Venue: Committee Room, Council Offices, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield. View directions
Contact: Alan Maher
To receive apologies for absence, if any.
Councillors H.A. Smith.
Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary and Non Disclosable Pecuniary / Other Interests.
There were no declarations of interest
To Receive and Approve as a Correct Record, the Minutes of the Meeting held on Monday 11 January 2016. PDF 101 KB
The minutes of the Committee meeting held on
11 January 2016 were approved as a true record.
Annual Review. PDF 519 KB
The Committee was reminded that the Local
Government Association had carried out an ethical governance review
in 2014. The main conclusion of this review was that relationships
and standards of behaviour between some Members and Officers had
become unacceptable. The Association had made ten recommendations
to help improve matters. The report explained what action had been
taken on each of them since the last update to the Committee, in
July 2015. In particular, the report
pointed out that regular meetings of the group leaders now take
place. These had been formalised as the ‘Cross Party Update
Meeting’, with agreed terms of reference. These meetings were
intended to provide an opportunity for the leaders to discuss and
monitor the ethical conduct of their group members.
The report included a statistical analysis of
the complaints which had been received and how they had changed
over time. This showed that in overall terms the number of
complaints had gone down. Most of the recent complaints were from
the public about elected Members. A few were from Councillors
complaining about other Councillors.
Recently, none had been submitted by Officers complaining about
Members. It was noted that most complaints between Members tend to
be about ‘respect’ issues.
The Committee discussed the report. Members
generally welcomed the long term reduction in the number of
complaints and the fact that they currently do not involve
officers. The meeting was reminded that under the Member-Officer
protocol any complaints which Members have about Officers are
referred in the first instance to the Chief Executive and
investigated under the Council’s disciplinary policy.
The Committee also discussed what action can
be taken when complaints are found to be justified. Members
recognised that since the nationally determined changes to the way
in which the standards system works, local authorities no longer
have an array of sanctions which they can impose on Members who do
not behave appropriately, or fail to receive appropriate training
etc. The Committee recognised that although it was no longer
possible to suspend Members it is possible to publicly name them
through a censure sanction, which the Council has used.
The meeting also heard about what progress had
been made on training. They were reminded that mandatory training
on the Code of Conduct had taken place, which most Members had
attended. A follow-up session for those
few Members who had been unable to attend would be
arranged. The Committee was also
reminded that it had agreed that training on
‘Safeguarding’ issues should now be mandatory for all
Members. In this context a training session had been held in
February, with a further session planned for those who had been
unable to attend.
The Committee was reminded that a recruitment
exercise was carried out in the autumn to appoint two Co-opted
Members. This exercise had not proved successful and so was in the
process of being re-run.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Members
considered what further action they wished to take and especially
what further information that they would ... view
the full minutes text for item 26.
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, it explained that
no new complaints had been received since the last update, in
January 2016. Members were reminded that the two complaints under
investigation were nearing completion and that the 4 other
complaints had been assessed in early March. The Committee discussed the report. As part
of this discussion, they noted the reasons for delays, which were
often outside of the Council’s control.
That the Committee note the updated position
in respect of the Members’ Code of Conduct complaints for the
period 1 January 2016 to 4 March
To reflect good practice.
Annual Review of the Whistle Blowing Policy. PDF 135 KB
The Committee then considered a report which
set out how the Council’s ‘Whistleblowing Policy’
had operated over the last twelve months. Briefly, it explained
that only one incidence of whistleblowing had been brought to the
attention of the Monitoring Officer during this period. This
complaint related to the accuracy of time keeping and leave taking.
Members were also reminded that the policy had been comprehensively
updated in July 2015. However, some further technical changes would
now be required in order to reflect the Council’s
participation in the Central Midlands Audit Partnership, which the
Committee was asked to formally approve.
That the Committee notes the review of the Whistleblowing Policy
and how it has operated over the last twelve months;
That the Committee approves the revised policy annexed to the
To ensure that the Committee is adequately
informed to enable it to monitor the operation of the
Whistleblowing Policy. To ensure that the policy remains fit for
Politically Restricted Posts. PDF 262 KB
The Monitoring Officer explained that the
trade unions had raised no objections to the proposed list of
politically restricted posts. As a consequence, the Committee was
asked to now agree it as the definitive list. Members discussed the
report and agreed to the proposal.
That the Committee approves the list of
Politically Restricted Posts, in accordance with the requirements
of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and associated
regulations, as appended to the report.
To comply with the requirements of the Local
Government and Housing Act 1989 and associated regulations.