||Mr G Butler
Mr D Tweddle - Chairman
Ms H Thornley - Vice Chairman
||Mr W L Mead
Mrs J Hay
Mr R Sealby
|Eden District Councillors
|Lead Officer in Attendance:
||Mr P Foote (Director of Corporate and Legal Services)
|Democratic Services Officer:
||Mrs J Brabbins
Minutes St/20/10/09 to St/27/10/09 of the meeting of this Committee held on 14 October 2009 were approved as a correct record of those proceedings.
St/29/1/10 Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest made in any item on the agenda.
St/30/1/10 Adjudication Panel Hearing
The Director of Corporate and Legal Services reported on the result of an Adjudication Panel Hearing held earlier in the day in Penrith. Following a complaint made against Eden District Councillor John Lynch on 16 March 2009, an Assessment Panel of this Committee had referred the complaint for investigation to Standards for England. Following investigation by an Ethical Standards Officer, the Adjudication Panel found that Councillor Lynch was in breach of the Code of Conduct in respect of paragraphs 4.a) (disclosure of confidential information) and 5. (conduct bringing his office and authority into disrepute). It decided to suspend Councillor Lynch from the Council for a period of 6 months with conditions. A full decision would be provided to the Council in due course.
St/31/1/10 Standards for England Bulletin
The Committee received the December 2009 Standards for England Bulletin highlighting recent issues for Standards Authorities. The information included an examination of the relationship between bias, predetermination and the Code of Conduct which had been commented upon in a recent Adjudication Panel case. Members were offered the opportunity of viewing the new 'Assessment Made Clear' DVD produced by Standards for England for training purposes.
- the December 2009 Standards For England Bulletin be noted,
- guidance on predetermination be provided to Parish Councils through a specific publication to them, and
- the issue of predetermination be included in future Communication training for Members.
St/32/1/10 Training on the Code of Conduct
The Committee considered report CLS2/10 of the Director of Corporate and Legal Services informing the Committee of the training which has been undertaken on the Code of Conduct. A total of five training events were held during November and December 2009. The first session, principally for District Councillors, was well attended, however the four further sessions for Parish Councils were less well attended.
Members expressed disappointment that more Parish Councillors and clerks had not made attendance at the training a priority. It was believed that Parish Councillors, in general, did not appreciate the anxiety that could be caused by a complaint being made against them.
RESOLVED that the report be noted, and a letter be sent to Parish Councils stressing the importance of attendance at Code of Conduct training.
St/33/1/10 Registration of Interests Forms
The Committee considered report CLS4/10 of the Director of Corporate and Legal Services setting out draft Register of Interests Forms for approval. It had been noted that certain of the definitions of the categories of personal interest, to be declared under paragraph 8 of the Code of Conduct, are complex, containing legal phraseology and therefore not easily understandable by the lay person. This Committee had agreed to review the Register of Interests Forms in order to provide additional guidance for those filling in the form.
the revised District Register of Interests Form at Appendix A (PDF: 181 Kb / 5 pages) be approved, and
the revised Parish Register of Interests Form at Appendix B (PDF: 173 Kb / 5 pages)be approved.
St/34/1/10 Standards Committee Action Plan Update
The Committee considered an update of the Standards Committee Action Plan, originally approved at the meeting of the Committee on 29 July 2009.
Five Code of Conduct training sessions for District and Parish Councillors were held in November and December 2009. The Chairman had held an introductory meeting with the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council in November. Work had been done to make improvements to the structure and text of the Democracy section of the Council's website in order to raise the profile of the work of the Committee.
The Committee wished to prioritise the promotion of the Committee's work in the local press, and the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and officers would meet in order to frame suitable text for use in publicising the Standards Committee.
RESOLVED that the updated actions be noted.
St/35/1/10 Review of the Constitution - Progress Report
The Committee considered report CLS5/10 of the Director of Corporate and Legal Services updating the Members on the progress being made towards the annual review of the Constitution. Members of the Council and Chief Officers had been asked to submit suggestions for proposed changes by 15 February with a view to detailed consideration by this Committee.
At its meeting on 14 October 2009, the Standards Committee suggested that the size of the Constitution warranted its division into separate Parts in order that Members could make more detailed examination of areas of the document of interest to them.
- the progress towards the completion of the 2010 review of the Constitution be noted, and
- Members be allocated the following Parts of the Constitution for thorough examination:
- Part 1 - Summary and Explanation - John Thompson
- Part 2 - Articles of the Constitution - David Tweddle
- Part 3 - Responsibility for Functions - Walter Mead, Richard Sealby
- Part 4 - Rules of Procedure - Hilary Thornley, Jill Hay and John Nicholson
- Part 5 - Codes and Protocols - George Butler
- Part 7 - Management Structure - Gordon Savage
St/36/1/10 Request for Dispensation for Attendance
The Committee considered report CLS6/10 of the Director of Corporate and Legal Services seeking dispensation for two Members of Eden District Council who were currently unable to attend Committee meetings due to illness.
RESOLVED that dispensations of up to two months be granted for Councillors B Metz and Mrs S Orchard, which dispensations should be reviewed as and when the need arises.
The meeting closed at 7.55pm