Agenda and minutes

Standards and Conduct Committee
Friday, 9th March, 2018 2.00 pm

Contact: Andy Hodson  Head of Governance & Scrutiny Support

Items
No. Item

1.

Appeals against refusal of inspection of documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 15.2 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an appeal the press and public will be excluded).

 

(*In accordance with Procedure Rule 15.2, written notice of an appeal must be received by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting)

Minutes:

There were no appeals against refusals of inspection of documents.

 

 

2.

Exempt Information - Possible exclusion of the press and public

1.  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

2.  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.

 

3.  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-

 

RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:-

Minutes:

There were no resolutions to exclude the public.

 

 

3.

Late items

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.  

 

(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)

Minutes:

There were no late items.

 

 

4.

Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary and Other Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-18 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.  Also to declare any other significant interests which the Member wishes to declare in the public interest, in accordance with paragraphs 19-20 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

5.

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence from the meeting.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors J Jarosz, A Sobel and C Townsley.

 

 

6.

Minutes - 3 March 2017 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 3rd March 2017.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on Friday, 3 March 2017 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

 

7.

Matters arising from the Minutes

Minutes:

It was confirmed that Parish and Town Council clerks had been given quarterly reminders to prompt their Members to review their Registers of Interest.

 

 

8.

Annual Report of the Standards and Conduct Committee pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To consider the report of the City Solicitor presenting to the committee an annual report relating to matters within the committee’s terms of reference and ask Members to refer the report to full Council for consideration.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the City Solicitor presented the Committee with an annual report relating to matters within the Committee’s terms of reference.  Council Procedure Rule 2.2 (f) stipulates that the annual report of the committee must be referred to full Council for consideration; this being to fully support the duty of the Authority to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by Members and Co-opted Members of the Council.

 

Members were asked to refer the report to full Council for consideration so that reassurances could be received as to how the Authority’s duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct (by Members and Co-opted Members of the Council) was being discharged.

 

Members’ attention was brought to the following:

 

·  Due to the anticipated election of a larger than normal number of new Members in the forthcoming elections, assurances were given regarding the training and induction programme.

·  Sensitive interests – it was reported that where requests from Members to withhold details of pecuniary interests from the public register of interests, that these were considered by the Monitoring Officer and granted where there were reasonable grounds to do so.

·  Proposed amendments to the Members Code of Conduct and Procedures for considering complaints – these were highlighted in appendices to the report.  Members were asked for their support to these amendments which could be implemented by the City Solicitor under delegated powers.

·  A consultation on local government ethical standards was being undertaken by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.  Members agreed that the Chair write to the Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life to highlight:

o  That local government could add value to the analysis of responses to the consultation and that Leeds City Council would be happy to assist and bring a local practitioner's input to these considerations, and recommend;

o  That consideration be given to the removal of the requirement for local elected members to be required to publically register their home address.  This being because there appears to be a growing trend to victimise local elected members and there appears no reason for local elected members to be treated any differently from MPs in this regard and;

o  That a parallel requirement for local government to that contained in the Ministerial Code be considered to prohibit former Councillors with direct knowledge and insight of decisions within a local authority from lobbying the authority of which they were a member for a period of two years.

·  Summary of Complaints – there were the same number of complaints as in the previous year with one complaint moved to the second stage of the complaints procedure before the complainant received a satisfactory outcome.

·  Proposed changes to the Social Media Guidance Note for Members.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)  That the matters set out in the annual report be referred to full Council for consideration.

(2)  That the proposed amendments for clarification proposed by the City Solicitor to the Members Code of Conduct and the Procedure for considering complaints be supported.

(3)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.