Agenda and minutes

Ethics Committee
Thursday, 16th May, 2019 6.30 pm, MOVED

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX. View directions

Contact: Annette Wiles 020 8726 6000 x64877  Email: annette.wiles@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

33/19

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2019 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2019 were agreed as an accurate record. The correction to ‘Councillors’ (plural) was noted on the recording of apologies.

34/19

Disclosure of Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interests. Members confirmed their disclosure of interest forms were accurate and up-to-date.

35/19

Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

36/19

Local Government Ethical Standards: A review by the Committee on Standards in Public Life pdf icon PDF 190 KB

To receive the report of the Executive Director of Resources & Monitoring Officer providing a gap analysis of the Council’s current Code of Conduct and ethics arrangements and the best practice recommendations set out in the review by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Minutes:

The item was introduced by the Executive Director of Resources and Monitoring Officer; an overview of the review of Local Government Ethical Standards undertaken by the Committee on Standards in Public Life had been provided at the Committee’s previous meeting with the agreement to go through the best practice recommendations. Whilst it had been indicated by Government that these recommendation would be proposed for implementation in 2020, there was benefit in Croydon addressing these in advance. Each of the best practice recommendations was discussed by the Members of the Committee in turn:

 

Best practice 1: this related to prohibitions on bullying and harassment. The Executive Director for Resources and Monitoring Officer briefed Members on how the existing Members’ Code of Conduct included provision around breaching equalities legislation and how there was a protocol on staff relations. The Code formed part of the Constitution and Members were expected to comply. However, it was acknowledged that the protocol did not include examples of what might constitute bullying. It was suggested that this could be inserted under the appropriate protocol (number six). It was recommended that the precise wording be taken from the Standards report which reflected best practice amongst other Councils.

 

The Members of the Committee AGREED the addition of examples of what might constitution bullying to the protocol on staff relations based on the examples provided in the Standards report.

 

Best practice 2: this related to the need to comply with any formal standards investigation. The Executive Director for Resources and Monitoring Officer highlighted that the Members’ Code of Conduct already stated the need to comply fully with any scrutiny. It was also noted that the assessment criteria allowed for it to be determined that no further action be taken and provided for malicious accusations by members of the public. It was therefore recommended that this best practice recommendation had already been addressed.

 

The Members of the Committee AGREED that no change was required with regard to this best practice recommendation.

 

Best practice 3: this related to the regular review of and consultation on the Members’ Code of Conduct. The Executive Director of Resources and Monitoring Officer highlighted that this was already achieved through the Ethic Committee. It was noted these reviews had resulted in changes to the Code such as the incorporation of the Nolan Principles of Public Life. However, it was acknowledged that this did not include consultation with the public and neighbouring authorities although it was not clear the degree to which this was necessary.

 

Given the Code of Conduct was regularly reviewed it was recommended that the Committee wait further guidance from Government on any further changes needed and that no change be implemented at the current time.

 

The Members of the Committee AGREED that no change be implemented regarding the review of and consultation on the Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

Best practice 4: this related to the accessibility of the Members’ Code of Conduct. Specifically how this is accessible to members of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36/19

37/19

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To consider the Committee work programme for the next Municipal Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: the work programme as contained in the agenda pack (pages 31 – 34), was AGREED by the Members of the Committee.

38/19

Dispensation Applications for Members pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To receive the report of the Executive Director of Resources & Monitoring Officer on Members' dispensations for consideration, if any are received.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No requests for personal dispensations were received.

39/19

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

Minutes:

No requests for personal dispensations were received and therefore this item fell.

 

40/19

Dispensation Applications for Members

To receive the report of the Executive Director of Resources & Monitoring Officer on Members' dispensations for consideration, if any are received.

Minutes:

No requests for personal dispensations were received and therefore this item fell.