Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee
Thursday, 8th March, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Neil Carr  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Items
No. Item

17.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted by Prue Bray.

18.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 18 January 2018.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 18 January 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

19.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

20.

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.

21.

Member Question Time

To answer any Member questions.

Minutes:

There were no Member questions.

22.

Parish / Town Council Question Time

To answer any questions from Parish or Town Councillors.

Minutes:

There were no Parish/Town Council questions.

23.

Local Government Ethical Standards Consultation pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To consider the Council’s response to a consultation exercise on ethical standards in local government.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 7 to 14, which gave details of a review of local government ethical standards being undertaken by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

 

The consultation covered a range of issues including Member Codes of Conduct, governance arrangements for dealing with complaints and the effectiveness of sanctions.

 

Members considered consultation questions relating to the following specific issues:

 

·           Effectiveness of existing structures, processes and practices;

·           Any significant gaps in the current ethical standards regime;

·           Effectiveness of Codes of Conduct;

·           Investigations and decisions on allegations;

·           Effectiveness of the current sanctions regime;

·           Declaration of interests and conflicts of interest;

·           Effectiveness of whistleblowing arrangements;

·           Potential steps to improve ethical standards;

·           Intimidation of local Councillors.

 

The Committee commented on each of the issues and agreed that Andrew Moulton (Assistant Director, Governance) respond on behalf of the Committee after consultation with the Chairman. Members also felt that the consultation response should be shared with the Group Leaders and that individual Members be notified that they could submit their own response.

 

RESOLVED That:

 

1)     the Committee’s response to the consultation on ethical standards in local government be completed by the Assistant Director, Governance in consultation with the Chairman;

 

2)     the draft consultation response be shared with the Group Leaders for information;

 

3)     all Members be informed that they are able to submit individual consultation responses.

24.

Standards Committee Annual Report pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To consider the Standards Committee’s Annual Report for 2017/18, to be submitted to the Council at its meeting on 22 March 2018.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Standards Committee Annual Report for 2017/18, set out at Agenda pages 15 to 20.

 

The Annual Report gave details of the work of the Committee over the previous year and highlighted any significant issues and trends. The report noted a significant reduction in Code of Conduct complaints activity during 2017/18.

 

The Annual Report would be submitted to the Council at its meeting on 22 March 2018.

 

RESOLVED: That the Standards Committee Annual Report for 2017/18 be approved for submission to the Council.