Agenda and draft minutes

Standards and Conduct Committee
Friday, 6th March, 2020 10.00 am

Contact: Andy Hodson  Head of Democratic Services

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.

 

 

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 exempt items.

 

 

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary or other interests.

 

 

5.

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence from the meeting.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors E Tunnicliffe, A Hussain and B Gettings. Councillors P Wray and A Hutchison were in attendance as substitutes.

 

 

6.

Minutes - 8 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To receive and approve the draft minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held 8th March 2019 be approved as an accurate record.

 

 

7.

Annual Report of the Monitoring Officer to the Standards and Conduct Committee pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To consider the report of the City Solicitor presenting the work carried out by the Monitoring Officer and her staff to support the committee throughout the year.  The report also demonstrates the ways in which the Authority has fulfilled its statutory duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct.

Minutes:

The City Solicitor submitted a report that presented the work carried out by the Monitoring Officer and her staff to support the committee throughout the year. The report also demonstrated the ways in which the Authority has fulfilled its statutory duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

-  Catherine Witham, City Solicitor

-  Andy Hodson, Head of Democratic Services

 

The Head of Democratic Services introduced the report, highlighting the following:

 

·  As part of the review of the Member Development Strategy, Members were advised that work is ongoing to strengthen Ethical Framework training across the Council. 

·  The current number of Leeds City Council members who have had their interests withheld from the public register due to threats to their safety had risen from 7 in 2018/19, to 21 (20 at the time of agenda publication) in 2019/20. In the main, home addresses had been removed from registers. Members were advised that the Local Government Association (LGA) are developing further guidance around intimidation in public life, in response to the increase of incidents across local government.

·  To address heightened concerns around the safety of elected members in Leeds, the Member Safety Task Force had been established, and a report providing an update on the work of the group is due to be submitted to the Member Management Committee meeting scheduled for 24 March 2020.

·  Following Parish and Town Council elections in May 2019, steps have been taken to ensure that clerks are prepared to support new Members to complete their registers of interests at the earliest opportunity.

 

The City Solicitor also wished for her thanks to Independent Member, Gordon Tollefson, to be noted, for his invaluable contributions throughout the year.

 

Members discussed a number of matters, including:

 

·  In response to a query in relation to the number of complaints received in comparison to other West Yorkshire authorities, Members were advised that legislation does not oblige local authorities to publish such information, and therefore details are not ordinarily publically available. A separate note would be circulated following the meeting with comparative data, along with details of informal complaints that do not proceed to the formal process.

·  Members noted the absence of addresses on ballot papers at the general election in December 2019. The Committee was advised that the legislation currently differentiates between local and general elections, and was assured that officers continue to pursue the matter with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

 

RESOLVED –

 

a)  That the contents of the report be noted;

b)  That the details requested during discussions be circulated following the meeting.

 

 

8.

Annual Report of the Committee to Full Council pdf icon PDF 130 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, requesting that Members refer the report to full Council for consideration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The City Solicitor submitted a report presenting to the committee an annual report relating to matters within the committee’s terms of reference, requesting that Members refer the report to full Council for consideration.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

-  Catherine Witham, City Solicitor

-  Andy Hodson, Head of Democratic Services

 

The Head of Democratic Services introduced the report, noting the requirement for the Committee to report annually to full Council.

 

RESOLVED –

 

a)  That the draft Annual Report to Full Council at Appendix 1 be approved, subject to minor amendments;

b)  That the Annual Report at Appendix 1 be referred to full Council for consideration.

 

The meeting ended at 10:30 a.m.