Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee
Tuesday, 12th January, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Media

Items
No. Item

27.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Members.

Minutes:

There were no apologies received on this occasion.

28.

Substitute Members

To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.

 

Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications.

 

Minutes:

There were no substitute members on this occasion.

29.

Declarations of Interests

Councillors are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations received on this occasion.

30.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting held on 6 October 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2021 were agreed as a true and correct record.

Voting: unanimous

31.

Public Issues

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution, which is available to view at the following link:-

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeID=151&Info=1&bcr=1

The deadline for the submission of public questions is 4 clear working days before the meeting.

The deadline for the submission of a public statement is midday the working day before the meeting.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

No issues have been received on this occasion.

32.

Review of Register of Gifts and Hospitality pdf icon PDF 274 KB

This report provides details of the Register of Gifts & Hospitality for councillors for the year 2019/20.

The Standards Committee has responsibility for considering an annual report on the register and to make any comments and/or recommendations concerning the register as it considers appropriate.

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

This report provides details of the Register of Gifts & Hospitality for councillors for the year 2019/20.

The Standards Committee were advised that it had responsibility for considering an annual report on the register and to make any comments and/or recommendations concerning the register as it considered appropriate.

It was RECOMMENDED that:

(a)    the Committee reviewed the Register of Gifts & Hospitality for Councillors; and

(b)    the introduction of a quarterly publication of declarations in accordance with the Best Practice Recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life be supported.

Voting: Unanimous

33.

Code of Conduct Complaints - Review pdf icon PDF 166 KB

This report provides Members with an update on complaints regarding alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct against councillors received or concluded since the last meeting in October 2020.

The Committee is responsible for maintaining high standards of conduct by Members of BCP Council and the Town and Parish Councils, monitoring the operation of the Code of Conduct, and considering the outcome of commissioned independent investigations.

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'B' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

The Committee was provided with an update on complaints regarding alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct against councillors received or concluded since the last meeting in October 2020.

The Committee was advised that it was responsible for maintaining high standards of conduct by Members of BCP Council and the Town and Parish Councils, monitoring the operation of the Code of Conduct, and considering the outcome of commissioned independent investigations.

RESOLVED that the outcome of concluded complaints and the progress of those still outstanding be noted.

Voting: Unanimous

34.

Consideration of Report in Respect of Complaint about a Councillor pdf icon PDF 135 KB

This report provides the Standards Committee with the conclusions of the investigation following complaints made about Councillor Peter Hall. The investigator’s report is attached at Appendix 1. The conclusion of the investigator is that there was no evidence to support the allegations and that Councillor Hall was not acting in his capacity as a councillor.

The Committee is asked to consider the investigator’s report and accept the recommendations.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

The Standards Committee were advised of the conclusions of the investigation following complaints made about Councillor Peter Hall. The investigator’s report was attached at Appendix 1. The conclusion of the investigator was that there was no evidence to support the allegations and that Councillor Hall was not acting in his capacity as a councillor.

The Committee was asked to consider the investigator’s report and accept the recommendations.

The Committee was advised that all the correct procedures had been followed and the issue had been addressed immediately.  There was no evidence of collusion. 

RESOLVED that the findings and recommendations of the independent investigator be accepted.

Voting: Unanimous

35.

Local Government Association - Model Councillor Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 227 KB

The Local Government Association has produced a New Model Member Code of Conduct which is appended to this report at Appendix 1.

The Standards Committee is responsible for monitoring the Code of Conduct and for making recommendations to Full Council on any changes to the Code.

The Committee is asked to note the new Code at this stage but to invite interested parties and other stakeholders to provide comment on the Council’s existing Code and the LGA Model Code, in accordance with the best practice recommendations of the Committee for Standards in Public Life.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'D' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

The Local Government Association had produced a New Model Member Code of Conduct which was appended to this report at Appendix 1.

The Standards Committee was responsible for monitoring the Code of Conduct and for making recommendations to Full Council on any changes to the Code.

The Committee was asked to note the new Code at this stage but to invite interested parties and other stakeholders to provide comment on the Council’s existing Code and the LGA Model Code, in accordance with the best practice recommendations of the Committee for Standards in Public Life.

The Committee welcomed the report and were in support of the recommendations.   

The Committee felt that on the availability of the model Code of Conduct, it should be presented to this Committee as soon as possible, to allow recommendations to be made to Full Council.  If the published timetable of meetings did not fit in with this process, an extraordinary meeting may need to be arranged.

RECOMMENDED that:

(a)    the Local Government Association Model Councillor Code of Conduct be welcomed and the committee await the outcome of the Government consideration of the Committee for Standards in Public Life recommendations;

(a)    the comments of parish and town councils, community organisations, neighbouring authorities and other interested parties, individuals and stakeholders be invited on both the Council’s existing Code of Conduct and the LGA’s Model Councillor Code of Conduct; and

(b)    a further report be presented to the next meeting of the Committee in April 2021 with the outcome of (a) and (b) above and an update on the associated work of the Constitution Review Working Group.

Voting: Unanimous