Agenda and minutes

West Suffolk Standards Committee - Monday 3 August 2020 5.00 pm

Venue: To be held remotely via video conferencing facilities (Microsoft Teamslive)

Contact: Helen Hardinge: Democratic Services Officer  Email:

Note: The link to view the live stream of the meeting is shown in 'Media' below together with a supporting guidance document 


No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Roger Dicker.


Councillors John Augustine, Robert Everitt and Jim Meikle were also unable to attend the meeting.



Any Member who is substituting for another Member should so indicate, together with the name of the relevant absent Member.


The following substitution was declared:


Councillor Andy Neal substituting for Councillor Roger Dicker.


Following which, the Monitoring Officer verbally outlined all Members of the Committee who were present, together with any attending Councillors and the names of the Officers supporting the meeting.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2019 (copy attached.)


The minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair, subject to it being noted that the paragraph in Minute No 12 should be amended to read:


“Following discussion and advice provided by the Monitoring Officer, Councillor Max Clarke nominated himself as Vice Chair and this was seconded by Councillor Roger Dicker.”



Declarations of Interest

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary or local non pecuniary interest which they have in any item of business on the agenda, no later than when that item is reached and, when appropriate, to leave the meeting prior to discussion and voting on the item.


Members’ declarations of interest are recorded under the item to which the declaration relates.


Public Participation

Members of the public who live or work in the District are welcome to speak and may ask one question or make a statement of not more than three minutes duration relating to items to be discussed in Part 1 of the agenda only.  If a question is asked and answered within three minutes, the person who asked the question may ask a supplementary question that arises from the reply.


As the meeting is taking place virtually, a person who wishes to speak must register by 9am the last working day before the day of the meeting.  This can be done by sending the request to or telephoning 01638 719363.


If a member of the public cannot attend the meeting remotely, they may submit a written question or statement to Democratic Services by midday at the very latest on the day of the meeting and this will be read out on their behalf during the meeting.


There is an overall time limit of 15 minutes for public speaking, which may be extended at the Chair’s discretion.


No members of the public had registered to speak.


LGA Consultation on a Model Code of Conduct (Report No: STC/WS/20/001) pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Report No: STC/WS/20/001

Additional documents:


The Monitoring Officer advised the Committee that in January 2019, the Committee for Standards in Public Life (CSPL) concluded a review into ethical standards in Local Government. 


As part of its review, the Committee made a wide-ranging set of recommendations.  This included a number of proposals in respect of the existing legislative framework, as well as a recommendation that the Local Government Association (LGA) should seek to recommend a model Code of Conduct across authorities, which, if adopted, would help ensure consistency for both Councillors and the public in terms of what was expected from elected representatives.


Accordingly, in June 2020 the LGA commenced consultation on a draft Code of Conduct; the Consultation invited interested parties to answer a series of questions in respect of the draft model Code.


The Chair advised the meeting that each question as posed by the LGA would be taken in turn, with the Committee being asked to agree a response on behalf of the Council. 


Once concluded, Members would then be asked to consider the separate written response the Council would also provide; a proposed draft of which was attached to the report as Appendix D. 


Considerable discussion took place on this item with Members considering each of the responses in detail.


The Monitoring Officer also informed the Committee that she had attended an LGA webinar on the topic during the previous week and she summarised the discussions that took place.


It was proposed by Councillor Margaret Marks, seconded by Councillor Max Clarke and with the vote being unanimous, it was RESOLVED that




1.   The Council’s response to the LGA draft Model Code of Conduct Questionnaire, as attached at Appendix C be agreed as follows:





To a great extent




Personal (I will)

4 and 5

Great Extent for all except point 5, confidential information, to which a comment should be made that there needs to be an exception for councillors seeking professional advice or for disclosures genuinely made in the public interest


As a long list then guidance

7 / 7a

To a great extent, but within the additional comments include that West Suffolk Council would like to see respect feature more prominently than just being “respect for a position”. The Committee recognised that the topics of respect and civility are very important, but could be problematic for the purposes of inclusion within the Code.


Great Extent

9 /9a

Great Extent but in the commentary note that the guidance on harassment should be expanded to reflect that harassment  is not just based on a protected characteristic

10 / 10a / 10b

No; social media should be integrated in the Code; and that in the commentary West Suffolk Council would expect to see greater mention of it

11 / 11a

Not at all.  The Committee are concerned that it is a potential invasion of privacy for friends / relatives who may not want their personal affairs to be disclosed simply as they are friends with /  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.