Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Council held on 18/07/2006
Minutes of the Meeting of the Standards Committee - 19th May 2006
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE STANDARDS COMMITTEE –
19TH MAY 2006
SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING –18TH JULY 2006
(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
Mr F N J Davies (Chairman)
Mr A Rayner
Mr L C Bate (Vice-Chairman)
Mr C C E Slyfield
Capt P G Burden
Mr P Scattergood
Mr M R Goodridge
Mr R C Terry
Miss K E Heenan
Mr D F Wheatley
Dr M-G Lane
ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
(Agenda Item 1)
Mr F N J Davies was duly elected Chairman of the Standards Committee for the ensuing Council year.
ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN
(Agenda Item 2)
Mr L C Bate was duly elected Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee for the ensuing Council year.
(Agenda Item 3)
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 3rd March 2006 were confirmed and signed.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
(Agenda Item 4)
An apology for absence was received from Mr D F Wheatley.
DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
(Agenda Item 5)
Mr C C E Slyfield declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 9, Appendix A, Local Investigation – Report of the Investigating Officer, as he had previously been the subject of a complaint to the Standards Board brought by the wife of a witness interviewed in the investigation.
The Monitoring Officer advised Members to review their entries in the Register of Interests at the start of this new Council year.
PART I – RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL
There are no matters falling within this category.
PARTS II AND III – MATTERS OF REPORT
The background papers relating to the following reports in Parts II and III are as specified in the Agenda for the meeting of the Standards Committee.
Part II – Matters reported in details for the information of the Council
CHAIRMAN/MONITORING OFFICER UPDATE
(Agenda Item 7)
The Committee received an oral update from the Monitoring Officer on the following:
(a) The Audit Commission had undertaken a performance assessment on the use of resources, including processes for the monitoring of complaints against councillors. The Committee noted that complaints of this nature were rare at Waverley due to the standard of training councillors received and the Committee received regular oral reports. However, the Monitoring Officer will in the future produce an annual report on the issues that have arisen in relation to the conduct of councillors.
(b) A recent Waverley survey had indicated that there may be some lack of awareness by members and officers on how to make a complaint against councillors. The Committee’s attention was drawn to the fact that information was widely available in The Link magazine, through the ‘Corporate Complaints’ leaflets available at The Burys and locality offices and on the Waverley Website, however, further thought would be given on how to address this issue.
(c) To ensure Town & Parish Councils strictly adhere to the Code of Conduct, the Monitoring Officer would ensure more training is offered.
(d) Four places have been reserved for members and officers at the Standards Board Conference on 16th/17th October 2006.
(e) It was proposed that the Monitoring Officer/Head of Corporate Services and Development’s name should appear at the foot of the agenda page.
The Committee therefore
RESOLVED that the name of the Monitoring Officer/Head of Corporate Services and Development, Anne Bott, should appear at the foot of the agenda page.
(a) The Chairman congratulated Mr Rayner on his appointment as Deputy Mayor for the ensuing Council year and welcomed Capt Burden back to the Committee following his absence due to a period of illness.
(b) The Committee endorsed the Chairman’s suggestion that a letter of thanks be sent to Mrs Jean Radley for her work as Committee Secretary to this Committee up until her recent retirement.
(c) A recent Surrey County Council Standards Board meeting had agreed that a letter should be sent to the Prime Minister requesting that a Standards Committee be formed for the two Houses of Parliament.
Following discussion the Committee
i. letters be sent through representative bodies to the Local Government Association requesting they submit this proposal to the Prime Minister and the response be released to the local press; and
ii. a leaflet be produced and released to the local press identifying the work of this committee and distributed to locality offices and copied to the Local Government Association and Audit Commission.
UPDATE ON AUDIT COMMISSION SURVEY
(Agenda Item 8)
The Deputy Monitoring Officer reported that the response to the ethical standards survey sent out electronically to members and some officers had been disappointing. Following an extension to the response date, the results were now with the Audit Commission for analysis. Two workshops had been arranged at which the Audit Commission findings would be discussed, but there had also been a poor response to the invitation. The Monitoring Officer had written a reminder to members and asking for a response to the invitation giving reasons as to why a Member could not attend. This would be a useful supplement to the survey outcomes.
LOCAL INVESTIGATION – REPORT OF THE INVESTIGATING OFFICER
8.1 The Monitoring Officer reported that the purpose of the meeting was to receive the Investigating Officer’s report setting out her findings into alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct by a Churt Parish Councillor. The members were asked to consider the report to decide whether or not the matter needed to be progressed to a full hearing.
8.2 Having fully considered the Investigating Officer’s report and clarified issues, the Committee came to the view that this complaint had been raised more due to a lack of understanding of procedures, and poor record keeping. The Monitoring Officer was asked to advise the Churt Parish Clerk on procedures that would ensure public confidence in their processes.
RESOLVED that, having considered the Investigating Officer’s report dated 8th May 2006, it was agreed there was no evidence to support the allegation that there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct and that no further action be taken against the councillor alleged to be in breach other than to inform the parties of the decision of the Committee.
Part III – Brief summaries of other matters dealt with
There were no matters falling within this category.
The meeting commenced at 11.30 a.m. and concluded at 12.49 pm.