Link to homepage

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices, Avon Room

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

Items
No. Item

7.

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:

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

8.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

8.1             Apologies for absence were received from Tewkesbury Borough Councillors M Dean (Vice-Chair) and P E Smith; and Independent Person M Jauch

9.

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:

9.1             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.

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

10.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 276 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meetings held on 24 September 2018, 28 May 2019 and the special meeting held on 26 July 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

10.1           The Minutes of the meetings held on 24 September 2018, 28 May 2019 and the special meeting held on 26 July 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as correct records and signed by the Chair subject to the following amendments:

·         28 May 2019 – the Membership of the Committee needs to be updated.

·         26 July 2019 – D J Horsfall should not be in the attendance as he gave his apologies.

11.

Update on Review of the Standards Regime pdf icon PDF 153 KB

To consider the attached report following the review of the conduct regime by the Committee on Standards in Public Life

Additional documents:

Minutes:

11.1          The report of the Monitoring Officer, circulated at Pages No. 9-20, informed the Committee of the outcome of the review into local government ethical standards by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Members were asked to note the report and consider the Council’s response to the best practice recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

11.2          The Monitoring Officer explained that the current conduct regime had arisen from the Localism Act 2011 which had introduced significant changes to the way in which the conduct of elected Members was handled. This had seen the removal of the national Code of Conduct, the Standards Board and the sanctions to suspend or disqualify Councillors from Office. Instead, the post 2011 regime had placed a duty on Councils to adopt their own Code of Members’ Conduct, to put in place procedures to investigate complaints about breaches of the Code by Councillors, including Parish and Town Councillors, and to appoint at least one Independent Person. In 2018, the Committee on Standards in Public Life had undertaken its review and considered that robust arrangements were needed to safeguard local democracy, maintain high standards of conduct and protect ethical practice in local government.

11.3          The Committee on Standards in Public Life consultation period had run from 29 January to 18 May 2018, and the Standards Committee had made a response which was set out at Appendix 1 to the report. The view of the Committee at that time was that, whilst the Council had low incidents of complaints and contraventions of the Code, which showed it was doing the job it had set out to do, one of the flaws with the system was that there were no robust sanctions available.  The Committee had felt there ought to be more meaningful sanctions e.g. suspension or deduction of allowances rather than the current censure, requesting an apology or limiting a Councillor’s access to a Committee or Council meeting. Despite the Council not having any particular issues with Councillors’ behaviour, the Committee had felt this ought to be considered, particularly as there had been an incident whereby a Parish Councillor had been reluctant to apologise despite being asked to do so and Members had been uncomfortable that there were no robust measures that could be taken. In terms of the Council’s Register of Interests, the Monitoring Officer indicated that she had made a separate consultation response to express the view that the current requirements to disclose data about a Councillor’s spouse or civil partner did not comply with Data Protection Regulations – she had not received a response to the specific issue she had raised but the Committee on Standards in Public Life had included in its review, consideration of Interests.

11.4          26 refinements had been recommended by the Committee on Standards in Public Life – although it had found the current system worked well overall – and those were listed at Appendix 2 to the report. Many of them required changes to the law  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

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:

12.1           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.

13.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 24 September 2018.

Minutes:

13.1           The separate Minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2018, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.