Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Parish Council Liaison Forum Minutes

Date:
Monday, 16th January, 2012
Time:
7.00pm
Place:
Ground Floor Committee Room, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AU
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr David Coleman(Chairman), Cllr Terry Laing(Vice-Chairman), Cllr Robert Cook, Cllr Ray McCall, Cllr Andrew Stephenson, Cllr Barry Woodhouse, Sheila Smart(Billingham Town Council), Margaret Johnson(Grindon Parish Council), Gordon Smith(Long Newton Parish Council), John Walker(Egglescliffe and Eaglescliffe Parish Council), Colin Algie(Maltby Parish Council), Trish Bowker(Redmarshall Parish Council) and Ross Patterson(Ingleby Barwick Town Council)
Officers:
Liz Boal, Rose Hammond(CESC), Jane Palmer(DNS), Chris Anderson(Planning Aid England), David Bond and Kirsty Wannop(LDS)
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Kevin Faulks
Item Description Decision
Public
PCL
13/11
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
PCL
14/11
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
PCL
15/11
MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 12TH SEPTEMBER 2011
AGREED that the minutes be noted.
PCL
16/11
HOMECARE SERVICES BRIEFING
AGREED that the information be noted.
PCL
17/11
NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING
AGREED that the information be noted.
PCL
18/11
STANDARDS - LOCALISM ACT 2011 - THE NEW STANDARDS REGIME
AGREED that the information be noted.
PCL
19/11
ANY ISSUES RAISED BY PARISH/TOWN COUNCILS
 
7.00pm/8.30pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
PCL
13/11
The evacuation procedure was noted.
PCL
14/11
There were no interests declared.
PCL
16/11
Members received information regarding the Homecare Service which was due to go out to tender soon. The services were purchased by SBC to provide personnel and domestic support for people. Officers were consulting with as many people as possible before going out to tender to see if there were any changes or suggestions which could be identified to be included in the tender process.

The main issues discussed were:-
- The lack of knowledge of what was available
- The lack of continuity of care i.e. carers changing on a frequent basis
- Carers who were sent out not having travel time built into appointments so had to be rush through appointments so they were not late for the next appointment.

Officers would try to address the above concerns when putting together the tender documents.
PCL
17/11
Members received a presentation from Chris Anderson from Planning Aid England. The main area's discussed were:-
- Planning Aid is a national organisation, which amongst others helps communities develop neighbourhood plans.
- It was currently developing a package of support, which could be offered to Town/Parish Councils and Community groups.
- Neighbourhood Plans need to be in line with strategic aims and policies.
- Local Authority planning officers can be involved in the development of the plan from the first day. Some parts of the process need Local Authority's approval, and beyond this, if required, Planners can continue communication throughout the process.

Chris Anderson informed Members that an event would take place at the end of February for Town/Parish Council's and Community groups to attend which would hopefully answer all questions and help to see if a neighbourhood plan would benefit them.
PCL
18/11
Members received a report which provided further details of the Localism Act standards provisions.

The key highlights for Town and Parish Councils were as follows:-

- Each Authority would have a duty to provide and maintain high standards of conduct amongst its Members.

- Each Authority must adopt a code of conduct for Members. Town and Parish Councils could adopt their principal authority's code if they wish.

- A Code must be consistent with the seven principles of public life and must include provisions regarding the registration and disclosure of pecuniary and other interests.

- An alleged failure to comply with a code must be dealt with under arrangements established and operated by the principal authority.

- Town and Parish Councils would ultimately be responsible for deciding whether to take action, and what action to take in relation to their members.

- The principal authority's Monitoring Officer would be responsible for ensuring that each Town and Parish Council had a register of interests which was available for inspection; was published on the principal council's website; and that Town and Parish Councils with websites had the data necessary to publish their register on their own website.

- Town and Parish Councillors would have to disclose certain pecuniary interests described in regulations and these would have to be notified to and entered into the register of interests by the principal authority's Monitoring Officer.

- A Town or Parish Council's standing orders may provide for the exclusion of a member from a meeting where any discussion or vote had taken place on a matter in which the member should not participate (because he/she had a disclosable pecuniary interest in the matter).

- Town and Parish Councils would be responsible for dealing with dispensations applied for by their members.

The new standards provisions would not come into effect until 1st July 2012 as regulations regarding the interests had yet to be published.


Discussions were planned with Borough Council Members regarding the Act's Standards Proposals and a suggested initial response to those proposals. Reports would also be taken to the Standards Committee, Cabinet and Council.

The details of the suggested initial response to the Act's proposals were as follows:-

A new code of conduct to be drafted, based on the current ten general principles of conduct; including provisions equivalent to paragraphs 3 to 7 of the current code (respect, confidentiality and disrepute) and provisions regarding interests similar to the present code, plus the proposed disclosable pecuniary interests.

Procedure rules should be amended to require a member who declares a disclosable pecuniary interest to withdraw from a meeting room. Members were likely to be precluded from making representations before leaving as they could do at the moment.

An Independent Person, with one or two substitutes, should be appointed, to provide flexibility and minimise potential conflicts of interest under the new arrangements for dealing with allegations.
Arrangements for dealing with member misconduct allegations should be developed on the basis of the following:-

An Officer (i.e. Monitoring Officer or authorised representative), in consultation with an Independent Person would determine whether or not an allegation should be the subject of further action, including local resolution, or an investigation, in accordance with agreed criteria (based on the current guidance). If considered appropriate a matter could be referred to a standards panel (of members) for determination.

An Officer (as above) would carry out any investigation, as currently. If a finding of no breach was proposed, consultation would take place with an Independent Person and with the Monitoring Officer (or authorised representative). No further action would take place where a no breach finding was confirmed. As above, if appropriate the matter could instead be referred to a standards panel for decision.

If a finding of breach of a code was proposed in the Investigating Officers report, the Monitoring Officer or authorised representative could still try to find a local resolution of the matter, or if this was not practicable a hearing would be arranged in front of a Member Standards Panel. The Standards Panel would have delegated authority to decide whether or not a breach had occurred and what, if any action should be taken. The Panel would consult an Independent Person before reaching a final decision. The outcome of consideration of allegations about the conduct of Town/Parish Councillors would be referred to the relevant Town/Parish Council for final decision.

The current procedures relating to investigations and hearings could be adapted for this purpose.

There would be no Standards Committee as such, but a politically balanced standing list of say ten trained Borough Council members from whom a hearing panel would be drawn to consider any investigation reports where a breach of a code had been found. There would be no appeal against a Panel decision.
PCL
19/11
A response had yet to be received from the officer. Once it was received it would be forwarded to Members.

Can't find it

Can't find what you're looking for? Let us know and we'll do our best to point you in the right direction