Minutes for Standards Committee (replaced by Councillor Conduct Committee ) meeting, Nov 25 2008, 7.30PM official page
Venue: Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XAItems No. Item
WELCOME AND APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Members of the Committee are invited to identify any personal or prejudicial interests relevant to items on the agenda. A definition of personal and prejudicial interests has been attached for members’ information.
There were no declarations of interest received in respect of the items set out on the agenda.
To receive and confirm the minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 8 October 2008.
AGREED that the minutes of the last meeting held meeting on 8 October 2008 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.
To receive a report from the Assistant Director of Corporate Governance advising the Committee of a Government Consultation Paper on revisions to the members’ code of conduct. The paper was published on 1 October and responses are required by 24 December 2008.
The consultation paper entitled “Communities in control: Real people, real power - Codes of conduct for local authority members and employees” is attached to the agenda the covering report will be circulated shortly.
REPORT TO FOLLOW
RECEIVED a report from the Assistant Director of Corporate Governance advising the Committee of a Government Consultation Paper on revisions to the members’ code of conduct. The paper was published on 1 October and responses are required by 24 December 2008.
The consultation paper entitled “Communities in control: Real people, real power - Codes of conduct for local authority members and employees” was attached to the agenda the covering report was circulated before the meeting.
1. The Standards Committee considered the questions in the consultation paper in detail.
(1) That the Standards Committee response for submission by 24 December 2008 is set out below.
Do you agree that the members’ code should apply to a member’s conduct when acting in their non-official capacity?
Yes but further clarity required.
Do you agree with this definition of ‘criminal offence’ for the purpose of the members’ code? If not, what other definition would you support, for instance should it include police cautions? Please give details.
Agree with definition.
Do you agree with this definition of ‘official capacity’ for the purpose of the members’ code? If not, what other definition would you support? Please give details.
Agree with definition.
Do you agree that the members’ code should only apply where a criminal offence and conviction abroad would have been a criminal offence if committed in the UK?
Yes. Will this information however be available to the member’s authority?
Do you agree that an ethical investigation should not proceed until the criminal process has been completed?
Yes, as there has to be a conviction. Any appeals process however could be lengthy and the delay may ultimately prejudice the ethical investigation. The question also arises as to whether a member should be suspended if convicted. Depending on the nature of a serious offence it could be appropriate to suspend the member. The Standards Board for England would need to put a mechanism in place for the suspension of members.
Do you think that the amendments to the members’ code suggested in this chapter are required? Are there any other drafting amendments which would be helpful? If so, please could you provide details of your suggested amendments?
Agree amendments. Paragraph 2.30 was particularly welcome.
Are there any aspects of conduct currently included in the members’ code that are not required? If so, please could you specify which aspects and the reasons why you hold this view?
Are there any aspects of conduct in a member’s official capacity not specified in the members’ code that should be included? Please give details.
Does the proposed timescale of two months, during which a member must give an undertaking to observe the members’ code, starting from the date the authority adopts the code, provide members with sufficient time to undertake to observe the code?
Why not a shorter ... view the full minutes text for item 593.
To note that the President of the Adjudication Panel (Standards Board for England) has issued guidance on the circumstances in which the Adjudication Panel would consider accepting a reference from a standards committee. A copy of that guidance is attached for information.
NOTED that the President of the Adjudication Panel (Standards Board for England) had issued guidance on the circumstances in which the Adjudication Panel would consider accepting a reference from a standards committee.
To receive a briefing paper from the Chairman providing feedback from the Standards Board Annual Conference.
NOTED a briefing paper from the Chairman providing feedback from the Standards Board Annual Conference.
The Council on 12 November 2008 received a report from the Assistant Director of Corporate Governance on Standards Committee – Local Assessment and Investigations. A copy of the report is attached.
The committee is informed that Council agreed the recommendations set out in the report.
1. That Council on 12 November 2008 received a report from the Assistant Director of Corporate Governance on Standards Committee – Local Assessment and Investigations.
This report followed the discussion at the last Council meeting on 17 September 2008 (minute no. 50) in relation to the new role of the Standards Committee and in particular the option within the assessment process of referral for ‘other action’, for example, conciliation or training.
The report also highlighted what was perceived by the Assessment Sub-Committee to be unsatisfactory drafting of the legislation in relation to ‘other action’ and the consequences of this proving unsuccessful.
2. Council agreed the recommendations set out in the report.
COUNCIL MEETING PROCEDURES FOR INDEPENDENT MEMBERS
The committee is informed that Council on 12 November 2008 agreed to an amendment to the Council’s Constitution in respect of the Council Meeting Procedures for Independent Members (Part 4, Council Procedure Rules, paragraph 12.6 of the Council’s Constitution refers), as detailed in paragraphs 3.6 and 3.7 of the report.
Paragraphs 3.6 and 3.7 are set out below as an extract from the report for information:-
Standards Committee Independent Members – Council Meeting Procedures
3.6 The Constitution Review Group noted that Paragraph 12.6 of the Constitution (page 4-11) stated that a member who had spoken on a motion may not speak again whilst it was the subject of debate, except:
(a) to speak once on an amendment moved by another member;
(b) to move a further amendment if the motion has been amended since he/she last spoke;
(c) if his/her first speech was on an amendment moved by another member, to speak on the main issue (whether or not the amendment of which he/she spoke was carried);
(d) in exercise of a right of reply;
(e) on a point of order; and
(f) by way of personal explanation.
At the last Council meeting, the Chairman of the Standards Committee had presented that committee’s revised Terms of Reference. He then was unable to contribute to the debate later on. The Constitution Review Group was asked to consider whether in such circumstances independent members should be allowed to speak more than once in a debate.
3.7 The Constitution Review Group agreed to recommend to Council that in instances where an independent Member presents a report to Council, they will also have the right to contribute to the discussion. The Council’s Constitution to be amended to reflect this change.
NOTED that Council on 12 November 2008 agreed to an amendment to the Council’s Constitution in respect of Council Meeting Procedures for Independent Members.
UPDATE ON THE RECRUITMENT OF THE THIRD INDEPENDENT MEMBER
To receive a verbal update on the recruitment of the third Independent Member.
The Committee received an oral update from the Committee Secretary on the recruitment of the third independent member.
1. The advert was placed in the Enfield Advertiser and Enfield Independent for two weeks. From 29 October to 11 November 2008.
2. The deadline for applications was 28 November 2008.
3. 23 recruitment packs & application forms had been sent out.
4. The proposed date for the Appointment Panel shortlisting meeting was 16 December 2008. It was proposed that the Appointment Panel should be comprised of 2 Independent members and 4 elected members.
(1) That the Appointment Panel shortlisting meeting be held on Tuesday 16 December 2008 at 6.30 p.m.
(Note: This date has been scheduled for an Assessment Sub Committee meeting but that meeting was not required).
(2) That the Appointments Panel be comprised of 4 members instead of 6.
(3) The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Councillors Delman and Giladi were nominated to serve on the Appointment Panel shortlisting meeting.
(4) That the application forms be circulated to all members of the Standards Committee for their consideration.
(5) That the Appointment Panel Final interviews meeting be held on Wednesday 14 January 2009 at 6.30 p.m.
(6) The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Councillors Dreblow and Giladi were nominated to serve on the Appointment Panel final interviews meeting.
To receive for consideration the Standards Committee’s work programme for 2008/09. This document will be updated as the year progresses to record the work of the Committee.
RECEIVED for consideration the Standards Committee’s outline work programme for 2008/09.
NOTED that the work programme would be reviewed and updated at each meeting to enable members to monitor the progress of work being undertaken.
AGREED that the meeting on Monday 2 February 2009 be included in the work programme.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
11.1 To note that the next meeting of the Standards Committee will be held on