Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 3 - Wallasey Town Hall
Contact: Shirley Hudspeth
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors G Ellis and B Kenny and from Mr C Jones.
Members Code of Conduct
Members are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or any other relevant interest in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.
No declarations of interest were received.
A. To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee held on 23 November 2015 as a correct record.
B. To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Working Group held on 24 February 2016 as a correct record.
(1) the Minutes of the meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee held on 23 November 2016 be confirmed as a correct record; and
(2) the Minutes of the meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Working Group held on 24 February 2016 be confirmed as a correct record
Article 9 of the Council Constitution (paragraph 9.5) requires that the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee establish a Standards Panel and a Standards Appeal Panel (attached).
The Committee is requested to nominate 3 Members (one Member from the three main political parties) to each Panel who shall be members of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee (unless an Alternate Member is nominated) Article 9 (Paragraphs A2 and B4) of the Council Constitution refer.
(Report of the Head of Legal and Member Services to follow)
A report by the Head of Legal and Member Services proposed that the Committee establish the Standards Panel and Standards Appeal Panel in accordance with the paragraph 9.5 of Article 9 of the Council’s Constitution and the Protocol for Dealing with Complaints against Members.
Appended to the report were the following appendices:
1. Article 9 of the Council’s Constitution;
2. Members’ Code of Conduct;
3. Protocol for Dealing with Complaints against Members; and
4. Procedure for dealing with matters before the Standards Panel and Standards Appeal Panel.
The Head of Legal and Member Services referred to an email Members had received from a member of the public raising three procedural points in relation to this item of business. He informed that he intended to respond to the points raised at this meeting.
Firstly, the member of the public had referred to the report that had been outstanding and, therefore, not included with the agenda for the meeting when it had been published. The Head of Legal and Member Services reported that Officers had been canvassing Members for an appropriate date on which to hold a meeting of Standards Panel. A date had not been identified and this had held up the publication of the report. The date and had still not been identified when the report had been published in a supplementary agenda. He informed that since the publication of the agenda the evening of 28 June 2016 had in fact been confirmed with the Members nominated to sit on the Panel as the date for the meeting and they were also holding 29 June 2016 in case it was needed in case of any adjournment on 28 June 2016.
Secondly, the member of the public had queried the status of the Standards Panel and the Head of Legal and Member Services reported that the Panel was in fact a Panel and not a Sub-Committee of this Committee. Therefore, its documentation and proceedings were not open to the press and public. The matter/parties could be prejudiced if confidential information was allowed to get into the public domain before due process had been completed – that in itself could bring the Council into disrepute and undermine the ethical framework.
The member of the public also asserted that paragraph 12.5 of the Protocol conflicted with s.6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in that a public authority cannot make a decision which causes it to act in a way incompatible with a Convention right. This would seem to also conflict with both Article 10 (freedom of expression) Convention right and the whistleblowing provisions in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The Head of Legal and Member Services advised that paragraph 12.5 merely advised the parties to a complaint to maintain confidentiality and therefore there was no contravention of any of the provisions referenced.
Thirdly, the Head of Legal and Member Services referred to Article 9 of the Council’s Constitution and thanked the member of the public for pointing out his oversight in ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Welcome to Councillor Paul Stuart
Councillor Chris Blakeley welcomed Councillor Paul Stuart to his first meeting of the Committee.