Agenda and minutes

Standards and Governance Committee
Thursday, 19th November, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Lisa Young  5340

Link: Click here to access live meeting

Items
No. Item

18.

Apologies for non-attendance

Minutes:

There were none

19.

Declarations of interest

All Members present are required to disclose, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter, and disclosable pecuniary interest or personal interest in any item(s) being considered at this meeting.

Minutes:

There were none

20.

Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 1 October 2020 be signed as a true and correct record.

21.

Deputations - Standing Order 3.4

(NOTE: The Committee is required to receive a deputation(s) on a matter which is before the meeting of the Committee provided that notice of the intended deputation and its object shall have been received by the Borough Solicitor by 12 noon on Tuesday 17th November 2020. The total time for deputations in favour and against a proposal shall not exceed 10 minutes)

Minutes:

There were none

22.

Public Questions - Standing Order 3.5

(NOTE: The committee is required to allow a total of 15 minutes for questions from Members of the public on matters within the terms of reference of the Committee provided that notice of such Question(s) shall have been submitted to the Borough Solicitor by 12 noon on Tuesday 17th November 2020.)

Minutes:

There were none

23.

Local Government Ethical Standards pdf icon PDF 101 KB

This report sets out a summary of the issues raised by the Committee on Standards in Public Life review report (“the Review Report”) and the Council’s response to the Review Report’s conclusions regarding best practice.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report by the Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer seeking approval for further liaison with Group Leaders and the Chairman of the S&G Committee regarding further areas of work identified in the report.

 

Officers clarified that should any amendments need to be made to the Code of Conduct or to the Constitution, they would require consideration and approval by Full Council.

 

Officers also pointed out that only the areas of best practice that require a substantive response from the Council had been included, the rest were already being complied with or did not apply.

 

 

Members were advised that the recommendations by the Committee on Standards in Public Life were reported back in January 2019 and hadn’t been carried forward into law yet.

 

Members were advised that currently, Independent Persons were not under any restriction for term of office, but could be. The difficulties in recruiting and retaining suitable Independent Persons were recognised.

 

Members were advised to keep the recommendation regarding Social Media under consideration. Should the legal requirement change, Officers would advise Members at the appropriate time.

 

Members were advised that although not currently members of the LGA, if they offered a model of best practice, consideration would be given to adopt it and a proposal for an amendment to the Constitution would go to full Council.

 

Members were given clarification on the issue of the removal of criminal offences in regard to Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.

 

A Member wished to thank the Chairman and Borough Solicitor for agreeing to allow Group Leaders to be consulted on any further changes.

 

Members and Officers wished to offer a vote of thanks to Miss Sheena Dawson for her contribution as an Independent Person.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee:

 

1.    Endorsed the summary responses to the areas of best practice at Appendix 2

2.    Approved the proposal that the Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer liaises further with Group Leaders and the Chairman of the Standards & Governance Committee either together or separately regarding further areas of work identified by this report.

24.

Audit Progress Report to 3rd November 2020 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To update the committee on the progress of the Audit Plan 2020/21, agreed (July 2020), to the Members with responsibility for governance.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report by the Chief Internal Auditor updating the Committee on the progress of the Audit Plan 2020/21.

 

 

Members were advised that good progress had been made and several audits had taken place. The scope of some of the remaining audits would be reduced in order to complete the audit schedule, but this would not be a blanket reduction.

 

Members were advised that a member of staff would be required to work on the new business grants, which may impact the progress of the remaining audits, the extent of which was unknown.

 

Members were given clarification on the reasons why the Kier audits remained high, which was due to the inability to access properties under Covid restrictions.

 

Members received clarification on the roles regarding processing of RIPA applications. The Senior Responsible Officer was responsible for the administration and oversight of the RIPA Policy, with authorising officers reviewing applications from Council to undertake RIPA before going to the magistrates.

 

Members wished to congratulate the audit team on the progress that had been made in this difficult time.

 

Members received reassurance that checks will be conducted on payments made and works commissioned by the Council as part of audits in the audit plan.

 

Members were advised that stringent checks had been carried out on all grant applications and officers were confident that despite attempts no fraudulent applications had been successful.

 

 

The Committee noted the report.

 

25.

RIPA Policy pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To seek approval from Members in regards to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) Policy 2020, before presenting the Policy to the Policy and Organisation Board.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report by the Chief Internal Auditor seeking recommendation by the Standards & Governance Committee that the Policy and Organisation Board approve the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) Policy 2020

 

Members were advised that this was a policy update in particular regarding Authorising Officers and Senior Responsible Officer.

 

Members were concerned that covert surveillance may cause infringement of civil liberties and sought reassurances that it would only be used in key circumstances and that group leaders would be consulted as part of the process.

 

Members wished to congratulate the officers on the thoroughness of the report.

 

RESOLVED: That the Standards and Governance Committee recommend that the Policy and Organisation Board approve the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) Policy 2020

 

26.

Any Other Items

Minutes:

RISK POLICY

 

By reason of special circumstances, the Chairman determined that the following item be considered at this meeting notwithstanding the fact that the item had not been available for public inspection in accordance with the provisions of Section 100B(4)(a) of the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1958.

 

This would allow the policy to be approved and implemented promptly

 

Consideration was given to a report by the Chief Internal Auditor seeking recommendation by the Standards and Governance Committee Governance that the Policy and Organisation Board approve the Risk Policy.

 

Members were advised that the policy was an update on Council Risk Management Processes and it was there to embed a culture of risk awareness, to minimize and identify risk and enable suitable action is taken where needed.

 

Members were advised that any risks identified in staging events would be picked up in the organisation process that the Council has in place.

 

Members suggested that those event organising processes may need updating to reflect Covid 19 restrictions.

 

 

 

RESOLVED That the Committee recommend that the Policy and Organisation Board approve the Risk Policy.