Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual WEBEX video conference via the Council’s YouTube Channel: View directions

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillors Payne, Savage, Stafford and Sudbury.


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 320 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 13 August 2020.


The minutes of the meeting held on 13 August 2020 were approved and signed as a correct record.


Committee on Standards in Public Life - Progress on Best Practice Recommendations pdf icon PDF 382 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:


The Monitoring Officer reminded Members that the committee had already considered the findings of the review of ethical standards in local authorities by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, published in 2019. The review resulted in a number of recommendations including strengthening the sanctions for any breach of the code of conduct. The Local Government Association had been requested to devise a model code which authorities could adopt and the Standards Committee had also fed into that consultation in the summer. She advised that the final model code would be issued in December.


There were 15 best practice recommendations in total arising from the review and the Standards Committee was meeting today to consider progress the council had made against each one as this was required to be submitted to the Cabinet office by the end of November 2020. Both the Cabinet Office and the Committee on Standards in Public Life would publish this on their respective websites.


Members considered, and had the opportunity to raise questions on, the commentary the Monitoring Officer had produced to each recommendation as outlined in paragraph 2.3. Where there were no comments from members of the committee the proposed response as outlined in appendix 1 was deemed to be approved.


The main points raised on the recommendations are summarised as follows :


Recommendation 1: Local authorities should include prohibitions on bullying and harassment in codes of conduct. These should include a definition of bullying and harassment, supplemented with a list of examples of the sort of behaviour covered by such a definition.


A Member felt that the existing wording should be expanded in order to cover patterns of intimidating behaviour, as bullying appeared to set a high threshold for complaints. He suggested there was a recent example where the complaints process had not been used in this respect but where it perhaps should have been. Members agreed that no form of harassment and bullying should be deemed acceptable and therefore this should be made as clear as possible in the wording to provide protection to Members, members of the public or others.


The Monitoring Officer agreed that, when considering the review of the code of conduct once the revised LGA model code was published, the opportunity will be taken to include a prohibition against harassment and a definition of bullying.



Recommendation 2: Councils should include provisions in their code of conduct requiring councillors to comply with any formal standards investigation, and prohibiting trivial or malicious allegations by Councillors.


No points were raised.


Recommendation 3: Principal authorities should review their code of conduct each year and regularly seek, where possible, the views of the public, community organisations and neighbouring authorities.


The Monitoring Officer explained that the code was in effect reviewed each time a complaint was determined and a review was considered periodically but it was generally working well. It was suggested that the frequency and methods of a review should be considered when considering the adoption of the new model.


No points  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Any other business


The Chair referred to a letter received and circulated earlier in the week from the Minister with regard to some previous code of conduct matters that had been raised with him, including the limited sanctions available to authorities for breaches of the code. He asked Members to note the letter and wished to place on record his thanks to the Minister for his reply.


The Monitoring Officer added that time had elapsed but she was reassured that there would be consultation on any proposed changes.


Date of next meeting

10 February 2021