Under the chairmanship of senior Conservative councillor, Ray Theodolou, a working party of District Councillors was tasked to look at ways of streamlining the constitution to reflect current technology and methods.
At today’s Council meeting, Tuesday 1st May 2012, the recommendations of the working party were debated, with additional recommendations put forward by the Conservative group, which were then approved by the full council. The key changes to be made are:-
- Easier public access to council meetings, with a dedicated place in the chamber and microphone for public speakers.
- More transparency in the democratic process, with secret ballots for member appointments to be abolished.
- The council moving towards full electronic circulation of papers, leading the way to the use of ipads and tablets
- A register of personal interests to be cross-referenced to include officers as well as members. A similar ruling would apply to gifts and hospitality.
- Proposals to be brought forward for audio recording of council meetings
- Saving costs by trialling in this council year the removal of the position of Vice Chairman of Licensing, which, if successful would extend to Vice Chairmen of both Audit and Overview and Scrutiny committees
The Conservative group recommendations did not include any change to the council prayer to start council meetings, preferring to maintain the existing situation until such time as the legal position across all councils has been clarified.
Cllr. Lynden Stowe, leader of the Council outlined the need for these changes. “It is important that we recognise the need for ever greater democracy in the council, as well as making the council more user friendly, particularly for Cotswold residents. We believe these changes will simplify the running of the council which, in turn, will produce efficiency and cost savings.”
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Source: Gloucestershire Conservatives