Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Thursday, 7th December, 2017 6.00 pm

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

Contact: Andy Houlker  Email: ahoulker@southribble.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

15.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Coulton and David Haley (Independent Person).

16.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Held on Thursday, 21 September 2017, to be signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 September 2017 be approved as a correct record.

17.

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:

There were no declarations of interest.

18.

Minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee Initial Assessment Hearing Panel pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To confirm the attached minutes of the meeting of the panel held on 21 November 2017 as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED (Unanimously by those members of the Panel present):

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Initial Hearing Panel held on 21 November 2017 be approved as a correct record.

19.

Annual Report and Update pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Report of the Interim Monitoring Officer attached.

Minutes:

The Council’s Monitoring Officer presented the Annual Report on work carried out over the last 12 months.  This had been a busy and productive year and included; the appointment of a second Independent Person to assist the Monitoring Officer, the development of a Social Media Protocol, amending/updating the Hearing and Investigation Procedure for Dealing with Complaints, reviewing the Code of Conduct for Elected Members and the development of Guidance relating to it.

 

It had also been a busy year for dealing with complaints against members under the Code of Conduct for Elected Members.

 

As well as reporting on all of the above information was also provided as to complaints made to the Local Government Ombudsman, and Members’ attendance figures.

 

Looking forward it was suggested there be specific training for Committee members sitting on Standard Committee Hearing Panels as well as general standards training/awareness raising for all members.  The Committee also felt it would be helpful to have a joint workshop with other neighbouring councils (such as Chorley Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council) to discuss/air current issues and approaches.

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously) that:

 

(1)  the Annual Report be noted and be presented to a future meeting of the Council; and

(2)  the Monitoring Officer approach Chorley Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council with a view to holding a joint Standards workshop (possibly held at County Hall).

20.

Disqualification Criteria for Councillors pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Report of the Interim Corporate Governance Manager attached.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Interim Corporate Governance Manager reported that the Council had been consulted by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on possible additional criteria for the disqualification of Councillors and Elected Mayors.

 

The Committee was asked whether or not it supported the DCLG’s proposal to introduce a new rule that would prohibit any individual subject to an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction, a Criminal Behaviour Order or had been added to the sex offenders’ register, from standing for election or holding office as a Councillor and Elected Mayor.

 

The DCLG’s consultation paper was appended to the report.

 

In particular the Committee was asked to consider and respond to the six questions in the report.  The Committee considered and discussed each question in turn, especially Question 2.  With the exception of the response to Question 2 (For: 4, Against: 1), the Committee was unanimous in its responses to the questions.

 

RESOLVED that the Council’s responses to the six question in the DCLG’s consultation be as follows:

1.    Yes

2.    No

3.    Yes

4.    Yes

5.    No

6.    No

21.

Complaint Form for Complaints under the Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Report of the Interim Corporate Governance Manager attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Interim Corporate Governance Manager presented a proposed form to be used in connection with complaints received under the Code of Conduct.

 

It was felt that the form would consistently collect the necessary basic information and the need to complete a form might assist in reducing the number of such complaints being received.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Complaint Form attached as Appendix A to the report be used for future complaints under the Code of Conduct for Elected Members.

22.

Protocol Relating to Independent Persons pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Report of the Interim Corporate Governance Manager attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Interim Corporate Governance Manager presented the report that asked the Committee to look at the existing protocol for Independent Persons and amend as appropriate.  This review had been included as part of the Committee’s Work Programme. It was felt that the existing protocol was largely relevant and it was proposed to conduct a refresh rather than a full review.

 

The Council’s two Independent Persons had been consulted and provided comments along with members of the Council. It was proposed that a refreshed protocol be presented to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That a refresh of the Council’s existing protocol for Independent Persons be carried out and that the amended protocol be presented to the next meeting of the Committee.