Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee
Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: LH 0.06 - Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3NG. View directions

Contact: Nancy Barnard 

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Vice Chair

Minutes:

RESOLVED to appoint Councillor Wendy Smith as Vice Chair for the 2019/20 Municipal Year.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Malcolm Townroe, Director of Legal and Governance and Monitoring Officer

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2018, for confirmation.

Minutes:

The Committee confirmed the minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2018 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair.

5.

The Role of the Standards Committee and the Independent Person pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nancy Barnard, Governance and Electoral Services Manager, introduced the report which had been provided for information due to the majority of members being new to the Committee. The report outlined the role of the Committee in dealing with complaints that Councillors or Co-opted Members had breached the Council’s Code of Conduct, introduced Nigel Cullen, the Council appointed Independent Person and outlined his role in the complaints process, and covered the Committee’s wider role in upholding and maintaining Nottingham City Council’s ethical standards framework for Councillors and Co-opted Members.

 

During the discussion that followed a report to Audit Committee which referred to the Council’s ethical framework was raised as an item of potential relevance to this committee. Colleagues agreed to seek further information on the report and, if relevant, bring it back to a future meeting of this committee.

 

RESOLVED to:

 

a)  note the content of the report;

 

b)  request that the Governance and Electoral Services Manager seek the following further information relating to the ethical standards issues raised in the report to Audit Committee:

i)  the issues identified,

ii)  the substance of those issues,

iii)  the actions taken in response.

 

c)  bring the matters raised in the report to Audit Committee back to this committee for consideration if relevant.  

 

 

 

6.

Councillor Complaints - Update pdf icon PDF 205 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nancy Barnard, Governance and Electoral Services Manager introduced the report which updated the committee on progress in dealing with existing complaints made about Councillors and new complaints made since the last update to the Committee in December 2018. Four cases were investigated during that time three of which were resolved informally. A fourth case remains open and is being dealt with by the Monitoring Officer who will determine how to proceed.

 

RESOLVED to note the update.

7.

COMMITTEE ON STANDARDS IN PUBLIC LIFE - FINDINGS OF THE REVIEW INTO LOCAL GOVERNMENT ETHICAL STANDARDS pdf icon PDF 231 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nancy Barnard, Governance and Electoral Services Manager, introduced the report highlighting the following points:

a)  In the Spring of 2018 the Committee for Standards in Public Life (CSPL) conducted a review of ethical standards in local government. This Committee responded to the CSPL’s consultation in March 2018.

b)  The CSPL has now published its findings which include 26 recommendations to central government and 15 best practice items for Local Authorities to consider adopting.

The Committee considered the proposed responses to the 15 best practice items identified by the CSPL which sought to ensure that high levels of ethical standards are maintained. A number of the best practice items are already in practice in Nottingham and two were not applicable due to their concerning Parish Councils.

 

The Committee noted that the changes to the Code of Conduct would require amendment of the Constitution and therefore would need to be approved by Council before they can be implemented.

 

RESOLVED to

 

i)  Recommend that Council amends the Council’s Code of Conduct for Councillors and Co-opted Members (the Code) to

·  include definitions of bullying and harassment,

·  require Councillors to comply with formal investigations into breaches of the Code.

 

ii)  Bring the Code to the first meeting of the Standards Committee of each Municipal year for review.

 

iii)  Move the Councillor Conduct page to a more prominent position on the Council’s website.

 

iv)  Email all councillors reminding them of the need to declare all Gifts and Hospitality with a value of £50 or more.

 

v)  Amend the councillor complaints procedure to include the following information to be published alongside any decision notice following a formal complaint hearing – a brief statement of facts, the provisions of the Code engaged by the allegations, the view of the Independent Person, the reasoning of the decision maker, and any sanction applied.

 

vi)  Refer the best practice item relating to bodies that are owned by the Council to the Monitoring Officer in order for it to be considered as part of the current review of Company Governance.

 

 

8.

Date of next meeting

To agree a date in March 2020 for the next scheduled meeting of the Committee

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Governance and Electoral Services Manager liaise with the Chair of the Committee to agree the date of the next meeting once the information referred to in minute 5 has been obtained.