Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Thursday, 21st September, 2017 6.00 pm

Venue: Paddock Room, Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland PR25 1DH

Contact: Dianne Scambler  Email: dscambler@southribble.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

8.

Appointment of Chair

Minutes:

In the absence of both the Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee, Councillor Bill Evans took the Chair for the meeting.

9.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillors David Bird (Chair), Linda Woollard (Vice Chair) and Mick Higgins submitted apologies.

10.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Held on Thursday, 29 June 2017, to be signed as a correct record.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 29 June 2017 be held as a correct record for signing by the Chair.

11.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested to indicate at this stage in the proceedings any items on the agenda in which they intend to declare an interest. Members are reminded that if the interest is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members' Code of Conduct) they must leave the room for the whole of that item. If the interest is not a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, but is such that a member of the public could reasonably regard it as being so significant that it is likely that it would prejudice their judgement of the public interest (as explained in the Code of Conduct) then they may make representations, but then must leave the meeting for the remainder of the item.

Minutes:

No declarations of any interests were declared.

12.

Minutes of the meetings of the Standards Committee Initial Assessment Hearing Panel pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To confirm the attached minutes of the meetings of the panel held on 27 July 2017 and 30 August 2017 as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Standards Committee Initial Assessment Hearing Panels held on 27 July and 30 August 2017 were held as a correct record for signing by the Chair.

13.

Confidentiality Arrangements pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Report of the Interim Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Interim Monitoring Officer that updated members on developments relating to the improvement of the Council’s confidentiality arrangements.

 

Following the leak of the Interim Wilkin Chapman report into Licensing, the Council’s Interim Monitoring Officer had instructed Weightmans Solicitors to carry out an Investigation into the circumstances relating to the leaking of the confidential report.

 

The concluding part of the report, advised six recommendations that needed to be addressed to ensure that the Council has a robust framework in place for dealing with confidential and personal information. Governance Committee had agreed the Action Plan at its meeting on 28 June with the aim of further developing and strengthening the Council’s information management practice. Some progress had already been made against the actions.

 

Although delayed, the review of the whistleblowing policy was considered a key piece of work and the additional time would allow for a more fundamental review to take place before being considered by Governance Committee. Once completed, awareness of the policy would be paramount to its success.

 

It was reported that data protection training for members and officers as part of the annual training and development of plans would be delivered through use of MILO, an online training application. Whilst considered mandatory for officers, Members would be actively encouraged to complete the training by the Interim Monitoring Officer and group leaders.

 

Members also discussed how lessons learnt from the review of licensing and recent Standards Hearings could be embedded across the organisation.

 

A more in depth report detailing all progress made to date against the targets contained within the Action Plan would be reported back to future meetings of both Governance and Standards Committee.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

14.

Member Officer Protocol pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Report of the Interim Corporate Governance Manager

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Interim Corporate Governance Manager updating Member of progress made towards the development of a Member Officer Protocol.

 

The development of a suitable Protocol is included within the Council’s draft Corporate Improvement Plan and following an audit by the CfPS, the Local Government Association (LGA) have indicated an intention to fund development work as part of its support of the Council.

 

Members were provided with the details of the successful tenderer, Mike Green from Transitional Space, an experienced facilitator with extensive Local Government experience. A timetable of activity was also presented that included:

·         A series of Focus Groups with both Members and staff that would identify the challenges that currently exist;

·         Delivery of five half day sessions to present the draft protocol and obtain feedback prior to the final version being brought back to the Committee and Governance Committee to recommend final sign off by full Council;

·         Training and Guidance.

 

Members were pleased to note the work being undertaken to extend the current protocol and discussed how nominations for the Member Focus Groups would be sought to ensure that the views of all Members were taken into consideration.

 

In response to comments from the audience around obtaining timely information relating to planning and refuse matters from senior officers or Cabinet Members, the Interim Corporate Governance Officer indicated that there would be the opportunity to highlight these issues as part of the process for developing the protocol, although it was accepted that more specific protocols may be needed around planning.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.