Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Monday, 10th October, 2016 4.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming. View directions

Contact: Ema Dearsley  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

6.

Minutes

To agree as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting of the Panel held on 13 June 2016 (to be laid on the table half-an-hour prior to the meeting).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 June 2016 were confirmed and signed.

7.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors David Else, Jeanette Stennett and John Williamson.

8.

Disclosure of Interests

To receive from members, declarations of interest in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting in accordance with the Waverley Code of Local Government Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

 

PART I – RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL

 

Background Papers

 

Unless specified under an individual item, there are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to the reports in Part I of these minutes.

 

9.

Review of Member Code of Conduct, Arrangements for Dealing with Standards Allegations and Councillors' Planning Code pdf icon PDF 66 KB

As requested at the 13 June 2016 meeting of the Standards Panel and subsequently agreed at Council meeting on 19 July 2016, this report sets out a number of suggested changes to the Waverley ‘Member Code of Conduct’, ‘Arrangements for dealing with Standards Allegations’ and ‘Councillors Planning Code of Good Practice’. 

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Standards Panel

 

1.    notes any comments or observations received from the Council’s designated Independent Persons on the three revised documents; and

 

2.    agrees, subject to any changes they wish to make, to recommend to Council changes to be made to the Waverley ‘Member Code of Conduct’, ‘Arrangements for dealing with Standards Allegations’ and ‘Councillors Planning Code of Good Practice’.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

[NB Cllr Jerry Hyman attended the meeting and spoke on this item].

 

9.1       The Localism Act gave Councils an explicit duty to promote and maintain high standards of Member conduct. It obliged the Council to adopt a Code dealing with the high standard of conduct that is expected of Members when acting in their official capacity.

 

9.2       At its meeting on 13 June 2016, the Standards Panel recommended to Council that the Waverley ‘Member Code of Conduct’, ‘Arrangements for dealing with Standards Allegations’ and ‘Councillors Planning Code of Good Practice’ be reviewed by the Monitoring Officer in light of examples that had come forward and advice that had been given.  Council agreed that recommendation on 19 July 2016. 

 

9.3       That review has now taken place and this report sets out a number of suggested changes.  The existing versions of all three documents are attached as Annexes 1-3 to this report with suggested amendments highlighted in red. 

 

9.4       The proposed changes have also been shared with the Council’s three designated Independent Persons and any feedback from them will be shared with members at the meeting.  If, subject to any changes they recommend, Members of the panel resolve to put forward these changes, they will be considered by the Council on 18 October 2016.  

           

9.5       Annexes 1-3 to these minutes set out the text of the existing documents with all suggested amendments highlighted in red.  The following tables summarise the key changes that have been put forward both by officers, an Independent Person and raised by Members of the Standards Committee.

 

            Table 1 – Amendments to Waverley Code of Conduct

 

Where

What

 

Why

Paragraph 1

That individuals may seek advice from the Monitoring Officer or Deputy Monitoring Officer about whether the code of conduct applies in any given situation. 

To manage expectations and to encourage early consultation and communication with the Monitoring Officer or Deputy Officer which will often enable early and informal resolution of issues. 

 

Paragraph 2

Explicit statement on keeping Waverley Exempt documents confidential.

 

For the avoidance of doubt. 

Paragraph 2

Clarification that bullying or harassment is not acceptable under the code. 

 

The Committee also requested that Intimidation be added to this list.

In the interests of transparency.   To make explicit what is already referred to by cross-references between this code and the member/officer protocol.  In line with best practice advice

 

Paragraph 5

Clarification that detail needs to be given in respect of interests registered and that the register needs to be updated if circumstances change. 

 

The Committee requested that the word “promptly” be added so that any changes be done as soon as possible.

To promote public transparency.  To support the Monitoring Officer in providing advice to members on the implications of their interests.  In light of issues encountered by the previous Monitoring Officer and lessons learnt as a result.

Paragraph 5 (and DPI annexe)

Clarification that disclosable pecuniary interests refer to past and potential future matters as well as present ones. 

 

In line with best practice advice.  In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

PART II - MATTERS OF REPORT

There were no matters falling under this category