Agenda item

Actions arising from the Minutes (standing item) (Agenda item 2)


Minute No. 29/15 Work Programme


The Executive Director for Commercialisation and S151 Officer had been asked to provide Members with an update on the Intellectual Property Working Group which had originally been included on the Work Programme but had since been removed.


The Committee was informed that the Group had met on one occasion only and at that meeting the Terms of Reference had been agreed.  There was no evidence that any of the actions scheduled for future meeting consideration had been progressed.


All intellectual property rights (IPR) had been previously shared jointly between Breckland and South Holland Councils as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding; however, at the Full Council in December 2014 changes had been approved to amend this section.


Emma Hodds, the Internal Audit Consortium Manager had since been asked to look into IPR in relation to staff employment contracts.


Breckland Council had been protected in the Grants4Growth programme in relation to the use of the brand name but in the light of that experience the Executive Director of Commercialisation & S151 Officer had requested the auditors to consider if all staff contracts should include the confidentiality and IPR clause.


Members requested a list of all logos and brand names used for business purposes across all service areas be provided at the next meeting.


Mr Ludlow stated that IPR was not just about protecting the Council’s trademarks etc. it was also important for the Council to ensure compliance in terms of the IPR of others.  It was agreed that this particular action was an important aspect of the IPR considerations.


Mr Stevens reminded the Committee that the issue he raised in regard to employment contracts was in relation to consultants and whether they would be covered by the Council’s IPR.  The Executive Director for Commercialisation & S151 Officer advised that consultants came through from a range of agents.  Mr Ludlow mentioned consultants’ rights – owning the rights to their work which he felt the Council would have to be mindful of. 


The Chairman felt that a common sense approach should be applied and suggested that all employees of the Council should be made aware that they could be breaking the law.  Mark Finch, the Finance Manager assured Members that the Comms Team was aware of copyright rules.  The Internal Audit Consortium Manager pointed out that she was in the middle of looking at software licenses and part of that work included a software inventory.


Mr Ludlow said that all the Committee could do was raise awareness.


The Executive Director of Commercialisation and the S151 Officer stated that with the transparency agenda and the ability to FOI all was becoming increasingly difficult to secure IPR in the public sector.  Simplicity was good; therefore, if such matters could not be policed or enforced, then the Council needed to ensure that it had a defendable position.  She would request that the Council’s IT Users Policy be updated to reflect the Council’s requirement for staff to comply with all copyright and licensing rules of others.


Councillor Nairn asked if someone wrote an excel programme would that become the property of the Council. Members were informed that the ICT User Policy was being updated to provide the Council with the relevant protection.