Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee
Tuesday, 30th January, 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA

Contact: Fiona Bywaters, Head of Committee and Management Support (Interim)  Tel: 020 8770 4990 | Email:  committeeservices@sutton.gov.uk

Link: Audio Recording

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATION OF SUBSTITUTES

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from the Independent Person, Ifat Shah.

2.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2017.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2017 were approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chair.

3.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

OPERATION OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT pdf icon PDF 111 KB

A function of the Council’s Standards Committee is to receive reports on the operation of the member Code of Conduct at Sutton. The purpose of this report is to update the committee on complaints which have been received and dealt with since the last meeting held on 21 June 2017.

 

Minutes:

Jessica Crowe, Monitoring Officer, presented the report which updated the committee on complaints received and dealt with since the last meeting.

 

Members discussed in particular the final complaint, and the procedure for disclosing pecuniary interests at committee and ensuring transparency.

 

RESOLVED: that

1.    Action taken by the Monitoring Officer in dealing with complaints was noted and commented upon.

2.    No further recommendations were made relevant to the committee’s role and function in promoting high ethical conduct by members.

5.

MEMBER DEVELOPMENT UPDATE pdf icon PDF 280 KB

The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on the Council's member development programme, setting out how the Council is ensuring that all members are fully aware of their obligation to follow the Nolan Principles and to help them meet the standards of behaviour and conduct that the public have a right to expect from their elected members.

 

This report will update the committee on the 2017/18 member development programme, the 2018/19 member development strategy and the member information bulletin.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Fiona Bywaters, Head of Committee and Management Support (Interim), presented the report which updated the committee on the member development programme and sessions scheduled since the last meeting.

 

Members discussed the key performance indicator relating to the open rate of the weekly member information bulletin, suggesting a lower open rate occurred during the busiest committee periods. The weekly planning application list was highlighted as particularly useful content of the bulletin, alongside links to published agendas, with Councillor Simon Wales encouraging more members to read it.

 

Members also discussed the core member development programme, reiterating that quasi-judicial training should be mandatory and Councillor Tony Shields emphasised that shorter and more focused sessions may improve attendance.

 

It was questioned as to whether there was an indicator to assess performance by Members. In response, the Monitoring Officer clarified that this tended to be led by political groups and the appropriate support provided by them.

 

Finally, the Independent Chair expressed his hope that a regular member development update would still be presented to the new Audit & Governance Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    The member development programme be noted.

2.    The 2018/19 Member Development Strategy be noted in advance of the 2018 local elections.

3.    The additional initiatives to support members, including the weekly information bulletin and Councillor Connect be noted.

6.

UPDATE FROM COUNCIL, 29 JANUARY 2018 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

This report sets out, for information, the proposals to create an Audit and Governance Committee for oversight of audit, standards and human resources (HR) functions and to cease the Appeals Committee by delegation of its functions to officers. The constitutional changes required were approved by Strategy and Resources Committee on the 15 January 2017, as per the minute attached at Appendix A, and will be considered by Full Council on the 29 January 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jessica Crowe, Monitoring Officer, presented the report which updated the committee on constitutional changes and the appointment of independent persons agreed by Council on 29 January 2018.

 

The Independent Chair commented that this was a positive arrangement, expressing that the principal concern is not to lose the focus of the standards committee in the new arrangements.

 

Thanks were given by the Independent Chair and Councillors to the Independent Members for their many years of service and commitment to the borough.

 

RESOLVED: that

1.    The recommendation to Council to appoint an Audit and Governance Committee to encompass the functions currently carried out by the Audit Committee and the Standards Committee effective following the Annual Council Meeting in May be noted.

2.    The recommendation to Council to appoint Mr Geoffrey Beresford Hartwell, Mrs Ruth Pearson and Mr Neil Asten as the Council’s Independent Persons in accordance with the Localism Act 2011 be noted.

3.    The grateful thanks from Members to the outgoing Independent Members of the Standards Committee for their many years of dedicated voluntary public service in helping the authority uphold high standards of behaviour be noted.

7.

ANY URGENT BUSINESS

brought forward at the direction of the chair, who has approved the reason for the urgency.

Minutes:

No urgent business was raised.