Commentary on Sections

Part 1 – Strengthening local democracy

Section 14 – Proceedings etc

31.Sets out provisions governing the proceedings of democratic services committees, including: that the chair should be appointed by the full council; the chair must not be a member of a group which forms part of the council’s executive, except where all groups are represented on the executive (in which case the chair must not be a member of the executive); the chairs of any sub-committees should be appointed by the democratic services committee; that there are no restrictions on voting for members of the committee or sub-committees; that the committee (and a sub‑committee) may call witnesses (who will be under a duty to attend it they are members or officers of the authority, but a witness of any description will not be obliged to answer any question which they would be entitled to refuse to answer in, or in connection with, court proceedings in England and Wales); and that committee (and sub-committee) meetings, papers and minutes will be subject to the requirements regarding access, publication and inspection as are set out in Part VA of the 1972 Act.