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Agenda and minutes

Standards and Ethics Committee
Thursday, 11th February, 2010 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Bailey House, Rawmarsh Road, Rotherham.

Contact: Alan Harston (Tel. 01709 822056)  (E-mail:-  alan.harston@rotherham.gov.uk)

Items
No. Item

52.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 22 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:- (1) That the minutes of the meeting of this Committee held on 14th January, 2010 be approved as a correct record.

 

(2) That, with regard to Minute No. B47(1) (Ethical Standards Survey), Councillor Sangster (Chair of the Audit Committee) be included in the membership of the Sub-Committee.

53.

Confidential Reporting Code pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 43 of the meeting of this Committee held on 12th February, 2009, the Assistant Chief Executive, Legal and Democratic Services, presented the submitted report reviewing the operation of the Confidential Reporting Code. The current Code, as amended by the Committee last year, was submitted.

 

It was reported that only one concern had been raised since the last report which was being dealt with under the Code.

 

Awareness of the Code was a vital factor and it was felt that a relaunch of the Code was appropriate borne out by findings of the Employee Opinion Survey and the recent Ethical Standards Survey. A team briefing on the Code of Conduct had been issued in December, 2009 with reference and a link to the Confidential Reporting Code. It was also proposed to put an item in the February/March edition of the ‘Unite’ staff publication which would draw attention to the Confidential Reporting Code. Submitted was a draft for information, the wording of which was to be agreed with the trades unions.

 

Discussion and a question and answer session ensued and the following issues were covered:-

 

-          relaunch of the Code

 

-          poor response rate regarding feeling comfortable raising issues under the Code

 

-          possibility of a guardian/champion figure for anyone wishing to report issues under the Code

 

-          protection already in place for ‘whistleblowers’

 

Resolved:- (1) That the information be noted.

 

(2) That the textual amendments and views raised be referred to the Sub-Committee established to look at the Ethical Audit Survey.

54.

Inclusion of Members' Register of Interests on the Website pdf icon PDF 25 KB

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. B38 of the meeting of this Committee held on 12th November, 2009 and its subsequent approval by Council, the Assistant Chief Executive, Legal and Democratic Services, presented the submitted report relating to the above.

 

The report covered:-

 

-          statutory requirements to (a) maintain a register of interests of members and c-opted members of the Authority and (b) make available for inspection copies of the register at an office of the Authority at all reasonable hours

 

-          arguments for and against making the information available on line

 

-          level of detail provided within the Register proposed to be made available on line bearing in mind the Data Protection Act

 

-          variation in practices of other authorities who do publish their registers on line

 

Discussion and a question and answer session ensued and the following issues were covered:-

 

-          opportunity for members to opt out of their interests appearing on the website and need to get permission for the world wide transfer of their information

 

-          inclusion of personal signatures

 

-          inclusion of home addresses

 

-          potential for a similar publication of interests at Parish Council level

 

(1) Resolved:- That the information be noted.

 

(2)  Recommended:- That, subject to the safeguards as set out in the report (except that home addresses should be published), the Members’ Register of Interests be published on the Council’s website.

55.

Ethical Standards Survey - Town and Parish Councils pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. B47 of the meeting of this Committee held on 14th January, 2010, the Assistant Chief Executive, Legal and Democratic Services, presented the submitted report on the responses to the survey from Members and Clerks of Town and Parish Councils within the borough.

 

Resolved:- That the information be noted and referred for consideration to the appointed Sub-Committee.

56.

Assessing the Impact of Standards Committees pdf icon PDF 250 KB

Minutes:

The Assistant Chief Executive, Legal and Democratic Services, presented the submitted joint research paper from The University of Hull and Teesside University Business School relating to the above.

 

The aim of the research was to investigate examples of notable practice in standards committees.

 

The paper covered:-

 

-          Executive Summary

 

-          Background and rationale

 

-          Methodology

 

-          Case Study 1 – Organisational Learning : Bristol City Council

 

-          Case Study 2 – Working with town and parish councils : Taunton Deane Borough Council

 

-          Case Study 3 – Member development : Surrey Police Authority

 

-          Case Study 4 – Working with partnerships : Newark and Sherwood District Council

 

-          Case Study 5 – Recruitment and Retention : South Cambridgeshire District Council

 

-          Case Study 6 – Joint training and development : Herefordshire Council

 

-          Case Study 7 – Joint Standards and Audit Committees : Runnymede Borough Council

 

-          Case Study 8 – High pressure investigations : Greater London Authority

 

-          Case Study 9 : Embedding standards : Newcastle City Council

 

-          Conclusions

 

Discussion and a question and answer session ensued and the following issues were covered:-

 

-          party whips as Standards Committee members

 

-          role of a parish liaison officer

 

-          potential regular meetings between Standards Committee members and a parish council nominated liaison officer

 

-          structure of the parish network meeting

 

-          previously completed review of parish councils

 

-          attendance at parish network meetings

 

Resolved:- (1) That the information be noted.

 

(2) That a committee member attend, upon invitation, the next Parish Network meeting.

 

(3) That Paul Griffiths, Community Liaison Officer, be invited to attend the next meeting of this Committee.

57.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 20 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the latest position.