Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 84617638

Items
No. Item

1.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE-CHAIRMAN

Minutes:

Councillor Vanessa Allen proposed that Councillor Nicolas Bennett be appointed Chairman.  The motion was seconded by Councillor Stevens and Councillor Bennett was duly elected Chairman.

 

Councillor Bennett proposed that Councillor Vanessa Allen be appointed Vice-Chairman.  The motion was seconded by Councillor Tickner and Councillor Allen was duly elected Vice-Chairman.

 

RESOLVED: That Councillor Nicholas Bennett be appointed Chairman and Councillor Vanessa Allen be appointed Vice-Chairman.

 

2.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Stephen Wells and Mr Ken Palmer.

 

3.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were no additional declarations of interest.

 

4.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 2 MARCH 2021 pdf icon PDF 216 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 2 March 2020, were agreed and signed as a correct record.

 

5.

QUESTIONS

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions that are not specific to reports on the agenda must have been received in writing 10 working days before the date of the meeting. 

 

Questions specifically on reports on the agenda should be received within two working days of the normal publication date of the agenda.  Please ensure that questions specifically on reports on the agenda are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Thursday 9th July 2021.

Minutes:

No questions were received.

6.

DISCUSSION WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE DEVELOPMENT CONTROL COMMITTEE AND THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR PLANNING pdf icon PDF 280 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report CSD21068

 

At the last meeting it was recognised that a large proportion of Code of Conduct Complaints related to planning matters.  It was therfore agreed that the Chairman of the Development Control Committee and the Assistant Director for Planning should be invited to the next meeting of the Standards Committee on 15 July 2021.  It was further agreed that the discussion should centre around the report of the Planning Advisory Service and the Council’s existing Planning Protocol.

 

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Alexa Michael (Chairman of the Development Control Committee) and Mr Tim Horsman (Assistant Director for Planning) to the meeting.

 

The Chairman of the Development Control Committee confirmed that practically all of the initial recommendations from the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) had been accepted and a Local Planning Protocol had been developed, endorsed by Full Council and now formed part of the Council’s Constitution.  The Chairman of the Development Control Committee addressed each of the recommendations made by the PAS and provided an update on the progress that had been made.

 

The Chairman of the Development Control Committee was pleased with the revised format of committee agendas and the improved quality of committee reports.  Progress had also been made in reducing the number of applications being referred to Committee. 

 

The principle of Officer presentations had been accepted but had not been advanced as much as it could have been.  The PAS had confirmed that they considered that this would be of benefit and was therefore something to be developed.

 

The Committee noted that planning training for Members was provided but this stopped short of being mandatory.  The Chairman of the Development Control Committee stated that in her opinion when Members chose to sit on a planning committee they should take all the available training.

 

The Assistant Director for Planning highlighted that Appendix 9 of the report (Page 85) provided a useful up-to-date summary of the current position with respect to the recommendations from the PAS.  It was also noted that the PAS were currently undertaking a further review.

 

A Member noted that Planning Committees were a difficult “grey” area for Members to navigate as decisions were often subjective and it was not possible to please all those party to a planning application.  There was a need for the Standards Committee to focus on the issues of Member integrity and the public perception of Member integrity.  It was noted that there had been a number of challenging applications and there was a need to improve the public perception of the planning system in Bromley.

 

A Member noted that the PAS report contained some very strong recommendations yet there appeared to be very little reference to these recommendations in the Local Planning Protocol.  The Chairman of the Development Control Committee responded that the intention had been for the Local Planning Protocol to address the recommendations in the PAS report.  It was noted that the Protocol could be revised where Members felt that there were areas that could be strengthened.  The Chairman  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

MONITORING OFFICER'S GENERAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 302 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report CSD21069

 

The report updated the Committee on a number of standards issues.

 

The Monitoring Officer reported that both the Committee for Standards in Public Life and the LGA were beginning to focus on online behaviour, particularly online bullying of Councillors.  It was suggested that this may be something the Standards Committee would wish to consider further at its next meeting with a view to establishing a policy in time for May 2022.

 

Appointment of an Independent Person

 

The Committee noted that Mr Ken Palmer had recently resigned.  Members extended their thanks to Mr Palmer for the support he had provided to improving ethical standards across the Council.  The Committee were keen to ensure  lessons were learnt from Mr Palmer’s resignation and it was agreed that it may be helpful to hold some form of exit interview.

 

Turning to the recruitment of a new Independent Person, it was agreed that it would be helpful for a small group from the Committee (to include Cllrs Allen and Stevens and Dr. Davey) to see the recruitment plan for the role and review the Job Description.  It was suggested that it would be helpful to promote the role through Community Links Bromley and the Federation of Businesses as well as the Mayor’s Web Pages and the Facebook page.

 

Dispensations Granted

 

It was noted that the following dispensation was granted to Councillor Fawthrop:

 

That an unconditional dispensation be granted to Cllr Simon Fawthrop to be allowed to attend Plans Sub-Committee No. 1 on 10th June 2021 as a member of the public for his planning application for 3 Monarch Close, West Wickham, BR4 9DQ. The dispensation applies to any subsequent meetings on the same or similar application until the end of the municipal year.

 

Register of Interests

 

The Committee noted that in relation to the record of Members’ addresses on the register of interest, the statute was clear, and a general policy to remove addresses would be unlawful.  There were limited circumstances, where there was a known risk, where the address could be redacted and there was an ongoing requirement to regularly review any redaction.

 

In terms of reviewing declarations of interest, the Committee noted that the Statute required interests to be declared within 28 days of election and then within 28 days of an interest arising. 

 

The Chairman highlighted the need to ensure that Members were aware of how to complete the declaration of interest and the information that needed to be provided including payment of election expenses by political parties.  It was noted that a helpful principle for completing declarations of interest was “declare everything”.

 

The Independent Person suggested that it may be helpful to provide annual reminders to Co-opted Members to review and update their registers of interest.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

8.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS SUBSEQUENTLY AMENDED

The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as 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 confidential information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business referred to below as 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.

 

The following summaries

refer to matters involving exempt information

 

 

9.

EXEMPT MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 2 MARCH 2021

Minutes:

The exempt minutes of the meeting held on 2 March 2021, were agreed and signed as a correct record.

10.

MONITORING OFFICER'S GENERAL REPORT - PART 2 APPENDIX

Minutes:

The Committee noted the Part 2 appendix.

 

It was agreed that the Independent Person would continue to be involved in the Initial Filtering process for complaints.

 

DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE SERVICES

The Chairman highlighted that the Director of Corporate Services would be retiring at the end of the week and this was therefore the last meeting that he would attend, the Committee extended its thanks to Mr Mark Bowen and wished him a very happy retirement.

 

 

Original Text: