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Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies for absence received from Susan Johnson
The session was introduced by Mark Brookes who advised the purpose is to consider the Local Government Association Code of Councillor Conduct.
Members were asked to consider the recommendations made by the Committee on Standards in Public Life as set out in paragraph 3 of the report and the Monitoring Officer’s proposed response to the recommendations.
The Corporate Objective of the session was as follows:
The promotion and maintenance of high standards of conduct by Members of the Council will assist the Council in achieving its priorities of performance excellence and reputation and profile delivery.
Mark Brookes noted that one of the key recommendations was to review and introduce a National Code of Conduct which is now before the Local Authority. The document has undergone extensive consultation and the LGA have now produced this national code and recommend its adoption by Local Councils. It is a voluntary code and therefore some Council’s may choose to amend it.
Mark Brookes notes that Council’s across Hertfordshire appear positive and are taking forward a view to possible adoption. If adopted, this Code will demonstrate consistency across Hertfordshire and nationally.
Mark Brookes notes that this Code does not change much of what is already in the Dacorum Borough Council Code of Conduct, however there are some noticeable changes. Firstly it is written in the first person to encourage more ownership by individual Councillors and this is a positive thing. The Code goes on to refer to the need for Councillors to be treated with more respect and provides more details about that. Helpfully it provides guidance under each section and gives clarity about what each section means.
Cllr Anderson asks “Will the decision be taken to Cabinet Committee?”
Mark Brookes replies saying that although it is a Council decision, it will be taken to Cabinet as this would be a sensible step to take.
Farida Hussain reminds Members to be mindful of Committee Meetings being virtual and live- streamed and the need to have transparency at committee meetings.
Mark Brookes presented his screen to go through the LGA Model Code of Conduct (attached) and notes that this is a slightly older version dated December 2020 and there has since been a revision which went out in January 2021. He notes no significant changes in terms of substance between the two versions of the document but will be double checking for clarity.
Cllr Hobson arrived at 7pm.
Section 9 of the LGA Code of Conduct (Interests) – Cllr Silwal asks – “Does it apply if the land is in a foreign country?”
Mark Brookes replies – “No it relates to land in the borough”
Cllr Anderson asks – “This only relates to our roles as Councillors and therefore can we participate as private citizens?”
Mark Brookes replies – “Yes, if does not affect your role as a Councillor”
Section 10 of the LGA Code of Conduct (Gifts and Hospitality) – Mark Brookes notes a Key point is the increase from £25 to £50 value. Members ... view the full minutes text for item 3.