Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee - Tuesday, 7th November, 2023 7.30 pm

Venue: New Council Chamber - Town Hall, Reigate. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services (01737 276182)  Email: Democratic@reigate-banstead.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

12.

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence. All members of the Committee were present.

 

13.

Minutes of the previous meeting

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee held on 6 June 2023.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee held on 11 July 2023 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

14.

Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

15.

Annual Member Complaints 2022-23

To receive a report of the Deputy Monitoring Officer in relation to Member complaints and standards of conduct during the 2022-23 municipal year.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Monitoring Officer introduced the item. It was explained that the Localism Act 2011 placed a duty on Councils to have local processes for regulating the conduct of Members. Additionally, to promote and maintain high standards of Member conduct. The purpose of the report was to learn from Member complaints, identifying any themes and trends. The Committee was reminded that individual Members subject to complaints could not be identified.

 

Ten complaints about Members had been investigated during the 2022-23 Municipal year. This was an increase with an average of five Member complaints investigated annually. Of the ten, three were made by officers and remainder by members of public. Two related to the handling of personal data, four to the conduct of Members at formal Committee meetings and three alleged offensive and racist comments on social media. The complaints made had been addressed using the Member Code of Conduct and the protocol on Member Officer Relations. It was highlighted that a review of the Member Code of Conduct was ongoing with training on the resulting amended Code anticipated and the possible need to refresh the Register of Interest.

 

The Committee discussed the officer’s report, with it being agreed that:

·         It be recommended to Group Leaders that guidance on the use of devices by Members at Committee meetings to access agenda, reports, background papers etc be updated to reflect the move to personal choice; and, instead focussing the guidance on the appropriate use of those devices during meetings and silencing of mobile phones.

·         Given the increase in the number of Member complaints investigated, work continue to embed Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion training as a mandatory element of Member induction programme and that this explicitly include consideration of Member conduct on social media.

·         Consideration be given to reporting on the implementation of remedies and any other follow-up actions as part of the complaints process when it is revised after the Code of Conduct review.

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer committed to verify with the Communication Team that the remedy of one-to-one training on the use of social media with one Member had been achieved.

 

RESOVLED that the contents of the report be noted.

 

16.

Urgent business

To consider any item(s) which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered as a matter of urgency – Local Government Act 1972, Section 100B (4) (b).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.