Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Wallasey Town Hall

Contact: Shirley Hudspeth 

No. Item


Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to consider whether they have personal or prejudicial interests in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state what they are.


No declarations of interest were received.


New Standards Regime pdf icon PDF 116 KB

The previous report, approved by the Committee at its meeting on 16 April 2012 is attached.  The proposals set out in the report were also approved by the Council at its meeting on 21 May 2012.



Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 25, the Committee had regard to the report and supporting appendices it had considered at its last meeting on 16 April 2012 when it had made its recommendations to the Council in relation to:


·  Constitution: Article 9 – Terms of Reference of the Standards Committee (and its Panels) to take effect from 1 July 2012.

·  Members’ Code of Conduct – to take effect from 1 July 2012


These recommendations had been put together by the Standards Committee’s Working Party who had worked together on a New Code of Conduct for Members and on arrangements for dealing with complaints against Members.  The Standards Committee had agreed them and they had then been endorsed at the Annual Council Meeting on 21 April 2012 (Minute No 14(iv) refers).


The Committee was asked to specifically refer to paragraph 2.16 of the report as follows:


‘The Standards Committee must now be politically balanced and will not include any Independent Members. Under the Localism Act 2012, the ‘Independent Member’ has been replaced by the ‘Independent Person’ who does not sit on the Standards Committee (or any of its Panels). The Council must appoint at least one ‘Independent Person’. Unfortunately, the definition in the Act of ‘Independent Person’ prevents the current Independent Members being appointed to this role.’


Some Members informed that they had misunderstood the paragraph.  They believed that politically balanced meant that each Political Group would have the same number of seats on the new Standards Committee and not that seats on the new Committee had to reflect the political make up of the Council and had been allocated on a five Labour, three Conservative and one Liberal Democrat basis.


It was reported that when it had become apparent that the term politically balanced in the report meant politically proportionate some Members had asked that the Working Party be reconvened.  It was noted that as there had not been a consensus across the three Political Groups to this request, the Working Party could not be reconvened. 


However, one Member was of the view that the request had been “virtually ignored” and that Officers had delayed in seeking a consensus to the request.  This was not accepted by the Head of Legal and Member Services.


Some Members raised concerns as they believed that Officers had not provided all of the information and facts available for them to make an informed decision.  They said that they had been told that the Council could choose to either have a Standards Committee or not have one and that they had misinterpreted political balance to mean a 3:3:3 basis which was the political makeup of the present Standards Committee.


Some Members informed that they had carried out research of their own and were now aware that the Council could set up a Standards Advisory Committee which the current Independent Members could continue to sit on and chair.  They were concerned that Officers had not advised them of this option previously.  Reference was made to Newham, Thanet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Brian Cummings - Former Chair of the Standards Committee


The Chair reported that Brian Cummings, the previous Chair of the Committee had been appointed MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours list.




That a letter be sent to Mr Cummings on behalf of the Committee congratulating him on his wonderful achievement.


Ken Harrison - Chairman


Members paid tribute to Mr Harrison, who was attending his last meeting, as the new Standards Regime would be in place from 1 July 2012, including a new Standards Committee.  Mr Harrison had provided the Council with lots of assistance and advice over the years, by sitting on the Committee as an Independent Member.




That Mr Harrison be thanked for his contributions whilst being a Member and the Chair of the Committee.