Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee - Monday, 22nd February, 2021 7.00 pm

Contact: Tracey Coop  0115 914 8277

Items
No. Item

4.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 28 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 198 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2020 were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

5.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

6.

Cases and Work Update pdf icon PDF 444 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report updating the Committee on the complaints received since the last meeting of the Standards Committee in September 2020.  It was noted that nine complaints had been received since the last meeting. 

 

The Chairman advised that no findings of fact had been made in respect of any of the complaints received.  The Committee was advised that given the circumstances, and to protect the integrity of this Committee, and the investigation process, the Committee should move straight to the vote on the recommendation.

 

Kerry White referred to the previous meeting of the Committee, when it had been documented that a letter had been sent to Bingham Town Council, and the Monitoring Officer was asked to confirm if a follow-up letter had been sent, as requested by the Committee.  The Chairman and Monitoring Officer confirmed that a letter had been sent on 2 October 2020 and could be viewed on the Bingham Town Council’s website.

 

It was RESOLVED that the report be noted.

7.

Standards in Public Life Report and LGA Model Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report updating the Committee in respect of the report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL), which had been produced in January 2019, and the Local Government Association (LGA) Model Code of Conduct, which had been developed following a consultation exercise undertaken in 2020.

 

The Monitoring Officer advised that the CSPL had written to all Chief Executives, regarding the implementation of the best practice principles, and the Committee was informed that the CSPL had been notified that the Council had adopted those principles at its Council meeting in July 2019.    

 

In respect of the LGA Model Code of Conduct, the Monitoring Officer reminded members of the Committee that they had been asked to participate in the consultation, and in conjunction with the Chairman, the Monitoring Officer advised that she had responded to the consultation.  The Model Code of Conduct was released by the LGA on 23 December 2020, and that Model Code was now brought before the Committee for consideration.  The Monitoring Officer advised that the Model Code had been drafted in response to the CSPL report, as the CSPL had been keen to have a Model Code drafted, to ensure consistency.  The Committee was advised that currently there was no requirement on parish councils to adopt the codes of their principal authorities and it was envisaged that with the adoption of a Model Code, there would be a universal understanding of what the Code of Conduct was. 

 

Members of the Committee were asked to consider in their view, if the Model Code of Conduct would enhance Rushcliffe’s current Code, in part, completely, or not at all.  The Committee was reminded that there was no requirement to adopt the Model Code.  To support and assist the Committee with its deliberations, the Monitoring Officer referred to the following general points:

 

·       The Model Code would be reviewed annually by the LGA;

·       The Model Code was written in the first person, which differed from Rushcliffe’s Code;

·       The LGA would be issuing some guidance to support the Model Code and that guidance was expected in late March/April 2021.

·       The Model Code would apply where members were giving an impression that they were acting as a Councillor and would be extended to social media.

·       The LGA had focussed on 10 specific standards of conduct and the Model Code also retained the seven Principles of Public Life and sought to build upon those principles.

 

In respect of specific elements of the Model Code of Conduct, the Monitoring Officer referred to the following points:

 

·       Respect:  It was considered that this term was universally understood.  Some considered that the definition was still quite limited as it only referred to Councillors and members of the public and the Committee was asked to consider if it would wish to incorporate some additional wording to reflect treating others with respect.

·       Bullying and Harassment:  The Model Code had been extended to cover the full list of persons covered by the Equalities Act.  Currently Rushcliffe’s Code  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.