Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee - Monday, 14 March 2022 2.00 p.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, Kendal Town Hall, Kendal

Contact: Adam Moffatt  Legal, Governance and Democracy Specialist

Items
No. Item

S/15

Minutes pdf icon PDF 208 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11 October 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2021.

S/16

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/17

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 excluded items on the Agenda.

S/18

Appointment of Parish Representative

To note that Councillor Leith Hallastch (Windermere Town Council) has been elected as the Chair of Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) and to consider his nomination to the Standards Committee as Parish Council co-optee.  For Members information, at its last meeting, the Committee noted that following the end of Parish Councillor David Peters’ term as the Chairman of CALC, the new Chair of CALC, once appointed, would be invited to join the Standards Committee as one of the Parish Council co-optees (and in the event that the Chair was unable to take up the position, an alternative Parish Council co-optee would be sought).

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That Councillor Leith Hallastch, in the capacity of Chair of Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC), be appointed as a Parish Council Co-Optee to the Standards Committee.

S/19

Annual Report 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To consider the Annual report for 2020/2021 for a referral to Full Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

S/20

Code of Conduct Complaints pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To consider the report of the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) with regards to complaints under the Council’s Standards Arrangements from April 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) presented the report and noted that as of the meeting of the Committee there were no outstanding issues. All matters that had been brought to attention had been discussed with the Independent Person and all the relevant parties had received correspondence. The last matter which had been brought to attention had also been discussed with the Independent Person and it was decided that no further action was required. External legal assistance had been utilised for a number of complaints, which had proved helpful.

 

It was asked if complainants had been satisfied with the resolutions and Members were advised that there had been no further issues raised regarding the resolutions.

 

There was discussion around the requirements and process for seeking external legal assistance. Members were advised that the process was to speak with the Independent Person and go through all the information, assessing it against the code of conduct and filtering it to decide whether any further action was required or not.

 

It was then considered what would happen to future complaints that would not have been resolved by the final day of South Lakeland District Council on 31 March 2023. Members were advised this consideration would be looked into, but that the plan would be to have all matters resolved by then.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

S/21

Review of Dispensations - Public Participation pdf icon PDF 246 KB

To consider the report of the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) with regards to Review of Dispensations regarding Public Participation.

 

Minutes:

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) presented the report and noted that Members were familiar with it as it was the same as previous with a view to extending it for a further year.

 

There was discussion around how the terms compared to those of other councils due to join the Westmorland and Furness Unitary Authority. Members were informed this was being discussed through the Joint Committee and was currently at draft stage, taking into account the new Local Government Code.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

S/22

Standards Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To consider the Committee’s Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the work programme and proposed that it be kept as simple as possible.

 

Discussion commenced regarding the training of Councillors in the new Westmorland and Furness Unitary Authority. Members were advised that discussions had begun regarding such training. Training would be by Officers, as well as a session run by the Local Government Association on what it would be like to be a Unitary Councillor. There would be a need for Members to understand the additional services offered by the Unitary Authority, such as Children Services, and Members input would be vital regarding their requirements. Consideration would be given to Member training at the first meeting of the Shadow Authority. It was further confirmed that sovereign training for Members would continue until the end of South Lakeland District Council.

 

RESOLVED - That the Standards Committee’s Work Programme be noted.

S/23

Local Government Reorganisation

To consider any updates regarding Local Government Reorganisation (verbal report).

Minutes:

Members were advised that Joint Committee meetings were due to start shortly and a lot of work had been undertaken to compile reports ahead of deadline. A lot more work would need to be done ahead of vesting day for Westmorland and Furness Unitary Authority, and part of that was Standards, including the Code of Conduct.

 

Discussion commenced regarding the calendar of meetings and Members were advised they, along with prospective Councillors would be made fully aware of the calendar. They were also advised that at the first meeting of the Shadow Authority the constitution would be provided and it was recommended Members kept up to date with the progress of the Joint Committee.

 

Members discussed the continued necessity to work closely with sovereign Parish Councils.

 

RESOLVED – That the verbal update be noted.