Agenda Item No 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 25th January, 2018

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

Assessing Public Interest - Code of Conduct - Factsheet

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise Standards Committee Members of a fact sheet drafted by the office of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

Recommendation

  1. T H A T the contents of the report and the attached factsheet be noted.
  2. T H A T the Monitoring Officer be requested to forward the link to the fact sheet to all Councillors within the Vale of Glamorgan Council and to all Town and Community Councillors via their Clerks, for information.

Reason for the Recommendations

(1&2) Having regard to the contents contained therein.

 

Background

  1. The Model Code of Conduct for Councillors sets out the high standards of behaviour which the public expects from its elected representatives. The Ombudsman's role is to consider complaints that Members of Local Authorities in Wales have breached their Authority's Code and it supports the Standards Committees of Local Authorities to help Councillors achieve the standards of conduct that meet public expectations.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. In order that the Ombudsman's office can focus on investigations on matters that are serious and are capable of undermining the relationship between Councillors and the public they serve, such as corruption, bullying and misuse of power in public office, the attached factsheet at Appendix 1 has been prepared for assessing the public interest.
  2. There is no widely accepted definition of public interest but as the fact sheet identifies it has been described as "something which is of serious concern and benefit to the public". The process involves the application of a two-stage test, and where the Ombudsman is satisfied that a complaint is supported by direct evidence that a breach has taken place, initially the public interest is considered in deciding whether a complaint against a Councillor can and should be investigated. The link to the factsheet can be found on the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales' website at http://www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk/~/media/Files/Factsheets_Eng_post%202015%20review/Factsheet%20%20Public%20Interest%20Considerations%20Version%2010.ashx

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. None as a direct result of this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no direct implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no direct implications arising from 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 decision by the Standards Committee.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This report does not involve consultation with other parties as the Appendix is not a Council document.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. None.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Mrs. K. Bowen,

(01446) 709856

email: democratic@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

Officers Consulted

None.

Responsible Officer:

Ms. D. Marles

Monitoring Officer

1