25 January 2017
Report no: ECB2017/1/22
Adoption of Standing Orders
Purpose of Report
1. The purpose of this report is to seek adoption of Standing Orders for use throughout the current triennium.
That the Board:
(i) receives the information contained in the report;
(ii) notes the requirement to achieve the agreement of at least 75% of members present at a meeting to adopt (and amend) the Standing Orders;
(iii) notes the inclusion of any issue, idea or matter raised in public comment, during a community board meeting, must fall within the terms of reference of that meeting (Clause 15);
(iv) notes the inclusion of the optional provision to have the choice of three different ways of dealing with motions and amendments (Clause 22); and
(v) adopts Hutt City Council’s Standing Orders, attached as Appendix 1 to the report, for use throughout the 2016-2019 triennium.
2. Section 51 of the Local Government Act 2002 (the “LGA”) expressly provides that a community board is not a local authority nor a Council committee but an incorporated body. The role of the community board is primarily to represent, and act as an advocate for, the interests of its community. Its powers are those delegated to it by the Council.
3. Although the Community Boards do not form part of a council, certain provision of the LGA relating to councils (contained in Schedule 7 of the LGA) are expressed to apply equally to community boards “with all necessary modifications”, as if they were local authorities”.
4. In particular clause 27(1) of Schedule 7 states that “a local authority must adopt a set of standing orders for the conduct of its meetings and those of its committees”.
5. Standing Orders require the agreement of at least 75% of members present at a meeting to adopt (and amend) the Standing Orders.
6. Previously Council’s Standing Orders have been based on the Standards New Zealand version. At the beginning of 2015, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) set up a working party to review and update the standing orders. The primary ‘trigger’ for change was the concern expressed by the sector that the Model Standing Orders were difficult to interpret, did not reflect current practices, did not incorporate recent law changes, and were not easy to use.
7. The Hutt City Council at its meeting held on 15 December adopted its Standing Orders based on the LGNZ template, attached as Appendix 1 to the report.
8. The Standing Orders comprise constitutional and legislative matters as well as meeting procedures. A number of Standing Orders address the sections of the Local Government Act and Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act that are relevant to the conduct of meetings, and therefore contain mandatory provisions.
9. While it is legally possible for a Board to develop its own Standing Orders, from a practical point of view it is desirable for the Board to adopt Council’s Standing Orders in order to achieve an element of consistency across all meetings throughout Council’s meeting cycles.
Changes to the Standing Orders
10. The Standing Orders provide a structure that reflects the process of preparing and undertaking meetings. The structure is grouped into three major headings:
· General Matters;
· Pre-meeting; and
· Meeting Procedures.
11. The Standing Orders contain an enhanced number of Appendices. These Appendices provide templates and additional guidance for implementing provisions within the Standing Orders. They collectively form an attachment to the Standing Orders and do not form part of Standing Orders themselves.
Public comment (clauses 15.1-15.5)
12. With regard to Community Board meetings, clause 15.1 ‘Subject of public comment’ provides for any issue, idea or matter raised in public comment must also fall within the terms of reference of that meeting.
General procedures for speaking and moving motions (clauses 22.1-22.5)
13. The Standing Orders provide for variable options for speaking and moving motions. Option A applies unless, on the recommendation of the chair at the beginning of a meeting, the meeting resolves to adopt either Option B or Option C for the meeting generally, or for any specified items on the agenda.
14. This feature allows for more liberal discussion and debate when required. It also allows community boards, for example, to adopt one of the more liberal options for motions and amendments.
15. The Board should adopt either option A, B or C as the default process for dealing with motions and amendments so that it is clear which process will be used. If the need arises, one of the other options can be used should the meeting so decide.
16. In December 2016, a training session covering the newly adopted Standing Orders was provided to Board members by Meeting and Governance Solutions. An additional evening training session is being organised in February 2017.
17. No consultation is required on this matter. The adoption of Standing Orders for use at meetings is a matter to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2002.
18. In addition to the legal considerations previously outlined, clause 27(3) of Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act provides that, after the adoption of the first standing orders of the local authority, an amendment of the standing orders or the adoption of a new set of standing orders requires, in every case, a vote of not less than 75% of the members present.
19. In making this recommendation, officers have given careful consideration to the purpose of local government in section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002. Officers believe that this recommendation falls within the purpose of the local government in that it provides transparency for the community in the conduct of proceedings at meetings.
Hutt City Council Standing Orders 2016-2019 - 22 December 2016
Author: Kate Glanville
Senior Committee Advisor
Approved By: Kathryn Stannard
Divisional Manager, Secretariat Services