Agenda and draft minutes

Conduct Committee - Friday, 4th December, 2020 11.30 am

Venue: Via Zoom Video Conferencing System

Contact: Joanne Goodrum  Member Services and Governance Officer

Items
No. Item

CND1/20

Appointment of Chairman for the Municipal Year.

Minutes:

 

It was proposed by Councillor Purser, seconded by Councillor Wallwork and resolved that Councillor Topgood be elected Chairman of the Conduct Committee for the Municipal Year 2020/21.

 

CND2/20

Appointment of Vice Chairman for the Municipal Year.

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Topgood, seconded by Councillor Purser and resolved that Councillor Mrs Wallwork be elected Vice-Chairman of the Conduct Committee for the Municipal Year 2020/21.

 

CND3/20

Previous Minutes. pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of 21 August 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting 21 August 2019, were confirmed as a true and accurate record.

CND4/20

Revisions to Member Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To consider and, if appropriate recommend to Council proposed amendments to the Code of Conduct for Members in accordance with its terms of reference under Part 3, Table 2 of the Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Carol Pilson, the Monitoring Officer for the Council, presented the report to members of the Committee.

 

Members asked questions, made comments and received responses as follows:

 

·         Councillor Cornwell stated that he has not seen the comments that were circulated and questioned whether the one comment that Carol Pilson had referred to had been incorporated into the hard copy of papers that he had received, or whether there had been an updated set of papers circulated. He added that he welcomes the report as it clarifies a few issues that have caused concern for members for some time. Councillor Cornwell referred to 3.2 of the officer’s report, where it states that you must not bully any person, and asked whether there is a definition of ‘bully’ or is it an area where the definition is dependent upon the person who is being bullied and interpreting that fact. He added that he would like clarity over the statement in the report where it refers to intimidation and a situation where a member may not actually be aware that somebody else is involved in a complaint and they inadvertently become involved in the administration of any investigation or proceedings.

·         Carol Pilson referred to the consultation feedback which had been circulated separately and added that in relation to 3.2b, bully any person, the track change under d, is trying to quantify the bullying element, in the sense that it is qualifying the comments as listed in 3.2 to confirm that you are not bullying somebody if you simply expressing, challenging, criticising or disagreeing with somebody else’s views. She added that every complaint is considered on a case by case basis and on its own merits, as the evidence of both the complainant and Councillor need to be taken into consideration. She added that when assessing those type of complaints, published case law will be consulted, to see what type of precedent had been set in that area, in order to come to a conclusion and added that within the presift process the Chairman of the Conduct Committee as well as Stuart Webster, the Independent person, apply their own considerations to the decisions. Carol Pilson referred to 3.2c of the report and added that if a member was unaware that there were any proceedings taking place against them and there was an allegation that they were intimidating then that would be taken into consideration when assessing that complaint.

·         Councillor Cornwell expressed the opinion that regarding the issue of bullying he feels it is still a grey area, when the aim is to provide clarity to members. He added that whilst he appreciates the changes and agrees that they are a positive step forward as they add to the guidance to members, the word bullying can be interpreted in different ways by different people and, therefore, members must be clear on how certain aspects of the Code of Conduct are clarified.

·         Councillor Topgood made the point that the presift procedure is in place, where the  ...  view the full minutes text for item CND4/20

CND5/20

Items of Topical Interest.

Minutes:

There were no items of topical interest.