Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Thursday, 25th April 2013 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Lancaster Town Hall

Contact: Peter Baines, Democratic Services - telephone 01524 582074 or email  pbaines@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

76.

Minutes

Minutes of meeting held on 24th January 2013 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as a correct record.

77.

Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chairman

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

78.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda. 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting). 

Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Members should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting. 

In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Members are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct. 

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

79.

Press Protocol pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Governance introduced a report about the draft Press Protocol, further to discussion at the previous meeting.

 

In the course of debate, the committee agreed that the final sentence of paragraph seven should be amended to read ‘Where a complaint is resolved after investigation, the committee will consider, as part of its deliberations, whether and when a press statement should be made by the committee’.

 

Resolved:

 

That the amended Press Protocol be approved, subject to paragraph seven being amended to read ‘Where a complaint is resolved after investigation, the committee will consider, as part of its deliberations, whether and when a press statement should be made by the committee’.

80.

Amendment of the Descriptions of the Seven General Principles of Conduct pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Governance introduced a report on changes made to the description of the seven general principles of conduct by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

 

In its fourteenth report, published in January 2013, the Committee concluded that whilst there was little merit in changing the principles themselves, there was something to be gained from changing the description of the principles.     It was felt that since the principles had been established, understanding of the meaning of certain words had developed.

 

Resolved:

 

That Council be recommended to amend the preamble to the Members’ Code of Conduct, in part 7, section 2 of the constitution, to incorporate the amendments made to the descriptions of the seven general principles of conduct by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.  

81.

Review of the Protocol of Member/Officer Relations pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee considered a review of the Protocol on Member / Officer Relations, which had been referred from the Council Business Committee.

 

Council Business Committee had been keen to ensure that the protocol was made clearer on the subject of how members could request that information provided to them by officers was also provided to other political groups.   The Monitoring Officer had revised the document in line with Council Business Committee’s request, and the amended document was appended for members’ consideration.

 

Resolved:

 

That the revised Protocol on Member / Officer Relations be approved, and recommended to Council Business Committee for inclusion in the constitution.

 

 

82.

Openness and Transparency on Personal Interests: A Guide for Councillors pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Governance advised the committee about some revised guidance on interests, which had been issued by the government.

 

The guidance had been designed to help councillors and parish councillors in light of new standards arrangements introduced by the Localism Act 2011, and it was noted that the Head of Governance intended to circulate it to all city councillors and parish councils in the district.

 

Resolved:

 

That the revised guidance on interests be noted and circulated to all members and parish councils.    The Head of Governance was also asked to remind parish council clerks to publish their register of members’ interests online, in cases where a parish council had its own website.

 

 

 

 

83.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The Committee is recommended to pass the following recommendations in relation to the following items:-

 

“That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business, on the grounds that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph *** of Schedule 12A of that Act.”

 

Members are reminded that, whilst the following item(s) have been marked as exempt, it is for Committee itself to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public. In making the decision, Members should consider the relevant paragraph of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and also whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  In considering their discretion Members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers. 

 

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That in accordance with Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of that Act.

 

84.

Summary of Complaints

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee considered a report about code of conduct complaints received since the last meeting.

 

Resolved:

 

That the report be noted.