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					                    ETHICAL GOVERNANCE AUDIT- ACTION PLAN UPDATE

                                                                               Agenda Item 7



    Contact Details:-   Lesley Day
    Designation:-       Audit Services Manager
    Ext. No:-           2821
    E Mail Address:-    lesley.day@braintree.gov.uk


    Background Papers:-       Audit Panel 15th June 2006 and 14th December 2006, Standards
                              Committee 8th June 2006 and Individual questionnaires
    Financial Implications:- None
    Equalities Implications:- An ethical governance audit is a means of identifying areas for
                               possible further improvements in standards of conduct and
                               behaviour
    Legal Implications:-      None
    Options:                  N/a
    Risks:                    Failure to comply with various Codes, Policies and procedures
                              could leave Members and Officers open to investigation and
                              possible further action



    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    The Audit Panel and Standards Committee agreed in June 2006 to jointly undertake an Ethical
    Governance Audit. This was carried out during August and September 2006 with a report and
    Action Plan presented to the Audit Panel on 14th December 2006.

    The Audit Panel agreed to monitor progress of the Action Plan and an updated copy is
    attached at Appendix 1.



    DECISION

    To note the progress of the Ethical Governance Audit Action Plan.




.
                                                                                                                                                 Appendix 1
Ethical Governance - Action Plan - updated position
OFFICERS
                             Statement/Question                                            Proposed Action                            Updated Position
Standards Committee

I understand the role of the Standards Committee.
I believe the Standards Committee operates effectively.                      Information leaflet to be produced and             Completed
The Standards Committee is making a positive difference to the ethical       circulated to all staff.
environment of the Council.
The Standards Committee has a forward plan to guide its work.
The work of the Standards Committee adds value to the Council.

Human Rights, Freedom of Information, Data Protection, Equalities
legislation
                                                                             Staff should be more aware following the           N/a
Has the Council begun to integrate the codes of conduct into its schemes,    production and circulation of information
policies and procedures resulting from the above legislation?                leaflets (see below)
Training

Have you been provided with training, advice or a briefing/information on:

Human Rights Act 1998
Freedom of Information Act 2001
Data Protection Act 1998                                                     Three information leaflets to be produced          Completed with exception
Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000                                          and circulated to all staff                        of HRA Act
Sex Discrimination Act 1975
Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005

Risk Management                                                              Information leaflet previously circulated to all   N/a
Prevention of Money Laundering                                               staff
Statement/Question                                                                    Proposed Action                                      Updated Position
Registers of Interests

The Council keeps a register in which officers are required to record any
interests in Council contracts. Are you aware of this register?                       Information leaflet on Staff Code of Conduct   Still awaiting publication of
                                                                                      to be produced and circulated to all staff     statutory Code of Conduct
Officers are reminded of the need to record such interests                                                                           for Officers
The register is kept up-to-date.
Officers are reminded of the need to record any hospitality or gifts.
The hospitality or gifts register is kept up-to-date
Members' and Officers' Code of Conduct - behaviour and culture

Overall, members do not interfere in operational issues.                              A reminder of the required protocol to be      Completed
Overall, members do not involve officers inappropriately in party political issues.   included in the Member Induction
                                                                                      Programme
The Leader of the Council is a positive role model in terms of ethical behaviour.
The Leader of the Council is proactive in promoting the importance of the ethical     No action. Whilst, the responses of ‘Don’t     N/a
agenda.                                                                               Know’ are relatively high, at 17.5% and
                                                                                      30% respectively, it is considered that this
                                                                                      could be due to some officers simply not
The Council's Monitoring Officer is able to carry out his / her role appropriately    having contact with the Leader.

                                                                                      To be included in information leaflet          Completed
                                                                                      covering the Standards Committee to be
                                                                                      produced and circulated to all staff
Communications

The importance of high ethical standards is communicated via for example,             Production and circulation of information
training, meetings, newsletters, the local media and the Council website to:          leaflets to staff and Members. BDC website
                                                                                      and intranet.
   Members
   Officers                                                                           To be included in the Chief Executive's        Completed
   Local communities                                                                  "Have You heard" to promote new leaflets
                                                                                      ahead of being circulated
                              Statement/Question                                                    Proposed Action                        Updated Position
Communication between:                                                               No action proposed. Whilst, the responses
  Members is open.                                                                   of ‘Don’t Know’ are relatively high, at 29.7%
  Members is constructive.                                                           and 26.3% respectively, it is considered        N/a
                                                                                     that this could simply be due to fewer
                                                                                     officers having contact with Members either
                                                                                     directly or attending at committee.
The public can easily access the Members’ Code of Conduct.
The public can easily access the register of Member interests.                       Access is available via the website. No
The public can easily access documents relating to the Standards Committee           further action is proposed                      N/a
(e.g. agendas, minutes, background papers).
Relationships

Appropriate confidences are kept by members.                                         No action proposed. Whilst, the responses
Members carryout their roles without fear of being bullied or harassed.              of ‘Don’t Know’ are relatively high, at 37.5%
                                                                                     and 42.5% respectively, it is considered        N/a
                                                                                     that this could simply be due to fewer
                                                                                     officers having contact with Members either
                                                                                     directly or attending at committee.
Management of Standards

There is a culture in the Council which allows officers to challenge member          Staff will be reminded of the opportunity to    Still awaiting publication of
decisions without fear of reprisal.                                                  raise issues either with their manager,         statutory Code of Conduct
There is a culture in the Council which allows partners to challenge decisions       Director or Chief Executive or the              for Officers
without fear of reprisal.                                                            whistleblowing Officer, in the proposed
There is a culture in the Council which allows the public to challenge decisions     Officers Code of Conduct leaflet. In
without fear of reprisal.                                                            addition consideration will be given to
                                                                                     asking these questions within the staff
                                                                                     survey, in order that the situation can be
                                                                                     monitored.
Overall, Members use referrals to the Standards Board for England
appropriately.
Overall, Members use referrals to the Standards Board for England without fear       Information leaflet to be produced and          Completed
of reprisal.                                                                         circulated to all staff
Overall, officers use referrals to the Standards Board for England appropriately.
Overall, officers use referrals to the Standards Board for England without fear of
reprisal.
                             Statement/Question                                             Proposed Action                           Updated Position
Partnership Working

The Council regularly reviews the financial performance of its partnerships   The financial evaluation and performance of
                                                                              the Council's main partnerships will be one
                                                                              of the aspects of the proposed Partnership
                                                                              Policy and Framework for Partnership
                                                                              Working which is being developed through
                                                                              the Better Value Policy Development
                                                                              Group.

                                                                              This document is in its early draft stages        Partnership Tool Kit
                                                                              and includes issues such as a requirement         introduced
                                                                              for an overall evaluation of the
                                                                              effectiveness of each partnership, planning
                                                                              and review, risk analysis and dispute
                                                                              resolution.

                                                                              Lead officers on each of the Council's main
                                                                              partnerships will shortly be asked to
                                                                              complete an assessment which will form
                                                                              the basis of the initial evaluation. The
                                                                              results - together with the draft Policy - will
                                                                              be reported to the Policy Development
                                                                              Group in the new year.

Further Comments:

Coverage of issues as part of induction process for new staff                 Information leaflets are already part of the      N/a
                                                                              induction pack as will the proposed new
                                                                              leaflets


Training/briefing programme for new managers                                  The Learning and Development Consultant           As part of the Business
                                                                              (OD&L) will be looking at our management          Efficiency Review process a
                                                                              development provision across the board,           Managers Development
                                                                              with an intention to introduce, among other       Programme will be
                                                                              things, a Managers’ Induction process. It         introduced in the near future
                                                                               would seem entirely appropriate that
                                                                               responsibilities and duties in Ethical
                                                                               Governance be included. The project to
                                                                               revise the Induction process should
                                                                               commence in December 2006.



                                                                               Many polices and procedures are already
Policies and Procedures governing officer conduct should be brought together   on the intranet, however, these will moved     Completed
on one page of the intranet                                                    to a specific page for easier reference


Whistleblowing

The Council’s Whistleblowing policy is used adequately.                        Comment:
The Council’s Whistleblowing policy is used without fear of reprisal           No action proposed. The policy is available
                                                                               on the Council’s website and Intranet and      N/a
                                                                               has been and continues to be used by staff.
                                                                               With investigations being deliberately and
                                                                               necessarily handled discretely. The
                                                                               response, from over a third of those
                                                                               managers that responded, that they ‘Don’t
                                                                               Know’ about the use of the policy is
                                                                               considered to be a reaction to not having
                                                                               used directly or aware of their staff having
                                                                               used the policy.
MEMBERS



                             Statement/Question                                           Proposed Action                        Updated Position
Training

Have you been provided with training, advice or a briefing/information on:

Human Rights Act 1998                                                        Information leaflets to be produced and         Completed with exception
Freedom of Information Act 2001                                              circulated to all Members                       of HRA Act
Data Protection Act 1998
Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
Sex Discrimination Act 1975
Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 & 2005
                                                                                                                             Completed
Risk Management                                                              Existing information leaflet to be circulated
                                                                             to Members with pay advice

				
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