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Contact: Gemma Stokley
tel.no.: 020 7332 3414  Email: gemma.stokley@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Chair’s Welcome

The Chair opened the meeting by welcoming members and also those in the public gallery – both elected Members and members of the public. She gave a special welcome to Elizabeth Walters, one of two new Co-opted Members of the Committee, to her first meeting.

 

The Chair went on to state that, as the front sheet of all meeting agendas reminds us, public meetings can be the subject of audio or video recording. She added that she had received prior notice of the fact that today’s meeting would be video recorded both by a public attendee and by the City Corporation’s own Media Team. She made it clear that both were aware of the City’s Filming Protocol which entails not disturbing the conduct of the meeting and focusing only on Members and Officers directly involved in today’s proceedings.

 

The Chair concluded by highlighting that there was a weighty agenda today and clarified that she would not, therefore, be taking comments from either members of the public, or elected Members who are not Members of this Committee.

 

 

Apologies for absence were received from Nick Cooke (Co-opted), The Very Revd. Dr. David Ison (Co-opted), Alderwoman Susan Langley, Dan Large (Co-opted) and Vivienne Littlechild.

 ...  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 the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To consider the public minutes of the meeting held on 4 October 2019.

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

Minutes:

The public minutes of the meeting held on 4 October 2019 were considered and approved as a correct record.

 

In the light of comments from a member, the Chair asked that their high quality be minuted.

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

4.

Minutes of Sub Committees pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To receive the public minutes of recent Assessment and Dispensations Sub Committee meetings that have met since the last meeting of the Grand Committee.

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the public minutes of the Assessment Sub (Standards) Committee meeting held on 3 December 2019 and the public minutes of the Dispensations Sub (Standards) Committee meeting held on 18 November 2019.

 

RECEIVED.

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

5.

terms of reference and frequency of meetings pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk relative to the Standards Committee’s terms of reference, that of their various sub committees and their frequency of meetings, ahead of the submission of the White Paper to the Court of Common Council on 23 April 2020.

 

RESOLVED – That:

 

i)              The terms of reference of the Standards Committee be approved for submission to the Court of Common Council, as set out in Appendix 1;

ii)             Members approve the frequency of the Committee’s meetings as three per annum;

iii)               Members note the scheduled meeting dates for the remainder of 2020 and for 2021.

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

6.

FURTHER REVIEW OF DISPENSATIONS POLICY AND LEADING COUNSEL'S OPINION pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Report of the Comptroller and City Solicitor.

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

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Comptroller and City Solicitor presenting a further review of the Dispensation’s Policy and Leading Counsels Opinion on this.

 

The Chair stated that she hoped that the Committee could proceed today to endorse its policy on speaking when a Member had an engaged, disclosable pecuniary interest, with possible additions to delegated items, and would also agree Counsel’s recommendations concerning voting when a Member had an engaged, disclosable pecuniary interest. 

 

The Chair called upon the Comptroller and City Solicitor to formally introduce the report.

 

The Comptroller and City Solicitor referred to the proposal from an elected Member, Graeme Harrower, to grant what he referred to as general dispensations. Advice had been obtained from Leading Counsel on Mr Harrower’s proposal and the Dispensations Policy in general. The Comptroller and City Solicitor observed that Members were still being urged by Mr Harrower in the strongest possible terms to adopt a policy that Leading Counsel had concluded was unlawful.

 

The Comptroller went on to state that if the unlawfulness of the proposed general dispensations were less clear cut then Leading Counsel would doubtless have said so in his opinion. The Comptroller reminded the Committee that they were bound by the statutory scheme with regard to dispensations. Given the strong feelings on both sides, the Comptroller went on to highlight that Standing Order number 9 (4) provided for a decision of a Committee or Sub-Committee to be referred to the Court of Common Council if supported by 20 elected Members. He also underlined that there was a risk of a legal challenge being launched, whatever decision was taken today.

 

The Comptroller and City Solicitor continued by explaining that it was his role to advise the Committee honestly and clearly on the Policy but that the ultimate decision as to

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

7.

Requests for a Dispensation under the Corporation's approved Dispensations Policy pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Report of the Town Clerk.

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Town Clerk setting out details of three Members who had requested a dispensation to speak and/or vote on any matter which affects their constituents and in which they may have a pecuniary interest with the exception of matters which:

 

(a)  Affect them uniquely or more so than any of their constituents; and

(b)  Insofar as regards a dispensation to vote only, falls within the restriction imposed by section 618 of the Housing Act 1985 for as long as that provision remains on the statute book.

 

The Chair spoke to clarify that, in light of the decision that the Committee had just taken on the previous agenda item, indicating that they were accepting of Leading Counsel’s opinion on this, the three outstanding applications for dispensations of this sort could not be granted under the Dispensations Policy. She added that the applications were, of course, at liberty to now resubmit their applications on specific matters if required.

 

RESOLVED – That, in light of the Committee’s decision to accept the opinion of Leading Counsel on the Dispensations Policy, the three outstanding applications from Mark Bostock, Susan Pearson and Brian Mooney to speak and/or vote on any matter which affects their constituents and in which they may have a pecuniary interest with the exception of matters which:

(a)  Affect them uniquely or more so than any of their constituents; and

(b)  Insofar as regards a dispensation to vote only, falls within the restriction imposed by section 618 of the housing Act 1985 for as long as that provision remains on the statute book

are all rejected.

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

8.

Review of Local Government Ethical Standards by the Committee on Standards in Public Life - Follow Up Actions pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Report of the Comptroller and City Solicitor.

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

Minutes:

The Committee considered a follow up report of the Comptroller and City on the Review of Local Government Ethical Standards by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. At their previous meeting on 3 May 2019 Members had indicated that there were a number of recommendations that they would like to look at again in more detail .

 

The Chair asked that the Committee consider each of the recommendations set out in further detail.

 

RESOLVED:

·         CPSL Recommendation 1 – The Committee noted the latest position.

·         CSPL Recommendation 2 – The Committee agreed to maintain the status quo with regard to the disclosure of Members’ home addresses in the public version of the register of interests.

·         CSPL Recommendation 3 – In response to questions regarding the complaint that had already been dealt with regarding the use of social media, the Comptroller and City Solicitor highlighted that the issue in that particular case had been that the Member in question had listed their official roles prominently at the top of their Twitter account and had therefore made it difficult to separate their personal tweeting from their official capacity. A Co-opted Member questioned whether the City Corporation had a Social Media Policy in place. The Director of Communications reported that there were guidelines available to Members on acceptable social media use. The Committee asked that these be re-circulated to all elected Members and Co-opted Members.

·         CPSL Recommendation 4 – Members noted the position in relation to the recommendation.

·         CPSL Recommendation 6 – Members were of the view that the City Corporation’s existing threshold for registering gifts and hospitality was reasonable and should not be altered downwards.

·         CSPL Recommendation 8 – Members agreed with this recommendation and requested that the Comptroller and City Solicitor report back to the Committee with specific proposals around this.

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

9.

Annual review of the Protocol on Member/Officer Relations 2019 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

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

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a joint report of the Comptroller and City Solicitor and the Director of Human Resources providing Members with the annual review of the Protocol on Member/Officer Relations and highlighting any related issues that have arisen during 2019. The report also included commentary from the Comptroller and City Solicitor on Employment Tribunal cases in the past year.

 

A Member underlined the importance of paragraph 3 (3) of the Protocol (stating that it is not the role of Members to involve themselves in the detail of day to day management of the Corporation’s services) and suggested that this ought to continue to be emphasised to Members.

 

A Member referred to paragraph 12 (3) (a) of the Protocol on Member/Officer Relations and suggested that it would be useful for future Chief Commoners to meet with the Comptroller and City Solicitor upon taking office to clarify their disciplinary role in this context.

 

In response to a question on the number of formal grievances dealt with each year, the Director of Human Resources clarified that these were reported on in greater detail to the Establishment Committee and that that Committee also received information as to how this number compared with previous years.

 

RESOLVED – That, Members note the report.

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

10.

Questions on matters relating to the work of the Committee

Minutes:

There were no questions.

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

11.

Any Other Business that the Chairman considers urgent pdf icon PDF 58 KB

RESOLUTION OF THE COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL RE: International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition on Anti-Semitism

 

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

resolution of the court of common council re: international holocaust remembrance alliance (ihra) definition of anti-semitism

The Committee considered a resolution of the Court of Common Council dated 5 December 2019, requesting that the definition of anti-Semitism, including the agreed working examples be adopted, with the inclusion of the IHRA definition and working examples, within the Members’ and Offices’ Code of Conduct.

 

Members requested that this be added to the Members’ Code of Conduct by way of an appendix to the existing document.

 

The Town Clerk clarified that the resolution of the Court would be taken forward by the Establishment Committee insofar as the Officer Code of Conduct was concerned.

 

RESOLVED – That, the definition of anti-Semitism, including the agreed working examples be adopted, with the inclusion of the IHRA definition and working examples, within the Members’ Code of Conduct by way of an appendix to the existing document.

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

12.

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 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act.

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

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 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act.

 

                        Item No(s)                                          Paragraph No(s)

                          13 & 14                                                          1 & 2

                          15 & 16                                                             -

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

13.

NON-PUBLIC MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

To consider the non-public minutes of the meeting held on 4 October 2019.

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

Minutes:

The Committee considered and approved the non-public minutes of the meeting held on 4 October 2019.

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

14.

NON-PUBLIC MINUTES OF SUB COMMITTEE

To receive the non-public minutes of the Assessment Sub-Committee meeting of 3 December 2019.

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

Minutes:

The Committee received the non-public minutes of the Assessment Sub Committee meeting of 3 December 2019.

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

15.

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

Minutes:

There were no questions in the non-public session.

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

16.

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

DECISION LETTER OF THE STANDARDS APPEAL SUB-COMMITTEE MEETING OF 16 DECEMBER 2020

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

Minutes:

The Committee received the decision letter of the Standards Appeal Sub-Committee meeting of the 16 December 2019.

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

 


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