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Cabinet Decision: 4th September 2013
Title of Item/Report
Localism Act 2011 - The New Standards Regime - Review of the Council's Local Standards Arrangements
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that provided details of a review of the Council’s Standards regime.

At the meeting on 9 February 2012 Cabinet considered and recommended to Council new standards arrangements, as required by the Localism Act 2011 (“the Act”). Cabinet’s recommendations were agreed by Council on 7 March 2012. Subsequently, Council approved a new code of conduct for Stockton’s members under the Act on 18 July 2012. Council agreed that the new local standards arrangements and the new code should be reviewed by the Monitoring Officer after 12 months of operation.

A review had been undertaken, and a copy of the report from the Monitoring Officer was considered. Cabinet was asked to consider the report and to recommend it to Council, along with the recommendations specified within the covering report.

With regard to recommendation 4, if it was considered appropriate to review and update the descriptions of the principles of conduct in the Council’s Code of Conduct in light of the revisions to the descriptions of the Nolan principles, initial discussions would take place with Members about any suggested changes, prior to a report back to Cabinet and to Council for further consideration. The Audit Committee had considered a similar report regarding the review of the Council’s Standards Arrangements at its meeting on 24 June. The Committee approved the recommendations which were outlined in the report to Cabinet.

RECOMMENDED to council that:-

1. The review report be considered and agreed.

2. No changes be made to the Council’s code of conduct for members.

3. Appropriate advice, guidance and training continues to be provided in connection with the code.

4. Proposals to update the descriptions of the principles of conduct in the preamble to the code, in light of the revisions to the descriptions of the Nolan principles, be the subject of further reports to Cabinet and Council.

5. The arrangements for dealing with member misconduct complaints remain as originally approved by Council.

6. The position of Norman Rollo, as Independent Person, and Mike Hill and Jeff Bell as reserve Independent Persons, be considered, taking into account the recommendations of the Standards (Independent Persons) Appointment Panel.

7. Regular reminders, advice and guidance continued to be provided to Stockton’s members and to the members of Town/Parish Councils in Stockton’s area regarding the need to submit and keep up to date their registrable interests.

8. The procedures relating to the disclosure of interests and withdrawal from meetings; sensitive interests and dispensations, be reaffirmed.

9. Further training regarding the code of conduct, disclosable pecuniary interests and the arrangements for dealing with allegations of member misconduct be provided as and when required or considered appropriate.

10. The Monitoring Officer reviews the Council’s standards arrangements again after a further 12 months of operation, and that the outcome with any recommendation for change be reported back to the Audit Committee, Cabinet and Council for consideration.
Reasons for the Decision
To ensure that the Council continued to have appropriate arrangements in place to meet the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 and, in particular, to ensure that the Authority continued to satisfy its duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by members.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed

Date of Publication: 09 September 2013

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