Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Thursday, 19th January 2017 6.10 p.m.

Venue: Lancaster Town Hall

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman

To appoint a Vice-Chairman for the duration of the 2016/17 municipal year.   

 

In accordance with the Constitution, the Vice-Chairman must not be drawn from the same political group as the Chairman, who is a member of the Labour group.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman requested nominations for the position of Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee for the 2016/17 municipal year.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Yates and seconded by Councillor Barry that Councillor Mace be appointed to the position, and, there being no further nominations, the Chairman declared the proposal to be carried.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That Councillor Mace be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee for the 2016/17 municipal year.

2.

Minutes

Minutes of meeting held on 21 January 2016 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 21 January 2016 were agreed as a correct record.

3.

Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chairman

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

4.

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 9 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:

Councillors Mace and Hartley declared an interest in item 8 on the agenda, as members of the Licensing Regulatory Committee referred to in the exempt appendix.

5.

Review of Arrangements for dealing with Allegations of a Breach of the Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report to enable the Committee to consider changes to the current arrangements for dealing with allegations against Members of a breach of the Code of Conduct, in light of comments made during the assessment process for a recent complaint.  The proposed changes related to proportionality and time lapses.

 

The Committee agreed not to change the written regulations but to make use of the opportunity of dealing with issues by email or via telephone rather than always requiring more time consuming and costlier face to face meetings.  This would also enable the Independent Person and Chairman/Vice-Chairman to determine the initial importance or triviality of any allegation rather than the Monitoring Officer. 

 

Consideration was then given to a possible time lapse. After discussion it was agreed not to propose a time lapse limit as this removed the flexibility which would be necessary if an important allegation came to light after the expiry of any agreed time scale.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That the Committee agrees not to change the current arrangements for dealing with allegations against Members of a breach of the Code of Conduct but agrees that greater use be made of email and telephone, rather than face to face meetings between the Monitoring Officer, Independent Person and Chairman/Vice-Chairman, when initially determining the importance or triviality of an allegation.

6.

Exclusion of Press and Public

Whilst the following report is a public report, the appendix is exempt from publication by virtue of Paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.  The Committee is recommended to pass the following recommendation if it becomes necessary to refer to the exempt appendix.

 

“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 appendix has been marked as exempt, it is for Committee itself to decide whether or not to consider it 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:

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.

7.

Summary of Complaints pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report which contained a summary of code of conduct complaints which had been received or concluded since the last meeting. 

 

The Monitoring Officer was requested to ascertain whether and/or how other local authorities defined bullying and report back to a future meeting.

 

It was agreed that that the Monitoring Officer would share the exempt findings of the independent investigation into complaint 15/16 with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman to determine whether it might provide a learning opportunity for the Licensing Regulatory Committee.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)          That the report be noted.

(2)          That the Monitoring Office report back on the definition of ‘bullying’ to a future meeting.

(3)          That the Monitoring Officer share the exempt findings of the independent investigation into complaint 15/16 with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.