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Agenda Item No 6

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 13th July, 2017

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

Model Local Resolution Protocol for Community and Town Councils

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise Members of the Model Protocol that had been drawn up by One Voice Wales which any Community and Town Council can use in dealing with complaints.

Recommendation

That the contents of the report be noted and that all Town and Community Councils in the Vale be requested to consider adopting the Model Local Resolution Protocol or to use the Model version to develop their own Protocol.

Reason for the Recommendation

To inform Members of the Standards Committee and Clerks of Town and Community Councils.

Background

  1. At a recent conference of all-Wales Monitoring Officers, a presentation regarding the Model Local Resolution Protocol for Community and Town Councils was presented and a copy of the document is attached at Appendix 1 to this report. At that meeting, it was also noted that the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales (the Ombudsman) had agreed to the principle of referring some complaints against Members by Community and Town Councils, for local resolution. However, as there had not been a common process for Community and Town Councils to follow in dealing with such matters, One Voice Wales have drawn up the document as a Model Protocol which any Community and Town Council could use in dealing with such complaints. All the Monitoring Officers present at the conference endorsed the use of the Protocol.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Model is meant as a starting pointy for Community and Town Councils with individual Councils being able to add or amend the Model to suit their particular needs. The Protocol covers issues that should be considered under the process and issues that should not be considered under the process as outlined below:
  • Issues which should be considered under the process

Low level complaints about Members including:

-   Minor complaints from Members about Members

-   Minor complaints from Officers about Members

-   Members alleged to have not shown respect and consideration for others - either verbally or in writing.

  • Issues which should not be considered under this process

Complaints which must be directed to the Ombudsman, including:

-   Complaints instigated by a member of the public

-   Serious complaints - breaches of the Code of Conduct/failure to disclose interests / bullying / abuse of position or trust / repeated breaches

-   Complaints made by the Clerk / Proper Officer

-   Vexatious, malicious or frivolous complaints

-   Members' complaints about officers which should be dealt with using the Council's internal complaints process

-   Repetitive low level complaints.

  1. The Protocol advises that a complaint would need to be sent to the Clerk / Proper Officer of the Council to undertake a first sift to ensure that the complaint is at a low level and should not be dealt with by way of a complaint to the Ombudsman.
  2. The Clerk / Proper Officer will act as a facilitator for the Resolution process, referring to possible results of the process and the time for the process.
  3. To date Penarth Town Council and Llandough Community Council have adopted the Model and I would therefore recommend that all of the Town and Community Councils within the Vale of Glamorgan be requested to consider the same.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. No Vale of Glamorgan Council resources will be utilised in the adoption and implementation of the Protocol by Town and Community Councils.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report relates to the role of the Standards Committee to promote and maintain high standards of conduct of Members, as detailed in the Council's Constitution

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for the decision by the Standards Committee.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The report does not require consultation with other parties.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. N/A

Background Papers

As Appendix.

Contact Officer

Karen Bowen, Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer (01446 709856)

Officers Consulted

None.

Responsible Officer:

Debbie Marles, Monitoring Officer

 

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