Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Thursday, 22nd January 2015 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

6.

Minutes

Minutes of meeting held on 10th June2014 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

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

7.

Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chairman

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

8.

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.

9.

Review of Arrangements for dealing with Complaints and Appointment of Vice-Chairman pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Monitoring Officer regarding the Chairman and Vice-Chairman’s role in arrangements for dealing with complaints.

 

It was noted that part of the process for handling complaints since 2012 required the Monitoring Officer to consult with the Chairman prior to taking certain decisions.  Where the Chairman had a conflict of interest, for example if the Chairman belonged to the same political group as the person complained of, it was customary to consult the Vice-Chairman instead. This had worked well so far as, fortuitously, the Committee had appointed a Vice-Chairman from a different group from the Chairman each year since 2012.

 

In order to maintain this good practice and avoid any further conflict of interest with the Vice-Chairman, it was agreed that the Committee should recommend to Council that the Constitution be changed, and that, from the next municipal year, the Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee be from a different political group than the Chairman. The recommendations, as set out in the report, were proposed and accepted.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That with effect from the 2015/16 municipal year, it be a requirement that the Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee be from a different group from the Chairman and that Council be requested to amend the Constitution accordingly.

 

 

(2)          That with effect from the 2015/16 municipal year, where a complaint was received about the conduct of a City Councillor who was of the same group as the Chairman of the Committee, the Monitoring Officer consult with the Vice-Chairman rather than the Chairman at all relevant stages of the complaints procedure, and that the Committee’s arrangements be amended accordingly.

 

10.

Protocol on Licensing Procedure pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a draft protocol on licensing procedure for inclusion in the Council’s Constitution.

 

It was noted that the draft protocol detailed procedures relating to both the Licensing Act Committee and the Licensing Regulatory Committee, and that its addition to the Constitution may prove particularly helpful for new members of those Committees, appointed following the elections in May 2015.

 

Resolved:

 

That the draft protocol be recommended to Council Business Committee for inclusion in the Constitution.

11.

Raising Concerns (formerly Whistleblowing) Policy pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Monitoring Officer detailing minor revisions to the Raising Concerns (formerly ‘Whistleblowing’) Policy, which had been referred to the Committee for consideration and approval.

 

It was noted that the amendments had been made in light of changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996, and that the opportunity had been taken to update a number of job titles in the policy at the same time.

 

Resolution:

 

That the revised Raising Concerns Policy be approved, and that it be noted that no disclosures had been made under the policy since the last report in October 2012.

12.

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 the 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 decision, 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. 

 

13.

Summary of Complaints

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced a report containing a summary of code of conduct complaints, which had been received or concluded since the previous meeting.

 

Resolved:

 

That the report be noted.