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STANDARDS COMMITTEE

 

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 21st September, 2015.

 

Present:  Mr. A.G. Hallett (Chairman), Mr. A. Lane (Vice-Chairman), Mr. J.F. Baker, Mr. D. Carsley, Mrs. M.J. Pearce, Town Councillor M. Cuddy and Councillors K. Hatton, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and Mrs. A.J. Moore.

 

Also present: Councillor A.G. Bennett.

 

 

391     MINUTES – 

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 6th July, 2015 be approved as a correct record subject to the addition of the name of Town Councillor M. Cuddy to the list of those present at the meeting.

 

 

392     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

Councillor K. Hatton declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 6 in that one of the Applications for Dispensation had been submitted by himself.  Councillor Hatton vacated the room whilst this item was under consideration.

 

Councillor Mrs. A.J. Moore declared a personal interest in Agenda Item No. 9 and vacated the room whilst this matter was under consideration.

 

 

393     APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION – LLANDOUGH COMMUNITY COUNCIL (MO) –

 

Standards Committee, on 6th July 2015, resolved:

 

(1)       That dispensation be granted to Llandough Community Councillors R.F. Collier, Ms. P.A. Carreyett, B.C.F. Hill, M.D. Edwards and Dr. M.C. Misra to speak and vote on matters concerning the Llandough and Leckwith War Memorial Institute, with the exception of financial matters involving the Institute, in view of there being five Councillors with a personal interest in this matter.  As there were a total of 10 Members on the Community Council, there was a possibility of a quorum not being achieved should a number of apologies be received.  The dispensation was granted under paragraph (a) of the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 which governs a grant of dispensation to speak / speak and vote and that the dispensations be granted for the Council year ending 30th April, 2016.”

 

The Clerk to Llandough Community Council subsequently e-mailed the Monitoring Officer explaining the difficulties the recent granting of dispensations to the five Councillors would create given that in the main, matters relating to the Institute primarily related to requests for financial grants.  Llandough Community Council had ten Members, one of whom was subject to an approved absence and was unlikely to be attending meetings for some months.  The Community Council also had a Member who, due to ill health, was not able to attend all Council meetings.  This meant that should a financial grant application be included on the agenda for the Council meeting, it was very unlikely, as things stood, that a quorum would exist with five Members unable to engage with the discussion or voting on the matter.

 

The Clerk to the Community Council advised that, at the Community Council meeting on 6th August 2015, a financial grant application had been received from the Institute and the five Members declared a personal and prejudicial interest which left only two Members to consider the matter, which of course they were unable to as the quorum for the meeting was four Members.

 

On 6th August 2015, the Community Council had resolved to ask the Standards Committee to re-examine this matter on an urgent basis so as to ensure that the Community Council could give consideration to financial grant applications from the Institute. 

 

Discussions ensued on the request of the Community Council, Members expressing their unease at granting the requests for dispensation in view of the Members of the Community Council having a clear prejudicial interest in this matter as a result of their being Trustees of the Llandough and Leckwith War Memorial Institute.

 

Whilst recognising that it was entirely a matter for the Community Council to determine upon, Members of the Standards Committee felt that the Community Council may wish to consider alternative governance arrangements regarding the Llandough and Leckwith War Memorial Institute which would overcome any potential issues surrounding the quorum.

 

Alternative governance arrangements could include:

 

-         a reduction in the number of Llandough Community Councillors acting as Trustees on the Llandough and Leckwith War Memorial Institute

-         the replacement of Council Trustees on the Llandough and Leckwith War Memorial Institute with Independent Trustees.

 

Following the discussion, it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the decision of the Standards Committee of 6th July, 2015 remain unchanged.

Reason for decision

 

In accordance with the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001.

 

 

394     APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION – LLANFAIR COMMUNITY COUNCIL (MO) –

 

Standards Committee, on 6th July 2015, had considered requests from Llanfair Community Councillors Ms. R.H. Shaw and Ms. M. Llewellyn to speak and vote when matters relating to a planning application for a solar farm at St. Hilary are considered in view of the proximity of the proposed development to their homes. 

 

It was the decision of the Standards Committee that consideration of the applications be deferred in order that further information could be obtained from the Clerk of the Community Council regarding any other Members of the Community Council who may be similarly affected and thereby difficulties relating to quorum arising when the matter is considered by the Community Council. 

 

The Clerk to the Community Council had subsequently advised that none of the Llanfair Community Councillors other than Councillors Shaw and Llewellyn intended to apply for dispensation to speak / speak and vote on the proposed solar farm at St. Hilary.

 

Having considered the requests for dispensation to speak and vote on matters concerning the proposed solar farm at St. Hilary submitted by Llanfair Community Councillors Shaw and Llewellyn it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the applications be refused.

 

Reason for decision

 

In accordance with the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001.

 

 

395     APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATION (MO) –

 

The Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 permitted Members to apply to the Standards Committee to speak and, if appropriate, to vote on matters concerning which due to a prejudicial interest, they might otherwise not be able to speak or vote. 

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T dispensation be granted to Vale of Glamorgan Council and Dinas Powys Community Councillor C.P. Franks to speak and vote on matters relating to the creation of a Community Library in Dinas Powys, in compliance with paragraphs (d), (f), (g) and (h) of the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 which govern a grant of dispensation to speak / speak and vote.

 

(2)       T H A T dispensation be granted to Vale of Glamorgan Council and Dinas Powys Community Councillor K. Hatton to speak and vote on matters relating to the creation of a Community Library in Dinas Powys, in compliance with paragraphs (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h) of the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 which govern a grant of dispensation to speak / speak and vote.

 

(3)       T H A T Vale of Glamorgan Council and Barry Town Councillor Mrs. C.L. Curtis be granted dispensation to speak and vote at meetings of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Barry Town Council on matters relating to the “Reshaping Services Strategy” in compliance with paragraphs (c) and (d) of the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 which govern a grant of dispensation to speak / speak and vote.

 

(4)       T H A T Vale of Glamorgan Councillor A.G. Bennett be granted dispensation to speak and vote at meetings of the Council regarding constituency matters arising from his employment that involve his employer, Mr. Alun Cairns, MP, in view of Councillor Bennett’s employment by Mr. Cairns, MP in an administrative capacity only, in compliance with paragraphs (f) and (i) of the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 which govern a grant of dispensation to speak / speak and vote.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, Committee asked that it be recorded that the above decision did not relate to matters concerning Mr. Alun Cairns, MP.

 

(5)       T H A T the above dispensations be granted until the date of the next Local Government elections.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1-5)    To comply with the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 governing application for the grant of dispensations to speak / speak and vote.

 

 

396     MATTER WHICH THE CHAIRMAN HAD DECIDED WAS URGENT –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the following matter which the Chairman had decided was urgent for the reason given beneath the minute heading be considered.

 

 

397     APPLICATION FOR GRANT OF DISPENSATION (MO) –

(Urgent by reason of the need to consider a request for dispensation to speak and vote prior to the next meeting of the Committee)

 

The Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 permitted Members to apply to the Standards Committee to speak and, if appropriate, to vote on matters concerning which due to their prejudicial interest, they might not otherwise be able to speak or vote. 

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T dispensation be granted to Councillor S.T. Wiliam to speak and vote at meetings of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Barry Town Council on matters relating to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s “Reshaping Services Strategy” in compliance with paragraphs (a), (c) and (d) of the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 which govern a grant of dispensation to speak / speak and vote.

 

(2)       T H A T the above dispensation be granted until the date of the next Local Government elections.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1&2)  In accordance with the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001.

 

 

398     STATUTORY GUIDANCE – ACCESS TO INFORMATION ON COMMUNITY AND TOWN COUNCILS (MO) –

 

In accordance with the decision of the Standards Committee of 6th July 2015, Committee received a report on the outcome of enquiries to ascertain whether every Town and Community Council in the Vale had established a Website as a result of Section 55 of the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013 and the publication by the Welsh Government of guidance which placed duties on Community and Town Councils to make certain information available electronically. 

 

The Monitoring Officer had sought assurance from the Clerks of all Town and Community Councils in the Vale of Glamorgan that they were in compliance with their duties under Section 55 of the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013. 

 

Assurances had been received from all Town and Community Councils, with the exception of:

 

          St. Donats Community Council

          Ewenny Community Council.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T St. Donats and Ewenny Community Councils be informed of the Standards Committee’s concerns at the apparent non-compliance with Section 55 of the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013.

 

Reason for decision

 

Having regard to the contents of the guidance.

 

 

399     EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.

 

 

400     LOCAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE – STAGE 3 HEARING (MO) (EXEMPT INFORMATION – PARAGRAPHS 12 AND 13) –

 

Committee was informed of the outcome of a hearing held in accordance with Stage 3 of the Local Dispute Resolution Procedure for dealing with low level allegations of breaches of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the content of the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

Having regard to the contents of the report.

 

 

 

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