Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Thursday, 21st January 2016 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Lancaster Town Hall

Contact: Liz Bateson, Democratic Services - telephone 01524 582047, or email  ebateson@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

7.

Minutes

Minutes of meeting held on 11th June 2015 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 11th June 2015 were agreed as a correct record.

8.

Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chairman

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

9.

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 interests.

10.

Requests for Dispensations pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report to enable the Committee to consider requests from Councillors Peter and Phillippa Williamson for a dispensation.

 

The Committee considered that it was in the interests of persons living in the Council’s area for as many members as possible to be able to participate in debate and decision making on a topic as important as the Local Plan, which would affect the whole of the Council’s area.  This must be balanced against the public interest in upholding the principle that members should not participate in or influence matters when it is clear that the decision directly affects their property.  The Committee was mindful that the provisions of the Localism Act 2011 enabled discretion to be exercised locally as to whether a member should be permitted to participate in an item of business notwithstanding a disclosable pecuniary interest in that matter.  This provided a useful and transparent mechanism for members to seek assurance that their participation would not subsequently be challenged, particularly in circumstances where it might be unclear, because of the generality and breadth of the item of business, whether a disclosable pecuniary interest would actually arise.

 

In all the circumstances, having considered these requests, the Committee was satisfied that it was appropriate under Section 33(2)((c) or (e) of the Localism Act 2011 to grant dispensations to Councillor Peter Williamson and Councillor Phillippa Williamson to allow them to participate in any discussion and/or vote at a meeting in respect of the Lancaster District Plan and any associated assessments, allocations or policies, provided that any such discussion or vote did not refer directly and specifically to the land in their ownership.  The Committee considered that such proviso was necessary to balance the competing public interests.

 

The dispensations would be granted to the date of the next City Council elections in 2019.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That dispensations be granted to Councillor Peter Williamson and Councillor Phillippa Williamson to allow them to participate in any discussion and/or vote at a meeting in respect of the Lancaster District Plan and any associated assessments, allocations or policies, provided that any such discussion or vote does not refer directly and specifically to the land in their ownership. 

 

(2)  That the dispensations be granted to the date of the next City Council elections in 2019.

11.

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 1 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 items 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.

 

12.

Appointment of Independent Person

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report to enable the Committee to consider the arrangements for the appointment of one of more Independent Persons.  The Committee agreed to invite the applicants to meet with a Panel comprising Councillors Hartley, Mace and Scott on the morning of Monday 1st February 2016.

 

The Committee agreed that a letter of thanks be sent to Mr Tony James who had submitted his resignation as ‘lead’ Independent Person with effect from 28th February 2016.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That the applicants be invited to meet with the Panel comprising Councillors Hartley, Mace and Scott on 1st February 2016.

(2)          That a letter of thanks be sent to Mr Tony James who had submitted his resignation as ‘lead’ Independent Person with effect from 28th February 2016.

 

13.

Summary of Complaints

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Minutes:

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

 

Resolved:

 

That the report be noted.