Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee - Tuesday 20 June 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Kennet Room - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Lisa Alexander 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from:


·       Cllr Pip Ridout

·       Cllr Bill Parks

·        Cllr Iain Wallis



Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 18 April 2023.

Supporting documents:


The minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 April 2023 were presented for consideration.


It was;




To approve and sign the minutes as a true and correct record.



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.



There were none.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chair.


There were none.


Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.



If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.



To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Tuesday 13 June 2023, in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm onThursday 15 June 2023. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.

Supporting documents:


Public Speakers


Mr Francis Morland spoke in relation to item 8 – Recommendations from the Constitution Focus Group on Proposed Changes.


Mr Morland stated he was opposed to the Council decision taken to adopt the current Code of Conduct in place of the previous light touch version, though the recommended changes were an improvement.


The Chairman noted that the process undertaken by the Standards Committee and the Code of Conduct Working Group had been extensive, and he considered the proposals in the report addressed issues that arisen.


The Committee also noted that the Code of Conduct adopted by Wiltshire Council was for its members only and that when a complaint was assessed against a member of a town or parish council, it would be done so against the code relevant to each individual council.


There were no other statements.


Two questions had been submitted by Mr Peter Gantlett, in time for a written response.


The questions and responses had been published as supplement 1 to the agenda.


Status Report on Code of Conduct Complaints

To note the Status Report on the current position on Code of Conduct

Supporting documents:


The Committee received the status report, updating on the number and outcome of Code of Conduct complaints received since the last meeting on 19 April 2023 and providing a summary of the complaints considered by the Assessment Sub-Committee (ASC).


There had been 4 Code of Conduct complaints received by the Monitoring Officer during that period. Of these, 1 was determined No Further Action (NFA) by the Monitoring Officer, 1 was resolved via Informal Resolution, 2 were due to be assessed by the ASC at its next meeting on 20 June 2023 (on the morning of the day of the Standards Cmmtt meeting). There were currently 4 investigations running.


A table of current cases had been provided to the Chairman on 12 April and 14 June 2023, for a dip sample of cases to be undertaken to enable oversight.


The Chairman of the Assessment Sub Committee noted that the level of complaints was variable, with often multiple complaints related to the same few parish councils, which appeared not to be functioning properly.


It was suggested that those parish councils involved in multiple Code of Conduct complaints, and which were felt not to be functioning correctly, could be named in future.


The Monitoring Officer agreed that this information could be included. He commended the professional manner in which the members of the ASC, the


Independent Persons and the Complaints Team carried out their duty which was of a high standard.


After a discussion, it was,




To note the position on Code of Conduct Complaints.


Appointment of Members to the Sub-Committees and Working Groups

To consider a report from the Director, Legal and Governance.

Supporting documents:


The Committee noted the report.


It was;




1) To appoint five members to the Standards Assessment Sub-Committee for the forthcoming year as follows:


Cllr Ruth Hopkinson, Cllr Richard Britton, Cllr Ernie Clark,

Cllr Gordon King, Cllr Sam Pearce Kearney


2) To agree the terms of reference for the Constitution Focus Group, and appoint a Standards Committee representative as follows:


Cllr Richard Britton.


Recommendations from the Constitution Focus Group on Proposed Changes to the Constitution

To considered the recommendations of the Constitution Focus Group.

Supporting documents:


Kieran Elliott, Democracy Manager (Democratic Service) presented a report on the proposed changes to:


· Parts 12 – Code of Conduct,


· Protocol 4 – Planning Code of Good Conduct and


· Protocol 12 – Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel Protocol


All changes had been recommended by the Constitution Focus Group. It was confirmed changes to Protocol 12 would also need to be approved by Swindon Borough Council.


It was,




To recommend Full Council approve changes to the following sections of the Constitution:


·       Part 12 – Code of Conduct ·

·       Protocol 4 – Planning Code of Good Practice

·       Protocol 12 – Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel Protocol



Date of the Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next meeting as 28 September 2023.




It was agreed that the next meeting would be held on 28 September 2023 at 2.00pm.



Urgent Items