To receive questions from members of the public who wish to ask a general question in respect of matters within the Council’s area of responsibility or influence.
Subject to the Chair’s discretion, members of the public may ask one question and one supplementary question, which should relate to the original question and answered received.
Councillors may also ask questions under this agenda item.
(1) Mr .Thirlwall referred to the numerous questions he had asked at Council and Cabinet over the last year regarding registration of interests and, in particular, Councillor Cutts. He had received a letter from the Chair of the Standards and Ethics Committee and from a legal officer at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) explaining why the recording of registration of interests in the case of Councillor Cutts had been delayed. Mr. Thirlwall was not satisfied with this explanation and asked the Leader to facilitate a meeting between the two of them, the Chair of the Standards and Ethics Committee, the Chief Executive, the legal officer and the Head of Democratic Services. Mr. Thirlwall also asked the Leader to confirm if a Cabinet Member had been deemed not fit for purpose.
Responding to the latter point first, the Leader explained that he did not know what that related to but that all Cabinet Members had his full support. Regarding the registration of interest point, the Leader explained that it was a matter for the Standards and Ethics Committee and their legal advisors and it would not be appropriate for him as Leader to interfere. He did, however, confirm that he would speak to the Chair regarding the possibility of a meeting and appropriate attendees at the meeting.
In his follow up question, Mr. Thirlwall explained that he did not believe the matter to be a Standards issue but a process issue with either Democratic Services, Legal Services or the Monitoring Officer. He queried whether Councillors were able to update registration of interests on behalf of other Councillors and the process for the registration of the Rotherham Democratic Party group. Mr. Thirlwall stated that if the registration process was flawed then the Party did not exist, and Councillor Cowles should not be receiving an allowance as Leader of that Party.
In response, the Leader confirmed that the matter regarding Councillor Cowles had been dealt with in previous questions and did not relate to the registration of interest query. Mr. Thirlwall had received all of the information available on the matter and there was no other information available. The Leader confirmed he would write to Mr. Thirlwall once he had spoken to the Chair of the Standards and Ethics Committee regarding the proposed meeting.