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Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to declare the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests in respect of any item of business to be considered at the meeting.
No declarations of interest were made by Councillors regarding items on the agenda.
This report presents proposed changes to Part 5 of the Council’s Constitution.
The Committee received a report presenting proposed changes to Part 5 of the Council’s Constitution. It was noted that this meeting of the Committee would focus primarily upon proposed amendments to the Members Code of Conduct. The Committee would be requested to consider a review of the Planning Protocol, and Codes of Conduct and Practice for Licensing and Gambling Hearings at a future meeting.
Following consideration, it was resolved:
(1) That the Committee approved the changes to Part 5 of the Constitution as set out at Annex 1, subject to the following specific guidance:
a) That the intended meaning of the word “Council” within the Code of Conduct was unclear in some instances. The Code should be revised to replace the word “Council” with the word “Authority” where appropriate.
b) That references to “co-opted members” be removed from the Code, as the Council had not had any since the passing of the Localism Act 2011.
c) That paragraph 2.6 l. be amended to provide a summary of the protected characteristics set out by the Equality Act 2010, rather than list them separately.
d) That the reference to paragraph “4.8 a)” within paragraph 3.10 d) be corrected to read “3.9 a)”.
e) That the receipt of annual hospitality offered to Members of the Epsom and Walton Downs Conservators by Epsom Downs Racecourse be included within paragraph 5.2 of the Code, as an item which does not need to be disclosed.
f) That the values “£50” and “£70” in paragraphs 5.1 and 5.2 e. be amended to read “£100”.
g) That the font used in paragraph 3.26 was inconsistent with the rest of the document and should be standardised.
h) That the first sentence of paragraph 3.24 be amended to read as follows: “Where a Member has been involved in campaigning in their political role on an issue which does not impact on their personal and/or professional life, they are not prohibited from participating in a decision in their political role as a Member of the Council.”
i) That the wording of paragraph 3.25 be amended to read as follows: “When making a decision, Members must consider the matter before them, with an open mind and on the facts presented at the meeting at which the decision is to be taken.”
j) That the wording “Party Group Leaders” in paragraph 6.5 be amended to “Party Leader or Group Chairman”, and that the wording also be amended to record that in the event of a complaint being made against a Party Leader or Group Chairman, that the Monitoring Officer may consult with another member as appropriate.
k) That the wording of paragraph 6.7 be amended to read: “The Monitoring Officer will acknowledge receipt of a complaint within 10 working days of receiving it. The Subject Member will be advised that a complaint has been made, a copy of the complaint or a summary as appropriate will be provided, along with details of the complainant.”
l) That the wording “The Monitoring Officer’s decision is ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Vote of thanks
The Committee expressed its thanks to the Chairman for his work on its behalf, noting the amendments and improvements to the Council’s Constitution which had been approved in the past 4 years.