Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Remote Meeting
Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare:
· any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests
· any prejudicial interests or
· any disclosable pecuniary interests
which they might have in respect of business on this agenda.
Members were asked to declare any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests, or any prejudicial interests or disclosable pecuniary interests, which they might have in respect of business on the agenda. No interests were declared.
Exclusion of Press and Public
To consider excluding the public and press from the meeting during consideration of agenda item 8, ‘Monitoring Report in Respect of Complaints Received’ on the grounds that it contains information which is likely to reveal the identity of individuals. This information is classed as exempt under Paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to information) (Variation) Order 2006.
Resolved: That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of agenda item 8 (Monitoring Report on Complaints Received), on the grounds that it contains information which is likely to reveal the identity of individuals. This information is classed as exempt under Paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to information) (Variation) Order 2006.
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Standards Committee held on 22 January 2020.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2020 be approved as a correct record, to be signed by the Chair at a later date.
At this point in the meeting members of the public who have registered to speak can do so. Members of the public may speak on agenda items or on matters within the remit of the committee.
Please note that our registration deadlines have changed to 2 working days before the meeting, in order to facilitate the management of public participation at remote meetings. The deadline for registering at this meeting is 5:00pm on Monday, 20 July 2020.
To register to speak please contact Democratic Services, on the details at the foot of the agenda. You will then be advised on the procedures for dialling into the remote meeting.
Webcasting of Remote Public Meetings
Please note that, subject to available resources, this remote public meeting will be webcast including any registered public speakers who have given their permission. The remote public meeting can be viewed live and on demand at www.york.gov.uk/webcasts.
During coronavirus, we've made some changes to how we're running council meetings. See our coronavirus updates (www.york.gov.uk/COVIDDemocracy ) for more information on meetings and decisions.
It was reported that there had been one registration to speak at the meeting under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme.
Gwen Swinburn spoke of her concerns regarding the dismissal of a complaint against a Councillor in just nine days, without an explanation. Ms Swinburn also noted that her own complaint submitted over a week ago had not been acknowledged. Finally, the public participant noted the omission of items on the work plan that had been agreed at a previous meeting.
Any other business which the Chair decides is urgent under the Local Government Act 1972.
There was no urgent business reported.
To consider the LGA’s consultation on the Model Code of Conduct for Elected members and the submission of a response on behalf of the Joint Standards Committee.
The committee received a report introducing an LGA consultation on the model code of conduct for Elected Members.
Members highlighted the omission of repeat offers of gifts from the model code of conduct, noting that if gifts fell under the £25 limit, they could be accepted without the need to declare. Members also noted the importance of declaring which individual or organisation had offered the gift / hospitality.
Members noted the lack of reference to Parish Councils within the code of conduct and stated that it would be important for them to be included under the relevant authorities’ code. The committee asked for this to be included in the response
In response to Member questions, the monitoring officer noted the need for further clarification on the wider definition of ‘declaration of interests’. The committee agreed that the response to the consultation should seek clarification on this point.
Members reflected that the ‘protected characteristics’ no longer included marital status and asked for this to be included within the response. It was also noted that ‘socio-economic equality’ should be mentioned in the local code at a later date.
Members noted they were pleased with the inclusion of conduct on social media within the LGA’s model code, but that more clarity on the definitions of public/private life would be welcomed.
Resolved: That the Monitoring Officer prepare a response to the consultation, taking into account the comments of the committee, that can be finalised by the Chair prior to being submitted.
Reason: To ensure that the points raised by the committee are heard by the Local Government Association in relation to the Model Code of Conduct.
To confirm a dispensation granted to all City of York Councillors who, by reason of the COVID 19 lockdown, have been unable to attend a constitutionally prescribed meeting within a six month period.
The committee received a report from the Monitoring Officer on the dispensation of the ‘six month rule’ in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Monitoring Officer explained that due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting ‘lockdown’, there are some Members who, through no fault of their own, have not been able to attend a Council meeting during this period. The dispensation is requested so that those affected Members can avoid potential repercussions for not having attended a Council meeting.
Members did convey concern that the dispensation would allow Members to not attend meetings in protest against remote meetings in general.
Members noted that they would be happier with a fixed date being attached to the dispensation.
Resolved: That a dispensation is granted to all City of York Councillors who have been justifiably unable to attend a constitutionally prescribed meeting so as to ensure that they are exempt from the provisions of Section 85 Local Government Act 1972. This dispensation will expire on 31 December 2020.
Reason: A dispensation is required as it has not been possible to deliver the full suite of constitutionally prescribed meetings under the Remote Meetings Guidance.
To consider the Committee’s work plan and meeting dates for the remainder of 2020/21 municipal year and to make any changes or additions that may be required.
The committee reviewed their work plan for the municipal year 2020/2021.
Members asked for the following outstanding items from the previous meeting of the committee be re-added to the committee’s work plan for the September meeting:
- Report on how the JSC and CYC can better support parish councils in their work
- Planning and Pre-determination advice for City of York and Parish Councillors
- Update on Whistleblowing Policy
- Update on DBS procedures
Members asked for the following to be added the committee’s work plan for a future date to be confirmed:
- Model Code of Conduct
- Member/Officer Protocol
- Member Development (inc. on reduction of complaints and use of social media)
Resolved: That the committee considers agenda items to be included in the work plan for the municipal year.
Reason: To ensure the committee regularly review items to be discussed.
This report is to update the Committee on the position regarding ongoing complaints.
The Monitoring Officer presented a report to the committee outlining the position regarding ongoing complaints.
Resolved: That the report be noted.
Reason: To ensure that the committee is aware of current levels of activity.