Agenda and draft minutes

Audit & Governance Committee
Thursday 7th October 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF. View directions

Contact: Helen Burt 

Media

Items
No. Item

343.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Oliver-Redgate, Northeast and Goodheart.

 

344.

Declarations of Interest

            Members and Officers are reminded 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 officer should make their declaration by stating :

a) the application they have the interest in

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

c) the nature of the interest

d) if it is a prejudicial or pecuniary interest, whether they will be exercising their right to speak to the application

 

Minutes:

            There were no Declarations of Interest made.

 

 

345.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 169 KB

To approve as a correct record of the Minutes of the meeting of the Audit & Governance Committee held on xx xxxx xxxx as attached/as previously circulated.

Minutes:

            The Minutes of the meeting held on 29 July 2021 were approved by the Committee. These would be signed at the end of the meeting.

 

346.

Public Question Time

To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes).

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that no questions were submitted for this meeting.

 

347.

Review of Handling of Pagham Petition pdf icon PDF 479 KB

Following debate of a petition on 14 July 2021 the Petition Organiser has requested that the Committee reviews the steps that the Council has taken in response to their petition.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            Upon invitation of the Chair, the Deputy Monitoring Officer introduced his report, he explained that the purpose of the item was to consider allegations from the Petition Organisers that the complaint had not been handled properly. He clarified that at the time of the events being discussed he was the Interim Monitoring Officer, and when the Petition Organisers referred to the Monitoring Officer, it was him they were referring to. He drew Members’ attention to Page 22 of the agenda, an email dated 15th July from the Petition Organisers, which he read out. He confirmed that the Petition Organisers were given until 1st September to submit the additional paperwork referred to in the email, however this had not been done. There were 3 items of complaint contained in the email from the Petition Organisers, these being the Monitoring Officer did not mention modification when the reply was being presented at Full Council on 14th July; issues around costs of compensation; and the Monitoring Officer had failed to release documents.

 

            The Deputy Monitoring Officer highlighted Page 26 onwards of the Agenda Pack, which showed all the information provided to the Petition Organisers in response to their Freedom of Information request. This showed which of the signatures submitted to the Council were valid, and which were invalid. He gave examples of invalid signatures which were from people in places such as Aberdeen, Barnsley, USA etc. It showed out of the 2000 signatures, almost half were invalid. It would have been clear to the Petition Organisers that some people signing the petition were from out of the area.

 

            The Deputy Monitoring Officer then addressed the second allegation, that the Monitoring Officer had failed to mention modification when delivering the response to the presentation at Full Council. He thought this was a strange allegation, as in their own Statement of Case, the Petition Organisers had only ever mentioned revocation (as show in Page 19), and the Monitoring Officer had mirrored their wording, which did not include modification.

 

            The third allegation was that the Monitoring Officer had misled Members in relation to the question of compensation. He confirmed the Petition Organisers had failed to identify a figure for compensation. The developer had identified what they would consider applying for, and the QC confirmed the figure could be considerable.

 

           

The Chair then handed over to the Vice-Chair who thanked the Deputy Monitoring Officer for the clear report. He also thanked the Full Council Committee Manager for producing the excellent Minutes of the 14 July 2021 Full Council Meeting. Minute 113 showed that he, as the Chair of the Planning Committee, had stated that he would be responding to the petition in terms of the way it was written, and not how it had been presented at the meeting. He felt Mr Rawlins had betrayed the trust placed in him by the people that had signed the petition, by speaking differently to the wording of the petition. He commended the patience and sense of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 347.