Venue: via Zoom
Contact: Jonah Anthony
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting on 30 November 2020 (circulated separately).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 30 November 2020 were agreed as a correct record and noted by the Chairman.
DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS
To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on this Agenda.
Councillor P.Zukowskyj declared a non-pecuniary interest as appropriate by virtue of being a Member of Hertfordshire County Council.
Report of the Monitoring Officer detailing the Local Government Association’s new Model Code of Conduct and considering appropriate recommendations to Council on adopting this model code.
Members received a report of the Monitoring Officer detailing the Local Government Association’s new Model Code of Conduct and considering appropriate recommendations to Council on adopting this model code.
The following key points were noted:
- The Model Code was a voluntary code, with no legal requirement on the council to adopt it
- much of the substance contained in the Model Code is also covered in the council’s current Code of Conduct, which was adopted on 6 May 2020
- a main different between the codes is the language used, with the Model Code written in the first person
- a substantive addition is section 8 of the Model Code which provides a requirement for Members to cooperate with investigations carried out under Code. This is not provided for in the current Code.
- given that adoption would require changes to the council’s constitution, the Model Code was reviewed by the Constitution Review Group at their meeting on 14 December 2020, who supported its adoption
- The Model Code could be tailored for individual councils, and therefore could include the council’s One Team ethos and social media protocol
- feedback from other Hertfordshire councils indicated that at least half were not planning to adopt the new code this year
Members discussed the merit in adopting the Model Code at this time given other competing priorities. However, the addition of a requirement for Members to cooperate with investigations and the strong message to the public that Members were aspiring to best practice were seen as worthwhile benefits.
RESOLVED: Members unanimously agreed to recommend to the Full Council on 17 March 2021 to adopt the Model Code, adapted to include the One Team ethos and social media protocol.
PUBLICATION SCHEME UPDATE
Verbal report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance), to provide Members with an update on the Council’s Publication Scheme.
Members received a verbal update on potential changes to the council’s Publication Scheme. Members noted that two IT software upgrades would increase the council’s capabilities in how it holds information contained in our public registers and how it manages case work. As well as efficiency savings, this would provide new opportunities for making information more accessible on line and increasing transparency.
RESOLVED: Members noted the update.