Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham

Contact: Democratic Services  01362 656870

Items
No. Item

71.

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 6 July 2017.

72.

Apologies and Substitutes (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence and to note substitute Members in attendance.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Oliver and Councillor Matthews.  Councillor Peter Wilkinson was present as substitute for Councillor Matthews.

73.

Urgent Business (Agenda item 3)

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

None.

74.

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 4)

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.

 

Minutes:

None.

75.

Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting (Agenda item 5)

To note the names of any non-members or public speakers wishing to address the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillors Webb, Bambridge, S. Chapman-Allen and Robinson.

76.

Quarter 1 2017-18 Performance Overview Report (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Strategy, Governance and Transformation.

Additional documents:

77.

Officer Code of Conduct (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Report of Phil Adams, Executive Manager People and Public Protection.

Additional documents:

78.

Corporate Health and Safety Policy 2017 (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report of Phil Adams, Executive Manager for People and Public Protection.

Additional documents:

79.

Unreasonably Persistent Complaints and Customer Behaviour and Vexatious Requests (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Report of the Executive Manager for Governance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Governance presented the report which asked Members to consider the draft Policy for dealing with unreasonably persistent complaints and customer behaviour and vexatious requests.

 

This was a new Policy for the Council.

 

The Legal Services Manager explained that the Policy applied to both Elected Members and staff.  A flow chart would be prepared to support the Policy if approved.

 

Councillor Jermy was pleased with the report and asked if the flow chart had been prepared.  The Legal Services Manager handed out a draft flow chart for Members to look at.  He drew Members’ attention to section 4(e) of the Policy (appeals against decisions) and queried the job titles listed.  Members were informed that the job titles would be amended accordingly.

 

In response to a suggestion by Councillor Jermy, it was proposed and seconded that such issues be reported to the Commission on an annual basis.

 

Councillor Brame congratulated the Officer concerned on how the Policy had been written and would be taking it to his Parish Council as all had to deal with similar problems.

 

The Chairman agreed and asked for the Policy to be emailed to all Parish Councils.

 

Councillor Nairn felt that ‘trolls’ on social media should be addressed.  Members were informed that the wording could be amended to include reference to social media. 

 

Councillor Dimoglou declared an interest in this item as he had been a victim of a vexatious complaint and felt that the Policy was too complex and was weighted far too much against the vexatious complainant.  He pointed out that the Council’s current Policy required him to have contact with the person and he felt that this part should be removed. The Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategy, Governance & Transformation explained that the Council had to have a proper process in place to encompass all issues moving forward.  The Chairman pointed out that this was an overarching Policy to protect the Council and the public.

 

The Executive Member for Growth suggested that this Policy be included on the agenda at the next Town & Parish Council Forum.

 

The Legal Services Manager responded to many questions in relation to freedom of information requests, legislation, civil matters and injunctions and it was noted that Freedom of Information had time constraints and if not responded to within the statutory time frame, the matter could be referred to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

 

Members discussed the draft flow chart and the Executive Member for People & Information felt that there should be another arrow pointing back from the appeal to the decision.

 

Councillor Jermy asked if Standards and this Policy were two different areas.  Members were informed that there was a paragraph included within the Standards Policy in relation to vexatious complaints.

 

RECOMMEND to Cabinet that the proposed Policy at Appendix A of the report be approved subject to the inclusion of the aforementioned amendments; and it was:

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)    such complaints, vexatious requests etc be reported to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission on an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

Amendments to Constitution (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Report of the Executive Manager for Governance.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Governance presented the report that asked Members to consider a number of amendments to the Constitution.  The proposed amendments had been set out at section 2 of the report to add clarity to the Constitution.

 

The Chairman and a number of Members raised concerns about the proposed call-in procedure referred to in section (e) of the report.  The Chairman had reservations about how it had been worded and Councillor Dimoglou felt that, if approved, the Cabinet/Executive could ‘railroad’ every decision made and recommended that for any urgent decision a Special Overview & Scrutiny Commission should be convened.  Councillor Jermy agreed; the Council had to have checks and balances in place otherwise it could weaken the whole decision making process.  The Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategy, Governance & Transformation provided Members with an example of an urgent decision that had been made by the Leader and assured Members that these decisions were very few and far between and would not exclude the Commission from the process.

 

The Chairman felt that the wording needed to be changed slightly to protect the remaining Council Members.  Councillor Wilkinson pointed out that the Constitution was a ‘living’ document and therefore could be amended accordingly.

 

Members had a number of concerns with the report and felt that it should be returned to the report author for further clarity and then brought back to a future meeting.  The Chairman also wanted the report to consider the role of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission and explore how to function as a Committee.

 

RESOLVED that the report be deferred until the next Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting for further clarity as mentioned above.

81.

Outside Body Feedback (Standing Item) (Agenda item 11)

To receive an update from representatives on Outside Bodies.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Wilkinson provided Members with an update in relation to the Doctors surgeries in Dereham and Benjamin Court in Cromer.

 

The Chairman advised that some matters discussed at these outside body organisations could be private & confidential and therefore could not be debated in open session.  The Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategy, Governance & Transformation explained such matters could be discussed below the line but the Chairman would have to be informed prior to the meeting.

 

It was agreed that an email to explain the procedure would be sent out to all Members of the Commission.

 

The Executive Member for Growth reminded Members that a representative from the Norfolk Rivers Internal Drainage Board would be invited to the O&SC meeting on 14 December 2017.

82.

Scrutiny Call-ins (Standing Item) (Agenda item 12)

To note whether any decisions have been called-in for scrutiny.

Minutes:

None.

83.

Councillor Call for Action (Standing Item) (Agenda item 13)

To consider any references.

Minutes:

None.

84.

Work Programme (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 279 KB

(a)          A copy of the Commission’s work programme is attached.  The Commission is asked to agree any additions, deletions or amendments to the programme as appropriate.

 

(b)        Member Issues:  In accordance with the Commission’s protocol for member leadership, which states that members of the Commission will take the lead in selecting topics for overview and scrutiny and in the questioning of witnesses, members are invited to put forward items for selection for future review.

 

A copy of the Key Decision Plan is attached for Members’ information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was agreed that the Chairman would meet with the Executive Director for Strategy & Governance to discuss the Investment and Commercialisation and Car Park Enforcement reports that had not come forward on the agenda due to staff sickness.

85.

Next Meeting (Agenda item 15)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting on Thursday, 2 November 2017 at 2pm in the Anglia Room.

 

Minutes:

Members were reminded of the Special Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting arranged for Tuesday, 3 October at 10.30am in the Anglia Room.

 

The arrangements for the next ordinary meeting on Thursday, 2 November 2017 were noted.