Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Wednesday, 6th July, 2016 7.00 pm

Venue: Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Neil Carr  Principal Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted from Sally Gurney, Pauline Helliar-Symons and Roger Loader.

2.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 March 2016.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 16 March 2016 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

3.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

Public Question Time

To answer any public questions.

 

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.

 

The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this Committee.

 

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

5.

Member Question Time

To answer any Member questions.

Minutes:

There were no Member questions.

6.

Parish / Town Council Question Time

To answer any questions from Parish / Town Councillors.

Minutes:

There were no Parish/Town Council questions.

7.

Update on Complaints and Feedback pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To consider the latest update on complaints.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 9 to 12, which provided feedback on the operation of the Member complaints process since the previous meeting. The report stated that, since the previous meeting in March 2016, four new complaints had been received. Details of the complaints were set out in the Appendix to the report.

 

Andrew Moulton, Head of Governance and Improvement Services and Monitoring Officer, provided an update to the Committee on the investigation of each complaint. A meeting had been held recently between the Chairman, the Monitoring Officer and an Independent Person to consider the four complaints. In relation to one of the complaints, it was concluded that there was no breach of the Code of Conduct and, as a result, no further action would be taken. The other three complaints were still under investigation.

 

RESOLVED That:

 

1)      the update report on complaints be noted;

 

2)      the Committee considers any broader training issues at the next meeting on 18 October 2016.

8.

Voting Rights for Town and Parish Council Representatives on the Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To consider a report on voting rights for Town and Parish Council representatives on the Standards Committee.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 13 to 14, on the issue of voting rights for Town and Parish Council representatives on the Standards Committee. This followed a request from the Committee at its meeting on 16 March 2016.

 

The report stated that Standards Committees were no longer mandatory, having been abolished by the Localism Act 2011. As a result the Borough Council’s Standards Committee was treated as a Committee appointed under Section 102 of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

The report explained that Section 13 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 stated that a member of a local authority Committee appointed under Section 102 of the 1972 Act who was not a member of that authority would, for all purposes, be treated as a non-voting member. Consequently, Town and Parish representatives on the Standards Committee were unable to vote.

 

The Committee noted the legal position and highlighted the positive contribution made to its work by the Town and Parish representatives. The contribution from Town and Parish representatives helped to inform the Committee’s work in maintaining high standards for all elected Members across the Borough.

 

RESOLVED That, in light of the legal advice contained in the report, the Town and Parish representatives on the Standards Committee continue in a non-voting capacity.

 

 

9.

Appointment of Substitutes

Minutes:

The Committee considered a request from the Constitution Review Working Group that it consider the need for substitutes for Borough Council Members on the Committee. Members considered the request and concluded that the current arrangements were satisfactory.

 

RESOLVED That the Constitution Review Working Group be notified that the Standards Committee does not support the appointment of substitutes.