Standards Committee – 10 June 2010
Chair: To be appointed
Venue: Function Room 1, Pittwood House, Scunthorpe
- Substitutions (if any)
- Appointment of chair
- Appointment of vice-chair
- Declarations of Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interests, if any.
- To take the minutes of the meeting held on 25 March 2010as a correct record and authorise the chair to sign.
- Complaints/Code of Conduct Update.
- Future of the Standards regime:
- Letter from the Chair of Standards for England: and
- Website statement from Standards for England.
- Draft Annual Report.
- Possible publication of members’ register of interest on website.
- Decision Record 9 April 2010
- Decision Record 29 April 2010
- Any other items which the chair decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances which must be specified.
PRESENT: Councillors Armitage, Davison, England, Poole, Swift, and Whiteley.
Mrs Y Aubrey and Messrs D Cuckson, W Harvie and P Kelly
226 APPOINTMENT OF CHAIR – Resolved – That Mr Harvie be and he is hereby appointed chair of the committee.
Mr Harvie thereupon took the chair.
227 APPOINTMENT OF VICE CHAIR – Resolved – That Councillor Swift be and he is hereby appointed vice chair of the committee.
228 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of interests.
229 MINUTES – Resolved – (a) That the minutes of the meeting of this committee held on25 March, 2010, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chair, and (b) that, in relation to Minute 224, ERNLLCA be invited to send a representative to the next meeting.
230 (1) COMPLAINTS/CODE OF CONDUCT UPDATE – The Monitoring Officer submitted an update on progress with complaints received.
Since the last meeting four complaints had been assessed, relating to members of the same parish council. Three reviews had taken place and two complaints had been determined (Minute 234 refers). A total of ten complaints were currently outstanding.
Resolved – That the report be noted, and (b) that a report be submitted after the first year of the operation of protocol, setting out performance against the targets set in the protocol.
231 (2) FUTURE OF THE STANDARDS REGIME – The Monitoring Officer submitted a letter from Standards for England (SfE) and a website statement from SfE. Whilst the new government had announced its intention to “abolish the Standards Board regime” it was not yet clear what this meant beyond the abolition of the Board itself.
Members were concerned at the likely loss of support from SfE and that local Standards committees might be left to operate without any guidance. They were also concerned that there would need to be a mechanism in place to deal with those difficult cases that would currently be referred to SfE.
Resolved – That the Monitoring Officer write to SfE and the Department for Communities and Local Government expressing the Committee’s concerns.
232 (3) DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT – Further to Minute 224(b), the Monitoring Officer submitted a draft annual report for consideration by the Committee. Subject to its approval, the report would be submitted by the chair to a meeting of council and publicised via Direct magazine and the council’s website.
Resolved – That the report be approved subject to the inclusion of a personal statement by the chair and the correction of any minor grammatical or typing errors.
233 (4) POSSIBLE PUBLICATION OF MEMBERS’ REGISTER OF INTERESTS ON WEBSITE – Further to Minute 225 (b) the committee gave further consideration to the possible publication of the registers of interests on the council’s web site.
The Monitoring Officer reported that a growing number of councils were now publishing the registers online. According to the SFE Annual Report for 2009 the figure was 34 per cent, although this had now probably increased. Research of councils within this council’s “audit family” and within the Yorkshire and Humberside region showed no principal councils publishing the registers for town and parish councils in their area.
Moved by Councillor Swift and seconded by Councillor Whiteley –
(a) That the committee agree in principle to the publication of the register for members and co-opted members of North Lincolnshire Council and all Town and Parish Councils in its area; (b) that initially the registers be published for members of North Lincolnshire Council and co-opted members of this committee; (c) that discussions take place with parish and town councils with regard to the publication of their members’ registers, and (d) that a report be submitted to the next meeting regarding the method, likely timescales and resource implications of the exercise.
Moved by Councillor England and seconded by Mrs Aubrey as an amendment –
That consideration of this matter be deferred for twelve months
234 (5) DETERMINATIONS – The Monitoring Officer submitted copies of the decision notices in respect of two recent sub-committee determinations.
Resolved – That the decisions be noted.