Meeting documents

Standards Committee
Monday, 10th March, 2008 7.30 pm

Monday, 10th March, 2008
7.30 pm
Front Committee Room, Town Hall, Reigate

Attendance Details

Councillors Mrs. J.S. Bray, Mrs. F.D.M. Dixon and Mrs. R.S. Turner†.

Mrs. J.A. Cook - Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council
Dr. R. Olliver - Horley Town Council

Mrs. J. Paul - Independent Member (Vice-Chairman - in the Chair)
Councillor Mrs. R.S. Turner for Councillor R.S. Mantle
Min NoDescriptionResolution
Part I
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 28th January 2008 be approved as a correct record and signed.
Apologies for Absence

Mr. J. Broadbent (Independent Member - Chairman)

Councillor S.A. Kulka

Councillor R.S. Mantle --Substitute - Councillor Mrs. R.S. Turner

(i) the Head of Legal and Property Services be authorised to make the following changes to the Constitution:

(a) The amendment of Part 3 of the Constitution to reflect the decision making structure described in paragraph 17 of the submitted report and that "local filtering" decisions and any hearings required into breaches of the Member Code of Conduct be undertaken by the Standards Sub-Committees.

(b) The amendment of Article 9 of the Constitution to make it mandatory that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee be Independent Members.

(ii) the Monitoring Officer be authorised, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, the Executive Member for Organisational Development and the Chairman of the Standards Committee, to appoint the new Independent Members referred to in Recommendation (iii) below; and

(iii) subject to the approval of Recommendation (ii), the Monitoring Officer be authorised to advertise for up to 4 Independent Members to serve on the Standards Committee.

RESOLVED that the Monitoring Officer bring a further report to the Standards Committee on 30th June 2008 and the Executive on 10th July 2008, on any further changes required to the Constitution including increasing the membership of the Standards Committee to 12 following the noting of the appointment of the new Independent Members, to take effect no sooner than the 1st September 2008.
RESOLVED to note that meetings of the Committee during 2008 were currently scheduled for:

30th June 2008.
22nd September 2008.
3rd November 2008.
The meeting closed at 7.50 p.m.


Min NoMinute
36The Committee received a report on the local "filtering" arrangements for complaints under the Member Code of Conduct to be introduced under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.

The report set out relevant statutory powers and indicated that under the 2007 Act written allegations of breaches of the Member Code of Conduct would now be made to the Standards Committee rather than the Standards Board.

Regulations on the change were to be introduced in the Spring. The role of the Standards Board would in future be one of an advisory and monitoring body and the periodic information that was likely to be required from the Council was reported.

There would be three stages for complaint investigation and these were set out, together with a flowchart illustrating the process. The new arrangements would require a number of changes to current processes and procedures and, in this respect, guidance from the Standards Board was awaited.

At this stage, the Standards Board were suggesting that sub-committees of the Committee, with a minimum of three Members, would need to be established, in order to implement the procedure for each of the local filtering stages. This would ensure that different Members were involved in different stages. These requirements would mean that the current Committee membership of 8 was unlikely to be sufficient.

A suggested membership model was submitted which indicated that the minimum recommended membership was 12 with a minimum of three Independent Members. There was a statutory requirement that at least 25 per cent of the Committee must be Independent Members and until new additional (independent) appointments were made it would not be possible to increase the current membership.

Nevertheless, a sub-committee structure was required to deal with local filtering as soon as it was introduced. It was therefore proposed that this be based on the model adopted for the Licensing Sub-Committees and to have the Chairman always appointed from the Independent Members. The remaining two Members would be chosen from the remainder of the Committee.
A statutory requirement that the Chairman of the Standards Committee, or any sub-committee of it, should be an Independent Member was likely and, on this basis, the Council's Constitution would require amendment.

In relation to the new/additional Independent Members it was recommended that an appointments panel be established and the proposed composition was reported. A further report would be made to the Committee once the recruitment process was complete and to seek approval to a Committee of 12. The intention was to appoint up to four Independent Members.

The Committee noted that interim training would be put in place by the Monitoring Officer to enable the current Members of the Committee to fulfil the new role. Further training would then follow once the new and increased Committee had been appointed.

The report set out options, legal and financial implications, details of consultation undertaken and policy framework considerations.