Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Town Hall - Bridge Street, Bideford, EX39 2HS. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: dem.services@torridge.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

50.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

None received.

51.

Minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 15 November 2023 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Confirmation of the minutes of the Standards Committee held on 15 November 2023.

Minutes:

Whilst reviewing the minutes Chair advised members that the report from East Devon District Council would be deferred to the Standards Committee on 19th June.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hawkins, seconded by Councillor Gibson and

Resolved:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2023 be agreed and signed as a correct record.

 

(Vote: For Unanimous)

 

52.

Declarations of Interest

Members with interests to declare should refer to the agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is being considered.

Minutes:

The Chair asked that declarations of interest be made as and when the specific agenda item to which they related was under discussion.

 

53.

Agreement of Agenda between Parts I and II (if applicable)

Minutes:

There were no Part II items.

54.

Urgent Matters of Information to be brought forward with the permission of the Chair and the Committee

Minutes:

An update was provided regarding the advertising of the vacant Parish Representative role at Standards.  Members were advised that, unfortunately, no applications had been received following the adverts being sent.  Members were asked to highlight the vacancy to their Parish Clerks.

 

55.

Local Government Association Model Councillor Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive the report of the Head of Legal & Governance (Monitoring Officer)

Minutes:

The Head of Legal & Governance (and Monitoring Officer) introduced the report, the purpose of which was to consider the Local Government Association (LGA) Councillor Code of Conduct and whether to recommend to Full Council its adoption by Torridge District Council. The current Code of Conduct and the LGA’s model Code of Conduct where both published with the agenda.

 

The Head of Legal & Governance (and Monitoring Officer) provided members with a summary of the council’s progress in considering the adoption of the LGA’s Model Code of Conduct.

 

Members were reminded of the 7 Nolan Principles that underpin the Council’s and LGA’s Code of Conduct and advised of the 3 options set out with the report recommendations –

 

1)    Remain with our current Code of Conduct;

2)    Recommend to Full Council that we adopt the LGA’s Model Code of Conduct.

3)    Recommend to Full Council that we adopt the LGA’s Model Code of Conduct with modifications.

 

Members reviewed the LGA’s Model Code of Conduct and the following areas were discussed.

 

Following a query in relation to the Protection from Harassment Act it was confirmed that a complaint could still be progressed and that the requirement being discussed related to any potential criminal investigation.

 

Following a discussion about the list of resources and facilities that Councillors can use in their role it was felt that Torridge District Council (TDC) email addresses and electronic media were not adequately covered by the LGA’s Model Code of Conduct.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Bach, seconded by Councillor James and -

Resolved:

 

To add Councillor email addresses to the list of examples of resources and facilities listed in Section 7.2 of the LGA’s Model Code of Conduct.

 

(Vote: For Unanimous)

 

Further clarity and examples were provided in terms of gifts and hospitality, declarations of interest and the difference between the public and private aspects of Councillor life.  The Head of Legal and Governance (& Monitoring Officer) recognised the difficulty there can be in the separation of public and private and members were advised of the process and the advice was to contact the Monitoring Officers if unsure.

 

Following a discussion on Active Torridge and Board Membership the Head of Legal and Governance (& Monitoring Officer) reminded members of the Full Council decisions regarding Board Membership and the process for reviewing and auditing the Company.

 

Members reviewed the recommendations and discussed the review process.  It was confirmed the code would be reviewed annually, but amendments could be recommended to Full Council at any time.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Bach, seconded by Councillor Hawkins and –

Resolved:

 

To recommend to Full Council that the LGA’s Model Code of Conduct be adopted with the agreed modification - to include Councillor email address as one of the examples listed in section 7.2 of the code.

 

(Vote: For 4, Against 1)

56.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Minutes:

Chair reviewed the forward plan with members and the following was agreed:

 

Following a request to add DBS checks to the forward plan the Head of Legal and Governance (& Monitoring Officer) confirmed this would be covered when discussing the East Devon Report.

 

The Head of Legal and Governance (& Monitoring Officer) requested that a review complaints process and review hearing process be added to the forward plan.

 

57.

Complaints Update

To receive a verbal update from the Head Legal and Governance & Monitoring Officer

 

Minutes:

The Head of Legal and Governance (& Monitoring Officer) confirmed there were no items for discussion.