Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
At the June 2019 meeting, the Audit and Standards Committee received a report on the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s (CSPL) Review of Local Government Ethical Standards and gave consideration to the resulting recommendations. It was noted that a detailed report would be presented to the December meeting following an officer assessment of the Council’s current performance against the best practice recommendations that had also resulted from the CSPL’s review.
To date, the Government had not yet responded to the CSPL’s report, however Hoey Ainscough Associates Ltd had been appointed by the Local Government Association to draw up a new national model Code of Conduct to be launched at their July 2020 conference. A formal consultation with all councils was to follow on a proposed draft in the spring, after initial consultations with representative bodies such as Lawyers in Local Government, Association of Democratic Services Officers etc.
Officer assessment against the best practice recommendations was attached at Appendix A to the report and Members were pleased to note that 10 out of 15 best practice recommendations were already processes and procedures operated by the Council.
The Monitoring Officer outlined the proposed actions to be undertaken to meet the remaining five best practice recommendations and confirmed that further reports would be made to the Committee if and when the Government brought forward any changes to legislation as a result.
Members felt that the current threshold for registering a gift or hospitality at £50 was too high. It was agreed that this would be looked at when considering the new model code in the New Year and whether any interim changes to the Council’s Code of Conduct were required in the meantime.
RESOLVED: That the assessment of the Council’s current practice and proposed actions against the best practice recommendations be noted and the following actions be approved:
Best practice 3 – the Council awaits the outcome of the Government’s response to the CSPL recommendation that there be a new non-mandatory new model code of conduct before carrying out another review.
Best practice 5 – Members be reminded of the need to review their registered gifts and hospitality quarterly.
Best practice 6 – the Monitoring Officer carries out a review of other local authority public interest tests to see whether the Council’s current documentation can be improved.
Best practice 9 – to be adhered to as and when required.
Best practice 11 – should a complaint be received from a Parish Clerk concerning the conduct of a Parish / Town Councillor, it would be recommended that the complaint be lodged by the Chairman of the Parish / Town Council.
Publication date: 13/03/2020
Date of decision: 09/12/2019
Decided at meeting: 09/12/2019 - Audit and Standards Committee