Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Ian Ford Email: or Telephone  01255 686584

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.


Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Val Guglielmi (with Councillor Alan Coley substituting), Councillor Jo Henderson (with no substitute), Councillor Mick Skeels (with no substitute), Sue Gallone (one of the Council’s Independent Persons) and David Irvine (one of the Council’s Independent Persons).


Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 165 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee, held on Wednesday 26 October 2022.


It was moved by Councillor Placey, seconded by Councillor Casey and:-


RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on Wednesday 26 October 2022 be approved as a correct record and be signed by the Chairman.


Declarations of Interest

Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Personal Interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.



There were no Declarations of Interest made by Members at this time.


Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 38

Subject to providing two working days’ notice, a Member of the Committee may ask the Chairman of the Committee a question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the Tendring District and which falls within the terms of reference of the Committee.


No Questions on Notice had been submitted by Members pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 38 on this occasion.


Report of the Monitoring Officer - A.1 - Annual Report on Declarations of Interest and Associated Matters pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To present the Committee with an overview on the register of, and declarations of, interests made by Members from 22 January 2022 until 31 December 2022.

Additional documents:


Members recalled that it had been agreed at the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 29 June 2016 that, as part of its annual work programme, the Committee would receive an annual report on declarations of interest and associated matters.  The report now before the Committee covered the period from 22 January 2022 to 31 December 2022 and provided statistics on:-


·         the number of declarations of interest made at meetings;

·         the number of offers of gifts and hospitality that had been registered by Members during this period; and

·         updates to the Members’ Register of Interests.


The data had been collated from the Committee IT system which the Council had started using as of August 2016 and from Members’ submissions.


Register of Members’ Disclosable Pecuniary Interests


The Committee was aware that the Council was required to publish the ‘Register of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests’ on its website in accordance with the Localism Act 2011 and The Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012, which prescribed the categories of interests.


It was confirmed that the Council’s website included a Register of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests for all District Councillors and this was updated, when an individual Member provided details of an amendment directly to the Monitoring Officer.  Any entry, which was relevant to a business item on an agenda, must be declared by the individual Member and they must subsequently remove themselves from the meeting, unless a prior dispensation had been granted by the Monitoring Officer.


Eight dispensations had been requested during the relevant period.


Declarations of interest at meetings


Members were required to declare Personal and Disclosable Pecuniary Interests at meetings and those recorded on the committee system, as declared by District Councillors for the period 22 January 2022 to 31 December 2022, were set out in Appendix A to the Monitoring Officer’s report.  Minutes of the meetings also recorded the declarations.


Use of Blanket dispensations


The Committee was reminded that the Members’ Code of Conduct at paragraph 7.3, as agreed by full Council in January 2018, contained blanket dispensations for any business of the Authority where that business related to the Council’s functions in respect of:


i.        housing, where the Member is a tenant of the Authority provided that those functions do not relate particularly to their tenancy or lease;

ii.      school meals or school transport and travelling expenses, where the Member is a parent or guardian of a child in full time education, or are a parent governor of a school, unless it relates particularly to the school which the child attends;

iii.     statutory sick pay under Part XI of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, where the Member is in receipt of, or are entitled to the receipt of, such pay;

iv.     an allowance, payment or indemnity given to Members;

v.      any ceremonial honour given to Members; and

vi.     setting Council Tax or a Precept under the Local Government Finance Act 1992


Since their introduction, only category iv and vi dispensations had been called  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Report of the Monitoring Officer - A.2 - Mandatory Training for Members - Annual Update pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To update the Standards Committee, as part of its agreed work programme, on the current position of mandatory training for Members (and named substitute members) of the Council’s Audit, Licensing and Registration, Planning and Standards Committees.

Additional documents:


The Standards Committee, as part of its agreed work programme since 2014, was updated on the current position of mandatory training for Members (and named substitute members) of the Council’s Audit, Licensing & Registration, Planning and Standards Committees.


Appendix A to the Monitoring Officer’s report provided details of the training record for the Planning Committee and the Licensing and Registration Committee.


Mandatory Training in the context of Councillor Development more widely


It was reported that the mandatory training referenced in the Monitoring Officer’s report also formed part of the overall training provision for all Councillors within the framework established by the Council’s “Councillor Development Statement” (as reported to this Committee on 2 October 2019 (Minute 14 referred)).  The resources required for training Councillors (beyond the mandatory training to which this report concerned) had a budget allocation of £8,300.


Members were aware that during 2021/22 the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance had established a Working Party, which provided a cross-party mechanism for the regular input into development opportunities for Councillors.  The membership provided for input from all the main Committees of the Council and all the political groups on the Council and was broadly proportionate to the overall position on the Council as a whole.  Thus far, five sessions had taken place, with a further session planned, along with specific planning development sessions.


In addition, access to the Local Government Association’s online training portal was available for all Councillors and this provided training modules on:


Community Engagement and Leadership

Councillor Induction

Commissioning Council services

Equality, Diversity and Unconscious Bias

The Effective Ward Councillor

Facilitation and Conflict Resolution

Handling Complaints for service improvement

Handling intimidation

Holding Council meetings online

Influencing skills

Licensing and Regulation

Local Government Finance


Police and Crime Panels

Scrutiny for Councillors

Stress management and personal resilience

Supporting mentally healthier communities

Supporting your constituents with complex issues


The completed and returned evaluation sheets, circulated following any training sessions provided, were used by Officers to assist the Council to refine and improve its training offer.


The above itself did not reference the training provided for Councillors through All Member Briefings.


The Committee was informed that the new Member Induction Programme for 2023/24 would be presented to it at its next meeting.


The Monitoring Officer informed the Committee that Councillor Maria Fowler had contacted Officers to inform them that she had in fact attended the “TCPA Webinar: An introduction to planning reform on 15th June 2022” and that this had inadvertently been omitted from the Appendix. 


Having duly considered and discussed the contents of the report:-


It was moved by Councillor Steady, seconded by Councillor Casey and:-


RESOLVED that the Standards Committee -


(a)    notes the contents of this report and its Appendix; and


(b)    continues to encourage Members of the Planning, Licensing and Registration and Audit Committees to attend all organised mandatory training events in order to comply with the requirements of the Council’s Constitution.


Report of the Monitoring Officer - A.3 - Pre-Election Guidance for Tendring District Council Members and Officers pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To note the Pre-Election Publicity Guidance produced for elections within the Tendring District ensuring that its contents are clear for Members in readiness for the 2023 elections.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the Pre-Election Publicity Guidance produced in readiness for the 2023 District Council elections. The Guidance Note concerning publicity and resources was attached as an Appendix to the Monitoring Officer’s report (A.3).  The Committee was requested to provide any comments or seek clarification on the content of the guidance to ensure that it was clear, concise and easily understood by Members and Officers. Any feedback from the Standards Committee would be considered by the Chief Executive (who was also the Returning Officer for the elections) in issuing the revised guidance during February 2023.


The Committee was reminded that paragraph 3.8 (b) of the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct required Compliance with the Law and the Authority’s Rules and Policies and stated that Members must comply with the Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the Local Government Act 1986 and any relevant guidance issued.


Members were informed that then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government had issued the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity, under the Local Government Act 1986 (as amended) (“the Act”) and which had come into force on 31 March 2011.  The Code was recognised as the statutory guidance for local authorities to have regard to, at all times, ensuring their publicity complied with all applicable requirements and also to ensure that special care was taken during periods of heightened sensitivity such as during the period just before elections.


It was reported that local authorities were required by section 4(1) of the Act to have regard to the contents of the Code in coming to any decision on publicity.  Section 6 of the Act defined publicity as: “any communication in whatever form, addressed to the public at large or a section of the public”.  The Code therefore applied in relation to all decisions by local authorities relating to paid advertising and leaflet campaigns, publication of free newspapers and newssheets and maintenance of websites – including the hosting of material, which was created by third parties.


Nothing in the Code overrode the prohibition by Section 2 of the Act on the publication by local authorities of material, which in whole or in part, appeared to be designed to affect public support for a political party.  Paragraphs 21 to 24 of the Publicity Code offered some guidance for local authorities on the management of publicity, which might contain, or have links to, party political material.


Members were advised that Tendring District Council’s Guidance followed best practice and assisted the Council to fulfil its statutory duty to have regard to national guidance for pre-election periods.  The Local Government Association’s short guide to publicity during the pre-election period published in 2021 (and updated for 2023) had been reviewed and its contents had been taken into account.


The Committee was made aware that the Council was due to publish its Notice of Election on 13th March 2023, which would commence the formal Pre-Election Period for Tendring District Council.


Having duly considered the information and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Quarterly Complaints Update and other general matters pdf icon PDF 46 KB

The Committee will receive the Monitoring Officer’s quarterly update regarding standards complaints together with an update on other pertinent matters.


The Committee had before it the Monitoring Officer’s quarterly schedule, which updated it on existing and new conduct complaint cases, along with other general matters.






Current status

Final outcome



Existing Cases from last update:


New Cases since last update:



Current status

Final outcome






Complaint and the response received were currently being reviewed by an Independent Person.




No further action





Complaint withdrawn

Matter resolved informally within the Town Council.





Complaint received relating to the aforementioned Parish Council complaint.  To run in parallel with the initial complaint.





Matter related to behaviour within Parish Council meetings and also related to electronic correspondence.


General Notes – 2022/23 Summary: 


Overall, 7 cases had been received in 2022/23.


During this period, advice had been given to all Town and Parish Councils to remind the individual Councillors to ensure that their Disclosable Pecuniary Interests were up to date on their websites.  The Monitoring Officer would be delivering training to one Parish Councillor on the DPI requirements.


Requests for dispensations: 


There have not been any requests for dispensation.




The Committee noted the foregoing.