Agenda item

Local Code of Corporate Governance

To present the Committee with the updated Local Code of Corporate Governance for the 2022/2023 financial year.



The Monitoring Officer provided an introduction to the report: 

·         The report was for the year 2022-23 financial year. 

·         The Council was required to produce the report annually.  

·         The report contained seven principles which were included within the framework in the report. Changes from last year had been highlighted for ease of reference.  


During the debate the following points were raised: 

·         It was asked what could be done to address behaviour at committee meetings. The Monitoring Officer responded that members needed to remember that meetings were recorded and webcast so comments were visible and accessible to constituents. Comments had been received from the public based on comments made during committee meetings and this had been shared with members. Any incidents which needed to be addressed would go to the Standards Committee, as would reports on complaints received.  

·         It was raised that the Ethical Newsletter produced by the Monitoring Officer was good and appreciated.  

·         It was asked if there would be any additional action which monitoring officers would take in situations where the code was broken during a meeting. The Monitoring Officer responded that it was difficult for officers to intervene in a public meeting, but they had intervened in the past and would continue to intervene during a meeting if inappropriate comments were made. The chairs of meetings were also able to intervene. The legislation currently in place was not very specific and there were few sanctions which could be applied when poor behaviour occurred which limited officers’ ability to act.  

·         It was asked if any complaints had been made about behaviour in a previous Full Council meeting and whether this would go to Standards Committee. The Monitoring Officer responded that no complaints had been received so there was nothing which would be going in front of the Standards Committee. The key role of the Standards Committee was to ensure that councillors were upholding high standards of conduct. There was strand of work on Governance as part of the Local Government Reorganisation work. This included member inductions and the code of conduct. A new recommended code of conduct had been drafted by the Local Government Association and it was planned for all five councils to adopt a code of conduct based on the LGA’s recommended code of conduct with some changes to suit the five authorities 

·         It was asked if there had been any issues raised through the whistleblowing process. The Monitoring Officer responded that none had been raised by staff or members, but some had been raised by the public.   

·         Thanks were expressed to the Monitoring Officer and Governance team for their work.  

·         It was requested that Exmoor National Park was included in the Code of Conduct process if possible. The Monitoring Officer responded that they would contact Exmoor National Park however, it was not written into legislation that adopting the new version of the Code of Corporate governance was mandatory so it would be a choice for authorities, including town and parish councils, to adopt it.  

·         It was raised that it would be good if all local authorities in Somerset adopted the Local Government Association (LGA) Code of Conduct as it would ensure consistency. The Monitoring officer raised that there were differing Code of Conducts to the LGA’s so some authorities may adapt different codes. Government could have chosen to change the legislation which would have mandated all local authorities to adopt the Code of Conduct the LGA had created but they chose not to.  


The Committee resolved to approve the recommendation in the report:  

That the Committee approves the Local Code of Corporate Governance for 2022/23. 


Supporting documents: