Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2 - Deanes

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Link: Video recording

Items
No. Item

30.

Apologies for absence and substitutions

Minutes:

Cllr P Harvey was replaced by Cllr J Cousens.

Cllr S Parker sent apologies.

31.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Mr P Moore and Mrs E Morris declared an interest under Agenda Item 6 and agreed to leave the room during discussion of that item.

32.

Urgent matters

To consider any items of business, other than those shown on this agenda and which, by reason of special circumstances to be stated at the meeting, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent matters.

33.

Minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2018 pdf icon PDF 212 KB

The Chair will move that the minutes of the meeting be signed as a correct record. The only part of the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2018 were confirmed by the committee as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

34.

Member Complaints Update Report 2018/2019

Contact Officer: Ann Greaves

 

To receive an update on the progress of the determination of complaints under the Arrangements for dealing with complaints against Councillors so as to keep the Committee informed of issues of probity in the Council and across town and parish Councils.

 

Minutes:

The Chair proposed that due to the confidential nature of information contained within the report, the committee pass a resolution that by virtue of paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting.

On resumption of the open session, the Chair summarised the resolution agreed.

Resolved:     The Committee note the progress being made on complaints as set out in the report.

35.

Recruitment of Independent Persons and Independent Standards Assessors pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Contact Officer: Ann Greaves

 

To approve the recruitment papers to be used in the recruitment of two Independent Persons and two Independent Standards Assessors.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In the absence of Mr P Moore, Cllr Putty assumed the role of Chair.

 

The Legal Services Manager introduced the report.

 

Following guidance issued by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, in the report entitled Local Government Ethical Standards, it was suggested that the term of office for each role be reduced to two years with only one renewal of the appointment. 

 

Cllr Putty proposed and Cllr Cousens seconded agreement to accept the proposals within the report.

 

Resolved:     The Committee

 

·         Approve the information pack and recruitment process in the Appendices for the recruitment of the Independent Persons and Independent Standards Assessors;

·         Recommend to full Council that the period of appointment for Independent Persons should be two years with one two year period of extension; and

·         Recommend to full Council that the period of appointment for Independent Standard Assessors should also be revised to two years with one two year period of extension.

36.

Review of Standards Training Undertaken by Borough and Parish Councillors pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Contact Officer: Ann Greaves

 

To review a report detailing the code of conduct and GDPR training provided for borough councillors this year. The report also contains the results of a survey of the parish and town councils on the level of training provided for parish or town councillors.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Legal Services Manager introduced the report.

 

The results of a survey detailing the level of training undertaken by parish and town councillors were noted. Surprise was expressed at the low level of training, particularly in relation to GDPR and Code of Conduct and it was queried whether training could be provided by BDBC.

 

It was clarified that BDBC had no responsibility for training of parish or town councillors, but there may be scope for facilitating a HALC development session. It was further suggested that the Legal Services Manager write to all clerks encouraging adoption of BDBC’s Code of Conduct.   

 

It was noted that the only mandatory training for borough councillors related to those sitting on either the planning or licensing committees. Cllr Putty proposed, and Cllr Cousens seconded agreement to request that Council approve a recommendation to make GDPR and Code of Conduct training mandatory for all borough councillors.

 

Resolved:     The Committee

 

·         Note the level of training undertaken to date for borough councillors;

·         Note the draft training programme for borough councillors for the next municipal year;

·         Note the level of training undertaken on Code of Conduct and GDPR within the Parish and Town Councils;

·         Recommend to full Council revision of current training requirements for Code of Conduct and GDPR to mandatory for all borough councillors; and

·         Recommend that Council gives consideration to providing GDPR and Code of Conduct training to parish and town councils; and

·         Recommend that the Legal Services Manager write to encourage the adoption of BDBC’s Code of Conduct by all parish and town councils.  

37.

Recent publications and guidance pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Contact Officer: Ann Greaves

 

To note and receive an overview of:-

 

·           the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s report and recommendations on ethical standards in local government; and

·           the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consultation in relation to updating the disqualification criteria for Councillors and Mayors.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Legal Services Manager presented an overview of the Local Government Ethical Standards report produced by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

 

It was noted that the majority of the recommendations would require implementation by legislation. 

 

Items of particular note for the committee:-

 

·         Recommendation 12: local authorities should be given the discretionary power to establish a decision-making standards committee with voting independent members and voting members from dependent parishes, to decide on allegations and impose sanctions; 

·         Recommendation 16: local authorities to have the power to suspend councillors without allowances for up to 6 months; and

·         Recommendation 20: amendment to section 27(3) of the Localism Act 2011 to state that parish councils must adopt the code of conduct of their principal authority, with the necessary amendments or the new model code.

 

It was suggested and agreed that a gap analysis of the best practice recommendations against current practice be undertaken. Task and Finish group meeting to be arranged comprising Mr P Moore, Mr K Bastin and Councillor Mrs L Agnew.

 

The Legal Services Manager presented an overview of the Consultation on Updating the Disqualification Criteria for Councillors and Mayors produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. It was again clarified that the consultation paper contained recommendations which would require legislation to become mandatory.

 

Item of particular note:

 

·         Individuals subject to the notification requirements set out in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 should be banned from standing for election, or holding office, as a member of a local authority, mayor of a combined authority, member of the London Assembly or London Mayor.

 

Resolved:     The Committee

 

·         Note the publications; and

·         Agree to establish a best practice task & finish group.

38.

Review of work programme

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed its work programme and made the following comments:

 

·         Standards Committee Annual Report: it was noted that this was a priority item which should be completed prior to the next meeting on 10 June. It was clarified that the report should take the form of a letter to full council and signed by the Chair;

·         It was agreed that a progress report from the best practice task and finish group would be added to the 10 June Agenda; and

·         It was agreed that there would be flexibility within items and dates for the work programme, with the exception of the report on recruitment of Independent Persons, which required review on 10 June, and the report on recruitment of the Independent Standard Assessors, which required review on 7October.