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Contact: Alan Maher
Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary and non-Disclosable Pecuniary / Other interests
There were no declarations of
Minutes PDF 137 KB
The minutes of the meeting held
on Monday 14 March 2016 were approved as a true record.
Standards and Personnel Appeals Committee - Work Plan 2016/17 PDF 155 KB
The report to
Committee set out the proposed Work Plan for the 2016/17 municipal
year. The Council’s Monitoring Officer, Ruth Dennis,
explained, that this would focus on the Committee’s core
areas of responsibility - standards of behaviour, monitoring
complaints and ‘whistleblowing’.
considered each of the suggested work items. They heard that as
part of the proposed update report on the implementation of the LGA
recommendations and the assessment of their impact, the Committee
would be asked to consider whether we should appoint Co-opted
Members and also the retention of Independent Persons. The
Committee was reminded that two recruitment exercises to appoint
co-opted members had been carried out. Unfortunately, these had not
been successful and the posts currently remained vacant.
noted that it would receive an update on the Member Development
Strategy and Programme. In particular,
it would be asked to consider proposals to
‘personalise’ the programme, between now and the next
District local elections, in 2019. The aim behind this change would
be to provide bespoke support to Members to help them with those
areas of development which they required or would benefit most
from. The Committee was informed that some specific proposals were
being developed in consultation with Human Resources and these
would be submitted to the Committee at its October
As part of the
Work Plan the Committee would be asked to consider whether a policy
was required on Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for all
elected Members. What other local authorities have done will be
researched and some specific proposals brought to the Committee, in
then noted that it would be asked to consider the Members
Allowances Scheme – and in particular how the Performance
Related Element should operate. The Committee was reminded that
this requires Members to attend most of the Council meetings and
the meetings of those Committees to which they had been appointed
in order to receive their full allowance.
discussed briefly this issue. They emphasised just how important it
would be to apply a consistent approach, especially in determining
when there were legitimate grounds for missing meetings. At the
same time they also emphasised that those with chronic medical
conditions should not be disadvantaged if they were unable to
attend as many meetings because of their conditions.
Committee noted that it would be asked to consider the issue of
‘Secret Societies’ as part of the Work Plan. In
particular, it would be asked to consider whether the Code of
Conduct ought to be amended to require all Members to declare their
membership of secret societies. The Committee agreed that some
suggested wording now be prepared and submitted to its December
Committee approves the Standards and Personnel Appeal Committee
Work Plan for 2016-17.
To reflect good
Quarterly Complaints Monitoring Report PDF 73 KB
The report to
Committee provided information on complaints of alleged Member
misconduct and the progress which had been made in assessing them.
In particular, the Monitoring Officer explained that two
outstanding complaints had been assessed. The first had been seen
as having sufficient grounds for it to be considered by a Members
Hearing. The Committee would be informed of the arrangements for
this shortly. The second had been assessed as not requiring any
further action. The Committee noted this.
heard that since the Committee had received its last update, in
March 2016, two new complaints had been received which required
assessment. These complaints involved
Member complaints (rather than complaints from the public) and were
interrelated. Carrying out investigations into them would
not necessarily produce a
satisfactory outcome and other options were being explored. However
the Committee was told that it may still be necessary to carry out
investigations if the other options were not
Dennis told the Committee that she had been contacted by three
members of the public about potential complaints, but these had not
been submitted at this stage.
discussed the report. As part of this, Members considered the types
of complaints which are received from the public, especially around
planning issues. They also discussed briefly the arrangements for
the hearing that was required. All in
all, the Committee thought that good progress had been made in
assessing the outstanding complaints and welcomed the prospect that
there may even be no outstanding complaints by the near
notes the updated position in respect of Members Code of Conduct
complaints as set out in report.
Members with other roles which might conflict with their role as a Councillor PDF 226 KB
was asked to consider this discussion paper. The paper made it
clear just how important it was to make Members aware of any
potential conflicts of interest which they may have - and
especially any conflicts of interest they might have when carrying
out their roles as District Councillors and these other roles. In
particular, it was pointed out that there were potential conflicts
of interest for those Members who were elected to serve on both
Ashfield District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. These
conflicts could also arise when Members have employment or business
interests which might cause some sensitivities when they were
taking part in the business of the Council.
context, the Committee heard and discussed some examples of when
this had occurred, including those involving Members becoming
‘predetermined’ (or unable to speak or take part in the
discussion or decision) on planning applications because of their
made clear that the Committee would not have to develop any new
policies. Rules had been established for how Councillors should
behave when faced with conflicts of interest. These were based on
the Seven Principles of Public Life determined by the Nolan
Committee. The Seven Principles had been incorporated into the
Council’s own Members Code of Conduct. The Committee was reminded that under these
principles Councillors should not disclose information which had
been given in confidence to them, or to disclose any confidential
information which they have acquired.
asked how to take this forward and in particular, whether they
wanted to produce some further clarification or guidance on dealing
with conflicts of interest.
discussed the paper. During this discussion specific concern was
raised about the need for clarity about when they could and could
not share information. It was made
clear that under the Data Protection Act Members should only use
information for the purpose which it was intended – or in
other words to enable them to carry out their roles as District
Councillors. Consequently, they should
not share this information with the public or other third parties,
such as parliamentarians.
reminded that the Council has an established process for dealing
with MPs enquiries, which should be followed. The Committee felt it
important that Members ought to be clear when they are not acting
in their capacity as a Councillor – such as when they are
representing Members of Parliament or others. The Committee also
felt it important that Officers be supported, so that they can
challenge and seek clarity when this role was unclear.
conclusion of the discussion the Committee agreed that it would be
a good idea to produce a briefing / guidance note. In addition, the Committee thought that it would
be helpful to arrange a training session for those Members serving
on more than one authority after the County Council elections had
taken place, in May 2017.
That a guidance
note be produced on how to deal with other roles which
view the full minutes text for item 5.