Agenda item

Raising Awareness Of Standards And The Standards Committee Within And Outside The Council

To consider options for and approaches to raising the profile of Standards and the Standards Committee within and outside the Council.


(Report attached)


Members considered a report which sought options for and approaches to raising the profile of Standards and the Standards Committee inside and outside the Council.




the following additional options and approaches be pursued:


1)                 Receiving, assessing and reviewing complaints:


a)                 giving information about how to make a complaint to the Citizens Advice Bureau;

b)                 having a dedicated website page for standards issues;

c)                 engaging in local press interviews; and

d)                 placing an article Redditch Matters.


2)                 Local Investigations


a)                 Informing Members of the results of investigations:


i)              communicating the information to full Council, Group Leaders and Parish Councils;

ii)            ensuring Parish Councils are kept informed;

iii)          using complaint outcomes in training sessions; and

iv)         Sending copies of press releases to all Members.


b)                 Informing the public of the results of investigations:

i)              produce a media protocol that sets out publicity issued at the various stages of dealing with complaints.


3)                 Promotion of standards of conduct in public life:


a)                 Examples of Standards Committee involvement in more specialised training include:


i)              training on member roles, such as what the requirements of being a Parish Councillor or Independent Member are;

ii)            chairing skills;

iii)          understanding and preparing for interaction with the media;

iv)         equality and diversity.


b)                 Examples of training methods and approaches used by Local Authorities:


i)              in-house training delivered by the Standards Committee or other people in the Local Authority;

ii)            induction of new Members;

iii)          group workshops using case study style materials;

iv)         approaching SBE training materials and attending the Annual Assembly;

v)           approaching SBE to discuss inviting representatives to speak at meetings or contribute to seminars;

vi)         joint training events with other Local Authorities;

vii)       online training on Member’s only pages;

viii)     the Standards Committee be involved in agreeing the Member training and development each year based on feedback from the previous year’s programme, discussions with the party whips, and from responses to an annual Members’ survey.  The programme is split into specific skills training, knowledge based events, 1:1 support and group support.

c)                 Meetings of Council:


i)              placing a standing item about standards on the agenda of other meetings.  This ensures that standards issues are regularly discussed and remain at the forefront of the Council;

ii)            The chair of the Standards Committee or the Monitoring Officer could bring regular updates on the Code and standards’ issues to the full Council meeting;

iii)          Joint meetings of the Standards Committee with other Committees or groups.  This includes the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Audit and Governance Committee.  Many Standards Committees also hold regular meetings with their parish groups.


d)                 Publications:


i)              use of an intranet site;

ii)            Standards Committees having their own section on the Council website and intranet, where news items, training materials, minutes and reports could be published;

iii)          production of an annual report on the Standards Committee’s work, to promote standards issues both internally and externally;

iv)         conduct poster campaigns.


e)                 Informing and engaging the public:

i)              Conduct a survey of public perceptions to gain awareness of current understanding before starting to build up the Standards Committee’s profile and, in turn, public confidence.


f)                               Other ways of promoting standards:


i)              self assessment and standards surveys;

ii)            staging ‘ethical awareness weeks’, where standards issues are brought to the fore;

iii)          contribute to inductions and training, and ensure that ethical standards are considered in relation to recruitment or performance appraisal procedures.


4.                  Standards Committees and Leadership:


a)                 the Chief Executive attend a Standards Committee meeting once a year to discuss ethical issues.


Supporting documents: