Agenda and minutes

Standards
Thursday 25th July 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: CR1 (Pink Room) Arun Civic Centre

Contact: Jane Fulton 

Items
No. Item

123.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Bennett and Edwards.

 

124.

Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are invited to make any declarations of pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests that they may have in relation to items on this agenda, and are reminded that they should re-declare their interest before consideration of the item or as soon as the interest becomes apparent.

 

Members and Officers should make their declaration by stating:

 

a)            the item that they the interest in

b)            whether it is a pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interest

c)            the nature of the interest

 

Minutes:

There were no Declarations of Interest made.   

125.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 393 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 31 January 2019, as attached.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 31 January 2019 were approved by the Committee as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

126.

Start Times

The Committee is asked to consider its start times for meetings during 2019/20.

Minutes:

The Committee

 

RESOLVED

 

That the start time of meetings for the remainder of the municipal year be 6.00pm.

 

127.

Local Government Ethical Standards pdf icon PDF 339 KB

The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) is an advisory public body sponsored by the Cabinet Office.   They advise the Prime Minister on ethical standards across the whole of public life in England.  They also monitor and report on issues relating to the standards of conduct of all public office holders.

 

The CSPL undertook to review the effectiveness of the arrangements for the conduct of elected councillors, introduced through the Localism Act 2011, once they had bedded in.  Their review was undertaken over 2018 and they published a report including a series of recommendations in January 2019.

 

This report considers the best practice recommendations made by the CSPL that are directed to local authorities.  At this stage, it does not consider the recommendations made to the Government as these will be the subject of later consideration and debate once any consultation or guidance is issued in response to the CSPLs report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) was established to advise the Prime Minister on ethical standards across the whole of public life in England.  They act as an advisory public body sponsored by the Cabinet Office.   They also monitor and report on issues relating to the standards of conduct of all public office holders.

 

The CSPL undertook to review the effectiveness of the arrangements for the conduct of elected councillors, introduced through the Localism Act 2011.  Their review was undertaken over 2018 and they published a report including a series of recommendations in January 2019.

 

The Committee was presented with a report from the Group Head of Council Advice and Monitoring Officer which considered the best practice recommendations made by the CSPL that had been directed to local authorities.  Whilst the report highlighted the recommendations made to Government by the CSPL, it did not consider these in any detail as they would be the subject of later consideration and debate once any consultation or guidance was issued in response to the CSPLs report.

 

In presenting the report, the Group Head of Council Advice and Monitoring Officer drew Members’ attention to Appendix 4 which highlighted those areas for discussion by the Committee.  This confirmed that seven of the fifteen best practice recommendations were already practices within Arun’s procedures.   In considering any proposals for change, the Committee was also asked to confirm what consultation they wished to see happen before revised drafts of the Code of Conduct and Local Assessment Procedure were brought back to the Committee.

 

The other issue drawn to the Committee’s attention was whether, in considering proposals for change from the CSPL’s best practice recommendations, that the opportunity was taken to review the principles of Arun’s Code of Conduct to reflect the revised definitions developed by the CSPL.  

 

The Committee then turned to the areas for consideration in the best practice recommendations and the outcomes of their discussions are set out in Appendix 4, attached to the Minutes.

 

Having concluded its discussions, the Committee

 

RESOLVED - That

 

(1)      the areas for change in the Members’ Code of Conduct and the Local Assessment Procedure be agreed, as set out in Appendix 4 attached to the minutes;

 

(2)      the review of the Code of Conduct should consider updating the “Principles of the Code of Conduct” against the latest wording for the Seven Principles of Public Life;

 

(3)      consultation be undertaken with Town & Parish Councils in considering any areas for change; and

 

(4)      the Group Head of Council Advice & Monitoring Officer should bring back a revised draft of the Members’ Code of Conduct and Local Assessment Procedure to a future meeting, taking account of the areas for change.

 

128.

Assessment Panel Decision pdf icon PDF 313 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Group Head of Council Advice and Monitoring Officer advising Members of the outcome of the Assessment Panel’s investigation into complaints made against Councillor Richard Bower, an Arun District Councillor.           

 

            The Committee

 

                        RESOLVED

 

That the decisions of the Assessment Panel be noted.

 

129.

Exempt Information

The Committee is asked to consider passing the following resolution:-

 

            That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and accredited representatives of newspapers be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it may involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 and Part 5 of Schedule 12A of the Act by virtue of the paragraph specified against the item.

 

Minutes:

The Committee

 

   RESOLVED 

 

That under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and accredited representatives of newspapers be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it may involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act by virtue of the paragraph specified against the item.

 

130.

Register of Assessments of Complaints Against Councillors (Exempt - Paragraph 1 - Information Relating to Any Individual)

The Committee is asked to consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Group Head of Council Advice and Monitoring Officer which updated Members on the complaints made against Councillors received over the past two years.

 

The Committee’s attention was drawn to the proposal for a public register of complaints to be introduced which could be published via the Committee to the Council’s website. 

 

Following discussion, the Committee agreed to defer a decision regarding publication of the complaints register.  The Monitoring Officer agreed to carry out further research to inform the Committee and to report back at the next meeting.

 

The Committee then

 

RESOLVED - That

 

(1)      the Register of Complaints against Councillors be noted; and

 

(2)      any decision regarding the publication of a complaints register be deferred until the next meeting.