Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee - Monday, 18th January, 2021 6.00 pm

As of May 2021, decision making of meetings of the Council have returned to in-person sessions. A number of meetings remain virtual, with appropriate Councillors attending via remote video link. Public access to these meetings is via a live stream video through the Council’s official YouTube channel

Venue: via REMOTE VIDEO LINK

Contact: Email: committees@midsussex.gov.uk 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Roll Call and Virtual Meeting Explanation.

Minutes:

The Chairman carried out a roll call to establish attendance at the meeting.

 

Tom Clark, Head of Regulatory Services provided information on the format of the virtual meeting.

 

2.

To receive apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies were received.

 

3.

To consider any items that the Chairman agrees to take as urgent business

Minutes:

None.

 

4.

To receive Declaration of Interests from Members in respect of any matter on the Agenda

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 4 August2020 were approved as a correct record and electronically signed by the Chairman.

 

5.

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 4 August 2020. pdf icon PDF 202 KB

Minutes:

None.

 

6.

New Model Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Tom Clark, Head of Regulatory Services, introduced the report which presented the new Local Government Association Model Code of Conduct for consideration by the Standards Committee and subsequent adoption by the Council from May 2021. He directed Members to Appendix C of the Report and highlighted how the Council deals with complaints to decide what cases to take forward and or to refuse.

 

The Chairman noted the recommendation and recalled an issue in the past that arose from differing codes between the County, District, Town and Parish which sometimes led to confusion; he believed that the uniform code across the three tiers would be helpful. He thanked Cllr Eves for raising a number of drafting errors and invited her to bring them to the Committee’s attention.

 

Cllr Eves noted that; on P4, Item 8, Paragraph 2 of the Minutes of the previous meeting that 'the consolation period' should read ‘consultation’; on P.7, Item 6 and on P.8, Item 13 ‘Model’ is misspelt ‘Modal’; P.9, third line down ‘behaviours’ is misspelt ‘behaviors’; P.15, fifth line down ‘it’s’ should be ‘its’; on P.15, Item 7.2, the word missing after ‘local’ is ‘authority’.

 

A Member found the Code easy and simple to understand and thought that Towns and Parish Councils will have the same experience.

 

A Member could not see a difference from the previous Code of Conduct except the absence of ‘Civility’. She said it would be good to distinguish the changes and that she would like to propose an amendment to the Code before the Committee.

 

The Head of Regulatory Services explained that the Local Government Association created the Code with the intention of people understanding it better. He added that it is an update and does read better than the previous Code.

 

The Chairman stated that the Code can be amended however other authorities do intend to adopt the Code which is before the Committee.

 

The Head of Regulatory Services confirmed that the Chairman is correct, referring Horsham District Council intending to adopt the Code unamended. He stated that the Committee would have to ask whether the amendments are worth more than the unity amongst codes.

 

The Member referred to social media and horrible experiences with it. She wanted to make sure Councillors treat other people nicely online and believed that manners online are as important as manners in-person. She referred to a Facebook Page which purports to be a news site however it is instead run by a political party. Under Item 6 of the Code, the Member suggested that ‘I will not seek to knowingly mislead the public’ should be included.

 

The Chairman asked whether that point is already addressed in the Code of Conduct.

 

The Head of Regulatory Services referred to Appendix A and stated that it does breach the Nolan principles therefore it does go against the Code.

 

An Independent Person on Standards Matters welcomed the intent and the principles behind the Code. He drew to the Committee’s attention that the draft viewed previously in August  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Questions pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 10.2 due notice of which has been given.

Minutes:

None.