Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision Type: Non-Key
Decision Status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to Call In?: No
The Leader of the Council and the Director of Law and Democratic Services submitted a joint report concerning recommendations arising from the meeting of the Corporate Governance Review Working Group held on 13th March 2012.
The Chair referred to the discussions that had taken place at the Review Working Group and the reasons behind the recommendations that were forthcoming. He expressed his support for those recommendations.
Councillor Nick Martin, Cabinet Member for StreetSmart and Parks, and Councillor Peter Greenhalgh, Cabinet Member for Council Transformation, Sustainability, Strategic Planning and Transport, referred to the proposed governance arrangements for the localities and urged that arrangements were clearly understandable to the public and that terminology that would not be understood by local communities should be avoided.
Resolved – (1) That, further to Minute 9 of the Corporate Governance Review Working Group, the Council be recommended that –
(2) That, further to Minute 11 of the Corporate Governance Review Working Group, the Council be recommended that –
· A politically balanced, stand-alone Standards Committee be appointed to oversee the ethical framework, with one or more parish representatives co-opted to it, to maintain a transparent process for the public.
· The Monitoring Officer continue the process for the appointment of one or more Independent Persons directly, and consult the Group Leaders on the process for appointment and remuneration, noting that this Review Working Group would support the appointment of two Independent Persons and a level of remuneration based on the Special Responsibility Allowance currently payable to the post of an independent Co-opted member of the Standards Committee (£1,062.71p).
· The Cabinet and Council notes that the Corporate Governance Review Working Group supports the Standards Committee’s preference for the current Code of Conduct to form the basis for the new Code of Conduct for Swindon wherever possible, but be updated to :
o Include the new definition of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests when defined by the Regulations.
o Exclude the need to declare interests where such a declaration is unnecessary, such as where the interest solely relates to being a Council-appointed representative, and is not prejudicial.
o To reflect and re-enforce the conduct of Councillors required in relation to the use of social media, which was included in the last update to the Media Guidelines for Councillors.
· The Council introduces in its Standing Orders a requirement for Councillors who have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest to not only abstain from voting, but also to leave the meeting during the discussion of such a matter.
· The Monitoring Officer be requested to develop a streamlined version of the procedure for dealing with Member Officer Protocol Complaints which can then be used as the basis for processing Code of Conduct complaints, taking account the requirements of the Localism Act 2011, and subject to any additional requirements arising from the Regulations when issued.
(3) That, further to Minute 12 of the Corporate Governance Review Working Group, the Council be recommended that –
o The Council’s Scheme of Delegations and Designations of Proper Officers, as set out in Part 8 of the Council’s Constitution, be amended from 1st April 2012 to incorporate the revisions to delegations set out in Appendix 1b to this report to enable the transition to the Council’s new “Stronger Together” management structure.
o The Director of Law and Democratic Services be authorised, where appropriate, to vary the wording of the Constitution and its associated documentation to reflect changes necessitated by the adoption of the revised Scheme of Delegations, together with any other minor consequential changes should this prove necessary for the efficient discharge of Council business.
The reasons for the decision and alternative options are as set out in the report to the meeting.
Report Author: Director of Law & Democratic Services (Monitoring Officer)
Publication Date: 28/03/2012
Date of Decision: 21/03/2012
Decided at Meeting: 21/03/2012 - Cabinet
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