Agenda item

Revised Conduct Procedure Rules, Guidance & Templates

The purpose of this Report is to update members as to the outcome of the consultation exercise authorised at the last meeting of the Conduct Committee and to provide a final opportunity to review and comment on the proposed revisions to Conduct Procedure, Constitution and associated templates (“the Draft Documentation”) and, as appropriate, to recommend them for approval by Full Council.


Members considered the Revised Conduct Procedure Rules, Guidance and Templates report, presented by Carol Pilson.


Carol Pilson drew members attention to feedback received as part of the consultation process (page 12 of the Agenda Pack). She informed members that their comments made at the previous meeting had been incorporated into the updated report.


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


  1. Councillor Purser asked if the report is related to the Council’s 3Cs process. Carol Pilson explained that the 3Cs process relates to general comments made to the Council and in relation to the Council itself. This report details the procedure of dealing with potential breaches of the Members Code of Conduct.
  2. Members asked if Carol Pilson could provide an overview of the proposed procedure. Carol Pilson provided members with an overview of the revised procedure and highlighted the differences between this and the former process.
  3. Councillor Maul asked if 7 working days is a suitable timescale for the Subject to provide a response to a complaint and asked if there is flexibility with this timescale (point 2.1.5 of the report). Carol Pilson confirmed that the timescale is reasonable however, where required, an extension of time can be granted to the Subject.
  4. Councillor Maul asked if there were provisions in place in the event that the Independent Person, Chairman/Vice-Chairman of Conduct Committee and the Monitoring Officer disagree over the outcome of a complaint. Carol Pilson highlighted that whilst this would be an unlikely event, the Monitoring Officer has the ultimate decision.
  5. Councillor Topgood highlighted that by having three individuals involved in the process, it is unlikely that a majority decision would not be made.
  6. Councillor Mrs Wallwork asked for clarification on the Monitoring Officer’s role in the previous process. Carol Pilson explained that previously the Monitoring Officer had been involved in an advisory capacity. The new procedure will allow quicker processing times of complaints whilst maintaining public transparency by publishing decision notices in relation to all complaints submitted.
  7. Councillor Purser asked what type of complaints the Council receives in relation to members conduct. Carol Pilson explained that the Council receive and consider a wide variety of complaints made against members.
  8. Councillor Maul praised the report and said the new procedure will reduce the processing time of complaints significantly.
  9. Councillor Mrs Wallwork agreed and highlighted that whilst the Code of Conduct prevents members from publically making derogatory comments, it does not prevent members from voicing their opinions.
  10. Carol Pilson explained that many other Local Authorities include only the Monitoring Officer and Independent Person in the preliminary consideration of complaints however; she understands that members are keen to have a political oversight of the process and the Chairman/ Vice-Chairman of the Conduct Committee will now be included in the preliminary stages.
  11. Councillor Maul agreed and added that an impartial and unbiased approach must be taken when considering complaints against members.
  12. Councillor Topgood supported the report and stated that it will streamline the complaint process and allow frivolous complaints to be settled fairly and quickly.
  13. Councillor Topgood added that the procedure will allow the Council to be open and transparent with the complaints made against members whilst keeping all parties updated on the progress.
  14. Councillor Topgood invited the Independent Person, Stuart Webster to comment and he thanked Carol Pilson for incorporating his comments into the final report.
  15. Members congratulated and thanked Carol Pilson and Amy Brown for their hard work on this report.


Proposed by Councillor Purser, seconded by Councillor Mrs Wallwork and AGREED that the Conduct Committee recommend the Revised Conduct Procedure Rules, Guidance and Templates report to Full Council for adoption.


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