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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Meeting Room 2 - Level 3, Gun Wharf. View directions

Contact: Teri Reynolds, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

992.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Carr and Mrs Diane Chambers.

993.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 19 August 2015.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 19 August 2015 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as correct.

994.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report. 

Minutes:

There were none.

995.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests

A member need only disclose at any meeting the existence of a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered at that meeting if that DPI has not been entered on the disclosable pecuniary interests register maintained by the Monitoring Officer.

 

A member disclosing a DPI at a meeting must thereafter notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of that interest within 28 days from the date of disclosure at the meeting.

 

A member may not participate in a discussion of or vote on any matter in which he or she has a DPI (both those already registered and those disclosed at the meeting) and must withdraw from the room during such discussion/vote.

 

Members may choose to voluntarily disclose a DPI at a meeting even if it is registered on the council’s register of disclosable pecuniary interests but there is no legal requirement to do so.

 

Members should also ensure they disclose any other interests which may give rise to a conflict under the council’s code of conduct.

 

In line with the training provided to members by the Monitoring Officer members will also need to consider bias and pre-determination in certain circumstances and whether they have a conflict of interest or should otherwise leave the room for Code reasons. 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

There were none.

996.

Social Media and the Code of Conduct for Councillors pdf icon PDF 58 KB

This report seeks the views of the Committee as to the need for an explicit reference to the use of social media to be included in the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer introduced the report which requested the Committee to consider whether the Member Code of Conduct should be amended to have an explicit reference to the use of social media.  She also drew the Committee’s attention to the advice on using social media which was referenced in the guidance for Members on the use of Council resources.

 

In relation to the guidance which stated that, “councillors should be aware that their use of social media as a councillor could potentially be subject to the Member Code of Conduct”, a member asked whether this direct quote needed to be strengthened.  However, it was explained that Councillors may use social media when acting in their private capacity, which would then not be subject to the Code of Conduct.

 

A comment was made that the addition of a reference to social media was unnecessary as the Code was clear that it applied when Councillors acted in their capacity as a Councillor and that this included every action of a Councillor, not just social media. However, it was considered by the Committee that on balance a direct reference around the use of social media would be useful to help highlight and safeguard against potentially inappropriate use.  It was also suggested that the social media training provided to all Councillors should be compulsory.

 

It was suggested that the reference to the use of social media should be a stand alone point in the Code and that the Monitoring Officer should draft some wording, following research into what references have been included in other local authority codes of conduct, which should then be referred to full Council for approval.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed that an explicit reference to the use of social media should be included in the Member Code of Conduct and requested the Monitoring Officer to provide a suggested amendment, in consultation with Councillor Conduct Committee members, which should then be forwarded to full Council for approval.

997.

Updated Guidance for Councillors Appointed to Outside Bodies and Organisations pdf icon PDF 73 KB

This report sets out updated guidance to appointees to outside bodies and organisations.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer introduced the report which provided the Committee with proposed updated guidance for appointees to outside bodies and organisations.

 

In response to a question about liability insurances in place the Deputy Monitoring Officer confirmed that Members appointed to outside bodies by the Council were covered but those appointed separately were not, which was outlined in the guidance at section 9.

 

In relation to the following quote, “trustees remain personally liable when they retire”, clarification was sought as to whether this referred to retirement as a Councillor or as a trustee.  It was confirmed that this related to retirement as a trustee.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to:

 

1)    Approve the proposed guidance for Councillors appointed to outside bodies and organisations attached at Annex A to the report;

 

2)    Authorise the Monitoring Officer to reissue the guidance to all Councillors and co-opted members with immediate effect.

998.

Exclusion of Press and Public pdf icon PDF 75 KB

This report summarises the content of agenda item 8, which, in the opinion of the proper officer, contains exempt information within one of the categories in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. It is a matter for the Committee to determine whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of document. 

Minutes:

That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the exempt material relating to agenda item 8 because consideration of these matters in public would disclose information falling within Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 as specified in agenda item 7,and, in all the circumstances of the case, the Committee considers that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 

999.

Screening of complaint - CCC/2016/001

This report asks the Councillor Conduct Committee to note a complaint relating to the conduct of a Parish Councillor which was received but subsequently withdrawn.

Minutes:

Discussion

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer introduced the report which informed the Committee of a formal complaint relating to the conduct of a Parish Councillor which had been received but subsequently withdrawn.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report.