Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping
Contact: Mark Jenkins (The Office of the Chief Executive) Tel: 01992 564607 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chairman reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.
To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 5 July 2012 (previously circulated) and matters arising.
That the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 5 July 2012 be agreed.
To discuss the following matters raised by Local Council’s:
(1) Standards Committee
To receive a verbal report from the Assistant to the Chief Executive.
(2) Local Highways Panel
County Councillor G McEwen, Chairman of the Local Highways Panel, will be present at the meeting to answer queries regarding the membership of the Panel.
(3) Local Plan
To receive a verbal update regarding the current situation for the Local Plan.
(4) iPlan Update
To receive a report regarding the iPlan.
(a) Standards Committee
The Director of Corporate Support Services advised the Committee of options for affiliating to the District Councils Joint Standards Committee so far:
· 12 Parish Councils had affiliated to the Joint Standards Committee
· 6 had affiliated to Epping Forest District Council Joint Standards Committee
· 2 had declined to affiliate
· 4 had not responded.
(i) Codes of Conduct/Complaints Procedure
Most Parish Councils had adopted the Public Law Partnership (PLP) model for these aspects of the standards regime. Of those who had responded 1 had adopted the National Association of Local Council’s (NALC) code and was devising their own complaints procedure.
(ii) Joint Standards Committee
The Committee had its first meeting and adopted its constitution. The Monitoring Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer would be arranging a training session once individual Parish representatives were known.
(iii) Handling Complaints
It was advised that complaints would be handled by the District Council up to the point where a complaint investigation was due for consideration, in respect of a member from one of the twelve affiliated Parish councils. Liaison would be undertaken at the district level, with the independent persons. Complainants and councillors who sought a discussion with an independent person would be directed to the District Council for making the arrangements. The Monitoring Officer had increased powers for ruling out frivolous complaints at an early stage and direct actions for resolving complaints short of an investigation.
The Monitoring Officer had delegated powers for some of the simpler applications, some, which were a matter of judgement would go to either of the two Standards Committees for determination.
Initial applications should be directed in writing to the Monitoring Officer.
(v) Registration of Sensitive Interests
Councillors should register their interests and tell the Monitoring Officer why the information was sensitive.
(vi) Independent Persons
There had been three independent persons appointed plus one reserve. In June 2013 one of the three independent persons would be required to step down, the reserve person would take over. The Monitoring Officer was planning to involve the reserve person on a flexible basis on a variety of matters.
Currently there were a number of complaints involving Parish Councils affiliated to the Joint Parish Standards Committee. These were being investigated and the cost would be recovered from the ‘host’ Council for the member concerned as set out in the constitution of the Joint Standards Committee. The Epping Forest District Council would be charged at £85 per hour. The Public Law Partnership rate was £300-£350 per hour.
(viii) Current Issues
Local Plan – concerns had been raised about the current and future stages of this exercise. Members should be directed to EFDC for advice. As the process moved forward the declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI’s) would become more important if a plan affected a Councillor’s property interests.
Budget/Precepts – the Localism Act cancelled the standing dispensations regarding budget setting. Some Parish Councils had been concerned about how they were to agree their budgets without ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
Mr Gary A Herbert, Senior External Stakeholder Manager – East Network Services and Transformation, Post Office Ltd, recently attended the District Council’s Management Board on 3 October 2012, to give a presentation regarding the Post Office’s plans for modernization and service provision. Management Board requested that Mr Herbert be invited to attend the Local Council’s Liaison Committee and give his presentation there. Officers extended an invite to Mr Herbert, however he is unable to attend but will try and attend the committee in March 2013.
The Chairman advised that Mr Gary A Herbert, Senior External Stakeholder Manager – East Network Services and Transformation, Post Office Limited, had been invited to this meeting but had declined due to other commitments. He had advised officers that he would try to attend meeting on 7 March 2013.
Members expressed disappointment that Mr Herbert could not attend as it would have been useful to ask him questions.
The Deputy Chief Executive advised that Mr Herbert was a regional manager and had a large area to cover. If there were any issues that Councillors would like answered they could speak with him and he would be able to contact Mr Herbert to get some answers.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
(a) Police and crime Commissioner Elections
The committee was advised that 15 November 2012 the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections were taking place, it was advised that the Safer Cleaner Greener Scrutiny Standing Panel would be receiving the new Police and Crime Commissioner at their July 2013 meeting. It was suggested that members of this committee should be invited to attend this Panel meeting.
That the Parish/Town Councillors and Clerks be invited to attend the Safer Cleaner Greener Scrutiny Standing Panel in July 2013 where the Police Crime Commissioner will be attending.
(b) Locality Boards
A Locality Board had been created, its Terms of Reference were being considered in two week’s time.
Dates of Future Meetings
The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for 7 March 2013.
It was agreed the date of the next meeting of the Committee would take place on Thursday 7 March 2013 at 7.30pm.