Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room
Contact: Christine Lewis
Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interests
The Minutes of the meeting held on the 20th November 2017, as printed and circulated were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman.
Officer Code of Conduct Update
The updated Code of Conduct is attached for reference
The Committee received a verbal report requesting an amendment to the Officer Code of Conduct. It was reported that a small change had been required to ensure it reflected details in the Disciplinary Procedure correctly regarding the disclosure of criminal convictions. It was noted that the code would be relaunched to all Officers were aware of the revised version. When asked, it was confirmed that the unions had been consulted with.
Other areas of the Code was then discussed by the Committee and it was asked why a Politically Restricted Post were still allowed to stand as a Parish Councillor as these positions could still be political. After seeking guidance with the Head of Legal, Property and Democratic Services, it has been confirmed that standing for a Town or Parish Council is excluded as it is not considered political in terms of the legislation LGHA 89/ SI 1990. No reason has been given why and usually Town/ PC’s are seen as more local democracy rather than Political.
It was also asked if drug guidance had been adopted and it was reported that there were only facilities to check for alcohol use.
It was asked if social media use could be mentioned in various sections and it was noted that there were other policies that could cover social media use including IT policies. It was agreed that it could however be highlighted to Officers within the Code of Conduct. It was asked if GDPR should be included and it was reported that the code was not required to be specific.
It was felt that as social media use had changed since the approval of the code 12 months ago so it might be right to review the Code of Conduct at a later date.
RESOLVED: That the amendment to the Officer Code of Conduct be approved.
Member Development Strategy
This will include a discussion on the Member Development Questionnaire, approach to training and future Councillor induction pack content.
The Chairman led a discussion on Member Development Strategy and she asked for the Committee’s thoughts and ideas for carrying out training and development. It was noted that the Head of Legal, Property and Democratic Services would be meeting with the Leader of the Council and Leader of the Opposition to discuss further. It was reported that there would not be a questionnaire circulated
A diagram of a proposed strategy was circulated to Members and it was reported that training would become Member led with a development plan which would inform the training programme along with a sub committee that would monitor attendance and further training needs. It was then reported that Members would meet with their party leader and discuss and record their individual development needs.
The Committee asked what the current budget was for Member Training and it was confirmed to be £5k. There was some concern that this was not enough to deliver effective training but it was reported that the use of e-learning and Officer to deliver sessions helped keep costs to a minimum. It was suggested that collaborative sessions with other authorities could also help reduce costs.
Views were then sought from the Committee on what could aid training to be valuable and the following was expressed:
· All training to be available for all Members to ensure continuity.
· The use different formats to deliver training.
· The use of different venues
· On block intensive training as part of Induction.
· Consider external training for Planning and not be all in house
· Sessions to stay on topic
· Length of sessions especially on an evening. Keep them short and sharp with objectives
· Information to be presented in an understandable way to Members
· Receive a synopsis of what training will be delivered.
Members then discussed specific training topics and items included IT as it was important to all Members. It was also suggested that sessions on Community liaison could be useful especially for new Members as it would help them understand the work of other agencies including health providers, highways and registered social landlords. Other topics discussed were speed reading, assertiveness training and Governance especially regarding commercialisation.
There was some concern that it was difficult to attend all training sessions due to other commitments and it was suggested that numerous dates could be offered or different formats offered for the same format.
RESOLVED:That the comments will be fed back to Head of Legal, Property and Democratic Services would be meeting with the Leader of the Council and Leader of the Opposition.
The Committee noted that Policy Review 2018 Schedule and an update was given. It was noted that all reviews were on schedule and Members were keen for the deadlines to be maintained.
RESOLVED: That the Policy Review 2018 Schedule be noted.