Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville Room - Municipal Offices. View directions

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Councillors Savage and Stafford had given their apologies.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No interests were declared. 

 

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2019

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting had been circulated with the agenda and the minutes of the meeting held on the 16 April 2018, which had yet to be agreed and signed, were also circulated. 

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting(s) held on the 16 April 2018 and 10 July 2019 be agreed and signed as an accurate record.

4.

Code of Members' Conduct - "Other interests"- Restriction on Participation in Decisions pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Report of the Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that this was an issue that had been raised by the Constitution Working Group (CWG) and the Committee was asked to consider amending the Code of Conduct to remove the requirement for Members who are nominated to Companies and Trusts to leave a meeting (Council / Committee etc) when an item which may affect the financial position of that Company / Trust was discussed. 

 

The Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer summarised the position. The Council had nomination rights to certain bodies and upon their appointment to those Trusts or Companies, Councillors were required to act in the best interest of those bodies.  There was a misconception that Members were appointed to these bodies to “keep an eye on it from a Council perspective”; as with all Directors/Trustees, those nominated by the Council had a duty to act in the best interest of the company.  The Code of Conduct was clear that a member had an “other interest” if they held a position of control or management on any body to which they have been appointed or nominated by the Council and required that a member with any such interest be precluded from participating in any debate or decision relating to any business which affected the financial position of the body.  The requirement for the Member, in those circumstances, not to speak or vote was not an area of contention, but the Code also required that the member withdraw from a meeting, including the public area/gallery during the discussion / decision on the item.  It was in relation to the latter requirement that the Standards Committee was being asked to consider an amendment which would allow a member with such an interest in an item, to remain in the meeting whilst the item is discussed and determined.

 

The Monitoring Officer explained that prior to the Localism Act 2011, case law established that it was not sufficient for members with a Code of Conduct interest to simply retire to the back of the room or public gallery, giving the rationale that remaining in a meeting at which colleagues were debating and deciding a matter, could create the perception that they were seeking improperly to influence the decision.  Though the Localism Act did not require that those members with an “other interest” to withdraw from the meeting, when  CBC adopted its Code of Conduct, this requirement was included, and it was noted that this was also true for 5 of the 6 District Councils in Gloucestershire.  Whilst it was not mandatory to retain this provision, the Monitoring Officer’s advice was that there were risks in removing the requirement, as well as there being no apparent purpose to be served by the Member remaining in the meeting. It was also noted that it would not be appropriate for a Director/Trustee of a body to be privy to confidential financial or legal advice in respect of a company/trust, nor would it appear transparent when an item was taken in exempt session, from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Local Government Act 1972 - Exempt information

The Committee is recommended to approve the following resolution:

 

 “That in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining items of business as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2, Part 1, Schedule 12A (as amended) Local Government Act 1972, namely:

Paragraph 1; Information relating to any individual

 

Paragraph 2; Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual

Minutes:

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that in accordance with Section 100A(4) Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the remaining items of business as it is likely that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, if members of the public are present there will be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2, Part 1, Schedule 12A (as amended) Local Government Act 1972, namely:

Paragraph 1; Information relating to any individual

 

Paragraph 2; Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual

 

6.

Report of decisions taken by the Monitoring Officer

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer reminded members that in accordance with current arrangements, in consultation with the Independent Persons, she was able to resolve complaints much more easily and informally than before.  Details of the complaints that had been received since the last meeting of the Standards Committee had been circulated with the agenda and the committee considered where there was a need for action or training, arising from the complaints. 

7.

Any other business

Minutes:

There was no other business. 

8.

Date of next meeting

8 July 2020

Minutes:

The next meeting was sheduled for the 8 July 2020.