Agenda and minutes
Venue: The Atrium, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven. CA28 7SJ
Contact: Clive Willoughby Tel: 07385 362806
Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interests were made at this point of the meeting.
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 April 2021 be agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
The council’s solicitor advised the Standards and Ethics Committee that following confirmation from Council the terms of reference for this Committee remained unchanged and included keeping the Council’s Constitution under review and to deal with Code of Conduct matters.
The Standards and Ethics Committee retained the option to create a small working group to deal with Constitution matters, but it was felt that the Committee was seven members and that any working group would require five or six Councillors, therefore it would be best to deal with the Constitution by the main committee.
It was also highlighted to the Committee that a decision on Local Government Review (LGR) was expected shortly, which might have a huge impact on the council. Therefore, committee may wish to consider the four constitution sections on the agenda (Financial Regulations, Budget setting, Scheme of Delegation and Planning) and forward to Council for approval and wait for the LGR decision before committing to review the entire constitution.
The Solicitor then proceeded to take the committee through the detail of each of the four sections mentioned.
Members were asked to note that a review of the Corporate Leadership Team was underway and this would result in consequential changes being required to the constitution.
During the discussion that followed, it was asked why if Council had approved changes in November 2019, they had come back to the Committee. In response, members were advised that only some sections of the constitution had been amended and then, these were only cosmetic changes.
It was asked if it was common to have ‘Minded to’ decisions at Planning Panel and was this common practice across all councils. In reply members were advised that this was not particularly common and that not all councils across the country operated this way.
The Chair suggested that this committee consider the constitution changes at this meeting and also that recommendation (b) set out on the 16 April 2021 agenda be amended to include the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
NB: Councillor Joan Hully declared a non-pecuniary interest at this point, due to being Chair of Cleator Moor Town Council and a member of Regeneration NE Copeland.
Councillor Hugh Branney declared a non-pecuniary interest at this point, due to being a member of the Cleator Moor Town Deal Board.
Councillor Joan Hully advised that she had highlighted a number of very minor amendments to the report and these ‘tweeks’ would be passed on to the Electoral and Democratic Services Manager to incorporate.
Councillor Graham Calvin suggested that the quorum figure for Planning Panel was too low at three members and recommended this be increased to five.
This was seconded by Councillor Ged McGrath.
Councillor Joan Hully referred to paragraph 2.19 on page 96 of the agenda, which was confirmed it would be deleted.
RESOLVED – that
a) the Financial Regulations, Budget setting, Scheme of Delegation and Planning
constitution changes be considered at this meeting, without the need for
a sub-committee. The method for dealing with future ... view the full minutes text for item SEC 21/4
Committee considered the Confidential Reporting (Whistleblowing) Policy which was introduced by the Solicitor.
Members were advised that the draft Policy had already been presented to the Executive on 15 June 2021, who approved it, subject to consideration and/or amendment by this committee in which case the Director of Corporate Resources and Commercial Strategy was delegated authority, in consultation with the Mayor, to make the final approval.
During the discussion that followed, Councillor Joan Hully suggested that within para 1.1 on the agenda covering report (page 199), ‘worker’ should be amended to ‘employee’.
Councillor Hully also asked if the Harassment Act 1997 had been taken into account. The Solicitor agreed to check this out and incorporate into the policy if relevant.
RESOLVED – That the Confidential Reporting (Whistleblowing) Policy be agreed.
Councillor Joan Hully expressed views that
a) any training on Planning would be welcome and acknowledged that refresher
planning panel training had been arranged for 23 June 2021,
b) the Planning Panel Quality Review had not taken place for the last couple of
years and it was recognised this was due mainly to the Covid-19 pandemic,
c) Personal Development Plans (PDPs) were completed in previous years to
assist in preparing training programmes and asked if these could be
The Chair asked the Electoral and Democratic Services Manager if a list could be provided of the training opportunities available to members.
He also asked if Committee specific training could be opened up to all members.
Councillor Russell Studholme asked if individual member’s training records could be made available. He continued, that all the training he’d received had been excellent and asked if formal feedback forms could be made available.
The Electoral and Democratic Services Manager advised that Member Training and Development, along with the Constitution would be standing items on agendas going forward.
Members were asked to advise if they would like refresher training.
Training for Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs took place on 7 June and training for the Chair and Deputy Chair of Council was arranged for 18 June 2021.
Councillor Joan Hully expressed a wish for IT training.
ModGov training was requested by Councillors Jackie Bowman and
Ged McGrath, including access to ‘Restricted’ agenda items.
The Electoral and Democratic Services Manager agreed to liaise with the IT department with a view of adding ModGov to the Councillor’s laptops. This would eliminate the need for a separate Ipad.
Health and Safety training for members was also requested.
RESOLVED – That
a) the training undertaken by members be noted, and
b) future training requirements be considered and fed back at the next meeting.
Exclusion of Press and Public
The Chair to move:
That under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item on the grounds that, if they were present, there could be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in the relevant paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Act.
The Chair moved, and it was
RESOLVED – that the press and public be excluded for the remaining item of business in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the relevant paragraphs of schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.
Code of Conduct Complaints – Update and Proposed Procedural Revisions
The agenda report was introduced by the Council’s Solicitor and considered by the Committee.
During consideration of the procedure, it was requested that a further option be added to adjourn the meeting if more information was required before making a decision and it was suggested that para 12 (e) on agenda page 226 be amended to remove the word ‘preliminary’.
The Electoral and Democratic Services Manager then updated the committee on the outstanding Code of Conduct complaints and proposed a timetable for dealing with them.
RESOLVED – That the recommendations as stated in the agenda report be agreed, subject to para 12 (e) on agenda page 226 being amended to remove the word ‘preliminary’.