Venue: Bromley Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH
Contact: Philippa Gibbs 020 84617638
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Councillor Jack.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no additional declarations of interest.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 2 November 2023 be agreed, and signed as a correct record.
In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, members of the public may submit one question each on matters relating to the work of the Committee. Questions must have been received in writing 10 working days before the date of the meeting – by Tuesday 6 February 2024.
Questions seeking clarification of the details of a report on the agenda may be accepted within two working days of the normal publication date of the agenda – by5pm Wednesday 14 February 2024.
There were no questions.
DISCUSSION WITH GROUP LEADERS
The Chairman welcomed the Group Leaders to the meeting and the Committee asked the following questions:
Do you feel your Members’ behaviour measures up to the high ethical standards we expect in Bromley and what do you do as a leader to hold yourself accountable to ensuring those standards?
The Leader of the Labour Group said that broadly speaking Members’ behaviour did measures up to the high ethical standards expected in Bromley. In the past two years, two complaints about Labour Members had been received and neither had been taken forward for investigation. A Group Leader had to lead by example and model the behaviour that was expected of all Members by honouring the Nolan Principles.
The Leader of the Conservative Group and Leader of the Council confirmed that broadly Members of the majority party acted with the class and decorum expected of elected Members. The Leader of the Conservative Group said that he liked to believe that Members knew what was socially acceptable and acted accordingly. For a Group Leader, leading by example was critical to ensuring that all Members conducted themselves to the Standards expected. Also, as a Leader, when Members of the Group failed meet the levels of behaviour expected it was important to move firmly and decisively and remove them from the Group until such time as the Members proved themselves.
The Leader of the Chislehurst Matters Group noted that there were only three Members of the Group and as such they worked as a Team and supported and monitored each other. The Leader of the Chislehurst Matters placed on record that he had been very impressed with the way in which two particular issues that had arisen during the current term had been handled by the Leader of the Majority Group.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group explained that at the beginning of the term some key principles for behaviour had been agreed by the Group. Members of the Group were conscious of being courteous at all times whether it be to residents, councillors or officers.
The Leader of the Biggin Hill Independent Group explained that the two Members of the Group tended to work together. They called on advice when needed.
Are you aware of any inappropriate influencing behaviour within the broader councillor community?
The Leader of the Conservative Group confirmed that he was not aware of any inappropriate influencing behaviour within the broader councillor community. There were instances where individual councillors tried to lobby other councillors. If there were any mild concerns, they may be around relationships with the developer community, although there has never been any evidence to report concerning inappropriate behaviour. Where concerns did arise, conversations took place with individual Members, but on the whole it was the view of the Leader that Bromley was very “clean nosed” as a Councillor Community.
The Leader of the Labour Group largely agreed with the Leader of the Council. All councillors received chain emails that tried to influence the views of Members. ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
The report updated the Committee on a range of standards issues. It was noted that the changes proposed in paragraph 3.13 of the report could not be taken forward at the current time as the necessary legislative changes had not yet taken place to enable the changes. Currently there was no legal basis to without allowances from Members.
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that there would be a review of the Code of Conduct. Further benchmarking would take place as some other Councils had done some work around sanctions.
The Committee agreed that plans should be put in place to provide training for Members around cyber security and data protection. It was suggested that the training could be offered in a similar format to the training provided to staff.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted and that Cyber Security and Data Protection training be made available to all Councillors.