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The minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2013, having been printed and circulated, were signed as a correct record.
In considering the minutes it was noted that all Parish Council Register of Interest Forms had been completed and returned to the Monitoring Officer.
Attendance by the Leader & Chief Executive to discuss Standards issues
At the invitation of the Committee, Councillor Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council and David Parr, Chief Executive of Halton Borough Council attended the meeting to discuss their respective roles and responsibilities relating to leadership in public office with Members.
The following issues were discussed:-
· How the Standards Committee could usefully address the promotion and maintenance of high standards of ethical behaviour on behalf of the Council;
· The advisory role of the Committee on the Authorities’ adopted Code of Conduct;
· The Member/Officer relationship;
· The distinction between the public role of an Elected Member and their entitlement to a private life;
· The Nolan Principles and the Council’s adopted Code of Conduct; and
· Training for Elected Members and Parish Councils on matters pertaining to their respective Codes of Conduct and Standards issues.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Polhill and David Parr be thanked for their attendance.
The Operational Director, Legal and Democratic Services /Monitoring Officer provided the Committee with an update on issues which had arisen in other parts of the country, which provided an insight into the kind of issues faced and the manner in which they had proceeded.
Details on recent cases were given from the following locations:-
· London Borough of Ealing;
· Fenland (Cambridgeshire); and
The Committee commented that they found these reports to be very useful and helpful in terms of Members’ learning and development.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
SCHEDULE 12A OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AND THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) ACT 1985
In this case the Board has a discretion to exclude the press and public and, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, it is RECOMMENDED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, having been satisfied that in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
(1) whether Members of the press and public should be excluded from the meeting of the Committee during consideration of the following item of business in accordance with Sub-Section 4 of Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 because it was likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be considered, exempt information would be disclosed, being information defined in Section 100 (1) and paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972; and
(2) whether the disclosure of information was in the public interest, whether any relevant exemptions were applicable and whether, when applying the public interest test and exemptions, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed that in disclosing the information.
RESOLVED: That as, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information, members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business in accordance with Sub-Section 4 of Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 because it was likely that, in view of the nature of the business, exempt information would be disclosed, being information defined in Section 100 (1) and paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.
Verbal report of the Monitoring Officer on a Complaint
The Operational Director, Legal and Democratic Services / Monitoring Officer, reported the outcome of a complaint which he had recently received.
It was noted that, under the arrangements for considering complaints against an Elected Member, the Monitoring Officer had consulted Professor Norman, Independent Person appointed to deal with such business. Professor Norman and the Monitoring Officer had interviewed both parties and reached a decision not to proceed to a formal investigation. Both parties involved had been advised of the outcome.
The Committee wished to place on record their thanks to Professor Norman for his role in considering the matter.
RESOLVED: That the verbal update be noted.
Vote of Thanks
The Committee wished to place on record their thanks to Councillor Peter Lloyd Jones, for his role as Chair of the Committee since 2012.