PRESENT: Mr W Harvie (in the chair), Councillors England, Poole, Robinson, Wells and Whiteley.
Mrs Y Aubrey and Mr D Cuckson (vice-chairman).
The committee met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe
270 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS - Councillor Wells declared a personal interest in minute 273 as a member of Barnetby Parish Council and of ERNLLCA’s executive.
271 MINUTES - Resolved - That the minutes of the meeting of this committeeheld on 1 December 2011, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.
272 (6) COMPLAINTS UPDATE - The Monitoring Officer submitted a report updating the committee on progress made with complaints received.
Four complaints were still to be concluded and the Monitoring Officer summarised action currently being taken and scheduled to be taken to address these. He also reported that two further complaints had now been received against members of a town council. These complaints would be considered by an Assessment Sub-Committee on the rising of this meeting.
Resolved - That the report be noted.
273 (7) THE LOCALISM ACT 2011 – Further to Minute 269, the Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report which updated the committee on changes being introduced to the “Standards regime” by the Act and highlighted the key issues that the council would have to determine in readiness for implementation of the new regime.
The date for the implementation of the new arrangements was now expected to be 1 July 2012.
The key issues identified in the report were: -
Whether the council should set up a Standards Committee and, if so, what role if any Town and Parish Councils would have in such arrangements;
The content of a Code of Conduct;
The requirement that the Monitoring Officer establishes a register of members’ interests, including those of Town and Parish Council members, which is kept at the Council’s offices and is available for inspection on its website;
The arrangements for dealing with standards complaints and for taking action where breaches of the Code of Conduct were found;
The appointment of Independent Person(s), the arrangements for their appointment, and whether the posts should be remunerated;
Whether to adopt a procedure rule providing that a member withdraw from any meeting where they have a disclosable personal interest in any matter under consideration, and
The arrangements to be adopted for granting dispensations.
The Director indicated that he intended to submit a report to Council on 21 February 2012 recommending, amongst other things, the formation proportionally of a Committee of Council, comprising some or all elected members of the current Standards Committee, to settle the necessary terms of appointment for the Independent Person(s) and to advertise, shortlist and interview and recommend appointment thereto by Council, and to work with the Monitoring Officer to form recommendations to Council on the other key issues identified in the report.
Resolved – (a) That the report be noted; (b) that the committee supports and requests the council to establish proportionally a Committee of Council, comprising some or all elected members of the current Standards Committee, to settle the necessary terms of appointment for the Independent Person (s) and to advertise, shortlist and interview and recommend appointment thereto by Council, and to work with the Monitoring Officer to form recommendations to Council on the other key issues identified in the report; (c) that the Monitoring Officer continues to disseminate relevant information on the Standards related provisions of the Act to Town and Parish councils within North Lincolnshire, and (d) that appropriate reports on the key issues identified in the report be presented to council for consideration and determination.