Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Georgian Room, Kendal Town Hall

Contact: Committee Services 

Items
No. Item

S/1

Minutes pdf icon PDF 147 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 17 April 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 17 April 2018.

S/2

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members 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 raised.

S/3

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 are no excluded items on the agenda.

S/4

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To note the Terms of Reference for the Standards Committee, as attached.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Terms of Reference for the Standards Committee be noted.

S/5

Local Government Ombudsman Annual Review 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To receive the Annual Report of the Local Ombudsman for 2017/18 and the Summary of Complaints received since April 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented the Annual Report of the Local Government Ombudsman for 2017/18 which indicated that there had been a positive downward trend in Ombudsman complaints.  The Council continued to work hard to resolve any complaints that did arise before any referral to the Ombudsman.

 

On 19 September 2017 (Minute S/4 2017/18 refers), the Committee had asked for a summary version of the compliments, customer feedback and complaints to be included as part of the Local Government Ombudsman Annual Report each September, with the full report being presented to the April meeting in each year.  The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) provided a verbal update advising that, between April and the end of August 2018, a total of 63 complaints had been received.  In the same period there had been 27 in 2017 and 40 in 2016.  The response rate was 6.1 days where the target was ten days, which was a slight improvement on the previous year.  52% of the complaints received to date were in relation to waste and recycling collection issue, particularly in the first three months of the year; there were no other significant trends.  Topics included planning enforcement, Council Tax collection, parking machine problems, width of parking spaces and litter bins.  Seven cases had escalated to Stage 3, relating mainly to planning issues.  13 compliments had been received during the period.

 

Members acknowledged that the number of complaints were statistically low and felt that what was of importance was a swift response by the Council on receipt of complaints.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be received.

S/6

Code of Conduct Complaints pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) with regards to complaints under the Council’s Standards Arrangements from April 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented a report regarding complaints received under the Council’s Standard Arrangements since April 2018.  She informed the Committee that three complaints had been considered since April and one awaited additional information.  Two other complaints had been closed.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

S/7

Register of Disclosable Pecuniary and Other Interests pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To review the register of disclosable pecuniary and other interests for District Council Members and Co-optees for the period to September 2018.

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented a report which reviewed the Register of Disclosable Pecuniary and Other Interests for District Council Members and Co-optees for the period to September 2017 to September 2018.

 

In May 2018, there had been all-out district elections to implement the revised changes to the ward boundaries.  Consequently, all 51 Members elected at the elections on 3 May 2018 had been asked to either complete a new form or, if re-elected, to confirm that there had been no changes to their register of interests.  Code of Conduct training had also been provided, having been offered to all Members and parish councillors.

 

All 51 register forms had been received or updated, and were available for inspection.

 

In response to a query, the Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) and Solicitor to the Council confirmed that training was regularly offered, via parish clerks, to all parish councillors.

 

RESOLVED –That the report and review be noted.

S/8

Parish Registers pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To review the register of disclosable pecuniary and other interests for Parish Councillors for the period to September 2017 to September 2018.

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented a report which reviewed the Register of Disclosable Pecuniary and Other Interests for Parish Councillors for the period to September 2017 to September 2018.

 

In May 2018, there had been five parish elections, in Dent, Garsdale, Kendal Town Council, Natland and Sedbergh, and a by-election for a vacancy on Ulverston Town Council.  The new parish/town council members had been requested to complete a register form, and all parish clerks had been reminded to ensure that their members’ registers were up to date.  Register forms had been received from all newly-elected parish councillors.

 

Members welcomed a positive report.

 

RESOLVED – That the report and review be noted.

S/9

Employee Register of Interests and Gifts and Hospitality pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To review the register of interests and gifts and hospitality for employees for the period September 2017 to September 2018.

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented a report reviewing the Register of Interests and Gifts and Hospitality for Employees for the period September 2017 to September 2018.  In the last twelve months, no significant hospitality had been received.  She informed the Committee of a small number of hospitality events and three token gifts received by members of staff, all of which had been declared.

 

RESOLVED – That the report and review be noted.

S/10

Standards Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 370 KB

To consider the Committee’s Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) presented the Standards Committee Work Programme for May 2018 to May 2019.  This was a rolling programme which would be reviewed as the year progressed.

 

Discussion took place on training for Standards Committee Members and the potential for a mock hearing, to be held jointly with neighbouring authorities.  In addition, it was suggested that Independent Persons and Parish Co-optees on Standards Committees be also invited to attend the training for the experience.  The Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) undertook to discuss this proposal with the Monitoring Officer at Cumbria County Council.

 

RESOLVED – That the Work Programme be noted.