Report of the Assistant Director, Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer
The Assistant Director Law and Governance submitted a report (previously circulated) updating Members on issues relevant to Member standards and ethical governance.
The submitted report gave members an update of information about issues relevant to member standards since matters were reported to the Committee in April 2022 and also set out a number of datasets of ethical indicators to assist in monitoring the ethical health of the Council.
By reviewing these indicators it is hoped to be able to identify any unusual or significant trends or changes in the volume of data recorded for the relevant period that might provide an alert to any deterioration in the ethical health of the authority; and it was reported that there were no particular issues of concern that had been identified from reviewing the data.
The submitted report also advised Members that the Independent Person, Joanne Kidd had been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on advice from the Lord Chancellor to become a Circuit Judge and that there was currently a vacancy for this role, which was established by the Localism Act 2011 to appoint at least one Independent Person.
While the member complaints function is the primary role, an addition function was added by subsequent legislation, requiring that they should be consulted if there is a proposal to dismiss one of the council's statutory officers (ie Head of Paid Service, Chief Finance Officer or the Monitoring Officer). In this capacity the Independent Person would sit as a member of the Human Resources Advisory Panel.
It was also reported that in order provide cover in the event non availability or conflicts, to share the workload and to help and to provide greater resilience in the event of a vacancy, it was decided (should there be suitable candidates) to recruit two Independent Persons and the position was advertised on Jobs North East from 21 July 2022 to the closing date of 22 August 2022; and a Recruitment Panel was convened to shortlist and interviews were held on 9 September 2022 and Beverley Boal and Julie Mathieson were recommended to Council to approve appointment at is meeting on 29 September 2022.
RESOLVED – (a) That the report be noted.
(b) That the Audit Committee congratulate Joanne Kidd on her appointment and wish her well in her new role.