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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1

Contact: Democratic Services Tel: 01684 272021  Email:  democraticservices@tewkesbury.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

11.

Announcements

When the continuous alarm sounds you must evacuate the building by the nearest available fire exit. Members and visitors should proceed to the visitors’ car park at the front of the building and await further instructions (during office hours staff should proceed to their usual assembly point; outside of office hours proceed to the visitors’ car park). Please do not re-enter the building unless instructed to do so.

 

In the event of a fire any person with a disability should be assisted in leaving the building.

Minutes:

11.1           The evacuation procedure, as noted on the Agenda, was advised to those present.  

12.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

12.1           Apologies for absence were received from Councillor P D Surman and Independent Person, Mr M Jauch.

13.

Declarations of Interest

Pursuant to the adoption by the Council on 26 June 2012 of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct, effective from 1 July 2012, as set out in Minute No. CL.34, Members are invited to declare any interest they may have in the business set out on the Agenda to which the approved Code applies.

Minutes:

13.1           The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct which was adopted by the Council on 26 June 2012 and took effect from 1 July 2012.

13.2           There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.

14.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 September 2017.  

Minutes:

14.1           The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 September 2017, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.  

15.

Review of Local Government Ethical Standards pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider whether to make a response to the Local Government Ethical Standards Consultation and, if so, to delegate authority to the Borough Solicitor/Monitoring Officer to finalise the response in consultation with the Chair of the Standards Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

15.1           The report of the Monitoring Officer, circulated at Pages No. 4-18, invited Members to consider submitting a response to the consultation being undertaken by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in response to its review of local government ethical standards.  

15.2           The Committee was reminded that the current standards regime had been introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Changes made at that time saw the abolition of Standards for England, which had dealt with serious allegations of Councillor misconduct, and local authorities being given the freedom to adopt their own local Code of Conduct (including statutory requirements in respect of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests). In addition, local authorities were required to make and maintain their own arrangements for dealing with any allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct by their Councillors and, in the case of District Councils, Parish Councillors. The previous sanctions of disqualification and suspension of Councillors in respect of serious breaches were removed, although new criminal sanctions were introduced for breaches of the statutory requirements on Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

15.3           The Terms of Reference for the review included: to examine the structures, processes and practices in local government in England for a) maintaining the Codes of Conduct for local Councillors, b) investigating alleged breaches fairly and with due process, c) enforcing codes and imposing sanctions for misconduct, d) declaring interests and managing conflicts of interest and e) whistleblowing; to assess whether the existing structures, processes and practices were conducive to high standards of conduct in local government; to make any recommendations for how they could be improved; and to note any evidence of intimidation of Councillors and make recommendations for any measures that could be put into place to prevent and address such intimidation. It would also examine the role of the Independent Person, introduced by the Localism Act 2011, whose views had to be taken into account before an authority took a decision in relation to any complaints against Councillors that had been investigated.

15.4           The public stakeholder consultation was open for responses until 18 May 2018 and the Committee for Standards in Public Life was seeking concise submissions from a wide range of stakeholders including all tiers of local government. It was interested in current arrangements and in views as to what changes could be made to improve local authority ethical standards. The eleven questions contained within the consultation were attached to the report at Appendix 1 and, at Appendix 2, the Monitoring Officer had set out some initial comments to each question for discussion by Members in considering what response the Council may wish to make to the consultation. It was the intention that the Monitoring Officer would frame the views into a letter as the Committee had asked for quite short submissions.

15.5           The following comments were made in respect of each consultation question:

                  a) Are the existing structures, processes and practices in place working to ensure high standards of conduct by local Councillors? If not, please say why and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Separate Business

The Chairman will move the adoption of the following resolution:

That under Section 100(A)(4) Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

Minutes:

16.1           The Chair proposed, and it was  

                  RESOLVED          That, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act                               1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following                              items on the grounds that they involve the likely discussion of                                     exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the                               Act.

17.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 18 September 2017.

Minutes:

17.1           The separate Minutes of the meeting held on 18 September 2017, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.  

18.

Code of Conduct Complaints

(Exempt –Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 – Information relating to any individual) 

 

To consider an update report on complaints received. 

Minutes:

(Exempt –Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 – Information relating to any individual) 

18.1           The Committee considered an update report on complaints received.