Agenda item


To receive a report from the Corporate Director of Governance and Community Strategy.


For this item Members had been sent a covering report, the full Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) report, and a review of the full report which had been written by the Association of Democratic Service Officers (ADSO). The Monitoring Officer then gave a brief overview of the purpose of the review which had looked at all areas of standards regimes across the country.


The Committee were told that responses that the CSPL review had found that standards were generally high within Council’s and that the policies, procedures, and practices in place were sufficient in most cases. However, the review had highlighted issues in some areas of practice including bullying and harassment, declarations of interest, declarations of gifts and hospitality, the increasing complexity of decision making, and transparency around decision making and complaints.


The report had a total of 26 recommendations that impacted on a wide range of areas of Council procedures from the Code of conduct to the support that they offered to Parish Councils.  The Monitoring officer informed the Committee that the majority of the recommendations required further action by central government for them to become legal requirements.


Within Trafford’s response to the consultation that formed part of the review the Committee had indicated their main concern was the lack of sanctions available to the Council when there was a breach of the Code of Conduct. The Monitoring Officer informed the Committee that Recommendation 16 stated that Council’s should be given the power to suspend a Councillor for up to 6 months. Recommendation 17 asked the Government to clarify other sanctions regarding the access to the Council property. Recommendations 10, 12, 13, and 14 covered elements of the process of sanctioning and measures that a councillor could use to make their case against such sanctions.


An Independent Member asked how the report changed the distinction between how Councillors acted in their official capacity and in their personal life. The Monitoring officer explained that if the recommendations were accepted it would change the burden with respect to whether a Councillor was acting in their official capacity or not. As it stood it was the complainant who had to prove that the Councillor was acting in their official capacity whereas the recommendations would require that the Councillor would have to prove that they were not acting in their official capacity at the time of the incident.


A Committee Member noted that the Council were already meeting a number of the recommendations. However, there was one recommendation regarding the disclosure of Councillors Address which they were aware Trafford had not adopted. The Councillor then detailed their own experience where they had received a threatening letter through the mail and asked if this was something that the Council could implement prior to government acceptance of the recommendation or if the Council could support the implementation of the recommendation. The Monitoring Officer responded that if a Councillor had reason to believe that they were at risk by their address being publically available there was a process to remove those details from the Council website. However, this was not something that the Council could implement for all Councillors without changes to legislation. The Monitoring Officer advised that if any Councillors had received any threats or concerning communications through the post then they should inform the police.


Another Committee Member stated that candidates no longer needed to have their address written on the ballot paper. The monitoring officer confirmed that this was the case and that potential candidates could do this by filling in the part two section of the nomination papers then the ballot would simply state that you were a resident in Trafford.


The Monitoring officer informed the Committee that there were a number of recommendations and areas of best practice which the Council were already undertaking. Officers were to look at the feasibility of implementing all of the areas of best practice within the report prior to the deadline in 2020. An action plan laying out the Councils plan for the implementation of the areas of best practice was to be brought back to the Committee in the next municipal year.


One Member spoke about how Trafford was generally an area of high Standards. Also note that the recommendations that some could be done by Secondary legislation but the majority of these required changes to primary legislation. The monitoring officer stated that the next update would state which recommendations were primary and secondary legislation and what progress had been made regarding their implementation nationally and within the Council.



1)    That the report be noted.

2)    That an action plan on how the Council will implement the 14 areas of best practice be brought to the next meeting of the Committee.

3)    That an update on the 26 Recommendations be provided to the committee.



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