The Committee received an update on Standards matters from the Interim Monitoring Officer. The report covered:
· Code of Conduct;
· Register of Interests;
· Complaints procedures;
· Code of Conduct complaints 2017/18;
· Group Leader meetings;
· Member training;
· Arrangements for appointing a statutory Monitoring Officer.
Members asked why the formal process for complaints in respect of Members and the Code of Conduct only related to complaints about something that occurred within the last six months. The Interim Monitoring Officer explained that, for the completeness and accuracy of the information concerned, it was not practical to investigate complaints more than six months ago. Despite this, the Interim Monitoring Officer still undertook to investigate and resolve those complaints which were more than six months old on an informal basis. The Interim Monitoring Officer highlighted the importance of the role of political Group Leaders in resolving complaints since the Localism Act 2011 which abolished the Standards Board regime.
Members sought to improve the transparency of those complaints which were not brought to the Standards Committee. With this in mind, the Committee expressed a desire to review the Code of Conduct and terms of reference of the Standards Committee. The Interim Monitoring Officer advised Members that the timing of such a review would be more prudent when a permanent appointment had been made to the position of Monitoring Officer.
The Committee discussed the Code of Conduct training arrangements in place for Members, the Member/officer protocol and the nature of the complaints typically received by the Interim Monitoring Officer.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.