Agenda and minutes
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Venue: Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate's, Oxford
Contact: William Reed, Democratic Services Manager
Apologies for Absence
The Constitution does not permit substitutions
Councillor Brundin and Meryll Dean (independent member).
Declarations of Interest
Members serving on the Committee are asked to declare any personal or personal prejudicial interests they may have in any of the following agenda items.
Minutes of the Committee’s meeting held on 2nd December 2011
Resolved that the minutes (previously circulated) of the meeting of the Committee held on 2nd December be confirmed as a correct record.
One Assessment Panel notice and one Review Panel notice relating to an allegation of a breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct dealt with since the last meeting of the Committee are circulated for information.
Resolved to receive and note the contents of Assessment and Review Panel notices (previously circulated, now appended) in respect of Councillor Coulter.
This report proposes a local Code of Conduct for Members of the Council, arrangements for dealing with alleged breaches of the Code, and proposals for the responsibilities of a Standards Committee in 2012/13 and how the Committee’s present responsibilities should be dealt with for the future.
The Head of Law and Governance submitted a report (previously circulated, now appended) together with the draft Code of Conduct (circulated, now appended) updated following the meeting of Oxfordshire Monitoring Officers referred to in paragraph 5 of the report.
(1) (a) That the draft Oxfordshire local authorities Code of Conduct be RECOMMENDED to the City Council’s Annual Meeting for adoption, to take effect upon the statutory repeal of the present Code, subject to the addition of a footnote to item 10 of the Code to define bullying;
(b) To ask the Head of Law and Governance to discuss with the other Oxfordshire district councils and the county council the inclusion of details in the Code concerning the disclosure of non-pecuniary interests, it being noted that the Government Regulations concerning pecuniary interests had not yet been published and that the Code would need to be altered to reflect the requirements of the Regulations;
(2) That the Code, once adopted by the City Council, be commended to the four parish councils in the City Council’s area for adoption;
(3) That the draft arrangements for dealing with allegations of breaches of the Members’ Code of Conduct be RECOMMENDED to the City Council’s Annual Meeting for adoption, to take effect upon the statutory repeal of the present standards arrangements, subject to the amendment of the fourth paragraph of Section 4 of the arrangements to indicate that allegations of Code breaches could be referred direct by members of the public to the Police or other regulatory agencies and did not have to be submitted there through or only by the Monitoring Officer;
(4) That a non-statutory Standards Committee be established as follows, to take effect upon the statutory repeal of the present standards arrangements:-
(a) To consist of seven elected members and one non-voting member drawn from the Oxford parish councils;
(b) The quorum be set at five elected members;
(c) The Committee’s powers and duties be as follows:-
· To consider complaints of breaches of the code of conduct in accordance with the adopted arrangements
· To make recommendations to Council on the adoption or revision of the code of conduct
· To make recommendations to Council on the overall arrangements
· To consider requests for dispensation from being precluded from participation in a meeting.
(5) That the Head of Law and Governance be authorised to make:-
(a) Alterations to the Code to reflect the content of the Regulations referred to in (1)(b) above, and the inclusion of details concerning non-pecuniary interests;
(b) Amendments to the Council’s Constitution consequent upon the decisions set out above;
(6) To thank for their service all the independent and parish members who had served on the Standards Committee since 2001 and all officers who had served the Committee over that period.
Address by the Chair of the Committee
The Chair of the Committee (John Lay) thanked all members and officers who had been involved with the Committee since it came into being in 2001. The Vice-Chair thanked the Chair of the Committee for his services to the Committee since 2001.
The Head of Law and Governance responded. He thanked John Lay for his stewardship of the Committee. He said that the Lord Mayor Elect was intending to invite members to a small Lord Mayor’s reception to mark their service to standards in Oxford.