The Chief Executive reported that the decision to end the Legal Services partnership with Spelthorne Borough Council (with effect from 31 March 2017) had resulted in the former Head of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer returning to Spelthorne Borough Council resulting in the position of Monitoring Officer becoming vacant. The Committee noted that a report on the wider provision of Legal Services was being considered by the Executive on 23 March 2017.
The Committee noted that the appointment of a Monitoring Officer was a statutory requirement (under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989) which had a number of duties and responsibilities relating to the Council’s Constitution and our arrangements for effective governance. It was, under the Constitution, a requirement for the appointment of the Monitoring Officer to be on the recommendation of the Employment Committee.
The Committee further noted that the Head of Corporate Policy & Performance and Deputy Monitoring Officer, Mr Gavin Handford was currently operating as Head of Legal services. The Committee noted the extensive experience that Mr Handford brought to this role and the Committee were asked to consider appointing him to the role of Monitoring Officer.
The Committee recalled a previous approach that had been adopted to recommend the appointment of the Monitoring Officer post on an interim basis (to allow for changes within the organisation to settle). This approach would allow the Committee to review the position again after a further period of 6 months. Following discussion the Chairman moved an amendment to the Recommendation and it was:
RECOMMENDED that, in accordance with Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, Mr Gavin Handford, be confirmed as the Council’s Monitoring Officer for an interim period of 6 months to allow the Committee to review the position again at the end of that period.
Reason for decision: To comply with the requirements of the Local Government & Housing Act 1989 (as amended).
Alternative Options: To appoint another Officer of the Council.