meeting, but must confine themselves to the issues raised in the summary of points, as submitted to Democratic Services. In any other case (including where the petition organiser does not have access to the internet), the petition organiser will be able to make written representations equivalent to a three minute speech which will be read out at the meeting. 
  3. The Cabinet Member with responsibility for the issue will, if necessary, comment on any points raised by the petition organiser.

3.13 Public Representations at Meetings

Members of the Public may make representations to meetings of the Full Council and Cabinet to make their views known by:

  1. presenting a petition, as outlined in the Petitions Scheme
  2. making a statement that has relevance as to what the meeting has power to do
  3. tabling a question

The form of representations will be:

  1. if the technology used by the Council to permit remote participation in meetings allows a person who is not a member or officer of the Council to speak only for a period permitted by the Council, by speaking during the meeting;
  2. in any other case (including where the member of the public does not have access to the internet), by making written representations equivalent to a three minute speech which will be which will be read out at the meeting.

The Council will, if necessary, at the Annual Meeting and at every ordinary meeting of the Council devote up to 20 minutes for public participation. Public Speakers will have opportunity to speak for no more than three minutes. The full scheme for public participation at meetings of Full Council and Cabinet is set out below.

Council

To make representations at a meeting of the Council you will need to contact the Democratic Services Section by email (committee.section@wyreforestdc.gov.uk) or letter (addressed to Democratic Services, Wyre Forest District Council, Wyre Forest House, Finepoint Way, Kidderminster DY11 7WF) or telephone (01562 732763) and register your interest in making representations no later than 12noon on the Monday a week before the meeting. The item must pertain to Wyre Forest District or relate to the powers / duties of the Council.

Requests that relate to issues that have become apparent only since the participation deadline has passed or pertain to an item on the Council agenda (which could not reasonably have been anticipated or the nature of the recommendation known) must be submitted before 12 noon on the Monday immediately before the Council meeting date.

Individuals or organisations must have a legitimate interest in any matter they wish to make representations on.

A copy of the wording on the statement or question is required so that copies can be circulated at the meeting.

Cabinet

To make representations at a meeting of the Cabinet you will need to contact the Democratic Services Section by email (committee.section@wyreforestdc.gov.uk) or letter (addressed to Democratic Services, Wyre Forest District Council, Wyre Forest House, Finepoint Way, Kidderminster DY11 7WF) or telephone (01562 732763) and register your interest in making representations no later than 12noon on the Monday a week before the meeting. The item must pertain to Wyre Forest District or relate to the powers / duties of the Cabinet.

Requests that relate to issues that have become apparent only since the participation deadline has passed or pertain to an item on the Cabinet agenda (which could not reasonably have been anticipated or the nature of the recommendation known) must be submitted before 12 noon on the Monday immediately before the Cabinet meeting date.

Individuals or organisations must have a legitimate interest in any matter they wish to make representations on.

A copy of the wording on the statement or question is required so that copies can be circulated at the meeting.

Questions should be addressed to the Leader of the Council or the relevant Cabinet member.

What the Scheme Excludes

  • Exempt/Confidential Matters.
  • Licensing or Planning Applications.
  • Complaints already made to the Council or another body e.g. The Ombudsman.
  • Allegations or comments about individual Councillors or staff.

(There are separate arrangements for the public’s right to address the Planning Committee about an application.

3.14. Mover of a Motion may be present at a meeting of a Committee

A Member of the Council who has moved a Motion which has been referred to any Committee shall have notice of the meeting at which it is proposed to consider the Motion. They shall have the right to attend the meeting and if they attend shall have an opportunity of explaining the Motion, but shall not be entitled to vote.

3.15 Use of Photographic, Video, Sound Recording and ICT in Meetings

  1. The use of Social Media, or visual or audio recording by the press and public is permitted, provided they have notified the Chairman before the start of the meeting if it is intended to record (audio or visually) the meeting or any part of the meeting. Recording, filming or transmission is not permitted for the exempt part of any meeting.

  2.  

    Members of a Committee are prohibited from using ICT to access social media, texting, external emailing or reading social media texts or emails during a meeting of Council or any Committee.

  3.  

    Members and Officers are prohibited from using ICT to make or receive calls at meetings held in public and all mobile phones/ handheld devices that allow calls to be made or received are to be turned to silent or off.

4. Motions and Rules of Debate at Council Meetings

4.1 Notices of Motion

  1. A Motion, not listed in Standing Order 4.2 signed by the Member(s) giving the Notice must be delivered in writing to the office of the Solicitor to the Council no later than 12 noon on the day 7 working days before the meeting of Council. The Notice shall specify the proposer and seconder of the motion. In the case of the absence of the proposer or seconder from the meeting at which the motion is considered, another councillor may propose or second the motion as the case may be.

  2. The Solicitor to the Council shall:

    1. Record the receipt of each motion.
    2. Set out in the Summons for the Council Meeting all Motions which comply with the requirements of paragraph (1) of this Standing Order in the order they have been received, unless the Member has in writing either withdrawn it or stated a wish to move it at a later meeting.

     

  3. Motions must relate to matters where the Council has powers or duties or which affect the District.

     

  4. The Council will treat as withdrawn any Motion not moved at the meeting at which it appears upon the Summons, unless its postponement is agreed by the Council.

     

  5. Any Motion the subject matter of which comes within the province of any Committee(s) may upon being formally moved and seconded:

    1. (a) be referred without discussion to such Committee, or
    2. (b) be referred without discussion to such other Committee as the Council may decide, or
    3. (c) be dealt with at the meeting at which it is moved if the Chairman of the Council considers that it would be appropriate to do so.

     

  6. The Member who has moved the Motion must be notified by the Solicitor to the Council of the meeting of the Committee to which it has been referred, and has the right to attend the meeting and to explain the Motion.

  7. The period of notice referred to in (i) above is not required in respect of Emergency Motions, provided at least five Members have given written notice of the Motion to the Solicitor to the Council before the meeting of the Council. An Emergency Motion may only be considered at the meeting if the Chairman of the meeting agrees that, due to special circumstances (which must be specified in the Minutes); the subject of the Motion should be considered at the meeting as a matter of emergency.

  8. The Council will, if necessary, at the Annual Meeting and at every Ordinary Meeting, devote up to ninety minutes to motions of which notice has been given under standing order 4.1.

     

  9. If a motion is being debated when the ninety minutes expires, and unless a motion to suspend standing order 4.1(viii) has been agreed by Council, the Chairman shall

    (a) At the request of the proposer of the motion, defer consideration of the motion to the next meeting of Council;
    (b) Otherwise forthwith put the question to the vote, without further debate.

4.2 Motions and Amendments which may be moved without Notice

A Member may move without notice any of the following Motions and amendments:

  1. To appoint a Chairman for that meeting or for the remainder of the meeting.
  2. Relating to the accuracy of the Minutes.
  3. To vary the order of the Agenda.
  4. Subject to the limitation set out in paragraph (viii) below of this Standing Order, to move a Motion arising out of consideration of an item on the Agenda, but the Motion must be relevant to that item and must not introduce any new subject matter.
  5. To appoint a Committee, or Members to a Committee arising out of any item on the Summons for the meeting.
  6. That a matter be deferred or referred to an appropriate body or individual.
  7. To establish a Body or to appoint a representative to a Body.
  8. To adopt reports and recommendations of Committees or Officers, but a Member cannot move a Motion or amendment which amends a decision made under powers delegated by the Council to a Committee or an Officer.
  9. To withdraw a Motion.
  10. To extend the time limit for speeches.
  11. To amend a Motion.
  12. To proceed to the next item on the Agenda.
  13. To put the question immediately to the vote.
  14. To adjourn the debate.
  15. To adjourn the meeting.
  16. To suspend one or more Standing Orders, in accordance with Standing Order 8.4.
  17. To exclude the press and the public from the meeting in accordance with the Access to information Rules.
  18. Under Standing Order 3.8 not to hear a Member further.
  19. Under Standing Order 3.8 by the Chairman to require a Member to leave the meeting.
  20. To give the consent of the Council where its consent is required by this Constitution.

4.3 Motions affecting Persons employed by the Council

If, at any meeting of the Council or Committee, any question arises on the appointment, promotion, dismissal, salary, superannuation, or condition of service, or as to the conduct of any person employed by the Council, the Council must not discuss it until it has decided whether to exclude the public under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

4.4 Rules of Debate at Council Meetings

  1. Motions and Amendments
    A Motion or amendment shall only be discussed if it has been proposed and seconded and notice has been given in accordance with Standing Order 4.1. If the Chairman wishes, he/she shall have the right to see the Motion in written form before it is further discussed or put to the Meeting. This standing order is subject to the provisions of standing order 4.1(viii) and (ix).
  2. Seconder’s Speech
    When seconding a Motion or amendment a Member may state that they wish to reserve their right to speak on the Motion or amendment until later in the debate.
  3. Only One Member to Speak at a Time
    A Member when speaking shall stand (unless prevented from doing so by disability) and address the Chairman. If two or more Members rise, the Chairman shall call on one to speak, and the other(s) shall then sit. While a Member is speaking, the other Member(s) shall remain seated, unless rising to a point of order or in personal explanation.
  4. Content and length of speech
    A Member shall speak to the question under discussion or to a personal explanation or to a point of order. No speech shall be longer than five minutes (except that of the mover of a Motion, which shall not be longer than ten minutes), unless this is agreed by the Council.
  5. When a Member may speak again
    A Member who has spoken on any Motion must not speak again while it is being debated, except:
    1. To speak once on an amendment moved by another Member.
    2. If the Motion has been amended since the Member last spoke, to move a further amendment.
    3. If the Member’s first speech was on an amendment moved by another Member, to speak on the main issue, whether or not that amendment was carried.
    4. In exercise of a right of reply given by paragraph 4.4 (xii) or 4.4 (xiv) of this Standing Order.
    5. On a point of order.
    6. By way of personal explanation.
    7. To move or to speak on a procedural Motion set out in 4.4 (xiii) of this Standing Order.
  6. Amendments to Motions
    An amendment must relate to the Motion and must:
    1. Refer a subject of debate to an appropriate body or individual for consideration or reconsideration, or
    2. Leave out and/or add words.
    3. Not be a direct negative to the Motion or any amendments proposed.
  7. The Chairman may permit two or more amendments to be discussed together if this is likely to help the proper conduct of the Council’s business but each amendment must be voted upon separately.
  8. If an amendment is lost, other amendments may be moved on the original Motion. If an amendment is carried, the Motion as amended takes the place of the original Motion and becomes the substantive Motion upon which any further amendments may be moved.
  9. After an amendment has been carried, the Chairman will read out the substantive Motion before accepting any further amendments, or if there are none, put it to the vote.
  10. Alteration of a Motion
    With the consent of the Council, signified without discussion, a Member may:
    1. Alter a Motion of which the Member has given notice, or
    2. With the further consent of the seconder, alter a Motion which the Member has moved without notice.
      If (in either case) the alteration is one which could be made as an amendment to the Motion.
  11. Withdrawal of a Motion
    1. A Motion or amendment may be withdrawn by the mover with the consent of the seconder and of the Council, which shall be signified without discussion.
    2. No Member may speak on a Motion or an amendment after the mover has asked permission to withdraw it unless permission has been refused.
  12. Right of Reply
    The mover of a Motion has the right of reply at the close of debate on the Motion, immediately before it is put to the vote.
    If an amendment is moved, the mover of the amendment has the right of reply to the debate on the amendment, subject to the mover of the original motion having the final right of reply unless he has already spoken on the amendment.
  13. Motions which may be Moved during Debate
    When a Motion is under debate, the only other Motions which may be moved (either singly or combined and with any necessary added words) are the following:
    1. To withdraw a Motion.
    2. To amend the Motion.
    3. To adjourn the meeting.
    4. To adjourn the debate.
    5. To proceed to the next business.
    6. To put the question immediately to the vote.
    7. Not to hear a Member further under Standing Order 3.8.
    8. By the Chairman to require a Member to leave the meeting under Standing Order 3.8.
    9. To exclude the press and public in accordance with the Access to Information Rules.
    10. To suspend one or more Standing Orders under Standing Order 8.4.
    11. To extend the time limit for speeches.
    12. Under Standing Order 3.6, (Declaration of Interests by Members - Interests of Members in Contracts and Other Matters) to invite a Member to remain.
    13. To give any consent required by these Standing Orders.
  14. Closure Motions
    At the end of a speech by another Member, and provided that at least four Members have already spoken on the matter in hand, a Member who has not spoken on that business may move without comment that:
    1. The debate be adjourned.
    2. The meeting be adjourned,
    3. The Council proceed to the next business.
    4. The question be put.
      If the Motion is seconded the Chairman of the Council shall proceed as follows if in his opinion the matter before the meeting has been sufficiently discussed:
    5. In the case of a Motion under (a), (b) or (c) of this Standing Order, invite the mover of the original Motion to reply and then put the closure Motion to the vote.
    6. In the case of a Motion under (d) of this Standing Order, put the closure Motion to the vote. If it is passed the Chairman will then give the mover of the original motion a right of reply before putting his Motion to the vote.

    If the Motion is carried, the matter before the meeting shall (subject to the rights of speech or reply) be put to the vote or be deemed to be disposed of or the meeting or debate shall stand adjourned as the case may be.

  15. Point of Order
    1. A point of order is a request by a Member to the Chairman of the Council to rule on an alleged irregularity in the constitution of or procedure in the meeting.
    2. A Member may speak on a personal explanation or a point of order at any time and is entitled immediately to address the Chairman of the Council on the matter, provided:
      • The Member who raises a point of order must specify immediately a Standing Order or statutory provision, and say how it has been broken or infringed.
      • The Member’s speech is confined to the personal explanation or point of order.
    3. A personal explanation shall be confined to some material part of an earlier speech by a Member and on which a misunderstanding has occurred.
    4. The ruling of the Chairman of the Council on a personal explanation or point of order is final and not open to discussion.
  16. Respect for the Chairman
    Whenever the Chairman speaks during a debate any Member who is speaking will cease and all Members will be silent.
  17. Advice by Officers of the Council
    The Chairman may call upon any Officer of the Council to explain or advise upon any point under discussion or such Officer may rise with the permission of the Chairman to explain any point about which they consider a doubt exists.

4.5 Rescinding an earlier Resolution

  1. This Standing Order does not apply to a recommendation submitted to the Council by a Committee but it does apply to any amendment moved at a Council meeting in respect of such a recommendation.
  2. No Member may move a Motion or amendment which would have the effect of rescinding any resolution of the Council passed within the previous six months or which would have the same effect as one which has been rejected within the previous six months, unless notice has been given as required by Standing Order 4.1 and such notice is signed by as many Members as would constitute a Quorum of the Council. This procedure may not be used if it has been used in the previous six months to try to rescind the same earlier resolution and the Motion was rejected.

5 State of the Area Debate

5.1 Calling of debate

The Leader of the Council may call a state of the area debate annually or at other suitable intervals on a date and in a form to be agreed with the Chairman.

5.2 Form of debate

The Leader will decide the form of debate with the aim of enabling the widest possible public involvement and publicity. This may include holding workshops and other events prior to or during the state of the area debate.

5.3 Chairing of Debate

The debate will be chaired by the Chairman.

5.4 Results of the debate

The results of the debate will be:

  1. Disseminated as widely as possible within the community and to agencies and organisations in the area, and
  2. Considered by the Leader of the Council in proposing the budget and policy framework to the Council for the coming year.

6 Issues Relating to Officers

6.1 Interests of Officers in Contracts

By virtue of Section 117(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 Officers must give notice in writing if they are aware that the Council has entered into, or plans to enter into, any contract in which they have a pecuniary interest. The Solicitor to the Council shall record particulars of any notice of pecuniary interest in a contract given by an Officer, and this record shall be open to inspection by Members of the Council and members of the public.

6.2 Canvassing of and Recommendations by Members

  1. The Council will disqualify any applicant who directly or indirectly seeks the support of any Councillor for any appointment within the Council. All applicants for appointments shall be notified of this Standing Order.
  2. No Member of the Council will seek support for any person for any appointment with the Council, but this shall not preclude a Member from giving a written testimonial of a candidate’s ability, experience or character for submission to the Council with an application for appointment.

6.3 Relatives of Members or Officers

  1. A candidate for any appointment with the Council who knows that she/he is related to any Member or employee of the Council shall disclose that relationship on the application form.  A candidate who fails to disclose such a relationship shall be disqualified for the appointment and, if appointed, shall be liable to disciplinary proceedings. Every Member of the Council shall disclose to the Solicitor to the Council any relationship known to them to exist between them and any person whom they know is a candidate for an appointment with the Council. The Chief Executive shall report to the Council, or to the appropriate Committee, any such disclosure.
  2. Forthe purpose of this Standing Order, persons shall be deemed to be related if they are husband and wife (including common law partners) or if they or their spouse is the son/daughter, father/mother, grandson/granddaughter, brother/sister, nephew/ niece of the other.
  3. The purpose of this Standing Order shall be included in the particulars issued with each form of application.
  4. Where the functions of the Council, or of any Committee, in relation to the appointment of the employees, is delegated to an Officer of the Council, if an applicant for an appointment is related to that Officer, the procedure relating to the making of such appointment shall immediately revert to the Chief Executive or his authorised representative.  If the Chief Executive is the appointing Officer, then the matter should be referred to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the time being of the Cabinet.

6.4 Appointment of Officers

  1. Where a vacancy arises in the post of Chief Executive or a Director post, the Rules of the Personnel Handbook will be adhered to.
  2. Member’s involvement in the appointment of Officers:
    1. Full Council must approve the appointment or dismissal of the Head of Paid Service.
    2. The involvement of Members in the appointment of other Officers will be restricted to the following posts:

      • Assistants to Political Groups
      (Should the Council ever seek to appoint Political Assistants, 6.6 would apply).

    3. A Member of the Cabinet will be included on any Committee or Sub-Committee making an appointment under (i) or (ii) above.
    4. The above appointments or dismissals cannot be made until:
      • The Council or Committee have considered any objections to the intended appointment from any member of the Cabinet.
      • The Council or Committee have either satisfied themselves that the objection is not well-founded or taken action in respect of the objection.
    5. Members, who are involved in the appointment of Officers, must have completed the appropriate training in respect of the Council’s recruitment procedures.

6.5 Disciplinary Action concerning the Head of Paid Service, Chief Financial Officer and the Monitoring Officer

  1. No disciplinary action in respect of the head of the authority’s paid service, its Monitoring Officer or its Chief Financial Officer, except action described in (ii) below may be taken by the authority, or by a Committee or any other person acting on behalf of the authority, other than in accordance with a recommendation in a report made by the Statutory Committee in compliance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations) 2015.

  2. The action mentioned in paragraph (i) is suspension of the Officer for the purpose of investigating the alleged misconduct occasioning the action; and any such suspension must be on full pay and terminate no later than the expiry of two months beginning on the day on which the suspension takes effect.

6.6 Political Assistants

i. The following is prohibited under the Officer Employment Rules:

  1. The making of an appointment of a Political Assistant to a Political Group until such posts have been allocated to all groups qualifying for one.
  2. The allocation of a Political Assistant post to a Political Group which does not qualify for one.
  3. The allocation of more than one post to any Group.

7 Other Matters

7.1 Custody of the Common Seal of the Council

The Common Seal of the Council shall be kept in a safe place and shall be secured by a lock, the key of which shall be kept by the Solicitor to the Council, provided that the Solicitor to the Council may entrust the key temporarily to her authorised representative.

7.2 Sealing/Execution of Documents

  1. The Common Seal of the Council shall not be affixed to any documents unless the sealing has been authorised by a resolution of the Council or of a Committee to which the Council has delegated the powers to do so, but a resolution of the Council (or of a Committee which has been given the power) authorising the acceptance of any tender, the purchase, sale, letting, or taking of any property, the issue of any stock, the presentation of any Petition, Memorial, or Address, the making of any rate or contract, or the doing of any other thing, shall be a sufficient authority for sealing any document necessary to give effect to the resolution.
  2. The affixing of the Seal shall be attested by the following person: the Solicitor to the Council or her authorised representative, and an entry of every sealing of a document shall be made and consecutively numbered in a register kept for the purpose and shall be signed or initialled by the persons who have attested the Seal (in all cases signing electronically where permissible).
  3. Wherever legally permissible, any document that is required to be executed by the Solicitor to the Council or her authorised officer, may be executed by using an electronic signature.

7.3 Authentication of Documents for Legal Proceedings

Where a document is a necessary step in legal proceedings on behalf of the Council it shall be signed by the Solicitor to the Council or her authorised representative unless any enactment otherwise requires or authorises, or the Council gives the necessary authority to, some other person for the purpose of such proceedings.

7.4 Inspection of Documents, Lands and Premises

  1. A Member of the Council, may for the purpose of their duty as a Member but not otherwise, by request to the Solicitor to the Council, inspect any document which has been considered by the Council, or any Committee, and, if it is appropriate subject to the Data Protection Act 1984, and if copies are available, shall on request be supplied with a copy of such document.

    Provided that a Member shall not knowingly inspect and shall not call for a copy of any document relating to a matter in which they are professionally interested, or in which they have a prejudicial interest, within the meaning of the Members’ Code of Conduct as set out in Part 5 of this Constitution, and that this Standing Order shall not preclude the Solicitor to the Council from declining to allow inspection of any document which is, or in the event of legal proceedings would be, protected by privilege arising from the relationship of solicitor and client.

    Also that nothing in this Standing Order shall be taken as overriding the rights of any Member under Section 100F of the Local Government Act 1972 and that any decision by the Solicitor to the Council, if required by the Member concerned, be reported to the Council.

  2. All Reports made or Minutes kept by a Committee shall, as soon as the Committee has concluded action on the matter to which such Reports or Minutes relate, be open for the inspection of any Member of the Council.
  3. Unless specifically authorised to do so by the Council, or any Committee, a Member of the Council shall not issue any order respecting any works which are being carried out by or on behalf of the Council or claim, by virtue of their membership of the Council, any right to inspect or to enter upon any lands, offices or premises which the Council have the power or duty to inspect or enter.

7.5 Fractions of Numbers

Where in these Standing Orders reference is made to a fraction of a total number of Members (excluding co-opted members and ex-officio members) the result of the fraction shall be rounded up to the next whole number.

8 Interpretation/Variation et cetera

8.1 Standing Orders to be given to Members

A printed copy of these Standing Orders, and of any statutory provisions regulating the proceedings and business of the Council, shall be drawn to the attention of each Member of the Council upon delivery to the Chief Executive of the Member’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office under Section 83 of the Local Government Act 1972, or as soon as possible thereafter.

8.2 Interpretation of these Standing Orders

  1. The ruling of the Chairman of the Council or of the Chairman of any Committee as to the construction or application of any of these Standing Orders, or as to any proceedings of the Council or Committee, shall be final.
  2. In these Standing Orders and where the context so admits, the expressions “Member(s)” and “Member(s) of the Council” shall mean any Member or Members of the Wyre Forest District Council attending a meeting of a Committee, where they are in attendance at such meeting as a Member thereof or in accordance with the provisions of Standing Orders 3.7, 3.11 and 3.13.
  3. In these Standing Orders the expression “Committee(s)” shall include, where appropriate, the Cabinet, Sub-Committee(s), or similar bodies appointed by the Council.
  4. In these Standing Orders the expression “Extraordinary Meeting(s)” shall mean any special meetings convened outside the normal cycle of meetings approved by the Council at its Annual Meeting, and such meetings shall be convened only for a special purpose and no other business shall be transacted other than that specified on the Agenda.

8.3 Variation and Revocation of these Standing Orders

Any Motion originating at a Council meeting to add to, vary or revoke these Standing Orders shall, after being proposed and seconded, stand adjourned without discussion to the next ordinary meeting of the Council. The report of that Committee’s consideration of the adjourned Motion shall be submitted to the next ordinary meeting of the Council, and an item to receive the Committee’s report shall appear on the Agenda for that Council meeting.

8.4 Suspension of these Standing Orders

With the exception of SO’s 3.2 and 3.3 (v) any of the preceding Standing Orders may be suspended so far as regards any business at the meeting of the Council or of any Committee where its suspension is approved by a majority of the Members present and voting. The Standing Order or Orders to be suspended shall be specified. Suspension can only be for the duration of the meeting.

8.5 Date of Commencement of Standing Orders

These Standing Orders were agreed by Council 22 September 2021 to take effect for the next ordinary Council meeting in December 2021. As from that date all other Standing Orders made by the Council and all resolutions passed prior to that date are revoked.

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