Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee - Thursday, 14th July, 2022 5.30 pm


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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Councillor Fouweather.


Declarations of Interest

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Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 276 KB

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The minutes of the previous meeting held on Thursday, 14th April 2022 were accepted as a true record.



Matters Arising

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No matters arising.


Chair's Announcements

To receive any announcements the Chair wishes to make.

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The Chair had no announcements to be made.


Forward Work Programme report pdf icon PDF 193 KB

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The Head of Law and Standards welcomed the committee members to the first standards meeting following the election and introduced councillor Cockeram to the well as thanking councillor Davies for his continued participation as the community council representative. The membership and terms of reference of Standards Committee was set out in the first section of the report.


The Head of Law and Standards highlighted that every year, the Standards Committee annual report to Council sets of a draft work program for the forthcoming year.  However,   it was for the Committee to decide what matters to raise and when to raise them


The Head of Law and Standards noted that there were two Items to consider at the next meeting in November, the first being the new requirements for the committee to meet with political group leaders within 6 months of the election to review compliance with their new duty to promote ethics within their political groups. The Head of Law and Standards noted that this has been done voluntarily for years but now it’s a required duty. The second item was to consider their annual report to Council, which was now a statutory requirement and copies had to be sent to the Ombudsman and the community councils


The Head of Law and Standards stated that there was flexibility in how this could be done informally or in a formal setting and could consist of meeting individual leaders or meeting them as part of a group, as well as having the leaders create a written document.

It was also noted a governance handbook was due in May but the final version was still awaited from Welsh Government.


Regarding the reports it was noted by the Head of Law and Standards that other committees in Wales asked the leaders for a written report. The Head of Law and Standards then went on to state the number of political groups and their composition such as the requirement of two members for a group to be formed. The Head of law and Standards asked for clarification from the committee on how they would like this requirement to take place?


·         Councillor Cockeram queried that there were 4 independents in Lliswerry rather than the three stated by the Head of Law and Standards when the breakdown of political groups was given. The Councillor also asked if a formal and informal process could occur with the leaders of the political groups. Lastly it was asked why the committee only dealt with complaints and not compliments given to the council.


The Head of Law and Standards noted only three independents of the four had grouped together. The Head of Law and Standards also went on to state that the Governance and Audit committee were responsible for both compliments and complaints under new regulations.


·         G.Nurton also agreed with both a formal meeting with the leaders and a written report.


·         R.Morgan also agreed with Councillor Cockeram and asked whether the first meeting the political leaders could explain their thoughts and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Complaints pdf icon PDF 33 KB

The Monitoring Officer will report on any complaints received since the last meeting.

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The Head of Law and Standards gave a general update on the number of complaints and highlighted two specific cases from the previous meeting, one of which had been dealt with, with the other still being investigated. It was further noted two section 69 complaints in the report, neither were investigated by the Ombudsman the report in the agenda gave summaries of the complaints.


The first complaint regarded a former member of the community council, the Ombudsman did not find it in the public interest to investigate the member as he had resigned as well as not finding enough evidence to deal with the complaint.

The second complaint also involved a former community council member and concerned an altercation of a physical assault within the members ward which had been referred to the police. The Ombudsman concurred that the altercation occurred within the members private life and did not bring their office or the council.


·         Councillor Davies asked about a complaint in a previous meeting, of which he highlighted his disappointment that the Ombudsman did not follow through with the complaint as he felt the harm caused to the Clerk who was the complainant was significant. Councillor Davies asked if some action could be taken on this.


The Head of Law and Standards stated the Ombudsman has the final say in what they deem should be investigated and brought to committee, and then referred to the process of how the ombudsman decides what is significant enough to refer.


·         Councillor Davies found it strange that there is no right to appeal the Ombudsman decision.


·         Councillor Cockeram also agreed, and highlighted why there was no process in place to sanction members of a council in reference to disbarment of their ability to be a councillor in the future.


·         The Head of law and Standards referred to the Ombudsman’s processes and how he takes actions, as well as stating that in that particular case the resignation of the member did not play a role in the decision not to investigate the complaint.


·         R.Morgan understood there was no formal appeal but asked if there was an informal feedback that could be provided.


The Head of Law and Standards that the right to correct facts so that they are true and not missing information is permitted but the right to feedback of a decision is something that is not required.


·         R.Morgan highlighted again if any form of feedback could be given.


The Head of Law and Standards noted that a customer satisfaction questionnaire may be provided. It was also noted that the Ombudsman has too much power and not enough action can be done by committees.


The Head of Law and Standards also highlighted one further new complaint involving a city councillor but that the complaint was not being considered by the Ombudsman as the councillor was not acting as a member of the council when the complaint occurred as under article 10 members do have a right to freedom of expression. The complaint  concerned  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Date of the Next Meeting

10th November 2022 at 5:30pm

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The next meeting will be held on the 10th November 2022 at 5:30pm