Standards Committee – 12 July 2017
Chairman: Councillor Poole
Venue: Function Room 1, Civic Centre, Scunthorpe
Time: 2.00 pm
E- Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Substitutions (if any)
2. Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interests.
3. To take the minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2017 as a correct record and authorise the chairman to sign.
4. Standards Committee – Annual Report 2016/17.
5. Complaints Schedule – Update.
6. Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances which must be specified.
Note: Reports are by the Director: Governance & Partnerships unless otherwise stated.
PRESENT: – Councillor Poole (in the Chair).
Councillors England (Vice-Chairman), Collinson, Kataria, Ogg, O’Sullivan and Wells.
W Harvie – Co-opted (Non-voting) Member.
The committee met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe
186 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY, PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Cllr Wells declared a personal interest as a member of ERNLCCA Executive.
187 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of this committeeheld on 18 January 2017, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.
188 (1) STANDARDS COMMITTEE – ANNUAL REPORT 2016/17 – The Monitoring Officer submitted the above draft annual report of the Standards Committee under the council’s standards regime and the Localism Act 2011 covering the period 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017.
The Monitoring Officer in the draft report referred to a decrease in the number of complaints from 22 last year to 17 this year. Eleven of these 17 complaints related to allegations related to one parish council. Nine complaints were considered by an Assessment Panel, three complaints were determined by the Monitoring Officer, and five further complaints were scheduled to be heard by an Assessment Panel in due course. Three complaints were referred for investigation and one complaint was sent for mediation.
In his report, the Monitoring Officer informed the committee that further to training provided in the previous year, additional training sessions for newly elected/co-opted members of parish and town councils and any newly appointed clerks had been carried out on 23 and 30 November 2016. All sessions had been well attended and similar future training would be provided on an annual basis. In addition, the Standards Committee approved a mediation scheme in January 2017, recognising that some complaints may be better suited to mediation rather than formal investigation.
The annual report also stated that the Monitoring Officer continued to meet regularly
with the Monitoring Officer of North East Lincolnshire Council, and the East Riding and Northern Lincolnshire Local Council’s Association (ERNLLCA) and Mr J Goolden and Mr R Johnson (Independent Persons) to review existing practice and keep abreast of national and regional developments. The Monitoring Officer was invited to speak at a national conference for Monitoring Officers in July 2017.
The Council continued to be a member of the Standards Exchange a specialist website set up by ex-Standards for England investigators as a platform to share good practice and keep updated on national standards related developments.
Resolved – (a) That the 2016/17 Annual Report be approved and be circulated to town and parish councils in the North Lincolnshire area prior to its submission to council, (b) that the Monitoring Officer consider providing ad hoc training to new members and clerks to town and parish councils, (c) that the Independent Persons Mr J Goolden and Mr R Johnson be thanked for their time, hard work and commitment in supporting and advising the committee, and (d) that the Monitoring Officer and his staff also be thanked for their hard work over the year.
189 (2) COMPLAINTS SCHEDULE – The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted a report updating the committee on progress made with complaints received.
The Director updated members on the complaints schedule, and in doing so indicated that the complaints SC/16/08, SC/16/10 and SC/16/14 continued to be investigated jointly following consideration by an Assessment Panel on 1 December 2016. Apart from six complaints received recently which were waiting assessment by the Assessment Panel and/or Monitoring Officer, the schedule was up to date.
Resolved – That the report be noted.