Issue - meetings
Code of Conduct
To amend the Code of Conduct in line with the
recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public
That the suggested amendment requiring gifts with a total value of £100 or more in any 12 month period to be declared be recommended to Full Council for inclusion in the Code of Conduct for Councillors.
The Chief Officer (Governance) introduced a report to amend the Code of Conduct in line with the recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL).
The Chief Officer provided background information and reported that the Standards Committee, at a meeting held on 2 September 2019, had considered both the recommendations and best practice findings of the CSPL. It considered that the Council should voluntarily adopt Recommendation 6 in relation to gifts and hospitality and change its Code of Conduct to require Members to declare not only gifts above a certain individual value but also gifts above an aggregate value. The proposal was that any gift worth more than £10 should be registered (as at present) and if gifts of £100 or more were received from the same donor in the space of 12 months then this should also be recorded. The Chief Officer advised that the suggested amendment reduced the risk that gifts/hospitality might escape registration by being given in small value amounts over time. The suggested revisions to the Code of Conduct were shown in Appendix 1 to the report.
In response to a query by Councillor Chris Bithell, the Chief Officer provided further information around the abolition of the Adjudication Panel for England and commented on the role of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. Councillor Bithell referred to page 15, section 6 (1) (a) of the report and asked if the statement also applied to other national or local bodies/organisations. The Chief Officer explained that this was a mandatory statement that applied to all local councils, and other bodies in Wales, citing the Fire Authority an example.
Members sought advice on the need to register gifts of low monetary value which, for example, might be given by a resident in appreciation for the support provided to resolve a matter in their Ward. The Chief Officer provided clarification around the registration of gifts and hospitality and reiterated that Members are required to register any gift or hospitality deemed to be over £10 in value and to reject any gift/hospitality of any value that appears to place the Councillor under an improper obligation.
Councillor Mike Peers referred to page 25, section 17 (3), and suggested that where Members must provide written notification to the Authority’s Monitoring Officer within 28 days, the Monitoring Officer would acknowledge receipt of the notification. He also asked if Members’ Declarations of Interest would be automatically updated on receipt of the notification or if Members would need to ensure they did this themselves.
During discussion the Chief Officer provided further advice on the questions and comments raised around Register of Interests, and personal interests, and cited examples of when a Member would be required to declare a personal interest or a personal and prejudicial interest.
That the suggested amendment requiring gifts with a total value of £100 or more in any 12 month period to be declared be recommended to Full Council for inclusion in the Code of Conduct for Councillors. ... view the full minutes text for item 11