Agenda item

Councillors' Code of Conduct and Standards Committee terms of reference


The Monitoring Officer introduced a report that set out the terms of reference for the newly formed Standards Committee.  Members were asked to agree to recommend minor changes to the terms of reference to Council to remove the requirement for independent members and to the procedure for determining complaints to reflect the role of the new committee.  The proposed changes were detailed in Appendix 1 and 3 to the report.


It was noted that with effect from the municipal year 2022/23 a separate Standards Committee had been established to assist the Council to meet its duty under s.27 of the Localism Act 2011.  Previously the functions had been the responsibility of the Audit & Corporate Governance Committee.  The new structure had been implemented at the suggestion of the DLUHC Commissioners.  The core functions of the Committee, proposed changes and working arrangements were outlined.


In relation to the proposed removal of the requirement for independent members on the committee it was noted that it was good practice for audit committees to have co-opted membership of this kind, but it was not considered to be required for standards which already had independent input from the Independent Person and from parish council co-optees on relevant issues.  Parish Council representatives were non-voting members of the Standards Committee.  The Committee supported the proposed change and agreed to recommend the revised terms of reference to Council.


A Member asked about the reasoning why there could not be any cross-membership between the standards committee and audit & corporate governance committee.  It was responded that good practice from other authorities could be explored and the matter could be considered in future reviews of the terms of reference.


A summary of complaints received about borough and parish councillors under the Code of Conduct to date in 2022/23 was reviewed.  Members asked a number of questions about specific cases which the Monitoring Officer responded to as far as possible without disclosing any confidential aspects of the cases.  It was noted that all of the four complaints received during 2022/23 had been either determined or closed with none requiring any formal investigation.  The update was noted.


Recommended to Council -


a)  That the Constitution’s Article 9A and Part 5.1 Councillors’ Code of Conduct be amended as set out in Appendices 1 and 3 to the report.

Resolved -

b)  That the outcome of complaints determined to date in 2022/23 as set out in Appendix 2 to the report be noted. 


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