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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room III, County Hall, Trowbridge

Contact: Pam Denton  Email: pam.denton@wiltshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Mrs Jane Bayley and  Mr Michael Cronin

2.

Minutes of previous meeting

To confirm and sign the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 24 November 2010  (copy attached).

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2010 were presented.

 

Resolved:

 

To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes.

3.

Chairman's announcements

Minutes:

There were no announcements

4.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of personal or prejudicial interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest

5.

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. The Chairman will, however, exercise her discretion in order to ensure that members of the public have the opportunity to contribute.

 

Members of the public wishing to ask a question should give written notice (including details of any question) to the officer named above by 5pm on Wednesday 5 January 2011.

 

Minutes:

No members of the public wished to speak

6.

Minutes of Sub Committees

The Committee is asked to receive and note the minutes of the following Sub-Committee:

 

Dispensations Sub Committee – 16 November 2010

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Dispensation sub-committee held on 16 November 2010 were presented.

 

Resolved:

 

To note the minutes

 

7.

Localism Bill - Proposed Changes to the Standards Regime

To receive the report of the Monitoring Officer

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer introduced the report which outlined the main changes to the standards regime.

 

He explained the impact of the proposed regime, especially how it affected town and parish councils, and drew attention to an e-mail which had been received from Tisbury Parish Council.

 

It was suggested in the report that the Constitution Focus Group be asked to look at the Bill and come up with some suggestions on the way forward for Wiltshire Council should the proposals be adopted,   Members of the Standards Committee would be welcome to attend the Focus Group meetings.

 

It was also agreed that a workshop should be arranged for all Committee members and that issues and comments arising from the workshop be forwarded to the Focus Group to assist their deliberations.

 

It was requested that, prior to the workshop, all assessments carried out by Wiltshire Council were broken down into categories to assist the members to identify key issues.

 

The composition of the committee was discussed in detail and it was agreed that the proposals of a committee of 15 members were acceptable but that this should be achieved by natural wastage.

 

Resolved

 

1.    To request the Constitution Focus Group to look at the Localism Bill and develop a way forward for Wiltshire Council should the Bill be adopted.

 

2.    To arrange a workshop for all members of the committee.

 

3.    That the reduction in membership of the committee to 15 members be achieved through natural wastage.

 

8.

Annual Audit Letter 2009/10

The Annual Audit Letter is attached. 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The committee considered the Annual Audit Letter and noted that the governance arrangements were sound and that the council had continued to review, improve and consolidate its processes.

 

Resolved:

 

That the report be noted

9.

Report of the Task and Finish Group on Presentation to Area Boards

To receive a verbal update from Mr Gerry Robson OBE

Minutes:

Mr Gerry Robson OBE explained that the group had not met for some time and that the prime objective had been to keep Area Boards informed about the Standards regime by way of a presentation.  In the light of the Localism Bill it was agreed that a presentation was no longer appropriate and it was therefore proposed to wind up the group and that the Standards Committee would keep town and parish council’s informed of future developments.

 

Resolved:

 

To wind up the Task and Finish Group on Presentations to Area Boards.

10.

Status Report on Complaints made under the Code of Conduct

To receive attached status report.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented the report and explained that on average one third of cases go from assessment to investigation.

 

Resolved

 

That the report be noted.

 

11.

Feedback on the use of detailing findings of fact in investigation reports

To receive a verbal update from the Head of Governance

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer introduced the item and explained that following experiences from previous Hearing Sub-Committees it had been decided that it would be helpful if the officer’s report clearly detailed the findings of fact.  This would enable Sub-Committee members to have the facts before them when it came to a hearing which could then be used as the basis for reaching a decision.   This had already been trialled at a recent Consideration Sub-Committee and had proved to be useful.

 

12.

Review of Allowance for Standards Committee Members

To receive the report of the Monitoring Officer

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the report which outlined the action co-opted members could take if they wish to freeze their allowances at the current level.

Resolved:

 

That the report be noted

13.

Forward Plan

To receive the committee’s forward plan

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The committee’s forward workplan was presented.

 

Resolved

 

To note the forward workplan.

 

14.

Urgent Items

Any other items of business, which in the opinion of the Chairman, should be taken as a matter of urgency.  Urgent items of a confidential nature may be considered under Part II of this agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent items

 

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