Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meetings held on 30 October and 14 November 2007.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings held on 30 October and 14 November 2007 were confirmed as correct records and signed by the Chairman.


Urgent Business

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.


Copies of the latest Bulletin issued by the Standards Board for England and received that morning were circulated for members’ information. The Chairman explained that an item in the Bulletin was relevant to agenda item 7 and would be considered at that point.


Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting

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


The following substitute members of the Committee were in attendance:


  • Mr J.P. Labouchere
  • Mr. M. Eveling
  • Mr. B. Rayner
  • Mr. M. Whittley


Mrs. D. Irving was also present as an observer.


Application for Dispensation - Scoulton Parish Council (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.


The Committee was asked to consider an application for a dispensation for the six councillors of Scoulton Parish Council in respect of matters dealing with the former Highways Surveyors Land, of which the members concerned were all Trustees and as such would have to declare an interest.


The report recommended that the dispensation be granted to the members concerned in order to ensure the smooth running of Scoulton Parish Council in connection with the former Highway Surveyors Land.


The Committee concurred with the recommendation for the reasons given and accordingly


         RESOLVED that a dispensation be granted until the end of May 2011 to the under-mentioned parish councillors of Scoulton Parish Council to allow them to speak and vote on any matters relating to the former Highway Surveyors Land:


Ruaridh Beath                    Mark Brown

Roy Potton                          Zena Rowland

Colin Spinks                       Nigel Webster


Standards Committee: Composition to carry out new functions (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.


The Chairman recorded his thanks to the Standards Consultant for the report.


The Standards Consultant presented the report and explained that the new Regulations and further guidance on the new framework for Standards Committees under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 was still awaited.  Additionally, the consultation paper due this month was still awaited and this would give an indication of what would be in the Regulations.  The new framework was still expected to commence on 1st April 2008.


The key changes to the framework were:


  • Standards Committees will be responsible for receiving allegations and deciding whether any action needs to be taken (“local assessment”).

  • Standards Committees must be chaired by an independent member.

  • Standards Committees will report periodically to the Standards Board for England.

  • Standards Committees will be allowed to enter into joint working arrangements with other Standards Committees.


So far as local assessment was concerned, Standards Committees would have three separate but distinct roles in relation to complaints about member conduct.  These were:


Ø      Receiving and assessing complaints

Ø      Reviewing local assessment decisions

Ø      Conducting hearings following investigation


To avoid perceptions of bias or predetermination, members who carry out a local assessment decision should not be involved in a review of the same decision, should one be requested.


In readiness for the Council to operate the new arrangements, the Council needed to consider what changes, if any, should be made to the structure and composition of the Standards Committee.


In considering the matter, the Committee had regard to the Standards Board’s Bulletin, which provided a checklist of things for local authorities to consider in the run up to the implementation of the new framework in April 2008.


The Standards Board was recommending as an effective practice:


  • A structure of sub-committees or the Standards Committee acting as a pool of members to deal with the different roles.
  • As a minimum, two separate sub-committees, one for taking initial assessment decisions and one for taking decisions on reviews.
  • Subject to regulations, any sub-committee should also have an independent chairman.
  • A member who was involved in an initial assessment decision, or following referral of a complaint back to the Standards Committee from the Monitoring Officer or Standards Board for another assessment decision, can be a member of the Committee that hears and determines the complaint.  This is because an assessment decision only relates to whether a complaint discloses something that needs to be investigated.  It does not require deliberation of whether the conduct did or did not take place and so no conflict of interest will arise in hearing and determining the complaint.


Currently, Standards Committees were required to comprise a minimum of:


  • Three members (two elected members and one independent member)
  • 25% as independent lay members if the committee was more than three people
  • An independent chair (from April 2008)
  • One parish or town council member if the authority had responsibilities for those councils


For the purposes of the new framework, the Standards Board was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.


Next Meeting

To note the date of the next meeting on 22 January 2008.


The arrangements for the next meeting on 22 January 2008 were noted.