Standards Committee – 1 December 2011
Chairman: Mr W Harvie
Venue: Function Room 1, Pittwood House, Scunthorpe
1. Substitutions (if any)
2. Declarations of Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interests, if any.
3. To take the minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2011 as a correct record and authorise the chair to sign.
4. Complaints update.
5. The Localism Act 2011.
6. Any other items which the chairman decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances which must be specified.
PRESENT: Mr W Harvie (in the chair), Councillors Davison, England, Poole, Robinson, Wells and Whiteley.
Mrs Y Aubrey, Mr D Cuckson (vice-chairman) and Mr J Kitwood.
Councillor Collinson attended the meeting under the provisions of Procedure Rule 1.37b
The committee met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe
266 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Councillor Wells declared a personal interest in minute 269 as a member of ERNLLCA’s executive.
267 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of this committee held on 22 September 2011, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.
268 (4) COMPLAINTS UPDATE – The Monitoring Officer submitted a report updating the committee on progress made with complaints received.
Eight complaints to date had not been completed and the Monitoring Officer summarised action currently being taken and scheduled to be taken to address these. It was likely that hearings or other agreed action where appropriate would be completed as soon as possible in the New Year.
Resolved – That the report be noted.
269 (5) THE LOCALISM ACT 2011 – The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report which provided the committee with proposed key reforms to the standards regime and framework following the enactment of the Localism Act (the Act) on 15 November 2011.
The report explained that different parts of the Act would come into force at different times. At the date of the report, it was not known when the provisions relating to standards issues would come into force, although it was anticipated that statutory instruments would be made shortly confirming commencement dates, and guidance would be issued for authorities on the various provisions.
The Director in his report set out and explained with information available to date, key changes to the current regime and framework brought in by the Act under the following headings-
- The Code of Conduct (Appendix 1 provided a sample draft Code of Conduct produced by the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors)
- Breaches of the Code and Sanctions
- Criminal Offence
- Standards for England
He also stated that prior to consideration of expected guidance it would be premature to undertake a detailed options appraisal and a full analysis of resource implications for the council at this time. However, a Project Management Group (with sub-groups) had been established under the lead of the Chief Executive to oversee, coordinate and develop the council’s response to the Act. Members would continue to be kept informed and appropriate training arranged in the near future.
Members of the committee engaged in discussion on elements of the report and asked questions which the Director responded to.
Resolved – (a) That the report be noted; (b) that further briefings be received once guidance has been issued, and (c) that elected members be invited to future meetings of the council’s Project Management Group (and sub-groups).