Venue: Committee Room A - County Hall, Llandrindod Wells, Powys. View directions
Contact: Carol Johnson 01597 826206
Appointment of Chair
To appoint a Lay Member as Chair for the term of their office.
RESOLVED that Independent Member Stephan Hays be appointed as Chair for his term of office.
Appointment of Vice Chair
To appoint a Lay Member as Vice-Chair for the term of their office (if the position becomes vacant).
The Committee noted that the Independent Member Claire Jackson would continue as Vice Chair for her term of office.
To receive apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence.
To authorise the Chair to sign the minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee held on the 20th February 2019 as a correct record.
The Chair was authorised to sign the minutes of the meeting held on 20 February, 2019 as a correct record subject to the spelling of Stephan Hays’ surname being corrected to the former.
In response to a question, the Committee noted that no response had been received from the Ombudsman in respect of the Committee’s comments on the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales’ [PSOW] Draft Corporate Plan 2019/20 – 2021/22.
Declarations of interest
To receive any declarations of interest from Members relating to items to be considered on the agenda.
During the meeting County Councillor S Lewis declared a personal interest in the Supplementary report – Member Attendance, as she was identified in the report. The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised that individual cases were not being discussed at this meeting and that the Committee was being asked to agree the next action to be taken.
To receive the report of the Solicitor to the Council.
The Committee received the report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services (copy filed with signed minutes).
A. General Standards Issues for County Councillors and Co-opted
A1. Code of Conduct Training
There was nothing to report.
A2. Mandatory Training
There was nothing to report.
B. Referral of Councillors to the Public Services Ombudsman
B1. County Council Referrals
The current position regarding matters with the Ombudsman is detailed below, subject to the Committee noting the changes since the Committee report had been published as indicated * :
02/CC/2017 Ombudsman investigating
01/CC/2018 Referred to APW
08/CC/2018 Ombudsman deciding whether or not to investigate
09/CC/2018 Ombudsman deciding whether or not to investigate
10/CC/2018 * Concluded no action
11/CC/2018 * Concluded no action
12/CC/2018 Ombudsman investigating
02/CC/2019 * Concluded no action
C1. Applications- CountyCouncillors
No applications for dispensation have been received from County Councillors.
D. LatePayment ofExpenses
One claim for late payment of expenses had been received but had been returned to the Councillor, as the form was incomplete.
E. Ombudsman’s Casebook
The Ombudsman had published the October – December 2018 Code of Conduct Casebooks. A copy of the Casebook was attached at Appendix A to the report.
The following items were taken next.
G. The North Wales Standards Committee Forum – 24 June, 2019 10 a.m. – 2.0 p.m. – Delyn Committee Room, Flintshire County Council, Mold
The Committee noted that the Ombudsman was to attend the Forum meeting and the Chair and Vice Chair advised that they could attend.
The Committee raised concerns about reports about cases in the press before they were reported to the Standards Committee. The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised that members, who are the subject of a complaint, are notified directly by the Ombudsman when investigated and when an investigation is completed. Comment was made that the Ombudsman should advise councillors not to comment on a decision, until after the Committee had been officially notified of the decision. Further comment was made that the Ombudsman had advised the press that an investigation into another councillor was still ongoing. The Committee queried this and commented that councillors involved in an investigation are advised that they would be in breach of the Code of Conduct if they discuss anything about it until it is concluded. It was agreed that the Chair and Vice Chair would raise these concerns with the Ombudsman at the Forum meeting.
Supplementary report - Member attendance
County Councillor S Lewis declared a personal interest in the item, as she was identified in the report. The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised that the Committee was not discussing individual cases. It was being asked to consider the process and whether it wished to contact the Councillors regarding the reasons for absence.