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Contact: Martin Newton
tel.no.: 020 7332 3154  Email: martin.newton@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Chris Boden and Jeremy Simons.

 

Apologies for absence were also received from the Comptroller and City Solicitor - Michael Cogher.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.

2.

MEMBERS' DECLARATIONS UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT IN RESPECT OF ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Minutes:

There were no declarations.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Minutes of previous meetings

Minutes:

3a

5 OCTOBER 2018 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To agree the public minutes of the meeting held on 5 October 2018.

 

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 3a

Minutes:

The public minutes of the meeting held on 5 October 2018 were considered and approved as a correct record.

 

MATTERS ARISING

Co-opted Members and Declarations of Interests (page 5) – The Chairman reported that this matter had been followed up and that letters to those Co-opted Members who had still not returned a declarations of interests form and to the Chairmen of the Committees/Sub-Committees on which they sat had been drafted by the Chairman and would sent out imminently. The Chairman undertook to update the Committee further on this matter at their next meeting.

 

Dispensations Requests (page 7) – The Town Clerk reported that, in line with the Committee’s views on this, the Town Clerk had informed Deborah Oliver (an external member of the Police Committee) that her request for a dispensation had been deferred so that information relating to the criteria met for the granting of a dispensation may be provided. The Town Clerk reported that, to date, Ms Oliver had not resubmitted a request.

 

In response to a question, the Town Clerk confirmed that a resolution was sent to the Policy and Resources Committee following the last meeting of the Standards Committee, requesting that they look at the issue of interests affecting the ability of an elected member  with children at one of the City’s schools to serve on that school’s governing body with a view to possibly seeking a solution.

 

The Town Clerk reported that the Policy and Resources Committee concurred that this situation was unfortunate and contrary to practice at other independent schools or with parent governors more generally. The Committee tasked the Town Clerk with exploring a solution and producing a report for their future consideration. The report was expected to be considered by the Policy and Resources Committee in March 2018.

 

The Committee requested

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 3a

3b

15 november 2018 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To agree the public minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2018.

 

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 3b

Minutes:

The public minutes of the special, all Member, meeting held on 15 November 2018 were considered and approved as a correct record.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 3b

4.

MINUTES OF SUB COMMITTEE MEETINGS pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To receive the public minutes of the Hearing, Dispensation, Appeal and Assessments Sub Committee meetings that have taken place since the last meeting of the Standards Committee.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 4.

Minutes:

The public minutes of the Assessment Sub (Standards) Committee held on 27 November 2018 were received.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

outstanding actions pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 5.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Town Clerk setting out updates on a number of outstanding actions.

 

Code of Conduct

The Chairman requested that the Town Clerk check what progress had been made around ease of access to the Code of Conduct and related documents on the City’s website with PRED following a resolution from this Committee on the matter back in June 2018. He went on to express concern at the fact that he had not seen any improvement on this to date. He questioned why, for example, the Code was not listed within the CoL website index for ease of access and requested a response from PRED as soon as possible as to when this would be rectified.

 

Other Members shared this concern, with many stating that they only way they had been able to find the Code of Conduct previously had been via a google search.

 

Annual reminder to Members on updating registered interests

The Chairman reported that, regrettably, this matter had progressed slower than he had hoped. He reported that, following confirmation from the Comptroller and City Solicitor as to which Committees/Sub Committees were subject to the Code of Conduct, he had recently received and approved draft letters to be sent to all those Co-opted Members with registers of interest still outstanding. These letters would also be sent to the Chairmen of the relevant bodies on which these Co-opted Members currently served within the next few days.

 

The Chairman went on to clarify that the Comptroller and City Solicitor had confirmed the class of Co-opted Member to whom the criminal sanctions in the Localism Act 2011 applied.  None of those who had failed to respond to date would fall within the category where a failure to register a disclosable pecuniary interest constituted a criminal offence.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

TERMS OF REFERENCE AND FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 6.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk asking Members to consider their terms of reference and that of their sub committees ahead of submission of the White Paper to the Court of Common Council on 25 April 2019 as well as the frequency of future meetings.

 

The Chairman reminded Members that the Committees existing terms of reference had last been approved by the Court of Common Council in July 2018 to reflect the outcome of the review of Standards framework. This involved, in the main, the removal of the complaints appeal function.

 

The Chairman went on to highlight that one further drafting correction was proposed to paragraph (e) of the Dispensations Sub Committee. This paragraph would now read that each meeting would be chaired “by either the Chairman or one of the two Deputy Chairmen elected annually by the Standards Committee…”. It was the intention that the revised terms of reference for this sub committee come into effect from the implementation of the new dispensations policy and guidance.

 

The Committee went on to discuss their frequency of meetings. The meetings currently took place three times per annum, on a Friday morning with an 11am start time. The Chairman questioned whether there was a desire amongst members of the Committee to meet more frequently in future. The Deputy Chairman suggested a fourth meeting each year referring to the fact that all recent meetings of this Committee had lasted for longer than two hours which was not always productive given that some Members needed to leave the meeting at this point.

 

A Co-opted Member stated that the number of meetings associated with this Committee had increased significantly in recent years. He added that an additional meeting of the grand Committee each year would therefore be inconvenient, particularly for Co-opted

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

APPOINTMENT OF CO-OPTED MEMBER OF THE STANDARDS COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 7.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk relative to a recommendation of the Selection Panel in respect of appointment to the existing vacancy for a Co-opted Member of the Standards Committee.

 

The Chairman reported that the advertisement for a new Co-opted Member of the Standards Committee had generated a good deal of interest on this occasion. Three candidates had been shortlisted for interview by the Selection Panel and the Panel hoped that both this Committee and the Court of Common Council would be enthusiastic about their selected candidate.

 

The Chairman added that, whilst it was recommended that the initial term of office for the new Co-opted Member be for 2 years (in accordance with views put forward by the Standards Committee, in order to better regulate the terms of office of Co-opted Members) this would be renewable.

 

The Chairman clarified that, should this Committee and the Court of Common Council endorse the appointment, the selected candidate would become a member of the Standards Committee with immediate effect and that an induction with the Comptroller and City Solicitor would also be arranged at the earliest opportunity.

 

The Committee were unanimous in their endorsement of the appointment of the selected candidate.  

 

A Co-opted Member went on to question whether there was a limit to the term of office for the Committee’s three Independent Persons. He added that he felt that an indefinite appointment to this position seemed unwise.

 

A Member highlighted that the Committee’s terms of reference stated that “none of the appointed shall serve on the Committee for more than eight years”. He suggested that this would be a good guideline to also follow in terms of Independent Persons too.

 

The Comptroller and City Solicitor agreed that it would be a sensible suggestion for the Committee to look at

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

DISPENSATIONS - DRAFT POLICY AND GUIDANCE pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Report of the Comptroller and City Solicitor.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 8.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a late, separately circulated, joint report of the Town Clerk and Comptroller and City Solicitor setting out final details of the Working Party’s draft future policy and guidance on dispensations, and revisions to the dispensation request application form. 

 

The Chairman stated that he hoped that this matter could be concluded today following extensive discussion and consultation on the documents to date.

 

Members noted that the Dispensations Working Party had met early in the new year, following the meeting of the Court of Common Council in December 2018, to consider/note feedback.  There had also been a number of Member workshops throughout December 2018 and the views expressed here and, subsequently on email, had also been noted.   The latest version of the Policy, before Members today, had been circulated to Members of the Working Party.

 

The Chairman stressed that, whilst all feedback had been noted, it had not been possible to include suggestions that were incompatible with legislation. 

 

The Committee were informed that, in the new version of the documentation, some material had now been included within the appendices in an attempt to make the documents more user friendly. There was now also a greater distinction between applications for dispensations under delegated authority and others which was highlighted at the beginning of the dispensations application form.

 

The documentation had undergone some significant redrafting following the steer provided by the December 2018 Court of Common Council meeting and the Committee felt that the final draft was a sufficient and adequate response to this. It was hoped that the Court would appreciate this.

 

The Comptroller and City Solicitor explained how the Court’s request had subsequently been incorporated verbatim into the latest version of the documents; which, together with the new category of Delegated Dispensations, changed the emphasis of the policy.

 

The

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN OF DISPENSATIONS SUB COMMITTEE

The annual election of a Chairman of the Dispensations Sub (Standards) Committee.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 9.

Minutes:

The Committee proceeded to elect a Chairman of the Dispensations Sub Committee.

 

The Town Clerk clarified that all members of the Committee were eligible to stand and were informed that one expression of interest, from Caroline Addy, had been received to date. A statement in support of her candidature had been submitted and circulated electronically to all prior to the meeting. This was also tabled.

 

RESOLVED – Being the only Member expressing a willingness to serve, Caroline Addy be appointed as Chairman of the Dispensations Sub Committee for the ensuing year.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

ELECTION OF DEPUTY CHAIRMEN OF DISPENSATIONS SUB COMMITTEE

The annual election of TWO Deputy Chairmen of the Dispensations Sub (Standards) Committee.

 

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 10.

Minutes:

The Committee proceeded to elect the Deputy Chairmen of the Dispensations Sub Committee.

 

The Town Clerk clarified that all members of the Committee were eligible to stand and that there were two positions to appoint to. The Committee were informed that one expression of interest, from Deputy Jamie Ingham Clark, had been received to date. A statement in support of his candidature had been submitted and circulated electronically to all prior to the meeting. This was also tabled.

 

Mark Greenburgh also expressed a willingness to serve.

 

RESOLVED – That, being the only Members expressing a willingness to serve, Deputy Jamie Ingham Clark and Mark Greenburgh be appointed as Deputy Chairmen of the Dispensations Sub Committee for the ensuing year.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

ANNUAL REVIEW OF PROTOCOL ON MEMBER/OFFICER RELATIONS pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Joint report of the Comptroller and City Solicitor and the Director of Human Resources.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 11.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a joint report of the Comptroller and City Solicitor and the Director of Corporate HR.

 

A Co-opted Member stated that he had had the benefit of looking at Codes of Conduct for employees for other Local Authorities, particularly around the matter of conflict of interests. He went on to question paragraph 11 of the Code and asked whether it was implying that, if an individual’s interest were to be aligned with that of the City Corporation they would not be conflicted. He suggested that it should be made explicit that, if an Officer were to have a personal, pecuniary interest in any matter, they should not be able to exercise delegated authority in this matter. The Director of Corporate HR undertook to adjust the wording of the Code to adequately reflect this point and to highlight this to the Establishment Committee in their subsequent consideration of the document.

 

Another Co-opted Member questioned whether, under paragraph 23 of the Code, employees would be barred from lobbying Members on local issues should they also happen to be resident in the City. The Director of HR confirmed that this was not the intention. The Committee asked that it therefore be made clear that this was not an absolute prohibition.

 

The Chairman stated that both the Employee Code of Conduct and the Protocol of Officer/Member Relations were documents that were property of the Establishment Committee, however, this Committee also reviewed them annually and made recommendations to the Establishment Committee as necessary on their content. The Establishment Committee then took forward to the Court of Common Council if any amendments were necessary.

 

The Director of HR undertook to highlight the changes requested by this Committee to the Establishment Committee as part of their consideration of the document.

 

RESOLVED – That Members:

 

(a)

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Questions on matters relating to the work of the Committee

Minutes:

There were no questions.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Any Other Business that the Chairman considers urgent

Minutes:

Requests for Dispensation under the Localism Act 2011

At the Chairman’s agreement, a late report of the Town Clerk regarding a Member requesting a dispensation to speak and vote was tabled.

 

The Chairman gave Members a ten minute recess to read the report and accompanying application.

 

The Deputy Chairman withdrew from the meeting for the consideration of this item.

 

The Chairman reminded the Committee that the Member had previously been granted a dispensation by the Dispensations Sub Committee to speak only on planning application 17/00770/FULL (former Richard Cloudesley School) at Planning and Transportation Committee on 26 March 2018 or subsequent meetings where the planning application is discussed. The Chairman clarified that the application was now being brought back to the Planning and Transportation Committee in relation to the discharge of a condition. The application before Members was to both speak and vote on this matter at the Planning and Transportation Committee meeting on 29 January 2019  or subsequent meetings where this was to be discussed. He questioned whether the dispensation already granted to the Member in March 2018 was sufficient to cover this new request.

 

The Comptroller and City Solicitor stated that, he would have had some sympathy with this argument if it had been advanced by Ms Pearson. However, she had chosen to submit a fresh application and was presumably making a distinction between discussions around the original grant of planning permission and the discharge of conditions. The Standards Committee should generally assume that any dispensation sought was required in order to facilitate participation, and determine the application on its merits.

 

The Chairman stated that he did, however, feel that the previous decision in March 2018 set a significant precedent. He also queried the status of the new dispensations policy and guidance. The Comptroller and City Solicitor explained that

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

exclusion of the public

MOTION – That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I of the Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 14.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I of the Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act.

 

            Item No.                                            Paragraph No(s).

               15                                                                3

               16                                                            2 & 5     

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

NON-PUBLIC MINUTES OF SUB COMMITTEE MEETINGS

To receive the non-public minutes of the Hearing, Dispensation, Appeal and Assessments Sub Committee meetings that have taken place since the last meeting of the Standards Committee.

 

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 15.

Minutes:

The Deputy Chairman re-joined the meeting at this point.

 

The non-public minutes of the Assessment Sub (Standards) Committee held on 27 November 2018 were received.

 

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

ACTION TAKEN BETWEEN MEETINGS

Report of the Town Clerk.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 16.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Town Clerk providing Members with the details of decisions taken by the Town Clerk, in consultation with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Standards Committee, since the Committee’s last meeting in October 2018.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

NON-PUBLIC QUESTIONS ON MATTERS RELATING TO THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE

Minutes:

There were no questions raised in the non-public session.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS THAT THE CHAIRMAN CONSIDERS URGENT AND WHICH THE COMMITTEE AGREES SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WHILST THE PUBLIC ARE EXCLUDED

Minutes:

There were no additional, urgent items of business for consideration in the non-public session.

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

 


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