Standards Committee 22 November 2017
Chairman: Councillor Poole
Venue: Function Room 1, Civic Centre, Scunthorpe
Time: 2 pm
EMail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 12 July 2017 as a correct record and authorise the chairman to sign.
4. Renewal of Dispensation.
5. Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman – Annual Review Letter 2017
6. Disqualification Criteria for Councillors and Mayors – Consultation on Updating Disqualification Criteria for Local Authority Members.
7. Complaints Schedule – Update.
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: Governance & Partnerships 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
190 DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY, PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – Cllr Poole declared a personal interest as a licensee/landlord, minute 194 refers.
191 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of this committeeheld on 12 July 2017, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.
192 (3) RENEWAL OF DISPENSATION – The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted a report requesting that the Standards Committee consider renewing the dispensation granted to all members on 6 November 2015, subsequently renewed on 23 November 2016, concerning motions relating to British Steel (subsequently TATA Steel).
The Monitoring Officer explained that the committee had granted a dispensation in November 2015 to enable all members of the council to participate in a motion concerning TATA Steel, now British Steel, at a meeting of full council. This dispensation was extended for a further 12 months by the committee in November 2016 to enable all members to discuss and debate issues relating to the steel industry. The terms of the dispensation were set out in the report. As the renewed dispensation was due to expire on 23 November 2017 the committee was asked to consider whether to grant a further dispensation, taking into account the continuing interest in British Steel and the likelihood that the council will continue to discuss relevant issues.
Resolved – That pursuant to section 33 (2) (c) of the Localism Act 2011, the dispensation granted by the committee on 6 November 2015, and subsequently renewed on 23 November 2016, be renewed for a further twelve month period.
193 (4) LOCAL GOVERNMENT & SOCIAL CARE OMBUDSMAN – ANNUAL REVIEW LETTER 2017 – The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted the Annual Review Letter from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman summarising the number of complaints and enquiries received about North Lincolnshire Council in the 2016/17 time period, and the decisions subsequently taken. It was confirmed that the number of complaints was broadly in line with previous years, with the majority of the complaints and enquiries either referred back for local resolution or closed after initial enquiries.
Resolved – (a) That the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Annual Review Letter 2017 be noted, and (b) that relevant officers be invited to a future meeting of the Standards Committee to discuss the council’s complaints processes in more depth.
194 (5) DISQUALIFICATION CRITERIA FOR COUNCILLORS AND MAYORS – A CONSULTATION ON UPDATING DISQUALIFICATION CRITERIA FOR LOCAL AUTHORITY MEMBERS – The Director: Governance and Partnerships presented a consultation document that was co-ordinated by the Department for Communities and Local Government. This document set out the current disqualification criteria for local authority members and posed a number of questions seeking views regarding the possibility of extending these criteria to those members subject to the notification requirements set out in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, subject to a Sexual Risk Order, or subject to a number of anti-social behaviour orders, notices and powers.
The Chairman led a detailed discussion on the questions set out in the consultation document, with the committee debating each in turn.
Resolved – (a) That a suitable response be drafted, setting out the committee’s conclusions, (b) that this be agreed by the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chairman, and (c) that this be returned to the Department for Communities and Local Government, copying in all committee members.
195 (6) COMPLAINTS SCHEDULE – The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted a report updating the committee on progress made with complaints received.
It was confirmed that all complaints had been dealt with and there were no outstanding actions required.
Resolved – That the report be noted.
196 ANY OTHER ITEMS – The Chairman invited the Monitoring Officer to update the committee on any relevant issues. The Monitoring Officer confirmed that two training sessions on standards for Town and Parish Councils had been arranged and were due to take place on 30 November and 5 December 2017. All members of the Standards Committee had been invited to observe and participate.
The Monitoring Officer also described a forthcoming review of standards in local government, led by Dr Jane Martin CBE of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. It was confirmed that the committee would be kept informed of this work.
The Monitoring Officer informed the committee that officers from North Lincolnshire Council were assisting in the investigation of a standards complaint submitted to a neighbouring local authority.
Resolved – That the Monitoring Officer update be noted.