Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Offices, Springfields, Towcester, Northants NN12 6AE

Contact: Natasha Clark, Democratic and Elections  Email: natasha.clark@cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk, 01295 221589

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman for the Municipal Year 2013/14

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That Councillor Robin Digby be appointed Chairman of the Standards Committee for the municipal year 2013/14.

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman for the Municipal Year 2013/14

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That Councillor Steven Hollowell be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Standards Committee for the municipal year 2013/14.

 

3.

Chetna Nathasingh

Minutes:

The Committee held a period of silence in memory of Mrs Chetna Nathasingh, Legal Services Manager and Deputy Monitoring Officer, who had sadly passed away.

 

4.

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.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

5.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 30 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 24 January 2013.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 24 January 2013 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

6.

Urgent Business

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

 

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

7.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chairman.

 

Minutes:

There were no Chairman’s announcements.

8.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The following report contains exempt information as defined in the following paragraph of Part 1, Schedule 12A of Local Government Act 1972.

 

1 – Information relating to any individual

 

Members are reminded that whilst the following item has been marked as exempt, it is for the meeting to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public. In making the decision, members should balance the interests of individuals or the Council itself in having access to the information. In considering their discretion members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers.

 

Should Members decide not to make a decision in public, they are recommended to resolve as follows:

 

“That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraph 1 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

 

 

 

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraph 1 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

9.

Hearing of Complaint of Alleged Breach of Code of Conduct by Parish Councillor

Exempt Report of Head of Law and Governance

Minutes:

The Standards Committee conducted a hearing to consider the investigation into a complaint of alleged misconduct by Councillor Edward Cooper of Deanshanger Parish Council to determine whether the member had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct and, if so, whether to take any action.

 

Mr Michael Ronan, who had been appointed investigating officer presented the final investigation report to the Committee and questions were invited.

 

Councillor Edward Cooper addressed the Committee and questions were invited.

 

At the discretion of the Chairman, a short statement was made on behalf of the complainant Parish Council, by the current Chairman who was present at the meeting.

 

The Investigating Officer and Councillor Cooper summed up.

 

The Investigating Officer, complainant and Councillor Cooper left the meeting room while the Committee deliberated. The Head of Law and Governance/Monitoring Officer read a statement submitted by one of the Independent Persons who had been unable to attend the meeting. This, together with the verbal view of the Independent Person in attendance was recorded in writing. Following the Committee’s deliberation, the Investigating Officer, complainant and Councillor Cooper were invited to return to the meeting.

 

The Committee commended the Investigating Officer for a comprehensive investigation and report.

 

The Chairman reported that the Standards Committee accepted the Investigating Officer’s findings that Councillor Cooper breached the Code of Conduct for Councillors by failing to treat an individual with respect, bullying and bringing the Parish Council into disrepute.

 

The Investigating Officer’s finding that Councillor Cooper did not breach the Code of Conduct in two further allegations referred by Deanshanger Parish Council’s Standards Sub-Committee was upheld.

 

The Head of Law and Governance confirmed that all parties and the clerk to Deanshanger Parish Council would be notified of the findings and confirmed that the hearing concluded the investigation into the complaints.

 

Resolved

 

(1)          That Councillor Cooper be reprimanded for his breach of the code of conduct and a letter sent accordingly with authority delegated to the Head of Governance, in consultation with the Chairman, to draft the letter.

 

(Note: Both Independent Persons agreed with the investigating officer’s findings)

 

10.

Re-Admittance of the Press and Public

The Committee to resolve as follows:

 

“That the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.”

 

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That the press and public be re-admitted to the meeting.

11.

Review of Complaints 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Report of Head of Law and Governance

 

Purpose of Report

 

To provide a summary of the volume, nature and outcome of complaints received by the Monitoring Officer since the commencement of the new Standards Regime. 

 

Recommendations

            

The meeting is recommended:

 

 1.1        To note this report.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Law and Governance submitted a report which provided a summary of the volume, nature and outcome of complaints received by the Monitoring Officer since the commencement of the new Standards Regime. 

 

Resolved

 

(1)          That the report be noted.

 

 

12.

Protocol for Independent Persons pdf icon PDF 31 KB

Report of Head of Law and Governance

 

Purpose of Report

 

To enable the Committee to endorse a proposed protocol for Statutory Independent Persons. 

 

Recommendations

            

The meeting is recommended:

 

 1.1        To endorse the introduction of the attached protocol for Statutory Independent Persons (Appendix ‘A’) with immediate effect.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Law and Governance submitted a report which sought consideration and endorsement of a proposed protocol for Statutory Independent Persons.

 

Resolved

 

(1)          That the introduction of the protocol for Statutory Independent Persons (annex to the Minutes as set out in the Minute Book) be endorsed with immediate effect.