Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee
Monday, 1st July, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber Area B, Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby Road, West Bridgford. View directions

Contact: Tracey Coop  0115 914 8277

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the Meeting held on pdf icon PDF 309 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2019 were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest reported.

3.

Cases and Work Update pdf icon PDF 222 KB

The report of the Monitoring Officer is attached.

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer provided a report that updated the Committee on complaints received. Since the Committee’s last meeting on 12 March 2019 three further complaints have been received regarding alleged breaches of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct. One complaint had been reviewed by the Monitoring Officer, and no further action taken following initial assessment.

One was at the initial assessment stage and the other was being referred for formal investigation by the Monitoring Officer giving due regard to the Councillor Complaint Procedure, and where appropriate the Independent Person had been consulted.

 

The Monitoring Officer reported that since the last meeting she had received one favourable response from the letter to Town and Parish Council’s in respect of adopting a universal code of conduct.

 

In addition, the Monitoring Officer updated the Committee on the New Councillor Induction Programme advising that the session on Standards was well attended.

 

Mrs Kerry White asked a specific question in relation to the Chief Executives Statement of Support which the Committee had endorsed at its last meeting, and whether there had been any noticeable change in the complaints being received. The Monitoring Officer advised that the arrangements were working well and she welcomed the support the Committee provided.

 

It was RESOLVED that the Committee note the report.

4.

Committee on Standards in Public Life and Revisions to Councillors Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 289 KB

The report of the Monitoring Officer is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At its last meeting on 12 March 2019 the Committee were asked to consider the findings of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, review of Local Government Ethical Standards. The Monitoring Officer presented a report that  updated Members on the resolutions made, in particular the revised documents to introduce best practise and recommendations set out in the  Committee on Standards in Public Life Report. The Monitoring Officer had accordingly revised the code of conduct, Arrangements and draft criteria for assessment of complaints, the Public Interest Test and Social media Protocol of which copies were provided in an appendix to the report.

 

Members considered the documents and asked specific questions in respect of the Code of Conduct, and whether the changes were adequate and clear enough for Town and Parish Councils to adopt. The Monitoring Officer explained that the feedback she had received from Town and Parish councils was positive and that she was happy to work with them if and when problems arise. The Monitoring Officer added that the Code was a working document and further revision could be considered in future. Mr Baggarley, the independent person welcomed the extensive work the Monitoring Officer had done.

 

Members raised a number of concerns in relation to the Social Media Protocol and the negative tone in the language used. It was suggested that the document be presented in an alternative format, using colour and visuals to make it more user friendly and to encourage rather than discourage Councillors’ in using Social Media.

 

It was RESOLVED that:

 

a)    The revision to the Councillor Code of Conduct and Arrangements be adopted by Council at its meeting on 18 July 2019.

 

b)    The best practise recommendations set out in the Committee on Standards in Public Life report be adopted by Council at its meeting on 18 July 2019.

5.

Exclusion of the Public

It is RECOMMENDED that the public be excluded from the meeting for consideration of the following item of business pursuant to section 100A (4) of the above Act on the grounds that exempt information may be disclosed as defined in paragraph 1 of part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act (as amended).

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED that under section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972the public be excluded from the meeting for the flowing item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of 1 of schedule 12A of the Act (amended).

6.

Standards Investigation Report

The report of the Monitoring Officer is attached.

Minutes:

The Committee considered Code of Conduct complaints against a Keyworth Parish Councillor, Anthony Grice.

 

The investigation was conducted in accordance with the Council’s procedure for Standards Matters and the Independent Person was consulted at all stages of the process in accordance with the Council’s arrangements.

 

It was RESOLVED that:

 

a)    Councillor Grice had failed to comply with the Codes of Conduct in accordance with the Council’s arrangements.

 

b)    The Committee noted the outcome of the investigation and the determination thereof by way of local resolution.

 

c)    Councillor Grice provided a written and minuted apology at the full Parish Council held on 11 March 2019.