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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms A and B, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

112.

Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair

The Committee is asked to appoint its Chair and Vice Chair for the 2010/11 Municipal Year. To accord with the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, the Standards Committee must be appointed by a person who is neither a Member nor an Officer of the Authority i.e. an independent person.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Mrs Brenda Griffiths and Reverend Tim Warr be appointed as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the Committee for the Municipal Year 2010/2011.

 

113.

Communications and Apologies

(a)            Communications (if any) relating to business on the agenda.

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Borough Councillors Gilligan and Gunasekera and Parish Councillor Beaton to their first meeting as members of the Committee. She also reported that apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Gamble, Mrs McNulty and Mr Powell.

 

114.

Declarations of Interest (if any)

Members must clearly state the nature of the interest, and indicate whether it is Personal or Personal and Prejudicial.  The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the Member concerned.

 

Personal interests: A personal interest arises in relation to any matter which might reasonably be regarded as affecting, to a greater extent than other Council Tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the authority’s area, the well‑being or financial position of the Member or of a relevant person.  Members need only declare a personal interest at a meeting when they address the meeting on that business.

 

Personal and Prejudicial interests: A Member has a personal and prejudicial interest in a matter if the interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the Member’s judgement of the public interest.  In these cases the Member concerned must declare the interest and withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.  Members with such interests may, however, attend the meeting for the purpose of making representations, answering questions or giving evidence relating to the business where the public have a similar right.

 

Further details and full definitions of personal and prejudicial interests are set out in the Councillors’ Code of Conduct (Section 5.1 of the Constitution).

Minutes:

No Member had an interest to declare under any of the items of business on the agenda.

 

115.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 12 April 2010.

 

In accordance with the Constitution no discussion shall take place upon the minutes, except upon their accuracy.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 12 April 2010 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

 

116.

New members of the Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To note information on new members of the Standards Committee for 20010/11.

Minutes:

The Committee received information on the membership of the Standards Committee for the 2010/20111 Municipal Year.

 

The Chair pointed out that a Standards for England DVD had been shown to the new members of the Committee and had provided a good explanation of the assessment of complaints. She suggested that all Members of the Committee view the DVD and asked the Democratic Services Manager to co-ordinate its loan to Committee members.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1) the information contained in the report of the Democratic Services Manager be noted, and

 

(2) the loan of the “Assessment made clear” DVD to all those Members of the Committee who have not already viewed it, be co-ordinated by the Democratic Services Manager.  

 

117.

The Council's Draft Annual Governance Statement for the Financial Year 2009/10 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To consider the draft Annual Governance Statement.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Audit Manager reported the Council’s Draft Annual Governance Statement for 2009/10 to the Committee and now circulated the comments of the Audit Committee on to this document.

 

The Framework for the Annual Governance Statement (AGS) had been compiled by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and advised that the AGS should cover all significant corporate systems, processes and controls, spanning the whole range of the Council’s activities, and provide assurances that:

 

·                    the authority’s policies were implemented in practice;

·                    high-quality services were delivered efficiently and effectively;

·                    the authority’s values and ethical standards were met;

·                    laws and regulations were adhered to;

·                    financial statements and other published performance information were accurate and reliable; and

·                    human, financial, environmental and other resources were managed efficiently and effectively.

 

The Draft Annual Governance Statement included the following information:

 

·                    an acknowledgement of the Council’s responsibility for ensuring that there was a sound system of governance (incorporating the system of internal control);

·                    an indication of the level of assurance that the systems and processes that comprised the Council’s governance arrangements could provide;

·                    a brief description of the key elements of the Council’s governance framework, including reference to group activities where those activities were significant;

·                    a brief description of the process that had been applied in maintaining and reviewing the effectiveness of the governance arrangements; and

·                    an outline of the actions taken, or proposed, to deal with any significant governance issues, including an agreed action plan.

 

The Committee noted that the AGS had been before the Audit Committee and had been approved by the Executive. It would be incorporated into the Council’s Statement of Accounts for presentation to the Approval of Accounts Committee on 29 June 2010.

 

The Committee asked that paragraph 72 “The Standards Committee” be amended to clearly explain the role and function of this Committee, and the Audit Manager undertook to do this.

 

RESOLVED that the Draft Annual Governance Statement for 2009/2010 be noted, prior to its submission to the Approval of Accounts Committee.

 

118.

Standards Committee Annual Report 2009/10 pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To consider a report on the work undertaken by the Committee during the 2009/10 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

The Committee received an annual report on their activities during 2009/10, for consideration at Council. It covered matters such as hearing complaints, the Annual return to the Standards Board, the work of the Committee in 2009/10 and future work for the Committee.

 

The meeting discussed representation at Council to hear the debate on this matter and concluded that as many Committee members as possible should attend. Members then discussed the presentation of the report and concluded that the Chair should present the report to Council. It was noted that the Chair’s participation would depend on the Mayor agreeing and, if this agreement was not forthcoming, then Councillor Hoeksma would present the report.

 

The Committee noted that no progress had been made with ensuring a Portfolio Holder had responsibility for standards issues. The Head of Democratic Services undertook to raise this matter with the Leader and the meeting noted that he is scheduled to attend their next meeting. 

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1) the report be approved for submission to Council on 7 July, and

 

(2) the Mayor be asked to allow the Chair of the Standards Committee to attend Council on 7 July to present the Annual report of the Standards Committee.

 

119.

Standards for England pdf icon PDF 67 KB

The Committee is asked to note information on the future of Standards for England.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager reported on the impending abolition of Standards for England. No details are presently available on what arrangements would take the place of this body but advice from Standards for England was to continue present arrangements until the picture became clearer.

 

The Committee had concerns about the future co-ordination of efforts to ensure consistency and the application of minimum standards between standards regimes. It was proposed that consideration be given now to what local mechanisms need be put in place to replace the regulatory body. To help achieve this ambition it was suggested that the Leader be asked to undertake discussions with other Hertfordshire authorities. It was noted that the County’s Monitoring Officers had already discussed this situation.

 

Steps taken now would help ensure that the enthusiasm of all Committee Members would be maintained and Hertsmere processes would continue to develop.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1) the information contained on the report of the Democratic Services Manager be noted,

 

(2) a further report be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee detailing any further information that has come to light on the arrangements to be put in place following the abolition of Standards for England, and

 

(3) the Chair to write to the Leader and the Chief Executive on behalf of the Committee to raise awareness of the impending changes in the Standards for England regime.

 

120.

Any other confidential business which the Chair considers urgent

Minutes:

The Chair drew attention to the fact that this was the last meeting of this Committee that the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, who was also the Monitoring Officer, would attend before leaving the Council. The Chair was appreciative of the superb work carried out by the Head and she wished her well in her future career. Committee joined with the Chair in wishing the Head the best for the future and presented her with a gift for her baby.