Agenda item

Motion 1

To consider a notice of motion proposed by Councillor David Martin and seconded by Councillor Lee Waters, as follows:-

 

“This Council welcomes the fact that Ashfield District Council has one of the most robust, vigorous Codes of Conduct governing Councillors in the country.  It is our strong belief that any official elected to public office should be bound by a strict set of rules to ensure the public have confidence in their councillors ability to best represent the interests of all residents.

 

This Council further notes that this Council’s Standards and Personnel Appeals Committee led our response to a consultation by the Local Government Association.  This consultation was to develop a uniform Code of Conduct for every local authority in the country.  Part of this Council’s submission included the lack of penalties for those who break the code and the fact that social networking wasn’t included in any Code of Conduct.

 

This Council notes that Councillors work to far higher standards than Members of Parliament.

 

This Council believes that the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament needs modernising and take into account the use of social media where the messages transmitted must be truthful.  We further believe that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards the ability to apply sanctions. 

 

We call for the bullying of officers, members of local authorities and the public to be taken seriously with the ability of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to apply sanctions. 

 

All options for sanctions available for breaches of the Code of Conduct must include apology, censor and a period of disqualification.  This includes all elected politicians including Parish and Town Councillors, District, Borough, and County Councillors and Members of Parliament.

 

That this Council writes to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards asking that a full review of the MP’s Code of Conduct is undertaken, to bring into force a code that is at least equally as rigorous as a Councillor’s Code of Conduct which will hold MPs to account for their behaviour both in Parliament and outside.”

 

Motion 2

To consider a notice of motion proposed by Councillor Tom Hollis and seconded by Councillor John Wilmott, as follows:-

 

“Throughout the height of the pandemic Ashfield District Council, both members and officers worked day and night to help the homeless of this district.

 

This included offers of accommodation to every rough sleeper and those threatened with rough sleeping. Due to the Council’s close working with Framework’s street outreach initiative more people presented themselves to the authority therefore, this was a greatly elevated number. Councillors and officers even went that extra mile to ensure the properties were furnished and then delivered meals in order to assist those in need.

 

This is in complete contrast to the actions of the Conservative MPs who represent wards of Ashfield. Both MPs in January of this year voted in Parliament against restoring funding for local housing allowances and £100M a year for emergency accommodation.

 

Ashfield Independents put forward the motion to ask this council to write to both MPs, Lee Anderson and Mark Spencer asking them to work with this Authority to positively improve the quality of life for the homeless and to prevent loss of life in our community of Ashfield. Further, to use their position within Government to bring the national homeless strategy more in line with the experiences suffered by rough sleepers using Ashfield as an example.”

 

Motion 3

To consider a notice of motion proposed by Councillor Jason Zadrozny and seconded by Councillor Dale Grounds, as follows:-

 

“This Council notes the positive difference that Ashfield District Council made to so many lives during the COVID-19 Lockdown.  We are incredibly proud of the efforts of all staff and volunteers of this authority.

 

This includes being the only Council in Nottinghamshire to have maintained a full waste collection service.  In fact, this Council offered an enhanced service with the ‘Bag It’ and ‘Skip into Summer’ campaigns – the only Council in the country to have done this.

 

This Council also paid out nearly £20million in business grants in quick time, we answered over 40,000 enquiries from residents, dealing with tens of thousands of problems. We ensured that our Housing Tenants continued to receive an excellent service with all emergency checks done and the vast majority of housing repairs done.  Whilst many, bigger Councils went into lockdown.  Ashfield District Council went into overdrive.

 

This Council would like to place on record its thanks to each and every member of staff in the Ashfield District Council family.  We note that in uncertain many of our staff put their lives at risk to continue to provide the services that residents desperately needed. 

 

Never before has the importance of local Councils like Ashfield been demonstrated than during the current Coronavirus Pandemic.  They worked alongside other key organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable received continued service.  This Council welcomes the fact that preparatory work has already been started by the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Scrutiny Panel for a permanent memorial to all key workers.

 

This Council is bitterly disappointed that Nottinghamshire County Council have now started the process of scrapping Councils like Ashfield District Council.  Our brave workers are being rewarded by the Conservatives by being told their jobs are under threat.  This Council is hugely concerned about the lack of engagement from the County Council.  They only engaged with Chief Executives of the seven authorities in the County at the last minute.

 

This Council notes that the Leaders of all 7 Boroughs and Districts in Nottinghamshire are against these proposals.  Now is not the time for a massive reorganisation of local councils.  Mass reorganisation at this time risks scarce resources being diverted away from the Covid recovery and other vital public services.

 

We therefore call for the Chief Executive and Leader of Ashfield District Council to write to:

 

  • The Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Council
  • The Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

 

To express that this Council is firmly against any proposals to scrap Ashfield District Council and the six other Boroughs and Districts in Nottinghamshire.”

Minutes:

The Council received a notice of motion moved by Councillor David Martin and seconded by Councillor Lee Waters as follows:-

 

“This Council welcomes the fact that Ashfield District Council has one of the most robust, vigorous Codes of Conduct governing Councillors in the country.  It is our strong belief that any official elected to public office should be bound by a strict set of rules to ensure the public have confidence in their councillors ability to best represent the interests of all residents.

 

This Council further notes that this Council’s Standards and Personnel Appeals Committee led our response to a consultation by the Local Government Association.  This consultation was to develop a uniform Code of Conduct for every local authority in the country.  Part of this Council’s submission included the lack of penalties for those who break the code and the fact that social networking wasn’t included in any Code of Conduct.

 

This Council notes that Councillors work to far higher standards than Members of Parliament.

 

This Council believes that the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament needs modernising and take into account the use of social media where the messages transmitted must be truthful.  We further believe that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards the ability to apply sanctions. 

 

We call for the bullying of officers, members of local authorities and the public to be taken seriously with the ability of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to apply sanctions. 

 

All options for sanctions available for breaches of the Code of Conduct must include apology, censor and a period of disqualification.  This includes all elected politicians including Parish and Town Councillors, District, Borough, and County Councillors and Members of Parliament.

 

That this Council writes to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards asking that a full review of the MP’s Code of Conduct is undertaken, to bring into force a code that is at least equally as rigorous as a Councillor’s Code of Conduct which will hold MPs to account for their behaviour both in Parliament and outside.”

 

During consideration of the motion, an amendment was moved by Councillor Lauren Mitchell, seconded by Councillor Keir Morrison, to remove the first three paragraphs of the motion to re-read as follows:-

 

“This Council believes that the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament needs modernising and take into account the use of social media where the messages transmitted must be truthful.  We further believe that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards the ability to apply sanctions. 

 

We call for the bullying of officers, members of local authorities and the public to be taken seriously with the ability of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to apply sanctions. 

 

All options for sanctions available for breaches of the Code of Conduct must include apology, censor and a period of disqualification.  This includes all elected politicians including Parish and Town Councillors, District, Borough, and County Councillors and Members of Parliament.

 

That this Council writes to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards asking that a full review of the MP’s Code of Conduct is undertaken, to bring into force a code that is at least equally as rigorous as a Councillor’s Code of Conduct which will hold MPs to account for their behaviour both in Parliament and outside.”

 

Having been debated and put to the vote, the amendment to the motion duly fell.

 

The original motion was then put to the vote and it was

 

RESOLVED

that the Council writes to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and asks that a full review of the MP’s Code of Conduct is undertaken, to bring into force a Code that is at least equally as rigorous as a Councillor’s Code of Conduct which will hold MPs to account for their behaviour both in Parliament and outside.

 

(At this point in the proceedings and in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 30, it was moved by Councillor Jason Zadrozny and seconded by Councillor Helen-Ann Smith that Procedure Rules 10 (Duration of Meeting) and 23 (Conclusion of Proceedings) be suspended, for the duration of the meeting, to enable all matters on the agenda to be satisfactorily concluded.  Having been put to the vote, the Council agreed with this course of action.)