Agenda and minutes

Standards Panel - Wednesday, 23rd April, 2014 6.30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Council Offices, Priory Road

Contact: Lynn Eldred  01775 764626

Items
No. Item

1)

Appointment of Chairman

Members are requested to appoint a Panel Chairman.

Minutes:

Councillor Aley was appointed Chairman of the Panel.

2)

Appointment of Vice-Chairman

Members are requested to appoint a Panel Vice-Chairman.

Minutes:

Councillor Newton was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Panel.

3)

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Perkins.

4)

Minutes pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the Standards Panel held on 24 April 2013.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Standards Panel held on 24 April 2013 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman

5)

Standards Annual Report pdf icon PDF 30 KB

The Panel is requested to note the Standards Annual Report 2013-2014 (report of the Assistant Director- Democratic Services and Monitoring Officer is enclosed).

Minutes:

(Although Councillor Newton did not have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in this item, in the interests of transparency she wished it to be recorded that she had submitted one of the complaints referred to in the report.)

 

The Panel received a report by the Assistant Director – Democratic Services that set out the work undertaken since the previous Annual Report in April 2013.

 

Members noted that 13 complaints had been received in 2013/14 compared with 4 for 2012/13. Of these, 2 complaints did not relate to a breach of the code, 6 had been referred to the police as they concerned Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, 2 were in the process of having initial information sought and 3 had been considered by the Monitoring Officer to not merit further consideration. 

 

With regard to the complaints that had been passed to the police, the Monitoring Officer reported that the Council had a good working relationship with the police, and a named officer had been provided for the purposes of receiving complaints. Although as yet the police had not taken any further action in relation to a complaint, it was important that they were able to investigate any allegations in case they formed part of a bigger case.

 

Members discussed whether the content of complaints received and other information gathered as part of the complaint process could be subject to a Freedom of Information request.  It was noted that there were exemptions that the Council could apply and that details of this would be circulated to Members of the Panel for information.  (A copy of the information that was circulated is attached as an appendix to these minutes.)

 

The Independent Person, Mr. Tony Wicks, was in position until the annual Council meeting in May 2015.  He reported that he was happy with the way that the Standards Arrangements were working.

 

With regard to the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest Forms that Councillors were required to complete and keep up to date, it was requested that Members be sent an annual reminder to check the information on their forms.

 

DECISION:

 

That the Standards Annual Report for 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014 is noted.

 

 

 

 

 

6)

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.