Agenda, decisions and draft minutes


The Standards Committee - Monday 11 October 2021 4.00 pm

Venue: Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury, OX15 4AA

Contact: Lesley Farrell, Democratic and Elections  Email: democracy@cherwell-dc.gov.uk, 01295 221534

Media

Items
No. Item

3.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

Requests to Address the Meeting

The Chairman to report on any requests to address the meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no requests to address the meeting.

5.

Urgent Business

The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any item of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no matters of urgent business.

6.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 213 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 10 October 2012, 15 May 2013, 16 June 2014, 19 May 2015, 17 May 2016, 16 May 2017, 15 May 2018, 14 May, 2019 and 19 May 2021.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 10 October 2012, 15 May 2013, 16 June 2014, 19 May 2015, 17 May 2016, 16 May 2017, 15 May 2018, 14 May, 2019 and 19 May 2021 were confirmed as correct records and signed by the Chairman.

7.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chairman.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no Chairman’s announcements.

8.

Appointment of Independent Persons pdf icon PDF 375 KB

***The appendices to this report will follow as they are currently being reviewed and finalised***

 

 

Report of Director of Law and Governance & Monitoring Officer

 

Purpose of report

 

To consider and agree the proposed arrangements for the appointment of Independent Persons. 

           

Recommendations

 

1.1     To agree to recruit Independent Persons.

 

1.2     To consider and approve the proposed arrangements for the appointment of Independent Persons as set out at paragraph 3.13.

 

1.3     To approve the Job Description and Role Profile at Appendix 1 (to follow) and if any amendments are required to delegate final approval to the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee.

 

1.4     To delegate authority to the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Chairman of the Standards Committee, to finalise the recruitment pack.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)      That the recruitment of Independent Persons be agreed.

 

(2)      That the proposed arrangements for the appointment of Independent Persons be agreed.

 

(3)      That subject to the deletion of ‘an understanding of ethical issues’ in the Role Profile, the Job Description and Role Profile be agreed and authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chairman of the Standards Committee to make any final amendments to the Job Description and Role Profile.

 

(4)      That authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chairman of the Standards Committee to finalise the recruitment pack.

Minutes:

The Director or Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer submitted a report for the Committee to consider and agree the proposed arrangements for the appointment of Independent Persons. 

 

The Director of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer explained the reasoning for appointing Independent Persons, the required number of Independent Persons and their term of office.  She also thanked the current Independent Persons for the work they had carried out and hoped that they would be re-applying.

 

In considering the Independent Person role profile,  Members agreed that the list of required attributes should be reviewed as some would be difficult for applicants to demonstrate, for example, “an understanding of ethical issues”.  The list should also be shortened to avoid duplication and appeal to as wide a demographic as possible.  The Committee also requested that there not be reliance on applicants submitting a CV but rather there should be a short application form.

 

In response to Members comments, the Director of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer confirmed that “an understanding of ethical issues” would be removed from the attributes and that all other attributes on the list would be reviewed, combined, and detailed as essential and desirable as far as practicable.    The Committee’s comments regarding the application form were also noted.

 

The Director of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer advised that virtual interviews would be held with a panel consisting of the Standards Committee Chairman and two other Standards Committee members ensuring cross party representation.  The panel would be supported by the Director of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer.  It was anticipated that the interviews would be in late November and the Democratic and Elections Officer would liaise with Committee members.

 

Resolved

 

(1)      That the recruitment of Independent Persons be agreed.

 

(2)      That the proposed arrangements for the appointment of Independent Persons be agreed.

 

(3)      That subject to the deletion of ‘an understanding of ethical issues’ in the Role Profile, the Job Description and Role Profile be agreed and authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chairman of the Standards Committee to make any final amendments to the Job Description and Role Profile.

 

(4)      That authority be delegated to the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chairman of the Standards Committee to finalise the recruitment pack.

9.

Monitoring Officer Report pdf icon PDF 386 KB

Report of Director of Law & Governance and Monitoring Officer

 

Purpose of report

 

To give an overview from the Monitoring Officer on potential changes to the member code of conduct and an update on member Code of Conduct complaints.

 

Recommendations

            

1.1     To note and comment upon the contents of the report.

 

1.2     To identify if there are any other matters of ethical governance within the Terms of Reference of the Committee that the Monitoring Officer should report on to the Committee

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)      That the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)      That having considered matters of ethical governance within the Standards Committee Terms of Reference no further areas for report were identified.

 

 

Minutes:

The Director of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer submitted a report  which gave an overview on potential changes to the member code of conduct and an update on member code of conduct complaints.

 

The Director of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer explained that during 2020 the Local Government Association had consulted on a new model code of conduct for Members, which had been broadly supported.  The emphasis was on creating clarity around responsibilities, the importance of good behaviours, particularly in the use of social media, and the creation of national guidance.

 

In keeping with the principle that, ideally, a similar Code should be adopted across Oxfordshire, the Monitoring Officers from across the county had agreed to work up a potential revised Code, based on the Model, for consideration by each authority, with a view to potential implementation by each Council by May 2022. 

 

Members agreed that a common code of conduct across all councils in Oxfordshire was sensible.  Members requested that when the new code of conduct came forward for Member consideration, the changes between the new and current code of conduct be highlighted.

 

In response to Members’ comments, the Director of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer informed the Committee that should Cherwell District Council (or any Oxfordshire authority) wish to modify the proposed Oxfordshire code in any way, the modifications would have to be agreed by all Oxfordshire Councils for the same model code of conduct to be used county wide.

 

Resolved

 

(1)      That the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)      That having considered matters of ethical governance within the Standards Committee Terms of Reference no further areas for report were identified.