Venue: Council Chamber, Catmose, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HP. View directions
Apologies were received from Mr G Grimes.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
In accordance with the Regulations, Members are invited to declare any
disclosable interests under the Code of Conduct and the nature of those
interests in respect of items on this Agenda and/or indicate if Section 106 of
the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.
Members were invited to declare any disclosable interests under the Code of Conduct and the nature of those interests and/or indicate if Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applied to them.
No such declarations were received.
To confirm the minutes of the Conduct Committee held on 16 February 2015,
The minutes of the Conduct Committee meeting held on 16 February 2015 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman.
PETITIONS, DEPUTATIONS AND QUESTIONS
To receive any petitions, deputations and questions received from members
of the public in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule 93. The
total time allowed for this shall be 30 minutes. Petitions, deputations and
questions shall be dealt with in the order in which they are received.
Questions may also be submitted at short notice by giving a written copy to
the Committee Administrator 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.
The total time allowed for questions at short notice is 15 minutes out of the
total time of 30 minutes.
Any petitions, deputations and questions which have been submitted with
prior formal notice will take precedence over questions submitted at short
notice. Any questions which are not considered within the time limit shall
receive a written response after the meeting and be the subject of a report to
the next meeting.
Notice had been given to present a deputation, this was withdrawn by the Chairman as the applicant was not present at the meeting.
No other petitions, deputation or questions had been received in relation to items listed on the agenda for this meeting.
To note the terms of reference, number of places and voting places, membership and dates of meetings of the Conduct Committee.
a) The terms of reference, number of places and voting places, membership and dates of meetings were NOTED by the Committee.
To receive Report No.161/2016 from the Monitoring Officer.
Report No. 161/2016 was received from the Monitoring Officer.
The Monitoring Officer, Mrs D Mogg, introduced the report the purpose of which was to consider and endorse the appointment of Councillor Adam Lowe as a Parish Council representative on the Conduct Committee prior to approval by Full Council on 12 September 2016.
During discussion the following points were noted:
i) The Monitoring Officer noted Councillor Crombie’s (Uppingham Town Council) contribution to the Committee as Town Council Representative;
ii) Each of the 3 Town Councillors that came before the selection panel were asked a series of questions intended to draw out an understanding of the underlying principles of the ethical standards expected of Councillors and the role of the Conduct Committee. The panel members scored each answer independently; each panel member then collated the scores and only then were the results shared with the other panel members. The outcome was that each panel member had independently scored Councillor Lowe as the highest and therefore preferred candidate;
iii) Members were disappointed that more Town Councillors did not come forward and felt that this could be addressed by speaking to the relevant Town Councils regarding the way in which Members can be nominated when such vacancies occur;
iv) It was confirmed that there had been a significant number of complaints in recent months originating from Oakham Town Council, some of these complaints were still being investigated, whilst others had not been significantly serious to warrant further action. Some Councillors on the Committee felt that they were unable to endorse the appointment as they were aware of the complaints that had been put forward;
v) The selection panel were not aware of any determination against Councillor Lowe that would justify diverting from the outcome of the selection process described above;
vi) Having a representative from Oakham Town Council could be positive for the Conduct Committee. Should the Town Council Representative be conflicted in any matter coming before the Committee he would be required to declare this and would not take part in this part of the meeting in the usual way; and
vii) A review of the selection process may be appropriate should Members feel unable to support the decision of the selection panel.
The Conduct Committee RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL the appointment of Councillor Adam Lowe of Oakham Town Council to the Conduct Committee.
The recommendation was approved by a vote of 3 members in favour and 3 members abstaining.
In accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule 11, paragraph 2 – Recording of Votes - Mr Gale requested that his abstention from voting for this recommendation be recorded.
To receive Report No. 171/2016 from the Monitoring Officer.
Report No. 171/2016 was received from the Monitoring Officer.
The Monitoring Officer, Mrs D Mogg, introduced the report the purpose of which was to inform the Committee of the work associated with the Code of Conduct during 2015/16 and the work planned for 2016/17.
During discussion the following points were noted:
i) The register of interests for all Parish/Town and County Councillors had been received and they were all published on the Website;
ii) Procedures have been agreed for dealing with complaints regarding breach of the Code of Conduct. The Monitoring Officer would be reviewing these procedures and would bring a report back to the Committee in March 2017;
iii) The Monitoring Officer requested that the Committee note the contribution and work of the Independent Persons who work closely with Officers dealing with any complaints and give their time on a voluntary basis;
iv) The Monitoring Officer aims to resolve informally in line with the approved procedures in order to avoid excessive costs;
v) Working towards offering training and guidance to Clerks around Governance aspects in the creation of Neighbourhood Plans;
vi) Members were asked to consider whether the report as presented provided sufficient information, or whether in the interests of transparency there should be more detail including the nature of the complaint and the name of the Councillor involved. Members were of the view that the Monitoring Officer should use her discretion in order to decide when the nature of the complaint justified the publication of more specific details; and
vii) It was proposed that future annual reports should include details of the cost of external investigations and cost of Rutland County Council Staff time in dealing with complaints, the Committee were in approval of this proposal.
1) The Committee NOTED the content of the Report; and
2) The Committee APPROVED the improvements to future annual reports listed above; in particular the inclusion of details of cost to the Council in dealing with complaints.
ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS
To consider any other urgent business at the discretion of the person
presiding provided that it has been previously notified to him.
No other items of urgent business had been notified to the Chairman.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
7 March 2017