Agenda item

Agenda item


To note the attendance by members of the Standards Committee at County, Town and Community Council and to receive their reports.


The Chair reported on her attendance at a hybrid meeting of Denbighshire’s County Council held at 10am on Tuesday, 16 December 2022 in the Council Chamber, Ruthin and remotely via video conference, and which had been live streamed.


The Chair had attended to present the Standards Committee Annual Report 2021 and had also taken the opportunity to observe the proceedings.  The meeting had been well attended by members, with 3 apologies, and no public present other than herself as an observer.  Declarations of interest appeared on the agenda and a statement read out with no declarations on this occasion.  The meeting had been well chaired through the medium of Welsh with simultaneous translation, and officers supported as appropriate with the Chair reminding councillors of protocols as necessary.  All attendees had been introduced, all items had been proposed and seconded, and the voting systems explained.  Code of Conduct training was also mentioned.  The meeting closed at 12.10pm with a 15-minute break during the meeting.  In conclusion, it had been an excellent meeting overall, respectful, with plenty of business covered, and had been well run and well supported.


Following the Chair’s presentation of the Annual Report to Council, there had been a positive debate and appropriate questions.  The Chair provided feedback on the matters raised and responses given by the Monitoring Officer, in brief –


·       Vexatious Complaints – the response referred to the requirement under the Code of Conduct that members not make vexatious complaints and the Ombudsman’s two stage test to filter out complaints unsuitable for investigation

·       Legal Representation and Qualification – members who appeared before the Committee could, but were not required, to be legally represented and there was no requirement for Committee members to be legally qualified, although they received training in respect of hearing procedures and sanctions.  Reference was made to the Appeals Panel for Wales having a legally qualified President

·       Dispensations – an explanation was given as to the existence of dispensations, the appropriate regulations and criteria as well as some examples of the sort of issues for which dispensations may be sought

·       Member Training – covered the provision in the Council’s Code of Conduct for mandatory training and the recommendation from the Penn Report that training should be mandatory.


No further attendance at meetings had taken place by other members.  It was clarified that traditionally, it had been independent lay members who attended meetings given there may be an inference of bias for county councillors who it was also recognised had many other meetings to attend.  The community councillor representative had attended to observe other meetings in the past.  In terms of future attendance, the Deputy Monitoring Officer (DMO) advised that members had previously agreed a more strategic approach to planning visits.  No councils had been identified that would specifically benefit from a visit and the next stage involved cross checking the record of attendances provided by the Chair with the Standards Committee minutes over the last term to avoid any repeat attendances.  In the meantime, the DMO had contacted all lay members with a list of town/community councils and there had been some commitment to attend a number of meetings going forward.  The DMO agreed to share a more strategic list with members as a matter of some urgency.  The Chair added that consideration would also be given to councils that had new clerks and whether they would benefit from a visit.  She was also pleased to note plans for a separate training session for clerks later in the year and welcomed further feedback following that session.


The Chair thanked officers for the update and looked forward to receiving the strategic list when it was available to continue with observations at meetings.  She also offered support to any new members undertaking visits for the first time.


RESOLVED that the verbal report from the Chair be noted together with the update from the Deputy Monitoring Officer on progress with future attendance at meetings.