Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 8th July 2008.


The minutes of the meeting held on 8th July 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 85 KB

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.


Additional documents:


The Chairman announced she had agreed to accept the under-mentioned item as urgent business to enable it to go forward within the current meetings cycle for consideration at the Council meeting on 6 November 2008:


  • Amendments to the Constitution: Report of the Monitoring Officer (as previously published with the agenda for the special meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission to be held on 23 October 2008).


Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.  The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.



No declarations were made.


Amendments to the Constitution (Agenda item 3)


Minute 51/08 above refers.


The Monitoring Officer presented a discussion paper on the position of co-opted members of the Standards Committee and, in particular, their right or otherwise as co-opted members to take part in exempt or confidential business at meetings of the Council.


This question had arisen at a meeting of the Council earlier in the year and the Monitoring Officer had been asked to clarify the matter and draft an amendment to the Constitution as appropriate.


It was established that co-opted (“independent”) members of standards committees were not members of the parent principal authority (i.e. they were not classified in the same way as elected members of an authority).


There was, however, a distinction between co-opted members of standards committees and the public so far as the business of standards committees was concerned and, therefore, co-opted members of the Standards Committee did have the right to vote on the committee’s business and make decisions on confidential business and vote to exclude the public from exempt business.


The distinction between co-opted members and the public so far as other business of the principal authority was concerned was not so clear. 


However, a practical approach was to hold that co-opted members fell into a distinct class of persons, who may attend a meeting at the Council’s discretion in accordance with standing orders that are made to govern its proceedings.  In relation to standards committees, such provision might be desirable if the authority were, for example, to discuss a confidential or exempt item remitted to it, or reported, from the standards committee – especially if elected members need to question co-opted members or invite them to explain a decision etc.  This was the approach that had been taken in the draft revision to standing order No. 43.


Members acknowledged there was a tension amongst some elected members of the Council about the position of co-opted members which had been evident when the question had first arisen. 


It was felt some of this tension could be assuaged through better promotion of the very positive work being done by the Standards Committee and by co-opted members getting to know and engaging more with elected members.  It was also felt that elected members could take comfort from the fact that co-opted members were bound by the Members’ Code of Conduct in the same way as they were.


It was suggested it would be useful to know if any other authorities had raised this question with the Standards Board for England and if the Board had issued any guidance on it.


Members discussed whether the Council should define any criteria to determine if or when co-opted members should be excluded from exempt business matters being considered at meetings of the Council and also whether advance notice should be included on an agenda that co-opted members were proposed to be excluded from any exempt business.  It was concluded, however, that, for practical reasons, neither of these options offered any useful benefit and could, in fact, create  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.


Application for Dispensation: Beeston with Bittering Parish Council (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.


RESOLVED that a dispensation be granted until the end of May 2011 to the under-mentioned named members of Beeston with Bittering Parish Council to allow them to speak and vote on matters relating to the Beeston Fuel Allotment Charity:


Mrs. Gloria Fowler

Mr. Julian Farrall

Miss Tara Burton

Miss Toni Townshend

Mrs. Anne Laws

Mr. Roger Sharpin

Mr. James Thompson


Adjourning Local Assessment Decisions (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 38 KB

At the request of the Chairman, to consider the attached extract from the Standards Board for England’s Bulletin No. 40.


The concerns raised by the Standards Board for England in their Bulletin 40 article about seeking views on adjourning local assessment decisions were noted, particularly the point in item (7) (that if the subject member was asked how they would react to a direction for other action, this would be finding out what the subject member thinks and feeding that into the decision-making process, which might be felt to be an irrelevant consideration).


In the main, however, it was considered that the questions posed no real problems and that the issues raised by the Standards Board could be put more simply.  There were some obvious actions that could be taken by the Monitoring Officer on receipt of a complaint to check its veracity.


The Committee concluded that, in practice, the issue would not be as complicated as it appeared from the article in the Standard Board’s bulletin.


RESOLVED that the position be noted.


Standards Board Reports to Standards Committees (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 35 KB

At the request of the Chairman, to consider the attached extract from the Standards Board for England’s Bulletin No. 40.


An article in the Standards Board for England’s Bulletin 40 on its revised reporting procedures to Standards Committees has been noted.


Amongst other things, the Standards Board was now sending copies of reports of investigations, which do not result in a standards committee hearing, to standards committees when most investigations were completed.  The Board feels that it is important for standards committees to understand the background to ethical problems that may have arisen in their area.  Sometimes investigations suggest problems with particular policies, procedures or culture locally, which was not part of the Board’s remit to investigate but which seemed likely to cause further problems in the future.  Where this was the case, the Board would draw the committee’s attention to those things which it was felt they might want to look into.


However, it was stressed that the reports were not sent to enable the committee to reconsider the complaint.  Not only would that be unfair to the member concerned to do that but the committee would not be able to do it fairly without being able to satisfy itself that it could look at and question the primary evidence.


The Board would be very interested to know how useful standards committees found these reports and for any suggestions of what it could help them use this learning opportunity.


Council's Response to the Committee's Suggestions on the Local Development Framework (LDF) (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 38 KB

At Council on 7th August 2008, it was resolved that the suggestions of this Committee on the LDF process be endorsed, except for recommendation no. 2 (relating to Cabinet).  The full approved Minute of Council is attached.


As far as Panel 1 is concerned, the intention is to deal with the reconstitution of the Panel as part of the Review of the Constitution.  This review is due to be considered at the meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission on 23 October 2008.


The position was noted.


Next Meeting (Agenda Item 10)

To note the date of the next meeting on Tuesday, 2nd December 2008 in the Norfolk Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham.


The arrangements for the next meeting on 2 December 2008 were noted.


It was agreed to include an item on the agenda for the next meeting to consider feedback from the Committee’s delegates to this year’s Standards Board for England’s Annual Conference.  In this connection, the following points of interest from the Conference were raised for future discussion:


§         Communications – raising the profile of the Committee and its work

§         Relationship of the Committee with external Partners and Partnerships

§         Inclusion of the work of the Standards Committee in the annual Governance Statement (it was thought this was already done but it would be confirmed)


The opportunity for attendance at the Conference was commended as very worthwhile and it was hoped more members could attend next year.