Standards Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 1st February, 2012
Time:
7.30 pm
Place:
Front Committee Room, Town Hall, Reigate
 
Min NoDescriptionResolution
Part I
11 MINUTES
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 16th November 2012 be approved as a correct record and signed.

(NOTE: A briefing note on the Bribery Act 2010 requested under Minute 7 would be circulated to Members shortly).
12 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
None.
13 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Councillors Mrs J.S. Bray, J.C.S. Essex (Substitute Member: Councillor Ms S. Finch), S.A. Kulka and R.C. Newstead;
Mr S. Norton - Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council;
Mr T. Schofield - Horley Town Council; and
Mr P. Allen - Independent Member.
14 LOCALISM ACT 2011
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
15 ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS
None.

Minute

Min NoMinute
14The Committee received a verbal report by the Legal Services Manager (and Monitoring Officer) on the Localism Act 2011 so far as it related to "standards". In due course it would be necessary to report to Council on future (and new) arrangements but, at this stage, it was considered important to outline the main elements of the Act for Members of the Committee.

Under the Act, Councils would be required to have a local code of conduct for Members to be based on previously established seven principles of public life - the Nolan principles. The current ten principles and model code would be repealed. It would be for individual councils to set the terms of reference of their standards Committee. Standards for England had now ceased to operate and it was likely that new arrangements would need to be in place by June/July 2012. Regulations under the Act were, however, still awaited.

Councils would need to establish the circumstances under which Members would be required to withdraw from meetings and where dispensations could be given. A new register of interests would need to be established. The Act required the appointment of new independent person(s) with a "consultative" role but these could not be existing independent members for five years after their current appointments ceased.

The ability to impose local sanctions against Members who breached the code was extremely curtailed under the Act and, for the future, breaches could constitute a criminal offence. Non-borough council Members of the Committee would be consulted and kept informed of standards proposals generally as they were developed.