To receive the report of the Solicitor to the Council.
The Committee received the report of the Solicitor to the Council (copy filed with signed minutes).
A General Standards Issues for County Councillors and Co-opted Members
A1 Code of Conduct Training
Code of Conduct training had been offered to the four County Councillors and one Independent Member who have yet to receive this training. This training would be offered to the newly appointed Town and Community Council representatives on the Standards Community Sub-Committee.
B County Councillor referrals
The current position regarding existing matters with the Ombudsman is as follows:
04/CC/2016 Ombudsman not investigating
02/CC/2017 Ombudsman originally decided not to investigate – complainant submitted a request for a review of that decision and the Ombudsman has now decided to investigate.
04/CC/2017 Relating to eight Councillors – Ombudsman not investigating
C1 Applications – County Councillors
No applications for dispensations had been received.
D Ombudsman’s Casebook
The Ombudsman had published Code of Conduct Casebooks for the following periods:
· April 2017 – June 2017
A copy of this Casebook was attached at Appendix A.
E Annual Letter from the Ombudsman
The Annual Letter from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales was received and noted.
The Solicitor to the Council advised that complaint handling was been taken seriously by himself and the Chief Executive. Previously there had been three systems for recording complaints and the authority are now moving to one system with new software which will help monitoring of complaints. This alone would not improve complaint handling and staff were instructed to give complaints due priority.
F Appointment of Independent Member
The process for appointing an Independent Member had commenced. The post had been advertised in the Brecon and Radnor and the County Times and had also been placed on the front page of the Powys County Council website. To date there have been 35 expressions of interest and 11 applications. The closing date for submitting applications is the 6th October 2017. Shortlisting will take place on the 23rd October 2017 with Interviews taking place on the 8th November 2017.
The Interview Panel will comprise of the following members:
Mrs S Thompson – High Sheriff
Mrs H Rhydderch-Roberts – Chair of Standards Committee
Mrs J Evans – Independent Member Standards Committee
Councillor S Lewis – County Councillor Member Standards Committee
Community Councillor Hugh Pattrick – Community Councillor Member Standards Committee.
The appointment will be made at the meeting of Powys County Council on the 25th January 2018. The first meeting of the Standards Committee thereafter will be the 7th February 2018.
G. Appointment of Town and Community Council Representatives to the Standards Community Sub-Committee.
1. That the Standards Community Sub-Committee comprise the undermentioned 9 Members :-
(i) All 5 Independent (Lay) Members of the main Standards Committee.
(ii) County Councillor K Roberts-Jones.
(iii) Town Councillor Hugh Pattrick (Ystradfellte Town Council) – elected by the Town and Community Councils in Brecknockshire.
(iv) Community Councillor Joy Shearer (Tregynon Community Council) – elected by the Town and Community Councils in Montgomeryshire.
(v) Town Councillor Margaret Morris (Glasbury Community Council ) – elected by the Town and Community Councils in Radnorshire.
2. That the terms of office of the 5 Independent (Lay) Members be for the remainder of their terms of office as Independent Members on the main Standards Committee.
3. That the terms of office of the County Councillor and Town and Community Councillors be for the maximum term permitted by the existing regulations or by any amending regulations (currently a maximum of five years) or until they cease to be Councillors or resign whichever shall first occur.
To constitute the Standards Community Sub-Committee.
H. Meeting Dates
To note dates of future meetings as follows:
Wednesday 7th February 2018
Wednesday 27th June 2018
Wednesday 3rd October 2018