[To review the general operation of the Committee since the new Standards Committee was established in July 2012.]
Members reviewed the general operation of the Committee since the establishment of the new Standards Committee in July 2012.
It was felt that it was still early days for both the Committee and the new standards regime, as implemented under the Localism Act 2011. Officers were not aware of any particular issues at this stage and it was noted that a report on a 12 month review of the new regime was due to be considered by the Committee at its meeting on 11th July 2013.
The MO advised that she might suggest some tweaks to the current process and that any Member input in advance of the report being drafted for the July meeting would be helpful. She sought the Committee’s views as to whether it would be appropriate for a working group, comprising some of the members of the Committee, to be established to meet with Officers to discuss issues relating to the review, prior to the full Committee’s consideration of the review report in July.
The Committee felt that it would be helpful for such a working group to be established and it was agreed that Councillors Bullivant, Mallett and Mrs. Sherrey be appointed to this.
One of the Parish Representatives highlighted the ongoing issue of the lack of voting rights which were afforded to Parish Representatives on standards committees under the new regime. The Parish Representative added that if there was an issue with a parish councillor at any stage, arising from a complaint, she hoped the parish councillor would be well represented. The ongoing training of the Parish Councils was also raised.
The MO responded that if there were any issues of concern, such as the issue highlighted by the Parish Representative, these should be fed into the process and would be considered. She added that it had been agreed with the Group Leaders that there would be further standards training taking place in 2013, to which the parishes would be invited.
Representative commented that it would be helpful, as part of the
12 month review of standards, for the MO to look at further
publicity of the complaints procedure, and that as the parish
dimension was now less to the fore (in relation to voting rights on
the Committee), the Committee might need to work harder to ensure
that the parishes were aware of the new arrangements and process
for Member complaints.
(a) that the position be noted; and
(b) that a Standards Working Group, comprising Councillors Bullivant, Mallett and Mrs. Sherry, be established to assist Officers in the preparatory work for the 12 month review of the standards regime, in advance of the full Standards Committee’s consideration of the review at it 11th July 2013 meeting.