Code of Conduct - Review
Decision Maker: Audit, Risk and Governance Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
A review of the Code in line with the Nolan
committee recommendations from 2019
Josh Mynott, Democratic and Member Services Manager presented an update to the committee on the response to the Committee for Standards in Public Life's recommendations, in relation to best practice for a local authority Code of Conduct.
It was highlighted that with regard to the publication of a public interest test recommendation, the suggestion in Appendix B was based on what Monitoring Officers in other authorities considered when determining whether or not it was in the public interest to investigate a complaint.
The model Code of Conduct at Appendix C had been published by the Local Government Association as requested of them by the Standards Committee, for councils to adopt if they wished.
In response to a question it was confirmed that the recommendation in the October, 2020 minutes had been followed by officers and the option of a task and finish group was a step to be taken following this work, if this committee requested this as necessary.
Members commented that training for councillors regarding emphasising the importance of safeguarding vulnerable councillors from poor behaviour from peers would be useful. This, alongside the dissemination of a clearer process of how councillors were safeguarded would raise the profile of such issues. The Monitoring Officer agreed that how councillors were supported could be explored further, however no complaints had been received in relation to poor behaviour causing a detrimental impact on a councillor. If a complaint such as this had been received, it would be treated very seriously. It was emphasised that the Monitoring Officer had met with the groups' whips to highlight the importance of the Code of Conduct, when there had been areas of concern in relation to behaviour.
(i) The changes proposed to the Code of Conduct as detailed in Appendices A and B, be recommended to the Full Council for approval.
(ii) The Full Council be asked to refer the Local Government Association model Code of Conduct to be discussed further by the Political Governance Working Group. If adoption of the model was deemed appropriate by the group, their recommendations would be brought to this committee for review before making any recommendations to the Full Council.
Report author: Josh Mynott
Date of decision: 25/01/2021
Decided at meeting: 25/01/2021 - Audit, Risk and Governance Committee