Constitution of The Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council
including Code of Conduct for Community Councillors
The name of the Community Council shall be Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council (hereinafter referred to as “the Council”).
The area served by the Council shall be that part of the Scottish Borders, the boundaries of which are shown delineated on Map Number 34 annexed to the principal copy of the Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils adopted by the Scottish Borders Council (hereinafter referred to as “the Scheme”).
The Objectives of the Council shall be to promote the well-being of the community resident in the area by ascertaining, co-ordinating and expressing; to the Scottish Borders Council as the Local Authority for its area; to other public authorities; and the general public; the views of the community which it represents in relation to matters for which those authorities are responsible; make known within the community such information as may be received from the Scottish Borders Council and other public authorities; and to take such actions in the interests of that community as appears to it to be expedient and practical.
The Council shall be non-party in politics and non-discriminatory and shall represent all persons in its area.
4. COMPOSITION OF THE COUNCIL
The Council shall be composed of:
(a) 12 Members who have been duly elected under Clause 4.1(a) of the Scheme;
(b) the Scottish Borders Councillors for the area covered by the Council or any part of it, who shall have ex officio Membership of the Community Council during their period of office with the Scottish Borders Council but shall have no entitlement to vote or hold office in the Community Council.
No Member of the Scottish Borders Council may simultaneously be a Member of the Community Council other than in an ex officio capacity.
The Council may include co-opted Members in the following circumstances:
(c) The Council may co-opt further Members with skills or knowledge which the Council considers would be of assistance to the Council in carrying out its functions. Such co-opted members shall not have voting rights, shall not be entitled to move motions or amendments, and shall not hold office, and may be of any age. Members co-opted for this purpose will serve for such times as may be determined by the Council at the time of their co-option or until the Council decide that their services are no longer required;
(d) The Council may, where the elected Membership does not comprise the maximum number of elected members specified in paragraph 4(a) above but is equal to, or exceeds, one-half of that number, or where casual vacancies arise during the term of office, co-opt persons who would be eligible for election to the Community Council as Members in order to make up that number, subject to the number of Members so co-opted not at any time exceeding one quarter of the maximum number of elected Members specified in paragraph 4(a) above. For the purposes of this sub-paragraph, any fraction arising shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number. Members so co-opted may serve until the next ordinary election to the Council, with full voting rights.
In the event of the number of elected Members of the Council, in the interval between elections, reducing to less than one-half of the maximum number specified in paragraph 4(a) above, a by-election shall be held not later than two months after this reduction occurs (unless the next ordinary election is due to occur within six months of the reduction occurring). The number of vacancies to be filled at the by-election shall be the number by which the elected membership falls short of the maximum.
5. METHOD OF CO-OPTION OF MEMBERS
A proposal to co-opt a person or persons to the Council under paragraph 4(c) and 4(d) hereof shall require a Notice of Motion to that effect to be included on the Agenda for the appropriate Meeting of the Council, and such Notice of Motion shall include the name and address of the person(s) proposed to be co-opted, together with that person’s number on the current Electoral Register, and the names of the Proposer and Seconder who shall be elected Members of the Council.
6. CASUAL VACANCIES
A casual vacancy shall be deemed to arise in any of the following circumstances:
(a) on the day when a Member ceases to be entered in the Electoral Register for the area covered by the Council;
(b) when a Member of the Council fails to attend six consecutive meetings of the Council without prior notice; or
(c) upon the receipt by the Secretary to the Council of a written notice of resignation from a Member.
7. TERM OF OFFICE
Elected Members of the Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council shall serve for a term of four years, and shall be eligible for re-election.
This term of office shall be held to be adjusted without the need to amend this Constitution in the event of the Scottish Borders Council exercising their right under the Scheme to set a common date in each year for Community Council elections.
8. GENERAL PROVISIONS
At the first Public Meeting following a Community Council Election, which shall be chaired by the Returning Officer or his nominee (who shall normally be an ex officio Member, if available), until the Chairman has been elected, the Council shall elect a Chairman from its eligible Members.
The Council shall elect each year at the Annual General Meeting from among its eligible Members a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and other Office Bearers as they may deem necessary.
The member appointed to the position of Chairman may hold that office for a period of four years or the term of the Community Council and may be eligible for re-election for a further four year term, but may not then be eligible for re-election in the four year term following.
The Chairman shall:
(a) Be responsible for ensuring that Meetings of the Council are properly conducted in accordance with the Constitution;
(b) be responsible for the submission of a written Annual Report on the Council’s activities for the previous year to the Annual General Meeting and thereafter to the Scottish Borders Council.
The Secretary, or in the absence of the Secretary, the Chairman pro tem, shall:
(a) convene Meetings of the Council and its Committees;
(b) undertake correspondence arising from the work of the Council;
(c) be responsible for preparing and keeping the Minutes of Meetings, including a record of those Members in attendance and those Members who are absent, and making a true record of proceedings for distribution to Members and others; and
(d) undertake other duties required by the Council from time to time.
The Treasurer shall:
(a) correctly maintain the Council’s financial records, which shall disclose, with reasonable accuracy at any time, the financial position of the Council;
(b) take all reasonable steps to ensure that monies due are received and creditors paid;
(c) present financial information to the Council when required; and
(d) if nominated to do so, prepare annually an Abstract of Accounts for submission to the Annual General Meeting.
Any vacancy in office arising during the Office-Bearer’s term of office may be filled at any Meeting of the Council, provided that notice of the vacancy has been included in the Agenda for the Meeting.
As soon as practical following such Appointments of Officials, the Council shall lodge with the Director of Central Services, Scottish Borders Council, a return specifying the full names, designations and addresses of the Council Office-Bearers and Auditor(s) of their Accounts. Any subsequent changes will be advised, in writing, within one month of such changes taking place.
The Council shall have the power to establish Sub-Committees and ad hoc Committees and to stipulate their composition, powers, duties and duration.
Decisions of Sub-Committees and ad hoc Committees shall be taken by a majority vote of those present, with the Chairman having both a deliberative and a casting vote.
At a meeting of a Sub-Committee or ad hoc Committee, a quorum shall be at least one-half of the elected membership thereof.
Sub-Committees or ad hoc Committees shall keep a record of their proceedings and decisions taken, which will be submitted to the Secretary for entry in the Council minutes.
The Council shall convene not less than three public Meetings per annum which shall not be more than six months apart, one of which shall be the Annual General Meeting. All Meetings of the Council and of any Sub-Committees thereof shall be open to the public.
The Council shall comply with the principles of the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985, a summary of its main provisions having been provided to the Council, and any amending legislation, particularly in regard to the conduct of business in public unless permitted to be taken in private in terms of the Act, and also in regard to allowing advance sight of Agenda papers and Minutes.
All relevant Council Members shall be advised of the date, time and place of all Meetings of the Community Council, Committees or Sub-Committees by means of written Agendas, specifying the business to be conducted and sent either to their normal place of residence or place of work (if requested by them) at least seven days before or, in an emergency, at least three clear days before, the due date of such Meeting.
At the same time as the Agenda is issued to Members, a copy shall be sent to the Director of Central Services, Scottish Borders Council, or his nominee. Similarly, public notice shall be given by a copy of the Agenda being affixed in a prominent and clearly visible position within the Council Notice Board in the Market Place, Selkirk.
The Council members shall comply with the National Code of Conduct for Local Authority Members, a copy of which shall be issued to each Community Councillor. Members shall be required, in advance, to declare pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests relating to matters which might be under discussion and after doing so shall take no part in their consideration. Failure to observe this may lead to suspension from participating in the work of the Council for a period of time.
Only Council members with full voting rights may vote at Council Meetings, including Annual General Meetings, the only exception being votes on the proposed contents of the Constitution and proposed amendments thereto, in which case all persons eligible to vote in local government elections and on the Electoral Roll for the Council area and in attendance at the meeting are entitled to vote.
The quorum for each Council meeting shall be one-third of the Community Council Membership eligible to vote, subject to a minimum of four.
With the permission of the Chairman, any Member of the public in attendance may speak or ask any question regarding any item on the Agenda.
A period of time shall be set aside at each Meeting for Members of the public to address the Council. This period of time will be designated an “Open Forum” and shall be introduced at the discretion of the Chairman. The nominal time of the “Open Forum” shall be 8.00pm but shall be scheduled at the discretion of the Chairman.
11. SPECIAL MEETINGS AND EXTRAORDINARY PUBLIC MEETINGS
The Council shall be empowered to convene Special Meetings and Extraordinary Public Meetings as aftermentioned within the area of the Council for the purpose of considering matters of interest and importance, and for the purpose of agreeing or amending the Constitution.
The Council shall, on receipt of a requisition signed by twenty electors, convene a Special Meeting, to be held within 21 days of receipt by the Secretary of that requisition, to consider the business specified in the requisition and in the notice calling the Meeting.
The Council shall, on receipt of a requisition signed by not less than 6 Members, convene an Extraordinary Public Meeting, to be held within 21 days of receipt by the Secretary of that requisition, to consider the business specified in the requisition and in the notice calling the Meeting.
12. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
An Annual General Meeting shall be held not later than 60 days after the end of the Council’s Financial Year. The Financial Year for the Council shall reflect the SBC Financial Year.
The Agenda for the Annual General Meeting shall include the following items, namely:
(a) a report by the Chairman on the Council’s activities for the previous year;
(b) the audited Annual Statement of Accounts;
(c) election of Office Bearers;
(d) appointment of Honorary Auditor; and
(e) proposals for the amendment of the Council’s Constitution, where appropriate;
The Council shall submit to the Director of Central Services, Scottish Borders Council, or his nominee, copies of the Minutes of Meetings not later than 21 days after each Meeting. Minutes shall be circulated to Members not later than with the issue of the Agenda for the next Meeting.
Minutes of any Meeting shall be made available not later than seven clear days prior to the next Meeting of the Council for inspection by Members of the public within the Council’s area at Selkirk Public Library or in any other location(s) as may be determined by the Council from time to time.
14. HOLDING OF HERITABLE PROPERTY
Any heritable property acquired by the Council shall be vested in the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the Council, and their respective successors, as trustees for and on behalf of the Council.
15. STANDING ORDERS
All Council business shall be conducted in accordance with the Standing Orders prepared and administered by Scottish Borders Council.
16. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
The Council may raise funds for schemes, projects and other purposes falling within its stated objects.
All monies received by the Council, whether by way of grant, gift or loan shall be applied to further its objects.
All monies received by the Council shall be deposited by the Treasurer in the Royal Bank of Scotland, High Street, Selkirk, in the name of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, two of whose signatures shall be required for all withdrawals.
The Council shall keep an accurate record of its receipts and payments and the Treasurer, or other nominated Office-Bearer, shall prepare annually an Abstract of Accounts. The Books and Abstract of the Council shall be scrutinised by an auditor/independent examiner (who shall not be a member of the Council), duly appointed from year to year for that purpose by the Council following approval by the Scottish Borders Council. A copy of the approved Abstract of Accounts for the Council shall be submitted to the Director of Central Services, Scottish Borders Council, within seven days of the Annual General Meeting.
A proposal to dissolve the Council shall require a Notice of Motion to that effect to be included on the Agenda for a Special Meeting or an Extraordinary Public Meeting, and shall require to be passed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting.
In the event of the disestablishment or dissolution of the Council for any reason, such property and funds as are vested or under the control of the Council at the date of disestablishment or dissolution shall be transferred to the Scottish Borders Council unencumbered and shall be administered and applied by them in such manner as the Scottish Borders Council in their sole discretion may determine to be for the benefit of all or part of the Community Council area, said discretion including the power of sale. The Members and Office-Bearers of the former Council shall remain liable following such transfer for their intromissions with the former Community Council’s assets during their term of office.
The Council reserves the right of appeal prior to any proposed disestablishment or dissolution of the Council.
18. AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION
Any proposal to amend this Constitution must be delivered in writing to the Secretary of the Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council at least twenty-eight days before the date of the Meeting at which the proposal is first to be considered.
Subject to the provisions of paragraph 11 hereof, any alteration to this Constitution will require approval of both:
(a) a majority of Members of the Community Council voting at a Council Meeting;
(b) a two-thirds majority of residents of the Community Area entitled to vote, being present and voting at an Annual General Meeting of the Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council or a Special Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting convened for considering the approval of such alteration.; and
(c) the subsequent approval of Scottish Borders Council.
Notice of any Special Meeting or Extraordinary Public Meeting at which a proposal to change this Constitution of the Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council is to be considered shall be given at least fourteen days prior to the date of the Meeting and such notice shall detail the wording of the proposed alteration(s).
19. ADOPTION OF CONSTITUTION
This Constitution, after being agreed by the Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council, and approved by Scottish Borders Council, was adopted at a Council Meeting held on 9th December 2013.