Agenda and minutes
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Items No. Item
Declarations of Interest
RESOLVED that the minutes from the last meeting held on 29 June 2017 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record of the meeting.
- Code of Conduct and Revised Standards Arrangements - Localism Act 2011 (28 05 12).doc , item 9. PDF 99 KB
The Chief Legal Officer and Monitoring Officer firstly spoke through some of the procedures that seemed to be effective in the last year. In regards to the council objectives of transformation and continuous improvement, she stated that dates were already organised to train cohort of Standards Committee members after the elections in May. There were also plans to extend this training to Independent Persons. This is so that both parties can receive the support they need to fulfil their role on the Standards Committee.
She then reported on the activities of the Standards Committee for 2016/17. The Council's Standards Committee promotes and maintains high standards of behaviour by ensuring that all elected members comply with the Council's Code of Conduct. All elected members sign a declaration to say that they will comply with the Code of Conduct. The Code was adopted alongside the revised Standards arrangements in July 2012 under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011. This introduced delegation to the Monitoring Officer to make an initial decision on whether the complaint required investigation.
The elected members sitting on the Standards Committee in the last municipal year were Councillors Roberts (Chair), Sinden (Vice-Chair), Bacon, Clarke and B Dowling. The Committee is politically balanced although not required to be so by law.
The Localism Act 2011 requires the Council to appoint at least one Independent Person to assist with the standards process. Council previously recommended that two Independent Persons should be appointed in case of non-availability or a conflict of interest.
The Localism Act requires that the views of the Independent Person must always be sought on a complaint referred for investigation before the outcome of the complaint is determined. Members who are the subject of a complaint can also discuss the matter with the Independent Person, who will provide support to them. The Independent Person’s view would also be sought in terms of any sanction imposed on a member found to be in breach of the member’s Code of Conduct. It was further noted that the Independent Persons were required to discuss a matter in the case of disciplinary action involving one of the statutory roles, such as the Head of Paid Services, Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer.
At the Council meeting on 18th October 2017, John Baker and Amanda McIntyre were appointed as Independent Persons from 1st November 2017 to 31st October 2022.
In regards to complaints, in 2016 six complaints were received by the Monitoring Officer. Three went before the Assessment Sub-Committee and then the Standards Committee. The remaining three were dealt with under Monitoring Officers discretion.
The first complaint alleged a breach of the Code of Conduct by a member, and was referred by the Assessment Sub-Committee for investigation by the Monitoring Officer. Following consideration in public session of a report prepared by an independent investigating officer, the Committee found the member had been in breach of the Code, failing to treat others with respect and conducting himself in a manner which could reasonably be ... view the full minutes text for item 9.