Standards Committee – 24 March 2011
Chair: Mr W Harvie
Venue: Function Room 1, Pittwood House, Scunthorpe
Substitutions (if any)
- Declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests, if any
- To take the minutes of the meeting held on 27 January 2011 as a correct record and authorise the chair to sign
- Complaints update
- The Localism Bill
- Publication of the members’ Register of Interest on the council’s website – oral report
- Any other items which the chair decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances which must be specified.
PRESENT: Mr W Harvie (in the chair); Councillors Swift (Vice-Chair), Armitage, Davison, England and Whiteley.
Councillors J Kitwood and R Nixon and Mr D Cuckson.
251 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of this committee held on 27 January 2011, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chair subject to their correction by the addition of Mr D Cuckson to the list of members present.
252 (13) COMPLAINTS/CODE OF CONDUCT UPDATE – The Monitoring Officer submitted an update on progress with complaints received and updated the report orally.
Resolved – That the report be noted.
253 (14) LOCALISM BILL – Further to Minute 249, The Monitoring Officer submitted a report setting out the provisions in the Localism Bill that related to standards and members conduct.
The Localism Bill was currently passing through Parliament and the report outlined its main effects, which included the removal of the requirement for councils to have standards committees and to adopt the model code conduct.
The Bill was likely to be enacted in late 2011. The present conduct regime (a model code governing local authority members’ conduct and enforced through local authority standards committees, regulated in turn by Standards for England), would continue to function in the normal manner, considering, investigating and determining allegations of misconduct, until a fixed date (“the appointed day”), probably two months after the Bill received Royal Assent.
This meant that, until the appointed day, an allegation of misconduct could be made but that after the appointed day no further allegations of misconduct could be made under the Standards for England regime. It also meant that at the appointed day, allegations would be in the process of investigation and, further, that appeals against sanctions would be pending. Transitional measures were to be put in place to address this.
The terms of office of North Lincolnshire Council members on the Standards Committee ran until the Annual Meeting, those of the Independent members and town/parish representatives until September 2011.
A legally constituted Standards Committee would be required until all complaints made under the current regime had been dealt with. It was therefore suggested that the terms of office of the independent and parish members be extended until any outstanding complaints had been dealt with.
Recommended to Council – (a) That the current position be noted, and (b) that the terms of office of the independent and parish members be extended until such time as any outstanding complaints have been dealt with.
254 PUBLICATION OF MEMBERS’ REGISTER OF INTERESTS ON WEBSITE – Further to Minute 250, the Service Director Legal and Democratic reported on progress made towards publication of the Register of Members’ Interests for North Lincolnshire Council and parish and town councils in its area on the North Lincolnshire Council website. It was noted that all members elected in May would need to register all interests (including any existing members that were re-elected) and that it would not be practicable to publish the existing register prior to that.
Resolved – That the report be noted.