Issue - meetings

Recruitment of Independant Persons & Standards update

Meeting: 13/03/2023 - Audit and Governance Committee (Item 77)

77 Recruitment of Independent Persons and Standards update pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To enable the committee to be assured that high standards of conduct continue to be promoted and maintained.  To ensure that Independent Persons are appointed by the Council in accordance with the Localism Act 2011.

Additional documents:


The Senior Lawyer introduced the report, with attention drawn to the following:


i.             Although there had been expressions of interest, a recruitment exercise for additional Independent Persons had not resulted in any applicants coming forward.


ii.            The two existing Independent Persons, Jake Bharier and Claire Jenkins, had indicated that they would be willing to undertake a further four year term.


iii.          Consequently, there was not a complement of at least four Independent Persons currently.


In response to questions from committee members, the Senior Lawyer advised:


1.           Noting the intention to hold an additional meeting before the end of the municipal year, the recruitment exercise could be undertaken again, with a further report made to the next meeting.


2.           Feedback could be sought from those people that had indicated expressions of interest, albeit some may have identified connections which could disqualify them.


3.           A link could be provided to the dedicated Code of Conduct complaints area on the council’s website.


4.           Appendix 1, ‘Arrangements for dealing with complaints about the Code of Conduct for Members’, section 4 ‘Preliminary Tests – two stages’ (agenda page 30), would be amended to read ‘It is against one or more named members or co-opted members of the council or a town/parish council outside inside the council’s area’.


5.           With reference made to section 6 ‘Informal Resolution’ (agenda page 32), statistics relating to informal resolutions would be provided in the annual report.  It was noted that the Monitoring Officer would determine whether an investigation was in the public interest, taking into account the recommendation of the officer dealing with the complaint and the views of two Independent Persons.


6.           With reference made to section 12 ‘Sanctions’ (agenda page 35), sanction (3) ‘Instruct the Monitoring Officer, or recommending to the Parish / Town Council, to arrange training for the member’, the Monitoring Officer could arrange training for a Herefordshire Council member but could only make a recommendation to a local council.


7.           In the event that no further applicants came forward, potential options for the roles undertaken by the Independent Persons could be considered


8.           It was intended that the annual code of conduct report would be presented to the June 2023 meeting and this would be added to the work programme for 2023/24.






a)           Full Council (at its Annual Meeting) be recommended to appoint Jake Bharier and Claire Jenkins as Independent Persons for a four year term (this recommendation may be modified if more approved applicants were identified before the next meeting of the committee);


b)          The revised procedure to be used when dealing with complaints, set out at Appendix 2 to the report, be noted; and


c)           The new website pages be noted.




189   The link to the dedicated Code of Conduct complaints area on the council’s website be provided to committee members.


Action update:


The new ‘Code of Conduct complaints’ webpage is available at: