Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, - Swale House. View directions
Election of Chairman
To elect a Chairman for this meeting.
Resolved: That Councillor Duncan Dewar-Whalley be elected as Chairman for this meeting.
Fire Evacuation Procedure
The Chairman will advise the meeting of the evacuation procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. This is particularly important for visitors and members of the public who will be unfamiliar with the building and procedures.
The Chairman will inform the meeting whether there is a planned evacuation drill due to take place, what the alarm sounds like (i.e. ringing bells), where the closest emergency exit route is, and where the second closest emergency exit route is, in the event that the closest exit or route is blocked.
The Chairman will inform the meeting that:
(a) in the event of the alarm sounding, everybody must leave the building via the nearest safe available exit and gather at the Assembly points at the far side of the Car Park. Nobody must leave the assembly point until everybody can be accounted for and nobody must return to the building until the Chairman has informed them that it is safe to do so; and
(b) the lifts must not be used in the event of an evacuation.
Any officers present at the meeting will aid with the evacuation.
It is important that the Chairman is informed of any person attending who is disabled or unable to use the stairs, so that suitable arrangements may be made in the event of an emergency.
The Chairman outlined the Emergency Evacuation Procedure.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves or their spouse, civil partner or person with whom they are living with as a spouse or civil partner. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
The Chairman will ask Members if they have any interests to declare in respect of items on this agenda, under the following headings:
(a) Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI) under the Localism Act 2011. The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared. After declaring a DPI, the Member must leave the meeting and not take part in the discussion or vote. This applies even if there is provision for public speaking.
(b) Disclosable Non Pecuniary (DNPI) under the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council in May 2012. The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared. After declaring a DNPI interest, the Member may stay, speak and vote on the matter.
(c) Where it is possible that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts would conclude that there was a real possibility that the Member might be predetermined or biased the Member should declare their predetermination or bias and then leave the room while that item is considered.
Advice to Members: If any Councillor has any doubt about the existence or nature of any DPI or DNPI which he/she may have in any item on this agenda, he/she should seek advice from the Director of Corporate Services as Monitoring Officer, the Head of Legal or from other Solicitors in Legal Services as early as possible, and in advance of the Meeting.
No interests were declared.
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and outlined the procedure that would be taken.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
To decide whether to pass the resolution set out below in respect of the following item: -
That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
1. Information relating to any individual.
Resolved: To not pass the resolution to exclude the Press and Public and to hold the meeting in public session.
Consideration of Complaint No. 2.15
The Chairman reported that the subject member had confirmed that they would not be able to attend the Sub-Committee due to ill-health. The Chairman asked the Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership to confirm whether to adjourn to another date or proceed with the hearing. The Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership noted that the subject member had not requested that the meeting be adjourned, and recommended that the hearing proceed.
The Director of Corporate Services, in his role as Monitoring Officer, introduced the report which set-out the complaint of Member misconduct: SBC 2.15. The Investigating Officer's report had found that there had been a breach in the Members' Code of Conduct. The Sub-Committee was being asked to determine whether there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct, and if there had, to determine what sanction, if any, should be recommended to the Parish Council.
The Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership advised that the Investigating Officer had been delayed and would not be able to attend the hearing. The Chairman then invited the Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership to present the findings of the Investigating Officer into the alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct. Members were given the opportunity to ask questions of the Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership.
The Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership stated that a written representation from the subject member had been received. The Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership read out the representation for Members.
The Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership reported that the subject member had recently informed officers that he had resigned from the Parish Council due to ill-health. This had not been confirmed by the Parish Council. She confirmed that because no written confirmation of resignation had been received, Members should proceed with the hearing as if he was a Parish Councillor, and advised on what would happen in the event of the Sub-Committee finding a breach in relation to any sanctions that might be imposed.
The Chairman invited the Independent Person to present their representation as to whether there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct. They found that there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct.
The Sub-Committee, Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership, Legal Assistant and Democratic Services Officer left the meeting at 10.21am, to consider (a) whether or not there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct; and (b) whether to make any recommendations to the authority with a view to promoting high standards of conduct among Councillors, and returned at 11.30am to advise on the Sub-Committee’s decision.
The Sub-Committee determined that there had been a breach of paragraphs 2, 8, 10 and 11 of the Code of Conduct.
The Chairman invited the Independent Person and the Monitoring Officer to make representations on any sanctions they considered should be implemented.