Issue - meetings
Code of Conduct: summary of complaints and individual dispensations - DD MONTH YEAR until DD MONTH YEAR
Purpose of report:
To advise the Committee of:
1. the number of complaints received under the Members’ Code of Conduct which have been, or are to be, considered by the Head of Law and Governance (in her statutory capacity as the authority’s Monitoring Officer) and the Independent Persons. The report also notes the outcome, where complaints have been concluded; and
2. the number of dispensations to an individual member, granted under Section 33 of the 2011 Localism Act, by the Monitoring Officer, following consultation with an Independent Person.
That the Standards Committee notes the content of the report and the learning point identified.
The Monitoring Officer presented the information report on the number of complaints received under the Members’ Code of Conduct and the number of dispensations to an individual member, granted under Section 33 of the 2011 Localism Act.
The Monitoring Officer referred the Committee to paragraphs 4 to 8 of the report which summarised the single complaint (reference 15202) that had been settled through informal resolution since 31 May 2019. The Monitoring Officer considered that the case did give rise to a wider learning point: that if a member introduced themselves or presented themselves as a councillor to a member of the public then the Code of Conduct would be engaged even if the context of that introduction was not in any way related to the business of the City Council. This learning point would be included in future Code of Conduct training.
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that no requests for individual dispensations had been received.
On a related point the Committee asked the Monitoring Officer to clarify the rules on declarations by members of the planning committees if they were employees of the University of Oxford or Oxford Brookes University in respect of planning applications from either of those institutions. The Monitoring Officer explained that this was a matter of personal choice for the member(s) concerned and that there was no requirement in law to make such a declaration unless the nature of the employment had a direct influence on the substance of the application. This view was supported by case law relating to the City Council’s consideration of a University of Oxford application.
The Monitoring Officer said that she would be circulating written advice on this point to all members of Council.
The Standards Committee resolved to note the report.
Councillor Aziz arrived at the end of this item.