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Monitoring Officer Circumventing Proper Constitution Changes

Gwen Swinburn made this Freedom of Information request to City of York Council Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

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Dear City of York Council,

Dear Foi

Background

Once again the City of York Annual Council was called unlawfully, because the meeting was not seen in the public notice board (as required by law).

I wrote to the leader of the Labour group cc other leaders and independent member raising my concerns regarding the unlawful calling of that meeting- and the fact the agenda had been loaded with constitution changes that were not within the remit of the annual council (these were the remit of A&G committee, to be confirmed thereafter by Council).

A further democratic outrage was that these constitution items that should not have been on this agenda, were not possible to be addressed by citizens as there was no public participation a further abuse of power.

On the morning of the meeting I wrote again to the Labour leader cc other leaders, the nominated chair of A&G & Corporate Scrutiny again asking, and further emphasising concerns that the agenda contained certain items on the constitution that should have gone through A&G &, as not core annual council business, should not have been on the agenda, and should not be agreed without proper scrutiny by A&G & citizens.

The reply I got back from the Leader was that the officers had decided to go ahead, and she would leave it to them to explain!

So
1. Regarding the non material changes to the constitution ( or all but Scrutiny name changes & cttee memberships) , please explain why these ( additional delegations claimed by the MO without democratic oversight) were on the agenda for this annual council, rather than first going to A&G.
2. Which clauses of the constitution did the MO relied upon to justify putting them on this agenda, so circumventing A&G.
3. Please provide all recorded information on these changes, who proposed these, why, who was consulted and the supporting recorded information.
4. Considering these items were non material to the annual meeting, the public should have been allowed to participate and connect on them both in consultation and in the meeting.
5. Is it usual practice to grips almost all the business of the agenda as one item? Who proposed this and authorised, very bad practice, the next step being to forget about meetings and member decisions and debates and let the statutory officers decide all( behind closed doors obviously)

Yours faithfully,

Gwen Swinburn

Information Governance - CYC, City of York Council

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Regards

Corporate Governance Team

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foiresponses_NO-REPLY@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Swinburn,

Please see below the response to your enquiry under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA)

聽1.聽Regarding the non material changes to the constitution ( or all but
Scrutiny name changes & cttee memberships) , please explain why these
( additional delegations claimed by the MO without democratic
oversight) were on the agenda for this annual council, rather than
first going to A&G.

This a question not a request for recorded information held by the
council.

聽2.聽Which clauses of the constitution did the MO relied upon to justify
putting them on this agenda, so circumventing A&G.

This is a question not a request for recorded information held by the
council.

聽3.聽Please provide all recorded information on these changes, who proposed
these, why, who was consulted and the supporting recorded
information.聽

The changes were required as a result of the change in administration,
with the new administration seeking to reduce the number of committees,
requiring a consequential constitutional amendment.

The recorded information is exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the
FOIA as it is already reasonably accessible to you via other means. You
can find the information via the following link:

[1]https://democracy.york.gov.uk/documents/...

聽4.聽Considering these items were non material to the annual meeting, the
public should have been allowed to participate and connect on them
both in consultation and in the meeting.

This is a comment not a request for recorded information held by the
council.

聽5.聽Is it usual practice to grips almost all the business of the agenda as
one item? Who proposed this and authorised, very bad practice, the
next step being to forget about meetings and member decisions and
debates and let the statutory officers decide all( behind closed doors
obviously)

This is a question not a request for recorded information held by the
council.

If you are dissatisfied with our response you have the right to ask for an
independent review of how your enquiry was handled and responded to. This
can be done by contacting us at [2][City of York Council request email]
within 40 working days of receiving your response, stating your reason(s)
why you are dissatisfied.

If you remain dissatisfied following the internal review response you can
contact the Information Commissioner, contact details below:

Phone: 聽0303 123 1113 or via their聽[3]live chat. Their normal opening
hours are Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (excluding bank holidays).聽
You can also report, enquire, register and raise complaints with the ICO
using their web form on [4]Contact us | ICO

Kind regards,

Information Governance Advisor.
t: 01904 554145 | e: [5][City of York Council request email]

City of York Council聽 | 聽Corporate Governance Team

West Offices聽 | Station Rise | York YO1 6GA

[6]www.york.gov.uk | [7]facebook.com/cityofyork | [8]@CityofYork

You can find information about how the Corporate Governance Team uses your
personal information at

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Please resend your email to [email address]
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* * * * * * * * *
Help protect the environment! please don't print this email unless you
really need to.

show quoted sections

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Gwen Swinburn please sign in and let everyone know.