Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Thursday, 10th October 2013 6.10 p.m.

Venue: Lancaster Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

13.

Minutes

Minutes of meeting held on 25th July 2013 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

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

14.

Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chairman pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman authorised an item of urgent business on the appointment of an Independent Person in the light of Mr Stephen Lamley’s resignation, received subsequent to the agenda being published.

 

The Monitoring Officer reminded the Committee that in June 2012, Council had appointed Mr Lamley as the Independent Person, and Mr Tony James and Mr David Jordison as “reserve” Independent Persons.  In accordance with the transitional arrangements contained in Regulations under the Localism Act 2011, these appointments had, in July 2012, been extended for the period to May 2015.

 

The Monitoring Officer reported that, in the light of Mr Lamley’s resignation, which would take effect from the 31st December 2013, Mr James had indicated that he would be interested in being the “lead” Independent Person, whilst Mr Jordison would prefer to remain as a reserve.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)        That Council be recommended to confirm Mr Tony James as the “lead” Independent Person;

 

(2)        That a letter of thanks be sent to Mr Stephen Lamley, in recognition of his services as Independent Person.

 

15.

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:

Councillor Hill and Councillor Mace declared an interest in item 7, Summary of Complaints, as they were associated with separate aspects of the exempt report.

 

 

 

16.

Review of Procedures for Dealing with Complaints of Breach of Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced a report on procedures for dealing with allegations of a breach of the code of conduct.  It was noted that the Committee had not previously established whether the subject of a complaint’s response should be provided to the complainant, if so requested.

 

The Monitoring Officer expressed the view that it was not appropriate for the response to be shared as a matter of course with the complainant, as it may contain personal data relating to the member, to the complainant, or to third parties, which would be protected under the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

However, in the event of a request being made by the complainant, or by any other person, whether under the Data Protection Act 1998 or under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the request would have to be considered.   A view would then be needed on what information should be disclosed, and what should be withheld under the relevant legislation.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)        That when a member was invited to comment on a complaint, the member be advised that:

 

(a) comments received on the complaint would not routinely be passed to the complainant;

 

(b) the member would be consulted should the complainant request a copy of the comments; and

 

(c) when submitting comments on a complaint, the member should be mindful that there may in some circumstances be a legal requirement to disclose the comments under data protection or freedom of information legislation.

17.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

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

 

“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.”

 

Members are reminded that, whilst the following item has been marked as exempt, it is for committee itself to decide whether or not to consider it 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.

 

18.

Summary of Complaints

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer gave an update on the current summary of code of conduct complaints, as set out in an exempt report.

 

Resolved:

 

That the summary of complaints be noted.