Standards Committee – 23 November 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 14 September 2016 as a correct record and authorise the chairman to sign.

4.  Complaints Schedule – Update.

5.  Renewal of Dispensation.

6.  Standards Mediation Service – Oral Report.

7.  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, T.Foster, Godfrey, O’Sullivan and Wells.

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

The committee met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe

167     DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY, PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Councillor Wells declared a personal interest arising from his membership of East Riding and Northen Lincolnshire Local Councils Association (ERNLLCA).

168     MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of this committeeheld on 14 September 2016, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.

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

The Director update members on the complaints schedule, and in doing so indicated that the complaints SC/16/124 and SC/16/13 were likely to be assessed by the Monitoring Officer in accordance with the council’s published Standards Arrangements. The other 6 outstanding complaints were to be assessed at meetings of the Assessment Panel that are to be held on 1 December 2016 and 9 January 2017.

Resolved – That the report be noted.

170     (12)   RENEWAL OF DISPENSATION – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report seeking the committee’s approval to renew the dispensation previously granted to all members by this committee on 6 November 2015 concerning motions relating to TATA Steel, now British Steel.

The Director informed the committee that the previous dispensation granted was that ‘The committee, exceptionally, considered it appropriate that a dispensation be granted to all members of the council to participate in the debate and vote on this motion pursuant to section 33 (2) (C) of the Localism Act 2011 and any related motions or items that come before the council for consideration.  This dispensation to apply for a period of twelve months unless rescinded earlier by the committee’.

That dispensation had now expired, and in light of the continued interest in the Scunthorpe site, now known as British Steel, and the likelihood that the council would continue to receive reports and debate items on its progress, the committee was asked to consider if they wished for the dispensation to be renewed.

Resolved – That pursuant to section 33 (2) (c) of the Localism Act 2011 the dispensation granted by the committee on the 6 November 2015 be renewed for a further twelve months.

171     STANDARDS MEDIATION SERVICE – The Monitoring Officer orally updated the committee following discussions on a proposed mediation service at its last meeting. Members had discussed the possibilities of establishing a ‘Mediation Service’ which would address deep rooted or difficult culture/relationship issues within Town and Parish Councils which were not likely to be resolved by standards complaints/investigations, and could cause Town and Parish Councils to operate ineffectively. A proposed ‘Mediation Service’ would be a proactive independent voice, would speak to all parties involved with a confidential tight focus and would aim to resolve matters which all parties would be bound by.

The service could be run by the council’s in-house officers from Human Resources already trained in mediation, and that appropriate charging mechanisms would be applied and recharged to the Town and Parish Councils using the service.  There was support for the introduction of such a service by ERNLLCA and the Council’s Independent Person.

Resolved – That a formal report be produced and submitted to a future meeting of the committee for its consideration and approval.