Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Georgian Room, Kendal Town Hall

Contact: Paul Rogers 

Items
No. Item

S/14

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 22 September 2014 (copy attached).

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 22 September 2014.

S/15

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To receive declarations by Members and/or co-optees of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests.  (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)

 

Members may, however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

 

If a Member requires advice on any item involving a possible declaration of interest which could affect his/her ability to speak and/or vote, he/she is advised to contact the Monitoring Officer at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no declarations of interest were made.

S/16

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXCLUDED ITEMS

To consider whether the items, if any, in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there were no items in Part II of the Agenda.

S/17

COMPLIMENTS, CUSTOMER FEEDBACK AND COMPLAINTS RECEIVED DURING 2014/2015 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To receive an update on the number of complaints and compliments received during 2014/2015.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director Policy and Performance presented a report which updated Members on the number of complaints and compliments received during 2014/2015. In response to a Member’s question, he informed the Committee that 20 compliments had been received in 2013/2014 compared to 38 compliments received during 2014/2015 which was more positive than the previous year. He further informed Members that Management Team, departments and staff teams were informed of compliments received and he would ensure that in future, Portfolio Holders were also notified. He emphasised that Investors in People Assessors took account of compliments received by the Council. With regard to a query about more information being made available on the nature of complaints, he advised the Committee that he would provide additional information for the next meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

S/18

CODE OF CONDUCT COMPLAINTS pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To consider the report of the Monitoring Officer with regard to complaints received under the Council’s Standards Arrangements since September 2014.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented a report with regard to complaints received under the Council’s Standards arrangements since September 2014. She emphasised that the number of complaints received since the last meeting was very low.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

S/19

PLANNING CODE OF CONDUCT pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider the draft Planning Code of Conduct.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Solicitor to the Council presented a report which requested Members to approve the Planning Code of Conduct, thereby complying with best practice. The Code would assist the Council in making robust planning decisions and reduce the risk of successful legal challenge in the courts or before the Local Government Ombudsman.

 

A Member drew attention to Members’ attendance at public meetings where proposed developments were consulted upon by developers. Members were of the view that local residents expected Ward Members to attend such events. The Solicitor to the Council advised that should Members become involved in detailed discussions or negotiations with developers, they should excuse themselves from the subsequent decision making process.

 

In response to a query about dual-hatted Members, the Solicitor to the Council stated that he would add in section 3.3 of the draft Code, a reference to membership of Parish/Town Councils.

 

RESOLVED – That the Planning Code of Conduct be approved in principle for recommendation to Council, subject to any recommendations put forward by the Planning Committee.

S/20

REVIEW OF THE COUNCIL'S STANDARDS ARRANGEMENTS pdf icon PDF 145 KB

To consider the Council’s Standards arrangements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented a report which requested the Committee to consider the Council’s Standards Arrangements. She advised, that since the revised arrangements had been operating, the number of complaints had been minimal and the hearings procedures had not, therefore, been fully tested.

 

With regard to the Parish co-optee arrangements and the two remaining vacancies, it was suggested that an approach be made to the Chairman of Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) with a view to the Chairman becoming a co-optee member of Standards Committee and that the maximum number of co-optees on the Committee be reduced to two.

 

Discussion was held around the membership and terms of reference of the Committee. It was proposed, but not supported by the Committee, that the Standards Committee membership should comprise representatives from all the political parties and, therefore, not be politically balanced. All Members of the Council would have had to agree to this had it been recommended.

 

It was noted that the whistle blowing policy and its overview was monitored by the Audit Committee and that it should remain solely with that Committee and not duplicated by Standards Committee.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)       the Council’s Standards arrangements as set out in the report be noted; and

 

(2)       the Chairman of Cumbria Association of Local Councils be invited to apply to become a co-optee of the Committee.

S/21

ANNUAL REPORT 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To consider the draft Annual Report for 2014/15.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented the draft Annual Report 2014/15 for consideration and referral to Council.

 

RESOLVED – That the Annual Report 2014-15 be approved for referral to Council.

S/22

STANDARDS COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To consider the Committee’s Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented the Committee’s rolling Work Programme.

 

RESOVED – That the Work Programme be noted.