Standards Committee – 30 July 2009

Chair: To be appointed

Venue: Function Room 1,  Pittwood House,  Scunthorpe

Time: 2 pm


1. Substitutions (if any)

2. Appointment of Chair

3. Appointment of Vice –Chair

4. Declarations of Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interests, if any.

5. To take the minutes of the meeting held on 2 April 2009 as a correct record and authorise the chair to sign.

6. Complaints/Code of Conduct Update

7. Review of Code of Conduct 2008/9

8. Annual Report – submission to Standards Board

9. Investigations Framework

10. Good Practice – (a) Examples and ideas
(b) Letter from Standards for England

11. Annual report – Local Government Ombudsman

12.  Any other items which the chair decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances which must be specified.


PRESENT:  Councillors Armitage, J Briggs, Davison, Poole, Swift, and Whiteley.

Mrs Y Aubrey and Messrs D Cuckson, W Harvie, P Kelly and R Nixon.

192  APPOINTMENT OF CHAIR – Resolved – That Mr Harvie be and he is hereby appointed chair of the committee.

Mr Harvie thereupon took the chair.

193  APPOINTMENT OF VICE CHAIR – Resolved – That Councillor Swift be and he is hereby appointed vice chair of the committee.


195  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of this committee held on 2 April, 2009, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chair.

196  COMPLAINTS/CODE OF CONDUCT UPDATE – The Monitoring Officer reported that one complaint referred by the Standards Board for England was still outstanding. The investigation had been concluded and a hearing would be arranged shortly.

Since the last meeting two complaints had been assessed, both relating to members of the same parish council. A total of eight complaints were currently outstanding.

It was understood that the proposed revision of the national Code of Conduct for members could now take place in the autumn.

Resolved – That the report be noted.

197  (1) REVIEW OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT 2008/9 – The Monitoring Officer submitted a report on Code of Conduct matters during the municipal year 2008/9. The report covered complaints received, the work of the Standards Committee and training provided. A discussion took place in relation to the provision of training to parish/town councillors and clerks.

Resolved – (a) That the report be noted, and (b) that consideration be given to providing appropriate training for parish councillors and/or clerks.

198  (2) ANNUAL REPORT – SUBMISSION TO STANDARDS BOARD – The Monitoring Officer submitted a copy of the Annual Return submitted to the Standards Board. Completion of the return was a statutory requirement. If the format of the return was to be the same in future years and if adequate notice was given it was intended to involve the committee in drawing up the returns. In the meantime aspects of the return would be analysed and reported on further

Resolved – That the report be noted.

199  (3) INVESTIGATIONS FRAMEWORK – The Monitoring Officer submitted a draft investigative procedure for local investigations. This set out maximum timescales for the various stages of an investigation. The procedure required Investigating Officers to endeavour to complete all investigations within six months of referral from an Assessment Sub-Committee, although this might not be possible in some cases dependent on the complexity of the complaint and the number of witnesses involved.

Resolved – That the framework be welcomed and adopted and monitored.

200  (4) GOOD PRACTICE – The Monitoring Officer submitted information on examples of good practice from the Standards Board. He also submitted a letter from Standards for England inviting the council to apply for an award in the Standards and Ethics category of the 2010 LCG Awards.

Resolved – (a) that the information be noted, and (b) that no application be made for an award.

201  (5) ANNUAL REPORT – LOCAL GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN –  The Committee considered the Local Government Ombudsman’s Annual Review for North Lincolnshire for the year ended 31 March 2009.

This indicated that, whilst 30 complaints had been received during the year, there had been no ‘MI Reps’ (where the Ombudsman had concluded an investigation and issued a formal report finding maladministration causing injustice) or ‘M Reps’ (where the Ombudsman had concluded an investigation and issued a formal report finding maladministration but causing no injustice to the complainant). The report also indicated that the time taken to respond to complaints had reduced from the previous year to 26.4 days on average. This was less than the target of 28 days set by the ombudsman for all councils.

Resolved – That the report be noted.