Standards Committee – 13 July 2016

Chairman:  Councillor Poole
Venue:  Function Room 1, Civic Centre, Scunthorpe
Time:  2 pm


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 30 March 2016 as a correct record and authorise the chairman to sign.

4.  To note the date and times of future scheduled meetings of the committee –

Wednesday 14 September 2016 at 2.00 pm

Wednesday 23 November 2016 at 2.00 pm

Wednesday 18 January 2017 at 2.00 pm

Wednesday 29 March 2017 at 2.00 pm

5.  Standards Committee – Annual Report 2015/16.

6.  Complaints Schedule.

7.  Request for Dispensation.

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

Note:  Reports are by the Director of Policy and Resources unless otherwise stated.


PRESENT: –  Councillor Poole (in the Chair).

Councillors England (Vice-Chairman), Collinson, Godfrey, O’Sullivan, Robinson Wells and Wilson.

W Harvie – Co-opted (Non-voting) Member.

The committee met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe

151     DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY, PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Declarations of personal interests were made as follows:-

Councillor J Collinson Member of a Parish/Town Council which is a member of ERNLLCA
Councillor D Robinson Member of a Parish/Town Council which is a member of ERNLLCA
Councillor D Wells Member of a Parish/Town Council which is a member of ERNLLCA, and also a member of ERNLCCA Executive

152     MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of this committee  held on 30 March 2016, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman subject to the additional personal interest declared by Councillor Wells in minute 139 ‘and also a member of ERNLCCA Executive’.

153   DATES AND TIMES OF MEETINGS – Resolved – That the dates and times of future meetings of the committee be held at 2:00pm on –

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Thursday 23 November 2016

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Wednesday 29 March 2017

154  (4) STANDARDS COMMITTEE – ANNUAL REPORT – 2015/2016 – 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 2015 – 30 June 2016.

The Monitoring Officer in the draft report referred to an increase in the number of complaints from seven last year to 22 this year. This increase had mainly been due to the receipt of 12 complaints received from one parish council. One complaint had been referred by an Assessment Panel for investigation, considered by a Hearings Panel and a breach of the Code of Conduct found. Sanctions were also recommended by the panel in accordance with the council’s published arrangements. Also one complaint had been resolved informally and no action had been taken on 14 complaints considered by the Assessment Panel.

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 26 and 29 June, and 7 October 2015. All sessions had been well attended and similar future training would be provided on an annual basis.

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 about the Council’s Code of Conduct and Standards Arrangements at ERNLLCA’s annual conference on 23 October 2015.

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 2015/16 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 Independent Persons Mr J Goolden and Mr R Johnson be thanked for their time, hard work and commitment supporting and advising the committee, and (c) that the Monitoring Officer and his staff also be thanked for their hard work over the year.

155  (5) COMPLAINTS SCHEDULE – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report updating the committee on progress made with complaints received.

The Director informed members that to date there were only three complaints  outstanding which were waiting for assessment by the Assessment Panel and/or Monitoring Officer. All other complaints were complete.

Resolved – That the report be noted.

156   (6) REQUEST FOR DISPENSATION – Pursuant to section 33 (2) (c) of the Localism Act 2011, the Monitoring Officer submitted a report considering a request from Councillor J Evison for a dispensation whilst acting in his capacity as Lead Member for Steel and Heavy Industry to enable him to perform his role fully.

Councillor Evison was appointed as Lead Member at the Annual Meeting of the Council on 10 May 2016. He would be required to report and speak at Council meetings on his role and as such should be able to do so unhindered by the declaration requirements that would arise from his employment at British Steel.

The report stated that the Committee would recall that at its special meeting on 6 November 2015 (minute 116 refers as attached) it granted all members of the Council a dispensation to participate in the meeting of full Council on 10 November 2015 concerning the motion on TATA steel. This was in recognition of the large number of members who were either current or past employees of, the then, TATA Steel, including Cllr Evison. The dispensation granted by the Committee was pursuant to section 33 (2) (c) of the Act, namely that it “is in the interests of persons living in the authority’s area” for a dispensation to be granted and was for a limited period of twelve months and covered any related motions or items that come before the council.

To grant the specific dispensation for Councillor Evison would remove any ambiguity over the position, ensure that Councillor Evison could fully discharge his Lead Member role, and it would be consistent with the decision taken by the Committee at its meeting on 6 November 2016 (minute 116 refers)

Resolved – That pursuant to section 33 (2) (c) of the Localism Act 2011, Councillor J Evison be granted a dispensation for 12 months relieving him of the requirements of section 31 (4) of the Act, arising from his current employment at British Steel, whilst he fulfils the role, and acts in the capacity of Lead Member for Steel and Heavy Industry.