Agenda item

Report back on Meetings with Group Leaders


The Director of Law and Corporate Governance recalled that the Audit Commission’s Ethical Governance Survey had highlighted certain issues which needed to be addressed to ensure that ethical governance was embedded within the Authority.  An action plan had been put in place to seek to address these matters and the action plan had been formally approved by the Committee in November 2007.


There were two particular issues that the Committee were keen to address in the short term namely, the apparent poor attendance at compulsory training sessions and the behaviour of Members at certain meetings particularly Council.


On 3rd and 25th January, 2008 the Chair of the Committee had met with the three Group Leaders and the Chief Executive when the matter predominantly under discussion had been Members’ behaviour.  The Chair reported back in detail on the outcome of the meeting on the 3rd January, 2008 when the following “ground rules” which all Members would be expected to follow were agreed:-


·  That the Office of the Mayor be respected.

·  That the Mayor’s rulings and authority be respected and observed by all Members.

·  Members should wait to be called to speak and not interrupt others, especially with spurious points of order.

·  There should only be one speaker at any time – Members should respect each other and remain silent while another Member is speaking.  There should be no secondary meetings, undercurrent of noise and/or background chatter.

·  If Members have points of personal explanation they should wait until the end of the debate.

·  Members should respect the fact that the Mayor and the Officers are trying to keep the meeting running smoothly and should support not undermine the Officers when providing advice to the Mayor and to the meeting.


The Director of Law and Corporate Governance reported that at the meeting on the 25th January, the general view, in the light of events at the Extraordinary Council Meeting on 8th January, 2008, was that the behaviour of Members had improved.  At this meeting consideration had been given as to whether or not the layout of the Council Chamber could be rearranged to assist debate.  In addition the Officers were requested to investigate the possibility of the Council Chamber speaker system being enhanced so that Members could indicate, through the system, if they wished to speak.  As agreed at this meeting a summary of the discussions and agreements reached were reported to all Members through their Weekly Information Bulletin.


The Chair referred to reports he had received regarding Members’ behaviour at the Council Meeting on Monday, 14th April, 2008.  These were that some Members’ behaviour at the meeting had been disgraceful and it was clear that the “ground rules” agreed with the Group Leaders were not being observed.  It was his view that the Group Leaders had responsibility for addressing this issue.  He indicated that it had been agreed that the Group Leaders, Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer and himself should meet at least three times a year to review Members’ behaviour at all Council and Committee meetings and in view of recent events he indicated that he would be requesting that such a meeting should be called as soon as possible.  The outcome of any such meeting would be reported back to the Committee.


Resolved  -  That the Report and current position be noted.

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