Agenda and minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Graham Walton  020 84617743

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Nicholas Marcar and Councillors Reg Adams, Gordon Norrie and Michael Tickner.

2.

ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE-CHAIRMAN

The Committee is invited to elect its Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the 2012/13 municipal year.

 

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman must be independent members.

Minutes:

Dr Simon Davey was re-elected as Chairman of the Committee for 2012/13, with Mr Richard Allen continuing as Vice-Chairman.  

3.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 7TH FEBRUARY 2012 AND MATTERS ARISING pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Minutes:

Minute 15 (Bribery Act presentation): it was confirmed that a presentation to the Audit Sub-Committee was being considered.  

 

Minute 18 (New standards regime): it was confirmed that if a new Standards Committee was established by the Council it could not have an independent chairman, but the Independent Person(s) would have a statutory role of being consulted before action was taken against a Councillor being investigated, and would have full speaking rights at the Committee’s meetings.  

 

Minute 20 (Annual Report): the Committee considered that it would be useful for the chairman to address Council when the new standards arrangements was discussed on 25th June, and the Monitoring Officer undertook to consult the group leaders on this.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2012 be confirmed as a correct record. 

5.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETIING

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions to this Committee must be received in writing 4 working days before the date of the meeting.  Therefore please ensure questions are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Wednesday 13th June 2012.

 

Minutes:

No questions had been received.

6.

THE NEW STANDARDS SYSTEM UNDER THE LOCALISM ACT 2011 pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Minutes:

Report RES12110

 

The Committee received a report requesting their views on forthcoming changes to the standards system for elected and co-opted members under the Localism Act 2011 which were to be considered by the full Council on 25th June 2012, and seeking decisions on matters within its remit to allow the implementation of the new system on 1st July 2012. 

 

The Monitoring Officer confirmed that, at least for an interim period, current independent members of the Standards Committee could be appointed as Independent Persons under the Act, and an advertisement would be placed on the Council website inviting applications. A full recruitment process was planned for the Autumn, leading to appointments by Council on 12th November.

 

The Committee discussed the proposal to appoint a new Standards Committee. There was no legal requirement for a committee, and standards issues could potentially be considered by other, existing committees or sub-committees, but the Constitution Improvement Working Group firmly supported it, and the Committee agreed with this. The proposal had been for a new Standards Committee of seven Councillors, but the Committee considered that five members would be more appropriate. The Committee noted and supported that in the proposed new wording for Article 9 in the Council’s Constitution regarding the new Committee (Appendix 3 in the report) there was specific reference to a right of independent persons to attend and speak at all meetings of the Standards Committee (9.1 (e)).  It was clarified that the reference to Church and Parent Governor representatives (9.2 (b)) was to the statutory co-opted members with voting rights on the Education PDS Committee, but all co-opted members would be expected to follow the Code of Conduct make the appropriate declarations. 

 

RESOLVED that

 

2.1  (1) The Committee endorses the adoption of the model Code of Conduct produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government by Council on 25 June 2012.

 

2.2  (2) The Committee supports the recommendations of the Constitution Improvement Working Group in retaining the need to register all interests presently registered and retaining the Register of Gifts and Hospitality and the existing £25 threshold and agreeing that the Code of Conduct should include these provisions.

 

2.3  (3) That the Council Procedure Rules be amended to:

 

(a)  require a Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest to leave any Council meeting where that interest is being considered unless they have a dispensation, but that if possible a general dispensation should be granted:

 

1)  where a member of the public would be entitled to speak or address the Committee, provided that the Member should not be able to vote or participate in the Committee debate in those circumstances;  and

2)  that a Member who is appointed by the Council as a Director of any body may speak on an item relating to that body but may not vote on it,

 

subject in both cases to the right of Council to exclude the Member where it considered it appropriate to do so.

 

2.4  (4) That the Council should  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

ETHICAL INDICATORS pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Minutes:

Report RES12099

 

The Committee noted information on ethical indicators contained in the report.

8.

DISPENSATIONS

To consider any requests received for dispensations from Members of the Authority.

Minutes:

No requests for dispensations had been received.

9.

COMPLAINTS

Minutes:

No complaints against Councillors had been received.

10.

CLOSING REMARKS

Minutes:

Jonathan Prince announced his intention to resign from the Committee.

 

At the end of the Committee’s last meeting in its current form, the Chairman thanked all members of the Committee, both Councillors and independent members, and the supporting officers, including Mrs Sheila Bennett who had now left the Council, for their work.   

11.

APPENDIX

Minutes:

APPENDIX 

ARTICLE 9

 

9.1  Standards Committee

 

The Council will establish a Standards Committee

 

9.2  Composition

 

(a)  The Standards Committee will have a membership of seven Councillors, up to five from the largest political group and a minimum of one from each of the next two political groups.

 

(b)  A Councillor who is a member of the Executive is not eligible to sit on the Standards Committee.

 

(c)  Ex-Bromley councillors and former Bromley Council employees are not eligible to sit on the Standards Committee unless five years have elapsed since they were a Member or officer.

 

(d)  The Chairman will be appointed from, and by, members of the Standards Committee and will hold office for one year.

 

(e)  Independent persons appointed under the Localism Act 2011 shall be entitled to attend and speak at all meetings of the Standards Committee.

 

9.2  Role and Function

 

The Standards Committee will have the following roles and functions:

 

(a)  Promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct by Councillors, co-opted members and Church and Parent Governor representatives.

 

(b)  Assisting the Councillors, co-opted members and Church and Parent Governor representatives to observe the requirements on declaring pecuniary interests within the Members Code of Conduct and associated local protocols.

 

(c)  Advising the Council on the adoption or revision of the Members’ Code of Conduct and associated local protocols.

 

(d)  Monitoring and reviewing the operation of the Members Code of Conduct and associated local protocols.

 

(e)  Developing for recommendation to the Council, local protocols to supplement the members Code of Conduct.

 

(f)  Enforcing local protocols and applying sanctions in respect of breaches of the members` Code of Conduct as appropriate.

 

(g)  Advising, training or arranging to train Councillors, co-opted members and Church and Parent Governor representatives on matters relating to the declaration of pecuniary interests, Members’ Code of Conduct and associated local protocols.

 

(h)  Hearing cases against Councillors in consultation with the Independent Person.

 

(i)  To keep under review, amend and make additional provisions to the Protocol on Member/Officer relations.

 

(j)  To monitor the Officers’ Code of Conduct to ensure consistent application and enforcement Council-wide.

 

(k)  General overview of probity matters arising from Ombudsman reports, Monitoring Officer reports, Audit Committee reports and ethical indicators.

 

 

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