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Contact: Alan Maher
Declarations of Disclosable and Non Disclosable / Pecuniary Other Interests
Minutes PDF 142 KB
That the minutes of the
Standards and Personnel Appeals Committee held on 10 October 2016
be received and approved as a true record.
Members' Remuneration Scheme: Performance Related Element PDF 174 KB
The Committee was reminded that
the Independent Remuneration Panel had met earlier in the year to
review the Members’ Allowances Scheme. Following on from this
review, a new scheme had been approved by Council, in July
The Panel made a number of
recommendations, which had been incorporated into the scheme. In
particular, it had recommended the introduction of a Performance
Element (£500 of the total allowance). This meant that
Members would only receive their full allowances if they had
attended at least 70% of those formal meetings and training
sessions, which they were required to attend.
The report from the Monitoring
Officer set out the suggested process for administering Performance
Element payments. Under this, Members would have to explain why
they had not been able to attend a meeting or training session. If
they were absent for anything other than one of reasons set out in
the scheme, (such as illness or family domestic emergencies), then
their absence would be classed as ‘not excused’ and so
would not contribute to the 70% attendance figure. Conversely, when
a Member made it clear that they had been absent for one of the
legitimate reasons set out in the scheme then this would be classed
as an ‘excused absence’ which would contribute towards the number of meetings
they were required to attend.
Members noted that the
Committee had been given an important part to play in the process
by Council. The Committee would consider annually the attendance
figures for each Member. It would approve the Performance Element
for those Members who had attended a sufficient number of required
meetings and withhold it from those who had not.
The Committee discussed the
report. There was general support for the performance related
element in the allowance scheme and the requirement that this only
be paid to individual Councillors if they had attended at least 70%
of their required meetings and training sessions.
During the discussion a number
of practical concerns were raised about the suggested process for
administering the Performance Element. One of the key concerns was
about the criteria for determining acceptable and unacceptable
absences. A range of possible anomalies were discussed, such as
what might happen to those Members who could not attend a meeting
because they were Pre-Determined (or had already reached a firm
conclusion on an issue and so could not reach a decision based on
the information presented before them at a meeting) or had a
Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.
Concern was also raised about
absences that might occur when meetings are arranged at short
notice and cause unavoidable diary clashes. Similarly, the
Committee recognised that caring responsibilities sometimes make it
difficult to attend meetings. Members also felt that there should
be a requirement that those attending meetings ought to be there
for at least 51% of the time in order to qualify as having
The Committee discussed whether
Members should be entitled to a set period of annual leave, even if
this meant that they missed some meetings; ...
view the full minutes text for item 14.
Members Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest PDF 166 KB
Members were reminded that the
Council’s Code of Conduct requires them to declare
Disclosable Pecuniary Interests as well as Non Disclosable
Pecuniary or Other Interests. They were also told that under the
Localism Act 2011, local authorities can require their Councillors
to declare other interests, such as their membership of private
clubs or societies. It was explained that a significant number of
authorities now do this.
The report to Committee asked
Members to decide whether the Council’s Code of Conduct
should be amended so that Councillors have to disclose membership
of private clubs or societies.
The Committee discussed the
report and the approach taken by other local authorities. The point
was made that Councillors have to declare any relevant interests
and can face legal sanctions if they do not. The Committee also
recognised that this provision would be difficult to enforce, as by
its very nature the information was private. At the end of the
discussion the Committee concluded that, on balance, the Code of
Conduct ought to be amended, to require Councillors to declare
their membership of any private club or society. This would, it was
felt, help to improve the openness and transparency of elected
Members to local people.
That the Monitoring Officer
make the necessary changes to the Council’s Code of Conduct
to require Members to disclose their membership of private clubs or
societies and for these to be presented to Council for
To enhance the openness and
transparency of the Council’s elected Members.
Draft Member Development Strategy PDF 285 KB
The Committee next considered
the draft Member Development Strategy. The strategy had been
amended to take into account the various points made by the
Committee at its last meeting. The changes included pro-forma for
identifying Member training & development needs, post-course
evaluation and an additional emphasis on e-learning.
The Committee welcomed the
revisions to the draft strategy and agreed to support
That the Committee endorses the draft Member
That the draft Strategy be recommended to Council
Member Development is important
because it progresses the work of the Authority. The Member
Development Strategy will help to focus resources and make the best
use of Members’ time.
Quarterly Complaints Monitoring Report PDF 147 KB
The report to Committee
provided information on complaints of alleged Member misconduct and
the progress which had been made in assessing them, for the period
1 October 2016 to 2 December 2016.
The Committee was told that it
had not been possible to resolve the first case (ADC2016-01)
informally and that this would now be decided through a formal
investigation. The Committee was also told that additional
information would be required before an assessment could be made on
the second case. If this information had not been received by 16
December 2016 then no further action would be taken.
Finally, Members heard that a
new allegation had been received involving a Parish Councillor
(ADC2016-03). Information was still being gathered on
The Committee discussed the
report. Members reiterated their concerns about the length of time
which it takes to investigate complaints. In this context, specific
mention was made about how long it had taken to resolve the first
case. Members emphasised that the option of an informal resolution
ought to be explored as soon as possible, so that any investigation
could move on to the next steps, if needed. The Monitoring Officer
agreed to make the necessary changes to require this as part of the
forthcoming review of the Council’s constitution.
Cllr Helen-Ann Smith entered
the meeting at 8.07pm
The Committee also discussed
the Council’s process for dealing with complaints and how
this compares to those used by other authorities. Members agreed
that these approaches should be investigated further, to determine
what lessons could be applied to Ashfield.
That the Monitoring Officer investigates the
approach taken to complaints against Members adopted by other local
authorities and assesses how the best practice from these areas
might be applied to Ashfield.
That the Monitoring Officer reports back her
findings at the next meeting of the Committee (27 March
To reflect good