Codes and Protocols in Microsoft Word - Stockton-on-Tees Borough by wuyunyi

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									           STOCKTON-ON-TEES BOROUGH COUNCIL


                                      CONSTITUTION


                                        Part Five -

                                  Codes and Protocols




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Contents

                                                                                 Page


         Members‘ Code of Conduct                                                 3

         Employees‘ Code of Conduct                                               15

         Protocol on Member/Officer Relations                                     20

         Confidential Reporting Policy                                            46

         Concordat for Communication and Consultation with Members                53

         Planning Code of Good Practice                                           59

         Licensing Protocol                                                       87

         The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity
         www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/publicitycode2011




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                         CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEMBERS

A new Code of Conduct has been adopted by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
with effect from11 July 2007. This replaces the previous Code adopted on 20 March
2002. The new Code governs the conduct of all elected Councillors and co-opted
persons who have voting rights on any of the Council‘s Committees. Every
Councillor and co-opted Member of the Authority has signed an undertaking to
observe the Code of Conduct. Any person may make a written complaint to the
National Standards Board that a Councillor or co-opted Member has breached the
Code.

Also included within this Part of the Constitution are other Protocols or Codes which
have been adopted by the Council as additional guidance for Members. These
Protocols and Codes do not form part of the Code of Conduct, but Members are
required by the Council to comply with their provisions and requirements. The
Protocols and Codes are as follows:-

Protocol on Member/Officer Relations
Code of Conduct on Publicity
Planning Code of Good Practice
Licensing Protocol




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                              STOCKTON-ON-TEES BOROUGH COUNCIL




                                      CODE OF CONDUCT
                                        FOR MEMBERS




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                                         INTRODUCTION


1.         On the 11 July 2007 Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council adopted (in place of the
           Council‘s existing code) the model code of conduct for members (―Code‖) set out in
           the Schedule to the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2007 (―the
           Order‖).

2.         The Council‘s new Code is attached, together with an unenforceable preamble,
           containing the general principles prescribed (―the General Principles of Conduct‖) by
           the Secretary of State in the Relevant Authorities (General Principles) Order 2001.
           The preamble and the General Principles of Conduct are included for information
           purposes only.

3.         Inter alia the Code includes a general obligation on Members not to do anything
           which may cause the Council to breach any of the equality enactments (as defined in
           Section 33 of the Equality Act 2006) eg the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race
           Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

4.         This Introduction does not form part of the Council‘s Code.




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                                                PREAMBLE

                                          FOR INFORMATION ONLY

                                      GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT

SELFLESSNESS
Councillors should serve only the public interest and should never improperly confer an
advantage or disadvantage on any person.

HONESTY AND INTEGRITY
Councillors should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may
be questioned, should not behave improperly and should on all occasions avoid the
appearance of such behaviour.

OBJECTIVITY
Councillors should make decisions on merit, including when making appointments, awarding
contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Councillors should be accountable to the public for their actions and the manner in which
they carry out their responsibilities, and should co-operate fully and honestly with any
scrutiny appropriate to their particular office.

OPENNESS
Councillors should be as open as possible about their actions and those of their authority,
and should be prepared to give reasons for those actions.

PERSONAL JUDGEMENT
Councillors may take account of the views of others, including their political groups, but
should reach their own conclusions on the issues before them and act in accordance with
those conclusions.

RESPECT FOR OTHERS
Councillor should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person, and
by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual
orientiation or disability. They should respect the impartiality and integrity of the authority‘s
statutory officers and its other employees.

DUTY TO UPHOLD THE LAW
Councillors should uphold the law and, on all occasions, act in accordance with the trust that
the public is entitled to place in them.

STEWARDSHIP
Councillors should do whatever they are able to do to ensure that their authorities use their
resources prudently and in accordance with the law.

LEADERSHIP
Councillors should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example, and
should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.

NOTE:      THIS PREAMBLE AND THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT
SPECIFIED WITHIN IT ARE FOR INFORMATION ONLY, AND THEY DO NOT FORM A
PART OF THE COUNCIL‟S CODE FOR ENFORCEMENT PURPOSES.


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                                 STOCKTON-ON-TEES BOROUGH COUNCIL

                                               (“authority”)

                                      CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEMBERS


                                                  Part 1

                                            General Provisions


Introduction and Interpretation

1. —(1) This Code applies to you as a member of an authority.

      (2) You should read this Code together with the general principles prescribed by the
      Secretary of State.

      (3) It is your responsibility to comply with the provisions of this Code.

      (4) In this Code—

      "meeting" means any meeting of—

      (a) the authority;

      (b) the executive of the authority;

      (c) any of the authority's or its executive's committees, sub-committees, joint
      committees, joint sub-committees, or area committees;

      "member" includes a co-opted member and an appointed member.

      (5) In relation to a parish council, references to an authority's monitoring officer and an
      authority's standards committee shall be read, respectively, as references to the
      monitoring officer and the standards committee of the district council or unitary county
      council which has functions in relation to the parish council for which it is responsible
      under section 55(12) of the Local Government Act 2000.


Scope
2. —(1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2) to (5), you must comply with this Code whenever
you—

      (a) conduct the business of your authority (which, in this Code, includes the business of
      the office to which you are elected or appointed); or

      (b) act, claim to act or give the impression you are acting as a representative of your
      authority,

      and references to your official capacity are construed accordingly.

      (2) Subject to sub-paragraphs (3) and (4), this Code does not have effect in relation to


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      your conduct other than where it is in your official capacity.

      (3) In addition to having effect in relation to conduct in your official capacity, paragraphs
      3(2)(c), 5 and 6(a) also have effect, at any other time, where that conduct constitutes a
      criminal offence for which you have been convicted.

      (4) Conduct to which this Code applies (whether that is conduct in your official capacity
      or conduct mentioned in sub-paragraph (3)) includes a criminal offence for which you
      are convicted (including an offence you committed before the date you took office, but
      for which you are convicted after that date).

      (5) Where you act as a representative of your authority—

      (a) on another relevant authority, you must, when acting for that other authority, comply
      with that other authority's code of conduct; or

      (b) on any other body, you must, when acting for that other body, comply with your
      authority's code of conduct, except and insofar as it conflicts with any other lawful
      obligations to which that other body may be subject.

General obligations
3. —(1) You must treat others with respect.


      (2) You must not—

      (a) do anything which may cause your authority to breach any of the equality
      enactments (as defined in section 33 of the Equality Act 2006);

      (b) bully any person;

      (c) intimidate or attempt to intimidate any person who is or is likely to be—

                     (i) a complainant,

                     (ii) a witness, or

                     (iii) involved in the administration of any investigation or proceedings,

      in relation to an allegation that a member (including yourself) has failed to comply with
      his or her authority's code of conduct; or

      (d) do anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of those
      who work for, or on behalf of, your authority.

      (3) In relation to police authorities and the Metropolitan Police Authority, for the
      purposes of sub-paragraph (2)(d) those who work for, or on behalf of, an authority are
      deemed to include a police officer.


4. You must not—

      (a) disclose information given to you in confidence by anyone, or information acquired
      by you which you believe, or ought reasonably to be aware, is of a confidential nature,
      except where—

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                     (i) you have the consent of a person authorised to give it;

                     (ii) you are required by law to do so;

                     (iii) the disclosure is made to a third party for the purpose of obtaining
                     professional advice provided that the third party agrees not to disclose the
                     information to any other person; or

                     (iv) the disclosure is—

                             (aa) reasonable and in the public interest; and

                             (bb) made in good faith and in compliance with the reasonable
                             requirements of the authority; or

      (b) prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person is
      entitled by law.

5. You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as
bringing your office or authority into disrepute.

6. You—

      (a) must not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to confer on or
      secure for yourself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage; and

      (b) must, when using or authorising the use by others of the resources of your
      authority—

                     (i) act in accordance with your authority's reasonable requirements;

                     (ii) ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes
                     (including party political purposes); and

      (c) must have regard to any applicable Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the
      Local Government Act 1986.

7. —(1) When reaching decisions on any matter you must have regard to any relevant
advice provided to you by—

      (a) your authority's chief finance officer; or

      (b) your authority's monitoring officer,

      where that officer is acting pursuant to his or her statutory duties.

      (2) You must give reasons for all decisions in accordance with any statutory
      requirements and any reasonable additional requirements imposed by your authority.




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                                                     Part 2

                                                    Interests

Personal interests
8. —(1) You have a personal interest in any business of your authority where either—

      (a) it relates to or is likely to affect—

                  (i) any body of which you are a member or in a position of general control or
                  management and to which you are appointed or nominated by your authority;

                  (ii) any body—

                               (aa) exercising functions of a public nature;

                               (bb) directed to charitable purposes; or

                               (cc) one of whose principal purposes includes the influence of public
                               opinion or policy (including any political party or trade union),

                  of which you are a member or in a position of general control or management;

                  (iii) any employment or business carried on by you;

                  (iv) any person or body who employs or has appointed you;

                  (v) any person or body, other than a relevant authority, who has made a
                  payment to you in respect of your election or any expenses incurred by you in
                  carrying out your duties;

                  (vi) any person or body who has a place of business or land in your authority's
                  area, and in whom you have a beneficial interest in a class of securities of that
                  person or body that exceeds the nominal value of £25,000 or one hundredth of
                  the total issued share capital (whichever is the lower);

                  (vii) any contract for goods, services or works made between your authority and
                  you or a firm in which you are a partner, a company of which you are a
                  remunerated director, or a person or body of the description specified in
                  paragraph (vi);

                  (viii) the interests of any person from whom you have received a gift or
                  hospitality with an estimated value of at least £25;

                  (ix) any land in your authority's area in which you have a beneficial interest;

                  (x) any land where the landlord is your authority and you are, or a firm in which
                  you are a partner, a company of which you are a remunerated director, or a
                  person or body of the description specified in paragraph (vi) is, the tenant;

                  (xi) any land in the authority's area for which you have a licence (alone or jointly
                  with others) to occupy for 28 days or longer; or




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      (b) a decision in relation to that business might reasonably be regarded as affecting
      your well-being or financial position or the well-being or financial position of a relevant
      person to a greater extent than the majority of—

                  (i) (in the case of authorities with electoral divisions or wards) other council tax
                  payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the electoral division or ward, as the case
                  may be, affected by the decision;

                  (ii) (in the case of the Greater London Authority) other council tax payers,
                  ratepayers or inhabitants of the Assembly constituency affected by the decision;
                  or

                  (iii) (in all other cases) other council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of your
                  authority's area.

      (2) In sub-paragraph (1)(b), a relevant person is—

      (a) a member of your family or any person with whom you have a close association; or

      (b) any person or body who employs or has appointed such persons, any firm in which
      they are a partner, or any company of which they are directors;

      (c) any person or body in whom such persons have a beneficial interest in a class of
      securities exceeding the nominal value of £25,000; or

      (d) any body of a type described in sub-paragraph (1)(a)(i) or (ii).

Disclosure of personal interests

9. —(1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2) to (7), where you have a personal interest in any
    business of your authority and you attend a meeting of your authority at which the
    business is considered, you must disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of
    that interest at the commencement of that consideration, or when the interest becomes
    apparent.

      (2) Where you have a personal interest in any business of your authority which relates
      to or is likely to affect a person described in paragraph 8(1)(a)(i) or 8(1)(a)(ii)(aa), you
      need only disclose to the meeting the existence and nature of that interest when you
      address the meeting on that business.

      (3) Where you have a personal interest in any business of the authority of the type
      mentioned in paragraph 8(1)(a)(viii), you need not disclose the nature or existence of
      that interest to the meeting if the interest was registered more than three years before
      the date of the meeting.

      (4) Sub-paragraph (1) only applies where you are aware or ought reasonably to be
      aware of the existence of the personal interest.

      (5) Where you have a personal interest but, by virtue of paragraph 14, sensitive
      information relating to it is not registered in your authority's register of members'
      interests, you must indicate to the meeting that you have a personal interest, but need
      not disclose the sensitive information to the meeting.

      (6) Subject to paragraph 12(1)(b), where you have a personal interest in any business of


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      your authority and you have made an executive decision in relation to that business, you
      must ensure that any written statement of that decision records the existence and
      nature of that interest.

      (7) In this paragraph, "executive decision" is to be construed in accordance with any
      regulations made by the Secretary of State under section 22 of the Local Government
      Act 2000.


Prejudicial interest generally

10. —(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), where you have a personal interest in any business
    of your authority you also have a prejudicial interest in that business where the interest
    is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would
    reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice your judgement of the
    public interest.

      (2) You do not have a prejudicial interest in any business of the authority where that
      business—

      (a) does not affect your financial position or the financial position of a person or body
      described in paragraph 8;

      (b) does not relate to the determining of any approval, consent, licence, permission or
      registration in relation to you or any person or body described in paragraph 8; or

      (c) relates to the functions of your authority in respect of—

                   (i) housing, where you are a tenant of your authority provided that those
                   functions do not relate particularly to your tenancy or lease;

                   (ii) school meals or school transport and travelling expenses, where you are a
                   parent or guardian of a child in full time education, or are a parent governor of
                   a school, unless it relates particularly to the school which the child attends;

                   (iii) statutory sick pay under Part XI of the Social Security Contributions and
                   Benefits Act 1992, where you are in receipt of, or are entitled to the receipt of,
                   such pay;

                   (iv) an allowance, payment or indemnity given to members;

                   (v) any ceremonial honour given to members; and

                   (vi) setting council tax or a precept under the Local Government Finance Act
                   1992.

Prejudicial interests arising in relation to overview and scrutiny committees

11. You also have a prejudicial interest in any business before an overview and scrutiny
committee of your authority (or of a sub-committee of such a committee) where—

      (a) that business relates to a decision made (whether implemented or not) or action
      taken by your authority's executive or another of your authority's committees, sub-
      committees, joint committees or joint sub-committees; and


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      (b) at the time the decision was made or action was taken, you were a member of the
      executive, committee, sub-committee, joint committee or joint sub-committee mentioned
      in paragraph (a) and you were present when that decision was made or action was
      taken.

Effect of prejudicial interests on participation

12. —(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), where you have a prejudicial interest in any business
of your authority—

      (a) you must withdraw from the room or chamber where a meeting considering the
      business is being held—

                   (i) in a case where sub-paragraph (2) applies, immediately after making
                   representations, answering questions or giving evidence;

                   (ii) in any other case, whenever it becomes apparent that the business is being
                   considered at that meeting;

      unless you have obtained a dispensation from your authority's standards committee;

      (b) you must not exercise executive functions in relation to that business; and

      (c) you must not seek improperly to influence a decision about that business.

      (2) Where you have a prejudicial interest in any business of your authority, you may
      attend a meeting (including a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee of your
      authority or of a sub-committee of such a committee) but only for the purpose of making
      representations, answering questions or giving evidence relating to the business,
      provided that the public are also allowed to attend the meeting for the same purpose,
      whether under a statutory right or otherwise.



                                                    Part 3

                                      Registration of Members' Interests

Registration of members' interests

13. —(1) Subject to paragraph 14, you must, within 28 days of—

        (a) this Code being adopted by or applied to your authority; or

        (b) your election or appointment to office (where that is later),

        register in your authority's register of members' interests (maintained under section
        81(1) of the Local Government Act 2000) details of your personal interests where they
        fall within a category mentioned in paragraph 8(1)(a), by providing written notification to
        your authority's monitoring officer.

        (2) Subject to paragraph 14, you must, within 28 days of becoming aware of any new
        personal interest or change to any personal interest registered under paragraph (1),


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        register details of that new personal interest or change by providing written notification
        to your authority's monitoring officer.


Sensitive information
14. —(1) Where you consider that the information relating to any of your personal interests
    is sensitive information, and your authority's monitoring officer agrees, you need not
    include that information when registering that interest, or, as the case may be, a
    change to that interest under paragraph 13.

        (2) You must, within 28 days of becoming aware of any change of circumstances which
        means that information excluded under paragraph (1) is no longer sensitive
        information, notify your authority's monitoring officer asking that the information be
        included in your authority's register of members' interests.

        (3) In this Code, "sensitive information" means information whose availability for
        inspection by the public creates, or is likely to create, a serious risk that you or a
        person who lives with you may be subjected to violence or intimidation




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                              Employees‟ Code of Conduct

1.        General
1.1      The public is entitled to expect conduct of the highest standard from local
         authority employees. Public confidence in the integrity of the service would be
         shaken if there were the least suspicion that employees could be influenced by
         improper motives. Do not do anything which you could not justify in public. It
         is not enough to avoid actual impropriety; you should at all times avoid any
         cause for suspicion or the appearance of improper conduct.

1.2      Employees' off-duty hours are their own personal concern but care should be
         taken to ensure that there is never any conflict between official duties and
         private interests. Employees are not prevented from undertaking additional
         employment but must ensure that this does not conflict with the Council's
         interests or weaken public confidence in the conduct of the Council's business.
         For example, whilst an employee engaged in Development or Building Control
         work may help a prospective developer to submit an application for Planning
         or Building Regulation approval to another Local Authority, it would be unwise
         for such an individual to deal directly with this authority and a serious breach of
         conduct to both submit and check their own plans.

1.3      Additionally, employees graded above Scale 6 must seek approval from their
         Head of Service before engaging in other business or taking up additional
         appointments.

2.        Gifts and Hospitality
2.1        The entertainment of clients or customers as it is commonly and reasonably
           offered by many     contractors and consultants is not unacceptable.
           However, offers of gifts, favour and hospitality should always be treated with
           extreme caution.        If such gifts, favours or hospitality could be
           reasonably perceived as forms of inducement to favour the purchase of
           a particular product/service, award of contract etc., then it could expose
           you or the Council to criticism or comment and you should therefore
           tactfully but firmly refuse the offer.

2.2        The timing of the approach (while negotiations are in progress or after a
           contract has been awarded) will be relevant and the offer of even minor gifts
           on a regular basis should be treated with circumspection in case the wrong
           interpretation could be placed upon it.

2.3        Acceptance of any gift etc. which could reasonably be viewed as an
           inducement would be a criminal offence. It may be reasonable to accept:

           Gifts of a promotional character (e.g. calendars, diaries) which are obviously
           of low (i.e. less than £10) monetary value and carry a promotional
           logo/inscription etc.


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           Gifts, on the conclusion of any visit, of a sort which could not be
           misinterpreted. (There are no strict rules on this but regard should be given to
           the nature and commercial value of any gift, any perceived intrinsic value or
           re-sale value. If in doubt, refuse.)

           Working lunches, refreshments offered at demonstrations of equipment or
           business meetings which could not be reasonably arranged at any other time
           and where the hospitality is merely incidental to the business activities and
           not vice versa.

2.4      If employees are in any doubt concerning such offers, they should inform their
         Head of Service (or Manager) in advance, where feasible, and seek advice. A
         book will be available in each Department to record the acceptance of a gift,
         favour or hospitality, and this must be completed promptly by the employees
         concerned. (NB It is not necessary to record gifts of a promotional nature
         which are of low value, and where the offer is not open to misrepresentation).

2.5      Invitations to meals or functions of a social or festive nature should not be
         accepted if any ulterior motive could reasonably be attributed to the invitation.
         Before accepting any invitation of this kind, the circumstances should be
         reported to the Head of Service and details recorded in the book kept for that
         purpose.

2.6      In offering hospitality, employees should aim for reasonableness whilst using
         sensible judgement according to the nature of the occasion. Employees should
         be able to justify the arrangements they have made as being in the interests of
         the authority as a whole. For example, (a) when a meeting cannot be held as
         part of normal daily Council business; (b) when visitors have had to make a
         special journey.

2.7      Employees concerned with purchasing or the award of official contracts should
         not divulge their private address to contractors nor should they become overly
         familiar with contractors or their employees. This includes normal social
         contact as well as contact during business hours and such employees should
         exercise considerable discretion when in the public eye to avoid any
         misinterpretation of their behaviour in this context.

         Under no circumstances should an employee make use of contractors'
         services on terms any different from those available to the general public or
         other Council employees.

2.8      It is a criminal offence to demand or accept any gift or reward in return for an
         employee allowing himself or herself to be influenced by any person seeking to
         obtain a contract from the Council. In such cases, the burden of proof rests
         with the employee to show that it was not corruptly given.

2.9      Any employee who knowingly accepts a gift or favour from a contractor or
         other person seeking dealings with the Council will be liable to summary
         dismissal. If an employee has any doubt about accepting a gift or service, the
         circumstances should be reported to the Head of Service. If an employee


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         receives an unsolicited gift or believes that a person is otherwise attempting to
         influence him or her, the Head of Service should be informed immediately.


3.        Other Inducements
3.1      Employees should be on their guard against other approaches which suppliers
         or contractors may adopt in order to gain the approval of the Council or
         unofficial sponsorship. For example, new types of food or other new products
         offered free or at reduced prices, or free gifts for the officer placing orders
         where promotional gifts are offered.

4.       Legacies
4.1      Employees who have worked closely with individual members of the public
         (e.g. Wardens of Sheltered Accommodation and Social Services employees)
         may find that they have been remembered in the wills of people whom they
         have looked after. Save for employees in Social Services, employees are not
         forbidden from accepting legacies but should remember that the acceptance of
         such may be open to misinterpretation. In this context, employees should,
         therefore, always attempt to provide the same level of service for all members
         of the public in accordance with Council policy. If an employee becomes aware
         of an intended legacy, the circumstances should be discussed with the Head
         of Service.

5.       Access to Confidential Information
5.1      There is a fundamental duty on all employees not to use information they have
         access to at work to further their private interests or those of their relations and
         friends. Deliberate exploitation of confidential information will be regarded as
         a serious offence which may warrant summary dismissal. For example, an
         employee buys land or property knowing through his or her work that its value
         is likely to increase. Considerable discretion should also be exercised when
         discussing work activities in a social context in case information is divulged
         which could benefit another party.

5.2      Employees must not divulge information concerning other employees' private
         affairs to any other person unless the consent of that employee is first
         obtained or the law permits that information to be divulged in the particular
         circumstances.

6.       Register of Interests
6.1      It is not compulsory for employees to register all their business interests outside the
         authority. In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act, employees
         must inform the Chief Executive and Head of Service in writing if they have any
         financial interest, direct or indirect, in any contract which the Council has entered into
         or is proposing to enter into or any application for a licence, consent or permission.
         Employees should also identify a spouse, relative or regular associate who might



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         have a legitimate interest in bidding for council work. Relevant business interests, as
         defined above, should be recorded in the register kept for this purpose.

6.2      Employees should also inform the Chief Executive and their Head of Service in
         writing where they are involved either as an individual or as a partner in a
         business or as a director of a limited company or where they have a
         substantial shareholding in a public or private company which regularly has
         dealings with the council. For this purpose, "substantial" can be defined as
         more than £5,000 (nominal value) or 1/100th of the nominal value, whichever
         is the lesser. Friendship or membership of an Association or Society could
         also influence your judgement and should be treated in the same way. If
         employees are in doubt as to what interests they need to declare they should
         seek guidance from their Head of Service.

7.       Appointment and other Employment Matters
7.1      Employees may be seen to have an interest in the appointment of relatives.
         For this reason, applicants are required to declare any relationship to senior
         employees. Likewise, senior employees should make known any relationship
         known to exist with a candidate for employment of which they are aware.

7.2      Although the Council operates an Equal Opportunities policy in respect of
         recruitment, there will inevitably be times when a successful candidate is
         related to a senior employee. Provided these principles are followed (which
         also apply to relationships with Members), no claims of favouritism are likely to
         succeed but employees should not be directly involved in the appointment of
         relatives.

8.        Publications, Broadcasts and Lectures
8.1      On occasions where employees are interviewed by the media or agree to give
         lectures in connection with their official duties they may retain any fees
         awarded to them subject to the agreement of the Council. Heads of Service
         should be consulted on any intended lecture or publication in the press or
         other media which is connected with their official duties.

8.2      Employees are not prevented from publishing articles or giving lectures in
         connection with their professions or upon which they have specialised
         knowledge where they are not acting in an official capacity. In such instances,
         however, they should make clear that the views expressed are their own and
         that they do not necessarily represent Council policy.

8.3      Employees should take care when expressing their personal views publicly
         that they do not undermine confidence in their objectivity in the performance of
         their duties.




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9.       Public Office
9.1      Employees who wish to seek public office in an authority other than that with
         whom they are employed are not generally prevented from doing so unless
         they occupy Politically Restricted Posts under the Local Government and
         Housing Act 1989, but should discuss their intentions and the implications with
         their Head of Service and seek legal advice. Arrangements for time off for
         public duties are dealt with in the Handbook of Local Agreements and
         Procedures.

9.2      Employees other than holders of Politically Restricted Posts who become
         Councillors of other local authorities should ensure that their two capacities are
         kept separate. In particular, they should take care that they do not disclose or
         use for an unauthorised purpose confidential information which could
         embarrass either the Authority represented or the employing Authority.

10.       Political Activities
10.1     "Political Activities" relate to standing for public elected office, engaging in
         party political debate in a personal capacity by speaking or writing in public
         and canvassing at elections. The ability of employees to indulge in such
         activities will be restricted if they are deemed to occupy Politically Restricted
         Posts.

10.2 An employee who proposes to engage in political activities should give
     particular attention to Paragraphs 1.2, 8.3 and 9.2 and to the general intent of
     this Code. Employees at senior level who regularly advise Members, regularly
     have contact with the public or media or exercise delegated powers should
     take particular care when they propose to engage in political activities. They
     must in all cases consult their Head of Service.

11.       Use of Council Facilities
11.1 Employees must make sure that any facilities such as transport, publicity or
     secretarial facilities provided by the Council for use in their official duties are
     used strictly for those duties and for no other purpose.

12. Breaches of this Code
12.1 Employees who breach the Code of Practice on Official Conduct may be liable
     to disciplinary action in accordance with established procedures. The penalty
     imposed will depend upon the nature of the action but serious breaches may
     be regarded as gross misconduct resulting in summary dismissal.




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                             Protocol on Member/Officer Relations

1.        Introduction

(a)       Following the adoption of Stockton‘s Code of Conduct for Members (including
          co-opted members as defined in the Local Government Act 2000), which
          came into effect on 20th March, 2002, the opportunity has been taken to
          update the Protocol on Member/Officer Relations approved at the time of the
          adoption of the Constitution, prior to the introduction of the Council‘s new
          executive arrangements on 1st October, 2001.

(b)       The revised Protocol has been the subject of extensive consultation with all
          Members and Chief Officers and, in particular has been considered and
          recommended to the Council for approval by the Authority‘s Standards
          Committee.

(c)       Further revisions have also been made to the Protocol consequent upon
          specific decisions by the Council, for instance regarding the Authority‘s new
          scrutiny arrangements.

(d)       In addition, the Constitution has been updated to more accurately reflect the
          Authority‘s commitment to , and its Single Equality Scheme regarding the
          promotion of equality across all six strands of diversity, age, disability, faith
          and belief, gender, race and sexual orientation, and more recently it has been
          amended to reflect the changes to the composition of Cabinet.




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1.        The Role and Purpose of the Protocol

1.1       Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is a modern, progressive local authority at
          the forefront of local government. The Council strives to carry out its duties
          and provide local services in a way that is effective in relation to customer
          needs; efficient in terms of the resources deployed; and responsive to the
          views and wishes of the people that might be affected by what it does.

1.2       Above all, the Council operates with, and promotes high ethical values and
          standards and in an environment which demands close and effective working
          relations between all Members and Officers without either seeking to take
          unfair advantage of their position. This is achieved by means of a culture of
          mutual respect, trust, courtesy, openness and understanding. Members and
          Officers feel free to speak to one another openly and honestly.

1.3       With this in mind, the purpose of this protocol is not in any way to change that
          relationship, but to offer guidance to Members and Officers on their respective
          roles and their working relations with one another, in order to help them to
          perform more effectively and thereby to ensure the efficient and effective
          running of the authority and the delivery of best value services to the local
          community.

1.4       The relations between Members and Officers are complex and varied. This
          protocol does not therefore aim to be either prescriptive or comprehensive. It
          is intended simply to offer guidance on some of the issues which most
          commonly arise. It is hoped however that the approach which it adopts to
          these issues will serve as a reference document for dealing with other issues.

1.5       This protocol relies to a large extent on current practice and convention. It
          does, however, attempt to promote greater clarity and certainty for the benefit
          of both Members and Officers.

1.6       The Protocol also seeks to reflect and bring together the principles underlying
          the respective Codes of Conduct which apply to Members and Officers. The
          shared objective of these Codes is to enhance and maintain the integrity (both
          real and perceived) of Local Government and those who work within it and to
          maintain the very high standards of personal conduct required of all who
          serve the public.

1.7       Local Government does not however operate in isolation. Stockton-on-Tees
          Borough Council always seeks to work in partnership with other local
          organisations and agencies and regional and national bodies to the greatest
          effect for the people of the area. Increasingly Council Members and Officers
          are required to represent the Council on a variety of outside bodies and
          organisations with statutory and non-statutory links to the Council. Whilst the
          procedural aspects of the Protocol relate mainly to the Council, it is expected
          that Members and Officers representing the Authority on outside bodies,



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          continue to maintain the ethos of courtesy, respect and understanding
          advocated by this Protocol.

1.8       The Protocol must be read and operated in the context of all relevant
          legislation and national and local codes of conduct and the Council‘s Policy on
          confidential reporting. A copy of the Members‘ Code of Conduct and the
          Confidential Reporting Policy are reproduced at Pages 3 to 12 and 52 to 58
          respectively in this part of the Constitution. Advice and guidance in
          connection with the Code and Policy, together with this Protocol can be
          obtained from the Council‘s Monitoring Officer.


2.        The Roles of Members and Officers

2.1       Members

          The roles of elected Members of the Council and Officers employed by the
          Council are different, but complementary. The former National Code of Local
          Government Conduct for Members indicated that:-

          Para. 23              ―Both Councillors and Officers are servants of the public and
                                they are indispensable to one another. But their responsibilities
                                are distinct. Councillors are responsible to the electorate and
                                serve only so long as their term of office lasts. Officers are
                                responsible to the Council. Their job is to give advice to
                                Councillors and the Council, and to carry out the Council‟s work
                                under the direction and control of the Council.

                                Mutual respect between Councillors and Officers is essential to
                                good Local Government. Close personal familiarity between
                                individual Councillors and Officers can change this relationship
                                and prove embarrassing to the Councillors and Officers.”

2.2       There are a number of crucial roles for Elected Members. Four, in particular,
          can be summarised as follows:-

          (a)        to provide strong leadership for communities and to share in the policy
                     and budget decisions of the full Council, suggest policy improvements
                     and scrutinise the Executive‘s policy proposals and their
                     implementation;

          (b)        to monitor and review the Authority‘s performance in implementing
                     approved policy and in delivering services;

          (c)        to represent their constituents, promoting and communicating the
                     interests of those who elected them within the Council decision making
                     processes and dealing with their day to day problems and concerns as
                     they arise;




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          (d)        to represent the Authority externally on joint committees, and on key
                     partner and other outside bodies.

2.3       Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council was quick to respond to the challenge of a
          new form of local government and has developed a new democratic structure
          based on a Cabinet and Leader model, which emphasises the primacy of
          Council. Six guiding principles were established under which the new
          structure for Stockton was originally developed. These were that the new
          structure should be :-

          Transparent – to ensure that the public are clear about who is responsible for
          particular decisions.

          Understandable – to ensure that the decision making process is simple, clear
          and unambiguous to Members, Officers and the public.

          Efficient – to enable swift and responsive action.

          Accountable – to ensure that decisions are open to scrutiny by Members and
          by the public and that members of the public are able to measure the
          Council‘s actions against the policies upon which it was elected.

          Community Focussed – to ensure that Councillors are not only highly visible
          within their communities but are also able to pursue their role as community
          leaders – championing local issues and priorities and taking action, in
          partnership with others, to promote achievements and tackle disadvantage.

          Providing Best Value - to promote continuous improvement within the
          Authority and demonstrate Best Value in ensuring resources are directed to
          supporting Councillors in the performance of their representational role.

2.4       Officers

          Both the traditional and legal position of local authority Officers is that they are
          employees of, and serve, the whole Council. Officers support and advise the
          Council, and the constituent parts of its decision-making machinery;
          implement Council decisions and may themselves take decisions formally
          delegated to them through the approved Scheme of Delegation. All Officers
          are required to be politically neutral, and for senior Officers this is enforced
          through the political restrictions of the 1989 Local Government and Housing
          Act. This position is also enshrined in the national model code of conduct for
          Officers and the Council‘s Employees‘ Code of Conduct.

2.5       The White Paper on Modernising Local Government and the subsequent
          legislation relating to new executive arrangements propose no basic change
          in the status of Council Officers, and the underlying assumption continues to
          be that Officers will continue to serve the whole Council and support all
          Councillors (ie Members of the Executive or Cabinet and those performing a
          scrutiny function). Local Leadership, Local Choice states ―Council Officers
          will be required to serve both the Executive and other Councillors in their


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          service roles.              They will therefore be required to maintain their political
          neutrality.‖

2.6       Within this context, it is important to recognise the differing roles of certain
          Officers:-

               The Chief Executive, Assistant Chief Executive and (Corporate) Directors
                of Service form the Corporate Management Team, which provides a
                formal interface between Members and Officers and has a leading role in
                relation to policy co-ordination and performance management.

               Heads of Service and other Chief Officers are directly responsible for the
                day to day delivery of services within the Council‘s established policy and
                decision-making framework.

               Officers within services themselves are primarily accountable to their
                Service Heads and when assisting Members should always do so within
                the parameters of whatever authority they have been given by their
                Service Head.

2.7       Both Officers and Members must comply in all respects and at all times with
          their respective Codes of Conduct, not only in their dealings with each other,
          but also when dealing with partners and the public.

2.8       In particular, it should be recognised that Members of the Council do not, as
          elected or co-opted members, have any special immunity from civil or criminal
          wrongs that they may commit against fellow Member‘s, Officers or members
          of the public. Members must ensure that they do not, therefore, for example,
          slander or libel another person. During the course of their normal duties for
          the Council, Members will only have a qualified (and not an absolute)
          protection against prosecution or civil action.

2.9       Any member of the public (including Officers) can complain to the Council‘s
          Standards Committee about a Members‘ alleged breach of the Council‘s Code
          of Conduct for Members and/or bring private, civil action against a Member.
          The District Auditor can also take legal action against an elected Member and
          the Council, as a whole, for any alleged breach of the law.

2.10      The Council has statutory duties with regard to equality issues and in
          accordance with Stockton‘s Code of Conduct for Members, Members must
          promote equality by not discriminating against others. Members and Officers
          should not, therefore, by their behaviour or speech act in a discriminatory way
          with regard to, for example, a person‘s age, gender, race, disability, religion,
          ethnicity, nationality or sexual orientation. Such principles will apply to the
          implementation of personnel policies, recruitment and promotion as they apply
          to day to day dealings with fellow human beings.

2.11      Members‟ expectations

          Members can expect from Officers:-

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          (a)        A commitment to the Authority as whole, and not to any political group.

          (b)        A working partnership.

          (c)        An understanding of and support for respective roles, workloads and
                     pressures.

          (d)        Reasonable and timely response to enquiries and complaints.

          (e)        Professional advice, not influenced by political views or preference,
                     which does not compromise the political neutrality of Officers.

          (f)        As envisaged by, amongst other things, the Council‘s Concordat for
                     Communications and Consultation with Members, regular, up to date
                     information on matters that can reasonably be considered appropriate
                     and relevant to their needs, having regard to any individual
                     responsibilities that they have and positions that they hold.

          (g)        Awareness of and sensitivity to the political environment.

          (h)        Respect, dignity and courtesy and not acting in a discriminatory way
                     through behaviour or speech.

          (i)        Relevant training and development in order to carry out their role
                     effectively.

          (j)        Integrity, mutual support and appropriate confidentiality

          (k)        That employees will not use their relationship with Members to
                     advance their personal interests or to influence decisions improperly.

          (l)        That Officers will at all times comply with the relevant Code of Conduct.

          (m)        Support for the role of Members as the local representatives of the
                     Council, within the perameters of support approved by the Authority.

          (n)        That Officers will promote equality of opportunity in all Council matters.

2.12      Officers‟ Expectations

          Officers can expect from Members:-

          (a)        A working partnership.

          (b)        An understanding of and support for respective roles, workloads and
                     pressures.

          (c)        Political leadership and direction.



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          (d)        Respect, dignity and courtesy and not acting in a discriminatory way
                     through behaviour or speech..

          (e)        Integrity, mutual support and appropriate confidentiality.

          (f)        Not to be subject to bullying or harassment or to be put under undue
                     pressure. Members should have regard to the seniority of Officers in
                     determining what are reasonable requests, having regard to the
                     relationship between Members and Officers, and the potential
                     vulnerability of Officers, particularly at junior levels.

          (g)        That Members will not use their position or relationship with Officers to
                     advance their personal interests or those of others or to influence
                     decisions improperly.

          (h)        That Members will at all times comply with the Council‘s Members‘
                     Code of Conduct.

          (i)        That Members will promote equality of opportunity in all Council
                     matters.

2.13      Limitations Upon Behaviour

          The distinct roles of Members and Officers necessarily impose limitations
          upon behaviour. By way of illustration, and not as an exclusive list:-

          (a)       Close personal, as opposed to working, relationships between
                    Councillors and Officers can confuse these separate roles and
                    detrimentally affect the proper discharge of the Authority‘s functions, not
                    least by creating the perception in others that a particular Member or
                    Officer may be securing advantageous treatment.

          (b)       The need to maintain the separate roles means that there are limits to
                    the matters on which Members may seek the advice of Officers, both in
                    relation to personal matters and party political issues.

          (c)       Relationships with a particular individual or party groups should not be
                    such as to create public suspicion that an employee favours that
                    Member or group above others. The issue of Officer attendance and
                    advice to political groups is specifically covered at paragraphs 7.1 to 7.7
                    of this Protocol.

2.14      Grievances or Complaints

          Procedure for Officers

          (a)       From time to time the relationship between Members and Officers may
                    break down or become strained. Whilst it will always be preferable to
                    resolve matters informally, through conciliation by an appropriate senior
                    manager or Member (please see the Member Conduct - Officer Protocol


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                    for this purpose), Officers will have recourse to the Grievance
                    Procedure, where the matter concerns their employment or to the
                    Council‘s Monitoring Officer, as appropriate to the circumstances. In the
                    event of a grievance or complaint being upheld, the matter will be
                    referred to the Chief Executive who, having advised the Leader of the
                    Council and the appropriate group leader will decide on the course of
                    action to be taken, following consultation with the Chair and/or Vice-
                    Chair of the Standards Committee.

          Procedure for Members

          (b)       In the event that a Member is dissatisfied with the conduct, behaviour or
                    performance of an Officer, he/she should not raise the matter in public
                    or before the press, as Officers have no means of responding to the
                    same in public. The matter should be raised with the appropriate
                    (Corporate) Director of Service. Where the Officer concerned is a
                    (Corporate) Director, the matter should be raised with the Chief
                    Executive. Where the employee concerned is the Chief Executive, the
                    matter should be raised with the Head of Human Resources. If the
                    matter cannot be resolved informally, it may be necessary to invoke the
                    Council‘s Disciplinary Procedure.

3.        The Mayor/Deputy Mayor and Officers of the Council

3.1       The Mayor is elected by the Council annually and as a Member of the Council
          is bound by both the Code of Conduct which applies to all Councillors and to
          the provisions of this Protocol.

3.2       The Mayor does, however, have the following specific responsibilities:-

          i.         to uphold and promote the purposes of the Council‘s Constitution, and
                     to interpret the Constitution when necessary;

          ii.        to preside over meetings of the Council so that its business can be
                     carried out effectively and with regard to the rights of Councillors and
                     the interests of the community;

          iii.       to ensure that the Council meeting is a forum for the debate of matters
                     of concern to the local community and the place at which Members are
                     able to hold Members of the Cabinet and Committee Chairs to account;

          iv.        to promote public involvement in the Council‘s activities;

          v.         to be the conscience of the Council; and

          vi.        to attend such civic and ceremonial functions as the Council and
                     he/she determines appropriate.

3.3       The Deputy Mayor will support and assist the Mayor in fulfilling all of his/her
          responsibilities.

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3.4       The Civic Assistant and the Mayor‘s Attendant should assist the Mayor and
          Deputy Mayor with the full delivery of the Council‘s civic functions and
          services and should also assist any other Members who may undertake
          Mayoral or civic events or engagements from time to time.

3.5       Subject to the provisions relating to Members access to documents and
          information, the Proper Officer of the Council should give honest and impartial
          advice to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and make all relevant details
          available to them, particularly in relation to, and in order to assist with the
          fulfillment of their responsibilities to uphold and promote the purposes of the
          Constitution; to interpret its terms and to preside over meetings of the Council.

3.6       All Officers of the Council should, so far as it is reasonably practicable to do
          so, seek to support the Mayor and Deputy Mayor with the promotion of public
          involvement in Council activities and civic and ceremonial events, but should
          always bear in mind that they must remain impartial at all times and that, first
          and foremost, they are accountable to the whole Council.

4.        Leader/Cabinet Members and Officers

4.1       The Leader is elected by the full Council. The other members of the Cabinet
          are appointed by the Leader. The Leader‘s principal role is to chair the
          Cabinet; agree the business to be considered by the Cabinet and to take
          particular responsibility for issues which transcend the individual
          responsibilities of the Members of Cabinet and are of considerable corporate
          significance, such as budget preparation, preparation of the Medium Term
          Financial Plan and Council Plan, Best Value and Partnership working with
          other local public, private and voluntary bodies.

4.2       The role of a Deputy Leader is to support the Leader of the Council and, in
          the Leader‘s absence or where the Leader is unable to act, to act as Cabinet
          Chair and to take particular responsibility for relevant issues which would
          normally be dealt with by the Leader.

4.3(a) The roles of Members of the Cabinet are to represent and consult individually
       with Officers regarding their respective areas of responsibility. These areas of
       responsibility are cross-cutting in nature and comprise the following:-


                     Corporate Management and Finance
                     Access and Communities
                     Children and Young People
                     Adult Services and Health
                     Regeneration and Transport
                     Arts, Leisure and Culture
                     Housing and Community Safety
                     Environment



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4.3(b)               One of these Members may also be appointed by the Leader as
                     Deputy Leader.


          Details of Cabinet Member Portfolios are set out in Part 8 at page 36. It is the
          Leader who determines how many other members of Cabinet there will be (up
          to a maximum of nine); who those Cabinet Members will be and what their
          areas of responsibility will be.

4.4       As a result of their additional responsibilities as members of the executive, the
          working relationships between Cabinet Members and Officers as employees
          may be different from, and more complex than those of members without such
          responsibilities and this is recognised in the expectations they are entitled to
          have. However the following provisions of the Protocol are designed to
          ensure that the Leader and Cabinet members nevertheless work to a set of
          ground rules designed to maintain high standards of conduct, public
          accountability and mutual respect between Councillors and Officers, and a
          clear understanding of the executive and scrutiny functions within the
          Council‘s new decision-making structures.

4.5       The Leader and Cabinet Members, along with all other Councillors, must
          observe the Code of Conduct for Members. This covers personal conduct,
          public duty and private interests, acceptance of gifts and hospitality, use of
          Council facilities, and the basic principles of working relationships between
          Councillors and Officers.

4.6       Subject to this overarching principle, and the overall context of the primacy of
          Council, the Leader and other Cabinet Members, in Cabinet, represent the
          executive body of the Authority, with responsibility for taking executive
          decisions and for making recommendations on matters beyond their executive
          powers to the full Council.

4.7       The business of Cabinet will comprise:-

               reports from the Corporate Management Team

               reports from the Head of Paid Service, Monitoring Officer or the Chief
                Finance Officer

               reports from Select Committees referred to Cabinet

               proposals for its Forward Plans

               Cabinet proposals referred back by the Executive Scrutiny Committee
                following the exercise of call-in

               Cabinet proposals referred back by the Council which fall to the Cabinet to
                determine



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               proposals referred to it by the Council, which fall to the Council to
                determine.

4.8       Non-Cabinet Members can raise items that they may wish to see discussed
          by the Cabinet either through Officers or the relevant Member of Cabinet, who
          will consider the request and, if considered appropriate, request Officers to
          prepare a report.

4.9       Select Committee reports/recommendations will be placed on the agenda of a
          Cabinet meeting in accordance with the Executive Scrutiny and Select
          Committee Procedure Rules and the Cabinet Procedure Rules.

4.10      The Access to Information Procedure Rules regulate decision-making by the
          Cabinet and the taking of key decisions by an Officer or under executive joint
          arrangements.

4.11      Forward Plans will be prepared by the Director of Law and Democracy, on
          behalf of the Leader on a monthly basis, in accordance with the provisions of
          the Access to Information Procedure Rules.

4.12      As Cabinet decisions are made collectively, the principal interface between
          the Cabinet and the Officer structure will be through meetings of the Cabinet
          together with the Chief Executive, Corporate Directors of Service and the
          Director of Law and Democracy, as the Corporate Management Team. Prior
          to publication of Cabinet papers an informal briefing meeting will be held
          between Cabinet Members and the Corporate Management Team to
          determine the agenda for the forthcoming Cabinet meeting. This Agenda
          meeting will be programmed into the Cabinet timetable. Reports for formal
          Cabinet meetings will be published in accordance with the Access to
          Information Procedure Rules and the Concordat for Communication and
          Consultation with Members. Formal Cabinet meetings will be serviced by the
          Corporate Management Team, together with any other necessary Officers, in
          particular the nominated Democratic Services Officer.

4.13      The Chief Executive will be the principal Advisor to the Cabinet. Individual
          Cabinet Members with functional responsibilities will also have Principal
          Advisors in accordance with those functional responsibilities. These Advisors
          will be drawn from the Corporate Management Team. The Chief Executive
          (with the support of the rest of the Corporate Management Team) will act as
          Principal Advisor to the Leader and/or Deputy Leader.

4.14      In undertaking the roles inherent in the Council‘s new political management
          system, Cabinet Members, Corporate Directors of Service and other Officers
          should respect the following protocols:-

          (a)        As ―visible‖ and accountable elected representatives, with defined
                     responsibilities, Cabinet Members need to be properly briefed on all
                     significant aspects of the work of the one or more services that operate
                     within their remit. Corporate Directors of Services, as Principal
                     Advisors, should ensure a proper information flow so as to ensure that

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                     Cabinet Members with functional responsibilities can effectively
                     undertake their role.

          (b)        Good communications can best be achieved through planned and
                     programmed meetings and briefing arrangements. On the basis that
                     Corporate Directors of Service should be ensuring that the information
                     needs of Cabinet Members are met, Cabinet Members should in turn
                     seek to avoid making requests for unanticipated briefings, or detailed
                     information-gathering exercises, which can unbalance planned service
                     workloads.

          (c)        Cabinet Members should channel requests for information, advice and
                     other support via the Corporate Director of Service or via such
                     arrangements as are agreed and established with the Corporate
                     Director (eg Director‘s PA, specific Management Team members on
                     specific issues or otherwise). Cabinet Members should not normally
                     approach other staff direct with requests for information (except in
                     cases of urgency) or seek to commission work from individual staff, as
                     this can create conflict with day to day line management
                     accountabilities.

          (d)        While Cabinet Members will wish to work with Corporate Directors and
                     Senior managers in the development of policies and programmes, they
                     should recognise that there are categories of officer-level meetings,
                     both inside and outside the Council where attendance by a Cabinet
                     Members (or other Councillor) may not be appropriate.

          (e)        Cabinet Members (and other Councillors) have collective responsibility
                     to the Council for the conduct of employment policy and the Council
                     acts as the employing body for all Council staff. Employment policies,
                     having been set by the Council, are implemented via Corporate
                     Directors of Service. Cabinet Members should avoid becoming over-
                     involved in issues of individual performance of Officers, or individual
                     cases of eg grievance, disciplinary action or harassment. Cabinet
                     Members have the right, however, to bring to the notice of relevant
                     Corporate Directors any instances within their area of responsibility,
                     where they have evidence that there are problems of inefficiency or
                     ineffectiveness and to be kept informed of what course of action is
                     being pursued in such circumstances.


          (f)        Under the Council‘s new system of decision-making, Cabinet Members
                     are expected to justify and account for any proposals relevant to their
                     portfolio to the Council and to the Executive Scrutiny and Select
                     Committees as appropriate, When fulfilling this responsibility, Cabinet
                     Members should take appropriate advice from relevant Corporate
                     Directors, and Corporate Directors should ensure that full and proper
                     professional, legal and financial advice is provided to Cabinet
                     Members.



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          (g)        When new policies and proposals are brought forward, Cabinet
                     Members may wish to discuss with Corporate Directors, and via
                     Corporate Directors with senior Officers preparing reports, the content
                     of such reports and the framing of recommendations. While Cabinet
                     Members may wish to make suggestions on content and drafting, to
                     achieve clarity of presentation, simplify jargon, or better explain issues,
                     they should not attempt to edit out or override any content of a report
                     which Corporate Directors or Senior Officers feel it is important to put
                     before the Council. This is especially relevant to matters of a
                     professional or technical nature, and all Chief Officers must be able to
                     retain a right to report direct to the Council and all committees where
                     they consider it necessary.

          (h)        A number of Officers exercise statutory functions or have individual
                     responsibilities. Cabinet Members should not attempt to interfere with
                     these roles. These include the functions of Proper Officer (eg
                     witnessing and receipt of declarations of acceptance of office; and
                     signature of summons to a Council meeting etc); Monitoring Officer (eg
                     maintaining the Council‘s Constitution; ensuring lawfulness and
                     fairness of decision-making and supporting the Standards Committee)
                     and Chief Finance Officer (eg ensuring financial prudence of decision-
                     making; administering the Authority‘s financial affairs and giving
                     financial advice).

4.15      Where reports are called in for scrutiny, Cabinet Members (if asked to do so)
          should attend to answer questions. Cabinet Members should normally be
          sufficiently briefed to answer the majority of questions themselves, and to be
          able to provide justification for the recommendations in a report. On more
          technical or professional issues, however, Cabinet Members may wish to call
          on Corporate Directors or specialist Officers to answer questions and explain
          the basis for recommendations.

4.16      The same principles should apply where Cabinet Members wish to discuss
          issues relating to their portfolios with individual Councillors or groups of
          Councillors. Cabinet Members should also always ensure, in accordance with
          the Concordat for Consultation and Communication with Members, that they
          consult on issues affecting individual wards. Cabinet Members should also
          make themselves available for discussion with Leaders/Spokespersons of
          other political groups in respect of forthcoming Cabinet business. On request
          the Chief Executive and Members of the Corporate Management Team will be
          available to discuss forthcoming agenda items for Cabinet with
          Leaders/Spokespersons of political groups.

4.17      Notwithstanding the above, it should be recognised that the following
          principles are paramount:-

          (a)       Chief Officers are employed to serve the whole Council and remain
                    ultimately accountable to the whole Council.




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          (b)       All Officers are required to be politically neutral and for senior Officers
                    this is enforced through the political restrictions of the Local
                    Government and Housing Act 1989. All Officers are required to abide
                    by the Council‘s Code of Conduct for Employees. The impartiality of
                    Officers must therefore be respected and they must not be asked to
                    undertake work of a party political nature.

          (c)        Chief Officers have individual responsibilities as defined in their job
                     descriptions. In some cases these will include professional or technical
                     responsibilities of a statutory nature (eg regulatory functions, Proper
                     Officer functions).

          (d)        Chief Officers with professional responsibilities may also have a duty to
                     observe codes and standards set by outside professional bodies (eg
                     accountancy, law, structural engineering). There may be occasions on
                     which these require to be treated as over-ruling the views of Cabinet
                     Members or Council policy decisions (and should such circumstances
                     arise Chief Officers will need to report the position via the decision-
                     making process).

          (e)        Certain Officers eg Head of Paid Service (Chief Executive), Monitoring
                     Officer (Director of Law and Democracy) and Chief Finance Officer
                     (Section 151 Officer or Corporate Director of Resources) have other
                     responsibilities, which in law have primacy over and above their
                     obligations to the Council and individual Members, and Members must
                     therefore respect these obligations, not obstruct those Officers in the
                     discharge of their duties and must not victimise them for fulfilling their
                     responsibilities.

          (f)        The Chief Executive and the Corporate Management Team have a
                     collective responsibility to advise the Council on its priorities, allocation
                     of resources and forward programmes.

          (g)        Officers should conduct themselves with integrity, impartiality and
                     honesty. They should give honest and impartial advice to the Leader
                     and Cabinet Members without fear or favour, and make all information
                     relevant to a decision available to them. They should not deceive or
                     knowingly mislead Cabinet Members, other Councillors or the public, or
                     withhold information that may be relevant to a decision.

5.        Chairs and Members of Executive Scrutiny and Select
          Committees and Officers

5.1       The primary role of the Chair and Members of the Executive Scrutiny
          Committee is to scrutinise the decisions of Cabinet.

5.2       This scrutiny process will operate on the basis of a call-in procedure. This will
          be regulated in accordance with the provisions of the Executive Scrutiny and
          Select Committee Procedure Rules as will the attendance of Cabinet


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          Members, Senior Officers, or other parties at meetings of the Executive
          Scrutiny and Select Committees.

5.3       The Head of Democratic Services will be the Principal Advisor to the
          Executive Scrutiny Committee. She or he will meet with Chair and Vice-Chair
          to discuss any items which may have been called-in and will arrange in liaison
          with the nominated Democratic Services Officer, if required, for the
          attendance of any Cabinet Members, Senior Officers or other parties at the
          proposed Executive Scrutiny Committee meeting at which the called-in item or
          items are to be discussed.

5.4       The Chair and Members of the Executive Scrutiny Committee along with all
          other Councillors must observe the Code of Conduct for Members.

5.5       Over and above these requirements, the Chair and Members of the
          Committee have responsibility for ensuring the scrutiny process operates
          fairly and openly. In particular, they will have responsibility for ensuring that
          Members of the Cabinet and Officers are not questioned (whether through the
          nature, tone or language used), in such a manner as could be considered by
          a reasonable person to be hostile, offensive, derogatory, harassing, bullying,
          victimising, discriminatory or otherwise unacceptable or inappropriate
          behaviour by a Member. Equally, it has to be recognised that Executive
          Scrutiny and Select Committees have no jurisdiction to deal with matters,
          which are of a disciplinary nature for the relevant Political Group (in respect of
          Members) or the relevant Chief Officer/Chief Executive (in respect of
          Officers).

5.6       The Chair and Members of the Committee should expect executive
          Councillors and Officers to be as open as legally possible with the Committee.
          In a public forum information should not however be disclosed where it is
          categorised as exempt under the Access to Information Procedure Rules.
          The Chair and Members of the Committee will still need to demonstrate the
          same need to know in respect of access to information as other Councillors.

5.7       The Chair of the Committee should keep separate his/her role as chair and as
          constituency Councillor, and should seek to ensure that no conflicts of interest
          arise. He/she should not seek to use his/her position to influence events
          unduly.

5.8       In accordance with the Code of Conduct, Members must not use Council
          resources for party political purposes. They must uphold the political
          impartiality of the Officer body, and not ask Officers to act in any way which
          would conflict with the Employee Code of Conduct, this Protocol, any other
          part of the Constitution or National Conditions of Service.

5.9       Officers are required to assist the Executive Scrutiny Committee in the
          delivery of its role. The Chair and Members of the Committee, as with all
          Councillors undertaking scrutiny, will however have to be aware of the
          resource consequences of any proposals. In some instances requests for
          research in pursuit of scrutiny may have to be refused on grounds of expense


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          or time. In any event information currently under confidential review by the
          Cabinet will not normally be available on request to Councillors undertaking
          scrutiny.

5.10      The overriding principles outlined in paragraph 4.17 of this protocol apply to
          the scrutiny process, just as they do to the Council‘s executive decision-
          making arrangements.

5.11      The Council‘s seven Select Committees will each perform a policy and
          performance review role in connection with their respective areas of remit and
          terms of reference.

5.12      All of the Executive Scrutiny and Select Committees may call on the Leader,
          the Deputy Leader, other Cabinet Members and Senior Officers to answer
          questions on decisions made by the Cabinet and by delegated Officer
          decision respectively either by attending Executive Scrutiny or Select
          Committee meetings by invitation or by responding in writing. Invitations
          should be issued in writing from the Chair of the relevant Executive Scrutiny
          or Select Committee and should indicate the subject matter which is to be
          addressed.     Seven working days notice must be provided wherever
          practicable.

5.13      Each Select Committee will have a Principal Officer Advisor and a designated
          Democratic Services Officer to support its operation. Other Officers should
          also assist the work of the Committees in order that they can fulfill their role
          and responsibilities.

5.14      The provisions of paragraphs 5.4 to 5.10 inclusively of this Protocol apply
          equally to the Chairs and Members of Select Committees, as they do to the
          Chair and Members of the Executive Scrutiny Committee.

6.        Chairs and Members of Other Committees and Officers
6.1       Whilst it is clearly important that there should be a close working relationship
          between the Chairperson and/or Vice-Chairperson of a Committee and a
          Corporate Director and other Officers of any Service which reports to that
          Committee, such relationships should never be allowed to become so close,
          or appear to be so close, as to bring into question the Officers‘ ability to deal
          impartially and fairly with other Members and other party groups.

6.2       Whilst the Chairperson and/or Vice-Chairperson of a Committee will routinely
          be consulted as part of the process of drawing up the agenda for a
          forthcoming meeting, it must be recognised that in some situations a
          Corporate Director will be under a duty to submit a report on a particular
          matter. Any issues arising between a Chairperson and/or Vice-Chairperson
          and a Corporate Director in this area should be referred to the Chief Executive
          for resolution in conjunction with the Leader of the Council.

6.3       In relation to action between meetings, it is important to remember that the
          Council‘s Constitution only allows for decisions (relating to the discharge of

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          any of the Council‘s functions) to be taken by the Committee or an Officer. In
          the latter case such decisions may need to be taken in consultation with a
          Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson or some other Member of the Council.
          The Constitution does not allow for such decisions to be taken by a
          Chairperson or indeed by any other single Member.

6.4       The provisions of paragraphs 5.4 to 5.10 inclusively of this Protocol apply to
          the Chairs and Members of all the Council‘s quasi-judicial and regulatory
          Committees, including the Standards Committee, just as they apply to the
          Chairs and Members of the Authority‘s Executive Scrutiny and Select
          Committees.

7.        Officers and Party Groups
7.1       There is now statutory recognition for Party Groups and it is common practice
          for such groups to give preliminary consideration to matters of Council
          business in advance of such matters being considered by the relevant Council
          decision making body. Party Groups therefore have an important part to play
          in the development of policy and the political management of the Authority. In
          view of this it is in the interests of the Authority to support the effective
          operation of political groups insofar as Council business is concerned and
          Officers may therefore properly be called upon to support and contribute to
          deliberations by such groups.

7.2       The support provided by Officers can take many forms, ranging from a
          briefing meeting with a Chairperson or Spokesperson prior to a Cabinet or
          Committee meeting, to a presentation to a full party group meeting. Whilst in
          practice such Officer support is likely to be in most demand from whichever
          party group is for the time being in control of the Council, such support is
          available to all party groups.

7.3       Certain points must however be clearly understood by all those participating in
          this type of process. Members and Officers alike, given the particular risks it
          can pose in terms of the impartiality of Officers. In particular:-

          a.        Political Group meetings, whilst they are an important part in the
                    preliminaries to the decision-making process, are not formal decision-
                    making bodies of the Council and, as such, are not empowered, even
                    under the new constitutional arrangements, to make decisions on behalf
                    of the Council. Conclusions reached at such meetings do not,
                    therefore, rank as Council decisions and it is essential that Members
                    and Officer understand and interpret such decisions accordingly.

          b.        Any political group may request the Chief Executive or a Corporate
                    Director of Service to attend a meeting of the group to advise on any
                    particular matter relating to the authority. Political groups may also
                    request the Chief Executive or a Corporate Service Director to prepare
                    written reports on matters relating to the authority for consideration by
                    the group.


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          c.        The Chief Executive or Corporate Director of Service may arrange for
                    the attendance of a representative in his/her stead, or may decline to
                    attend or to provide a representative where he/she is of the opinion that
                    the particular issue is of such a political nature that it would be
                    inappropriate to attend.

          d.         Officer support in these circumstances must not extend beyond
                     providing information and advice in relation to matters of Council
                     business and, where a report is presented, should be limited to a
                     statement of material facts and identification of options and the merits
                     and demerits of such options for the Council. Officers must not be
                     involved in advising on matters of party business or political
                     implications. They should remain politically neutral. The observance
                     of this distinction will be assisted if Officers are only expected to be
                     present and remain in attendance at Group meetings when matters of
                     Council business are being discussed.

          e.         Party Group meetings, whilst they form part of the preliminaries to
                     Council decision making are not empowered to make decisions on
                     behalf of the Council. Conclusions reached at such meetings do not
                     therefore rank as Council decisions and it is essential that they are not
                     interpreted or acted upon as such; and

          f.         Similarly, where Officers provide information and advice to a party
                     group meeting in relation to a matter of Council business, this cannot
                     act as a substitute for providing all necessary information and advice
                     to the relevant Council meeting when the matter in question is
                     considered formally.

7.4       Special care needs to be exercised whenever Officers are involved in
          providing information and advice to a party group meeting which includes
          persons who are not Members of the Council. Such persons will not be
          bound by the Code of Conduct for Members (in particular, the provisions
          concerning the declaration of interests and confidentiality) and for this and
          other reasons Officers may not be able to provide the same level of
          information and advice as they would to a Members only meeting.

7.5       Officers must respect the confidentiality of any party group discussions at
          which they are present in the sense that they should not relay the contents of
          any such discussions to another party group.

7.6       Any particular cases of difficulty or uncertainty in this area of Officer advice to
          party groups should be raised with the Chief Executive who will then discuss
          them with the relevant Group Leader(s).

7.7       All Members should appreciate that the only basis on which the Council can
          lawfully provide support services (eg personal computers, stationery, typing,
          printing, photocopying, transport etc) to Members is to assist them in
          discharging their role as Members of the Council. Such support services must
          therefore only be used on Council business. They should never be used in


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          order to support Members in connection with any party political or
          campaigning activity or for Members private purposes. In particular, Members
          should not personalize the stationery they receive from the Council by adding
          political logos or referring to themselves as a specific political party member
          or representative. Members should also not ask Officers to provide support
          services other than those which are to be used for Council business
          purposes.

7.8       All Members should comply with the provisions of the Protocols relating to the
          use of Personal Computers and other facilities and services.

8.        Ward Members and Officers

8.1       Although all Members have a primary, overall responsibility and accountability
          to the Council as a whole, they also have a wider duty to represent their
          constituents and local communities.

8.2       Ward Councillors should aim to ensure that the Council is aware of the views
          and interests of those people who elect them. They may take a lead role in
          developing local networks of organisations and individuals, providing local
          interpretations of the Community Strategy and the Council Plan and they may
          promote local democratic engagement. The White Paper, Modern Local
          Government; In Touch with the People, described this role as follows:-

                     “each Councillor will become a people‟s champion of their local
                     community, defending the public interest in the Council. …… They will
                     bring their constituents‟ views, concerns and grievances to the Council
                     through the Council‟s structure.”

8.3       A community Member‘s ―champion role‖ has a number of key elements. The
          following are some of the principal ones:-

          Signposting – community Members know how the system works and who to
          contact. They are well placed to advice local people about local issues and
          can point people in the right direction;

          Monitoring – community Members can help local people to make progress by
          overseeing and intervening on their behalf;

          Advocacy – community Members have the necessary status, skills and ability
          to tackle failure. When things go wrong or break down, as elected
          representatives, they are well placed to intervene and to seek redress on
          behalf of local people; and

          Representing – community Members can spot emerging issues and trends.
          They will know when a series of individual issues indicates that there is a real
          failure in the system that needs to be taken up by the Council itself and they
          can feed views into the local authority.



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8.4       Whichever of these roles Ward Councillors perform, they need to be properly
          supported if they are to be effective.

8.5       The Democratic Services Unit and individual Democratic Services Officers will
          support Ward Councillors by (amongst other things) providing information and
          documentation (subject to the following paragraphs of the protocol regarding
          access to information and Council documents); undertaking research about
          local issues; putting them in contact with individuals and groups in their Wards
          and adjoining Wards; arranging Ward Surgeries and local meetings on their
          behalf; arranging informal meetings with Officers and other Members;
          highlighting issues of local interest ensuring access to Council meetings,
          agendas, minutes and facilities ; maintaining the Members‘ Library; co-
          ordinating a support service in connection with computers and new
          technology at Members‘ homes.

8.6       All Officers should ensure that the Council‘s Concordat for Communication
          and Consultation with Members is followed at all times.

8.7       All Officers and, where appropriate, Members of the Cabinet should consult
          with Ward Members on issues which relate to their Ward. Such issues may
          typically include:-

               changes in service delivery
               planning applications and proposals
               regeneration initiatives

8.8       All Officers should identify any issues which may have implications for more
          than one Ward and consult with all the Ward Members who may be affected.

8.9       All Officers should always try to ensure, so far as it is reasonably practicable
          to do so, that Members have a realistic timescale in which to respond to
          consultation on matters affecting or relating to their Ward or constituents.
          Where, however, urgent action is required to address a particular issue which,
          for instance, does not realistically allow time for Ward Members to consult
          their constituents, Officers should inform the Members concerned as soon as
          possible of any actions taken.

8.10      All Officers acting within the remit of their delegated powers should ensure
          that they identify at an early stage any issues which should be drawn to the
          attention of Ward members or which should form part of a prior consultation
          exercise with them.

8.11      Whenever a public meeting is organised by or on behalf of the Council to
          consider a local issue all the Members representing the Ward or Wards
          affected should as a matter of course be invited to attend the meeting.
          Similarly, whenever the Council undertakes any form of consultative exercise
          on a local issue, the Ward Members should be notified at the outset of the
          exercise.

9.        Members‟ Access to Information and the Council Documents

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9.1       Subject to the guidance contained in paragraphs 9.2 to 9.9 and to the Access
          to Information Procedure Rules set out at Part 4 of the Constitution, Members
          are free to approach any Council Service to provide them with such
          information, explanation and advice (about that Service‘s functions) as they
          may reasonably need in order to assist them in discharging their role as
          Members of the Council. This can range from a request for general
          information about some aspect of a Service‘s activities to a request for
          specific information on behalf of a constituent. Such approaches should
          normally be directed to the relevant Corporate Director or another nominated
          Senior Officer of the Service concerned although this should not in any way
          prevent appropriate information gathering from taking place by means of
          contact with Ward, Estate or ―Patch‖ Officers, in the usual way. A Member
          may also, on application to the Director of Law and Democracy inspect any
          document which has been considered by the Council and be supplied with a
          copy of such document.

9.2       As regards the legal rights of Members to inspect Council documents, these
          are covered partly by statute and partly by common law.

9.3       Members have a statutory right to inspect any Council document which
          contains material relating to any business which is to be transacted at a
          Council, Cabinet in public or Committee meeting.              This right applies
          irrespective of whether the Member is a member of the Cabinet or Committee
          concerned and extends not only to reports which are to be submitted to the
          meeting, but also to any relevant background papers. This right does not
          however apply to documents relating to certain items which may appear on
          the ―Not for Publication‖ part of the agenda for meetings. The items in
          question are those which contain exempt information relating to eg any
          individual; the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including
          the authority holding the information); any action taken or to be taken in
          connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime. A
          Member should also not knowingly inspect and/or call for a copy of any
          document relating to a matter in which he/she is professionally interested or in
          which he/she has directly or indirectly any personal, prejudicial interest. In
          addition, the Director of Law and Democracy or any Solicitor to the Council
          may decline to allow inspection of any document which is , or in the event of
          legal proceedings, would be protected by privilege arising from the
          relationship of Solicitor and Client.

9.4       The common law right of Members is much broader and is based on the
          principle that any Member has a prima facie right to inspect Council
          documents so far as his/her access to the documents is reasonably
          necessary to enable the Member properly to perform his/her duties as a
          Member of the Council. This principle is commonly referred to as the ―need to
          know‖ principle.

9.5       In some circumstances (eg a Committee Member wishing to inspect non-
          personal or non-confidential documents relating to the functions of that
          Committee) a Member‘s ―need to know‖ will normally be presumed. In other

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          circumstances (eg a Member wishing to inspect Council documents which
          contain personal or confidential information about third parties, such as
          Council Tenants) there will be a presumption against disclosure and a
          Member will be expected to justify the request in specific terms in order to
          make their ―need to know‖ clear. In certain cases, additional guidance
          regarding the circumstances when inspection may or may not be allowed may
          also have been approved by the Council eg the primary and secondary
          schools Admissions Protocol which prohibits/restricts the disclosure of
          information relating to parental preferences; the number of pupils or their
          position on the Holding Register; the number of successful or unsuccessful
          applicants and the reasons why a place at a school has or has not been
          allocated to a pupil.

9.6       Whilst the exercise of this common law right principally depends therefore
          upon the Member‘s ability to demonstrate that he/she has the necessary
          ―need to know‖ and that there are no legitimate reasons for non-disclosure, a
          Member has no right to ―a roving commission‖ to go and examine documents
          of the Council. Mere curiosity is not sufficient. The crucial question is the
          determination of the ―need to know‖. The ―need‖ is so that Members can
          perform their roles as Councillors. It can be limited by conflict of interest,
          confidentiality and practicality. The question as to whether a ―need to know‖
          has been reasonably and satisfactorily established must initially be
          determined by the particular Corporate Director of Service whose Service
          holds the document in question (with advice from the Director of Law and
          Democracy). In the event of dispute, the question falls to be determined by
          the relevant Council body eg a Committee in connection with whose functions
          the document is held.

9.7       As a general requirement, where a request to inspect or copy Council
          documents is likely to involve the significant use of resources, approval to the
          use of those resources should be requested by following the need to know
          determination procedure specified in the preceding paragraph.

9.8       Whilst the term ―Council document‖ is very broad and, prima facie, includes
          for example any document produced with Council resources, it does not cover
          draft documents or documents which do not relate to business to be
          considered by or transacted at a Council, Cabinet or Committee meeting. It is
          also accepted by convention that a Member of one party group will not have a
          ―need to know‖ and therefore a right to inspect, a document which forms part
          of the internal workings of another party group.

9.9       Further and more detailed advice relevant to particular circumstances
          regarding Members‘ right to inspect Council documents may be obtained from
          the Director of Law and Democracy.

9.10      Finally any Council information provided to a Member must only be used by
          the Member for the purpose for which it was provided ie in connection with the
          proper performance of the Member‘s duties as a Member of the Council.
          Members necessarily acquire much information that has not yet been made
          public and is still confidential. It is betrayal of trust to breach such


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          confidences. Members should never therefore disclose or use confidential
          information for the personal advantage of themselves or of anyone known to
          them, or to the disadvantage or the discredit of the Council or anyone else.

9.11      The Freedom of Information Act 2000 has brought additional rights,
          responsibilities and safeguards regarding confidential information. The Act
          became fully operational in January, 2005 insofar as the public right of access
          provisions are concerned. A ―Publication Scheme‖ has also been produced
          by the Council, and this can be accessed on the Council‘s website at
          www.stockton.gov.uk

10.       Non-Councillor Members of Council bodies

10.1      In accordance with legislative requirements, the Council has appointed
          diocesan and parent governor representatives to its Select Committees
          dealing with education functions and to the Executive Scrutiny Committee
          when considering education matters. These representatives may only vote on
          education issues (as outlined in the Executive Scrutiny and Select Committee
          Procedure Rules), although they may speak on non-education topics.

10.2      In particular these representatives have the right to vote on any decision
          relating to schools maintained by the authority and pupils who attend local
          authority maintained schools or who are educated by the authority in some
          other way.

10.3      These education representatives are also allowed to vote on matters which
          affect how funds which have already been earmarked for education are to be
          spent, such as:-

               How much of the education budget is devoted to schools compared to eg
                adult education;
               What proportion of the schools budget is retained centrally by the local
                education authority to provide services for schools and pupils, and what
                proportion is delegated to individual school budgets;
               What proportion of the school budget retained centrally is devoted to each
                of the 4 main funding areas (school improvement, pupil access, special
                education provisions and strategic management) and how much is
                contributed to Government grants for other specific activities;
               The formula by which individual school budgets are calculated.

10.4      Education representatives should not vote on:-

               Any decision which determines the local education authority‘s total
                education revenue or capital budget;
               Any matter which would require the Council to raise the Council Tax;
               Any matter in which the representative has a prejudicial (which may
                include a pecuniary) interest or any other matter in which the
                representative has some direct interest. This would include a direct impact
                on the school at which the representative is, or was, a parent governor or


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                where the representative‘s child or children are taught, for example,
                whether that school or another school should be given priority for the
                replacement of temporary classrooms.

10.5      Other non-Councillor representatives have also been appointed to the
          Council‘s Select Committees dealing with education matters, but with no
          rights to vote whatsoever. The Council‘s other Committees may also co-opt
          non-Councillor representatives without voting rights.

10.6      All non-Councillor representatives appointed to the Council‘s bodies, whether
          they have voting rights or not, should comply with the Council‘s Code of
          Conduct for Members, particularly with regard to personal conduct; the
          declaration of interests; acceptance of gifts and hospitality; use of Council
          facilities and the basic principles of mutual trust and respect between
          Councillors and Officers.

10.7      All non-Councillor representatives should abide by and be subject to the
          provisions of this Protocol insofar as they can sensibly be applied to them
          when fulfilling their duties as representatives on Council Committees.

10.8      All non-Councillor representatives will be subject to the same requirements
          and restrictions as Members in respect of access to Council documents and
          information.

11.       Publicity Material and Press Releases

11.1      The guiding principles as to the publication of publicity material and the
          issuing of press releases by local authority staff are to be found in the Local
          Government Act 1986 and the related Code of Conduct or Code of
          Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity as further revised by the
          Secretary of State on 31 March 2011.

11.2      The following is an extract from the 1986 Act:

          ―A local authority shall not publish any material which, in whole or in part,
          appears to be designed to affect support for a political party.

          In determining whether material falls within the prohibition regard shall be had
          to the content and style of the material, the time and other circumstances of
          publication and the likely effect on those to whom it is directed and in
          particular the following matters;

               whether the material refers to a political party or to persons identified with
                a political party or promotes or opposes a point of view on a question of
                political controversy which is identifiable as the view of one political party
                and not of another;
               where material is part of a campaign the effect which the campaign
                appears to be designed to achieve.”



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11.3      A copy of the Code of Conduct or Code of Recommended Practice on
          Publicity is accessible at
          www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/publicitycode2011

11.4      The Council is not therefore permitted to fund the publication of publicity
          material and/or the production of press releases which are party political. To
          assist in defining this the following checklist can be used:

               party political logos should not be used
               party political names should not be used except where they are necessary
                in describing a position
               publicity should not be used to publicise individual Councillors unless they
                are acting on behalf of or representing the Council.


11.5      The names of non-executive Members, and a short quote from them, may be
          included in press releases relating to a ward –specific issue in their ward or, in
          the case of Group Leaders, to a Council/Borough-wide issue. This may only
          occur where the Members concerned are speaking on behalf of the Council or
          in support of Council policy.

11.6      If these rules are respected there is no reason whatsoever as to why effective
          publications and other material cannot be produced and issued without
          contravening the law. Such material can be written by paid officers and
          printed by the local authority.

11.7      Any publication or press release which breaches any of the above will be
          deemed political and will need to be funded by the political party and Officers
          will not be able to participate.

11.8      Members acting as spokespersons for the Council, when responding to the
          press and media and making public statements on behalf of the Council
          should liaise with the Authority‘s Public Relations Officer on the form and
          content of any response or statement.

12.       Correspondence

12.1      Correspondence between an individual Member and an Officer should not
          normally be copied (by the Officer) to any other Member unless a prior
          protocol to that effect has been agreed eg as in the case of advice on
          Members‘ interests. Where exceptionally, without such agreement being in
          place, it is necessary to copy correspondence to another Member, this should
          be made clear to the original Member. In other words, a system of ―silent
          copies‖ should not be employed.

12.2      Official letters on behalf of the Council should normally be sent out under the
          name of the appropriate Officer, rather than under the name of a Member. It
          may be appropriate in certain circumstances (eg representations to a
          Government Minister) for a letter to appear under the name of a Member, but
          this should be the exception rather than the norm. Letters which for example,

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          create obligations or give instructions on behalf of the Council should never
          be sent out under the name of a Member.

12.3      Correspondence between Officers and Members of Parliament should be
          copied to the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council.

12.4      Where correspondence is proposed to be copied to another member, or to
          any other person or body, and that correspondence contains, or includes as
          an attachment personal information regarding a third party (e.g. a constituent),
          copying should not take place in breach of the requirements of Data
          Protection Legislation. Where there is any doubt in this respect, appropriate
          legal advice should be obtained before copying takes place.




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                              CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING POLICY


This policy has been introduced to enable employees, and other persons working for the
Council on Council premises, together with suppliers and those providing services under a
contract with the Council to confidentially voice serious concerns over alleged malpractice
and alleged wrongdoing within the Council.

Officers have been nominated in each service for the purpose of dealing with concerns
raised by employees or other persons under this policy. The Nominated Officers are
currently as follows:-

Development & Neighbourhood Services            Sue Daniels
Children, Education and Social Care             Tony Beckwith; Margaret Madden and Betty
                                                Johns
Law and Democracy and Policy,                   Nigel Hart
Performance & Communications
Resources                                       Judi Asquith; Colin Ward and Susan Mulligan

If you would like a copy of this policy in a different language or in another format, such as a
larger font size or in Braille, please contact Susan Ranson by telephoning 01642 527061 or
by email to susan.ranson@stockton.gov.uk




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                              CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING POLICY

1.        INTRODUCTION

1.1       Employees are sometimes the first to realise that there may be something seriously
          wrong within the Council. However, they may not express their concerns because
          they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the Council; or
          they may fear harassment, victimisation or other reprisals. In these circumstances it
          may be easier to ignore the concern rather than report what may be just a suspicion
          of malpractice.

1.2       The Council is committed to the highest possible standards in the delivery of its
          services, and for full accountability for those services. In line with that commitment
          employees are encouraged to come forward and voice any serious concerns they
          may have about the Council‘s work. It is recognised that certain cases will have to
          proceed on a confidential basis. This policy document makes it clear that you can do
          so without fear of reprisals. This policy is intended to encourage and enable you to
          raise serious concerns within the Council rather than overlooking a problem or
          ―blowing the whistle‖ outside.

1.3       The policy applies to all employees and those contractors working for the Council on
          Council premises, for example, agency staff, builders, drivers. It also covers
          suppliers and those providing services under a contract with the Council in their own
          premises, for example, care homes.

2.        AIMS AND SCOPE OF THIS POLICY

2.1       This policy aims to:

          a.         provide avenues for you to raise concerns and receive feedback on any
                            action taken;

          b.         allow you to take the matter further if you are dissatisfied with the Council‘s
                     response to the concerns expressed; and

          c.         reassure you that you will be protected from possible reprisals or
                     victimisation.

2.2       Service Comments, Commendations and Complaints systems are already in place to
          provide a mechanism for you to complain about the standard of service, action or
          lack of action by the Council or its employees, which affect our services to the public.
          There are also existing procedures in place to enable you to lodge a grievance
          relating to your own employment. The Confidential Reporting Policy is intended to
          cover concerns that fall outside the scope of these procedures eg malpractice or
          wrongdoing.

2.3       Thus any serious concern that you may have regarding the suspicion of malpractice
          or wrongdoing in any aspect of service provision or the conduct of Officers or
          Members of the Council (although complaints about Members‘ conduct may need to
          be forwarded to the Council‘s Standards Committee or to the Standards Board for
          England) or others acting on behalf of the Council can and should be reported under
          this policy. Employees are expected to report malpractice and wrongdoing and may
          be liable to disciplinary action if they knowingly and deliberately do not disclose
          information relating to malpractice or wrongdoing in any aspect of service provision


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          or the conduct of Officers or Members of the Council or others acting on behalf of the
          Council.

3.        WHAT IS MALPRACTICE OR WRONGDOING?

3.1       Malpractice and wrongdoing may be about something which:-

               is unlawful; or
               against the Council‘s Standing Orders or policies; or
               is not in accordance with established standards of practice; or
               amounts to improper conduct by an employee or a Member.

The overriding concern should be that it would be in the public interest for the malpractice to
      be corrected and, if appropriate, sanctions to be applied.

          The following are examples of issues which could be raised under this policy. It is
          not intended to be an exhaustive list and there may be other matters which could be
          dealt with under this policy:

          a.         any unlawful act or omission, whether criminal or a breach of civil law

          b.         maladministration, as defined by the Local Government Ombudsman

          c.         breach of any statutory code of practice

          d.         breach of, or failure to implement or comply with any policy determined by the
                     Council, the Cabinet or any of the Council‘s Committees

          e.         failure to comply with appropriate professional standards or other established
                     standards of practice

          f.         corruption or fraud

          g.         actions which are likely to cause physical danger to any person, or give rise to
                     a risk of significant damage to property

          h.         failure to take reasonable steps to report and rectify any situation which is
                     likely to give rise to a significant avoidable cost, or loss of income, to the
                     Council or would otherwise seriously prejudice the Council

          i          abuse of power, or the use of the Council‘s powers and authority for any
                     unauthorised or ulterior purpose

          j.         unfair discrimination in the Council‘s employment or services

          k.         dangerous procedures risking health and safety

          l.         abuse of clients

          m.         damage to the environment

          n.         other unethical conduct




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4.        SAFEGUARDS

4.1       HARASSMENT OR VICTIMISATION

          The Council recognises that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to
          make, not least because of the fear of reprisal from those responsible for the
          malpractice or from the Council as a whole. The Council will not tolerate any
          harassment or victimisation and will take appropriate action in order to protect you if
          you raise a concern in good faith. In addition you are protected by law by the Public
          Interest Disclosure Act, which gives employees protection from detriment and
          dismissal where they have made a protected disclosure, provided the legal
          requirements of the Act are satisfied.

          This does not necessarily mean that if you are already the subject of disciplinary
          procedures that those procedures will be halted as a result of a concern being raised
          under this policy.

4.2       CONFIDENTIALITY

          It will be easier to follow up and to verify complaints if complainants are prepared to
          give their names. However, wherever possible the Council will protect those who do
          not want their names to be disclosed. It must be appreciated that any investigation
          process may reveal the source of the information and a statement from you may be
          required as part of the evidence.

4.3       ANONYMOUS ALLEGATIONS

          Concerns expressed anonymously are much less powerful, but they will be treated
          with caution and considered at the discretion of the Council. In exercising this
          discretion the factors to be taken into account would include:

          a.         the seriousness of the issues raised;

          b.         the credibility of the concern; and

          c.         the likelihood of obtaining the necessary information and confirmation
                     of the allegation.

4.4       DELIBERATELY FALSE OR MALICIOUS ALLEGATIONS

          The Council will view very seriously any deliberately false or malicious allegations it
          receives, and will regard the making of any deliberately false or malicious allegations
          by any employee as a serious disciplinary offence which could result in dismissal.

          If you make an allegation in good faith but it is not confirmed by the investigation, no
          action will be taken against you.

          The Council will try to ensure that the negative impact of either a malicious or
          unfounded allegation about any employee is minimised. However, it must be
          acknowledged that it may not be possible to prevent all of the repercussions
          potentially involved.




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5.        HOW DO I RAISE A CONCERN?

5.1       If you suspect wrongdoing in the workplace:

               do not approach or accuse the individuals directly

               do not try to investigate the matter yourself

               do not convey your suspicions to any one other than those with the proper
                authority but do something!

5.2       As a first step, you should normally raise concerns with your immediate manager or
          supervisor. However, the most appropriate person to contact will depend on the
          seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is thought to be involved
          in the malpractice. For example, if you believe that senior management is involved in
          the matter of concern, or the normal channels of communication are inappropriate for
          some reason, as an employee of the Council you should approach your service‘s
          Nominated Officer (an Officer who has been nominated for the purpose of dealing
          with concerns under this policy). If you feel that this would be inappropriate in the
          light of the particular matter concerned, or if you are not a Council employee, you can
          contact any of the Nominated Officers specified in the Policy.

5.3       Concerns may be raised verbally but are better raised in writing. You are invited to
          set out the background and history of the concern giving relevant names, dates and
          places where possible, and the reason why you are particularly concerned about the
          situation. If you do not feel able to put your concern in writing you can telephone or
          meet the appropriate Officer.

5.4       The earlier a concern is expressed, the easier it is to take appropriate action.

5.5       Although you are not expected to prove the truth of an allegation that is made, it will
          be necessary for you to demonstrate to the person contacted that there are sufficient
          grounds for concern.

5.6       Advice and guidance on how matters of concern may be pursued can be obtained
          within the Council from Human Resources.

5.7       Alternatively, you may wish to seek advice from your trade union or professional
          association.

6.        HOW THE COUNCIL WILL RESPOND

6.1       The action taken by the Council will depend on the nature of the concern. Where
          appropriate, the matters raised may:

               be investigated by management, internal audit, or through the disciplinary
                process
               be referred to the Police
               be referred to the external Auditor
               need to be the subject of a referral to the Council‘s Standards Committee or to
                the Standards Board for England
               form the subject of an independent enquiry




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6.2       In order to protect individuals and the Council, initial enquiries will be made to decide
          whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take. Concerns
          or allegations which fall within the scope of specific procedures (for example
          allegations of breaches of the Council‘s Code of Conduct, child protection or
          discrimination issues) will normally be referred for consideration under these
          procedures.

6.3       Some concerns may be resolved by agreed action without the need for investigation.

6.4       Within 14 calendar days of a concern being raised under this procedure the relevant
          Nominated Officer will write to you:

          a.         acknowledging that the concern has been received;

          b.         indicating how it is proposed to deal with the matter;

          c.         giving an estimate (so far as reasonably practicable) as to how long it will take
                     to provide a final response;

          d.         telling you whether any initial enquiries have been made; and

          e.         telling you whether further investigations will take place and if not, why not

6.5       The amount of contact between you and the Officers considering the issues will
          depend on the nature of the matters raised; the potential difficulties involved; and the
          clarity of information provided. If necessary, further information will be sought from
          you.

6.6       Where any meeting is arranged, you have the right, if you so wish, to be
          accompanied by a trade union or professional association representative or a friend
          who is not involved in the area of work to which the concern relates.

6.7       The Council will take appropriate steps to minimise any difficulties you may
          experience as a result of raising a concern. For example, if you are required to give
          evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings the Council will advise you about the
          procedure.

6.8       The Council accepts that you need to be assured that the matter has been properly
          addressed. Therefore, subject to any legal restraints, you will receive as much
          information as possible about the outcomes of any investigation.

7.        HOW CAN I TAKE THE MATTER FURTHER?

7.1       This policy is intended to provide employees and other persons with an avenue to
          raise concerns within the Council and it is hoped that you will take this option in the
          first place. The Council hopes you will be satisfied. If you are not, and you feel it is
          right to take the matter outside the Council, then depending upon the nature of the
          issue involved, the following are possible contact points:

          1.         the District Auditor
          2.         relevant professional bodies or regulatory organisations
          3.         the Police
          4.         the Local Government Ombudsman




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          5.         the Standards Board for England (although complaints submitted to the
                     Council about Members‘ conduct may need to be forwarded to the Council‘s
                     Standards Committee or to the Standards Board in any event)
          6.         Public Concern at Work
          7.         an independent legal adviser within the meaning of the Public Interest
                     Disclosure Act 1998
          8.         a regulatory body designated for the purposes of the Public Interest
                     Disclosure Act

7.2       If you do wish to take the matter outside the Council, you must first ensure that you
          do not disclose confidential information. Check with a Nominated Officer or Human
          Resources about that. In addition, if you wish to secure the protections afforded by
          the Public Interest Disclosure Act, you must ensure that your disclosure is protected
          within the meaning of the Act and that it complies with a set of specific conditions
          which vary according to whom the disclosure is made. Again please check with a
          Nominated Officer or Human Resources about these matters.

8.        RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE POLICY

8.1       The responsibility for the effectiveness and efficiency of this policy rests with the
          Director of Law and Democracy. That Officer will be advised about and maintain
          records of concerns raised and the outcomes (but in a form which does not endanger
          your confidentiality) and will report as necessary to the Council.




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A CONCORDAT FOR COMMUNICATION AND CONSULTATION
WITH MEMBERS
CONTENTS

1.        Introduction

2.        Provision of Information to Members

               Agenda Notifications
               Access to Cabinet and Committee Reports
               Cabinet Decision Records
               Availability of Minutes
               The Members Library

3.        Consultation with Members

               General Provisions
               Decisions by Officers in consultation with Cabinet Members
               Other Decisions Delegated to Officers
               Consultation with Cabinet Members
               Issues for Consultation with Ward Members
               Issues for wider Consultation with Members

4.        Decision Recording Systems

               Officer Decisions (Decisions taken in consultation with a Cabinet Member
                and Officer Key Decisions)
               Other Decisions

5.        Consultation with External Consultees

6.        Monitoring the Concordat




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1.        Introduction

1.i        The issue of effective communication and consultation between officers and
           Members is a crucial factor in the implementation of the new Constitution in
           Stockton-on-Tees. The Concordat for Communication and Consultation with
           Members is intended to ensure that Members have access to all necessary
           information and that communication and consultation between Officers and
           Members is effective and comprehensive - enhancing Member involvement in
           the decision making processes.

1.ii       The Concordat covers issues relating to:

               Provision of Information to Members
               Consultation with Members
               Decision Recording Systems
               Consultation with external Consultees
               Monitoring Arrangements

2.        Provision of Information to Members

2i.       Agenda Notifications

a)        All Members will receive electronic Agenda notifications for:

               Council Meetings
               Cabinet Meetings
               Executive Scrutiny Committee Meetings
               Select Committee Meetings
               Quasi - Judicial Committee Meetings

2.ii      Access to Council, Cabinet and Committee Reports

           a)        Access to Reports to Council, Cabinet, Executive Scrutiny and Select
                     Committees and Quasi-Judicial Committees will be available
                     electronically for all Members.

           b)        In addition, paper copies of all agendas, reports and minutes will be
                     sent to all Members of the relevant committee and will be available
                     from the E-genda system on both the intranet and internet and to
                     individuals on request (via the Democratic Services Unit)

           c)        A copy of all agendas, reports and minutes will be placed with Group
                     Secretariats.

2.iii      Cabinet Decision Records

           a)        Cabinet decision records will be available within two working days of
                     the Cabinet meeting



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           b)        Hard copies will be made available for inspection in Group Offices, the
                     Members Library the Council‘s statutory notice board and from the
                     Democratic Information Display within the Council‘s main Reception
                     area.

           c)        Copies will be sent to Members electronically within two working days
                     of the Cabinet meeting. Appropriate decision records will be sent to
                     Education Representatives by first class post.

           d)        Cabinet decisions (delegated and/or Key Decisions of Cabinet) are
                     subject to the call-in provisions outlined in Part 4 of the Constitution.

2.iv       Availability of Minutes

           a)        Minutes of all meetings of the Cabinet, Executive Scrutiny Committee,
                     Select Committees and quasi-judicial Committees will be referred to full
                     Council.

           b)        Copies will be available from the E-genda system and to individuals on
                     request.

2.v        The Members‘ Library

           a)        Local Government periodicals, journals and bulletins; as well as
                     Service Group key policies and service data, are maintained within
                     both the office based Members Library facility and on the Council‘s
                     Intranet system. PCs are available within the office based facility to
                     provide access to all of the democratic information held on the
                     Council‘s Intranet and E-Genda systems; including electronic access to
                     all agendas, reports and minutes.

3.         Consultation with Members

3.i.       General Provisions

           a)        Decisions made by officers under delegated powers fall into two
                     principal categories, namely:

                         Decisions delegated to officers in consultation with Cabinet
                          Members (which may or may not be key decisions)

                         Other Decisions delegated to officers (which are not required to be
                          taken in consultation with Cabinet Members) and which may or may
                          not be key decisions

           b)        Officers to whom decisions have been delegated have a duty to ensure
                     that effective consultation takes place. Consultation between officers
                     and Members will be undertaken within the terms of the Concordat, the
                     Authority‘s Consultation Strategy and the approved Protocol on
                     Member/Officer Relations.

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           c)        Every effort will be made to ensure that Members have a realistic time
                     scale to respond to consultation and, where appropriate and
                     reasonably practicable, this time scale will be sufficient to enable
                     Members to consult with their constituents. Members will be informed
                     of any time restrictions which may apply relating to the process of
                     consultation, particularly where urgent action is needed in the Council‘s
                     and/or the public interest.

           d)        When preparing reports to Cabinet and/or Committees, officers will
                     include details of any consultation undertaken with and any comments
                     received from Members

           e)        Some officer delegated decisions will be Key Decisions (as defined in
                     Article 13 of the Constitution) and will be subject to the requirements of
                     the regulations relating to such decisions, (eg requirements relating to
                     recording and publicising decisions) and to the call in provisions
                     outlined in the Constitution (Part 4 of the Executive Scrutiny and Select
                     Committee Procedure Rules refer)

3.ii       Decisions by Officers in Consultation with Cabinet Members

           a)        Officers to whom decision making powers have been delegated,
                     subject to consultation with Cabinet Members, (as detailed in Part 3 of
                     the Constitution), will ensure that such consultation takes place.

3.iii.     Other Decisions delegated to Officers

           a)        Officers acting within the remit of their delegated powers will ensure
                     that they identify, at an early stage, issues upon which Members should
                     be consulted. These will include:

                         issues of interest to Cabinet Members
                         issues of interest to Ward Members
                         issues of general interest to all Members

           b)        Officers will ensure that appropriate consultation takes place.

3.iv       Consultation with Cabinet Members

           a)        Officers will ensure that appropriate consultation is undertaken with
                     Cabinet Members on issues relating to their thematic areas.


3.v        Issues for Consultation with Ward Members

           a)        Members will be consulted on all issues which impact upon their ward.
                     Such issues may typically include:

                         Ward specific changes to service delivery

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                         Planning applications and proposals
                         Regeneration initiatives
                         Programmed maintenance of street lights, carriageways and/or
                          footpaths
                         Roadwork improvements schemes

           b)        Officers will identify issues which may have cross boundary
                     implications and will consult with Members accordingly.

           c)        Members will be notified of consultation proposed in their Ward before
                     the consultation commences and is in the public domain.

3.vi       Issues for wider consultation with Members

           a)        There are a number of issues upon which Members will need to be
                     consulted in order to fulfil their roles as Community Leaders. These
                     may typically include:-

                         Issues relating to changes in service delivery
                         Issued relating to access to services
                         Charges and concessions
                         Issues relating to community resources
                         Determination of grant aid to the voluntary sector

           b)        Officers will ensure that appropriate consultation takes place with
                     Members.

4.         Decision Recording System

4.i        Officer Decisions - Decisions taken in consultation with a Cabinet Member
           and/or Officer Key Decisions

           a)        Details of decisions taken in consultation with Cabinet Members and
                     Key Decisions (whether or not taken in consultation with a Cabinet
                     Member) taken by officers will be made available in the following ways.

                         Decision records will be made available electronically via the
                          Council‘s E-genda system on both the Intranet and Internet
                         Hard Copy Key Decisions records will be sent to Group Leaders
                          and Secretariats
                         Hard copies of key decision records will be placed in the Members
                          Library

           b)        The Council‘s co-opted Members       will receive paper copies of
                     appropriate Key Decision Record Sheets.

           c)        Decision Record Sheets will include:

                         The reason for the decision


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                         Details of consultation undertaken


4.ii       Other Decisions

           a)        Appropriate decision recording systems have been introduced to
                     ensure that all significant officer decisions are recorded - these
                     provisions are in addition to the legal requirement to record certain
                     decisions, i.e. Key Decisions. All such decisions will be available to all
                     Members electronically via E-genda on the Council‘s Intranet system.


5.         Consultation with External Consultees

           a)        Consultation with external Consultees, (eg. residents, community
                     groups, businesses etc), will be undertaken within the framework of the
                     Authority‘s Consultation Strategy. To assist with the implementation of
                     the Consultation Strategy, a Guide to Effective Consultation has been
                     produced and circulated to officers and Members.

6.         Monitoring the Concordat

           a)        Any complaints or concerns relating to the implementation of the
                     Concordat for Communication and Consultation with Members should
                     be submitted by letter, fax, or email to the Members Services Officer,
                     highlighting that the complaint or concern relates to the Concordat.

           b)        Any such matter will be investigated in the same way as Member
                     complaints.




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                      PLANNING CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE




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                                           CONTENTS

1.          Need for a Code

2.          Relationship to Members‟ Code of Conduct

3.          Role of Elected Members and Officers

4.          What Planning Decisions are based on

5.          Fettering Discretion in the Planning Process

6.          Lobbying of Councillors

7.          Lobbying by Councillors

8.          Contact with Applicants, Developers and Objectors

9.          Political Groups

10.         Declarations of Interest by Members at Committees

11.         Officer Reports to Committee

12.         Committee Procedures

13.         Site Visits

14.         Decisions Delegated to Officers

15.         Decisions contrary to the Development Plan

16.         Decisions contrary to Officer advice

17.         Development Proposals submitted by or affecting Councillors and
            Officers

18.         The Council‟s own Developments

19.         The Media

20.         Record Keeping and Complaints

21.         Training

22.         Hospitality




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1.        Need for a Local Planning Code of Good Practice

1.1       The Planning system involves taking decisions about the use and
          development of land in the wider public interest having regard, in particular, to
          the Development Plan. In doing so such decisions have to balance the
          requirements of the individual, whether the applicant or a neighbour, against
          the broader public interest. It is fundamentally important that the planning
          system should not only be fair, but should be seen to be fair. Accordingly the
          Local Government Association has recommended that Planning Authorities
          should agree a local Code of Practice to guide elected members and officers
          in the way they go about the business of dealing with planning matters.

               The aim of this Planning code of good practice: to ensure that in the planning
                process there are no grounds for suggesting that a decision has been biased,
                partial or not well founded in any way.

               The key purpose of Planning: to control development in the public interest.

               The role of a Member of the Planning Authority is: to make planning decisions
                openly, impartially, with sound judgement and for justifiable reasons.

               When the Planning Code of Good Practice applies: this Code applies to
                Members at all times when involving themselves in the planning process. (This
                includes, where applicable, when taking part in decision making meetings of the
                Council, in exercising the functions of the Planning Authority or when involved on
                less formal occasions, such as meetings with officers or the public and
                consultative meetings). It applies as equally to planning enforcement matters or
                site specific policy issues as it does to planning applications. The Code is
                therefore of particular importance to those Members who sit on the Planning
                Committee, however, it also applies to other Members when making
                representations to the Planning Committee.

1.2       If you have any doubts about the application of this Code to your own circumstances,
          you should seek advice early, from the Monitoring Officer or one of his or her staff,
          and preferably well before any meeting takes place.


2.        Relationship to Members‟ Code of Conduct

2.1       Do apply the rules in the Members‘ Code of Conduct first, which must always be
          complied with.

2.2       Do then apply the rules in this Planning Code of Good Practice, which seek to
          explain and supplement the Members‘ Code of Conduct for the purposes of planning
          control. If you do not abide by this Code of Good Practice, you may put:

     the Council at risk of proceedings on the legality or maladministration of the related
      decision; and
     yourself at risk of either being the subject of a complaint to the Council or, if the failure is
      also likely to be a breach of the Code of Conduct, a complaint being made to the
      Standards Board for England.


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3.        Role of Elected Members and Officers

3.1       Councillors and Officers have different but complementary, roles, both serve
          the public. Councillors are responsible to the electorate, and are elected to
          represent all people of the Borough. Officers are responsible to the Council
          as a whole. They advise the Council and its committees, and carry out the
          Council‘s work. They are employed by the Council, not by individual
          Councillors, and it follows that instructions may be given to Officers only
          through a Council or Committee decision. A successful relationship between
          Councillors and Officers can only be based upon mutual trust and
          understanding of each others positions. This relationship, and the trust which
          underpins it, must never be abused or compromised.

3.2       Whilst Councillors have a special duty to their ward constituents, including those who
          did not vote for them, their over-riding duty is to the whole community. Councillors
          should not favour any individuals or groups and, although they may be influenced by
          the opinions of others, they alone have the responsibility to decide what view to take.
          Councillors should, therefore, represent their constituents as a body and vote in the
          interests of the whole Borough.

3.3       The basis of the planning system is the consideration of private proposals against
          wider public interests. Much is often at stake in this process and opposing views are
          often strongly held by those involved. Whilst Councillors should take account of
          those views, they should not improperly favour or cause a disadvantage to any
          person, company, group or locality, nor put themselves in a position where they
          appear to do so.

3.4       Elected Members set the Council‘s planning policy and determine planning
          applications and planning enforcement issues within the context of that
          planning policy. To reduce the risk of planning decisions being legally
          challenged, Members must not only avoid impropriety, but must at all times
          avoid any occasion for any appearance of improper conduct. When elected
          Members come to make a decision on a planning matter, they must therefore:

                    Act fairly and openly
                    Approach each application with an open mind
                    Carefully weight up all relevant planning issues
                    Determine each application on its own planning merits
                    Avoid contact with interested parties which might be taken to indicate
                     that they were unduly influenced by one party or another
                    Ensure that there are clear and substantial planning reasons for their
                     decisions, and that those reasons are clearly stated.

3.5       The ten principles of Local Government Conduct selflessness, honesty and
          integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, personal judgement, respect for
          others, duty to uphold the law, stewardship and leadership, should guide all
          conduct of Councillors and Officers. In summary:

          The actions and conduct of Councillors and Officers should be such as would
          seem appropriate and above suspicion to an impartial outside observer.


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          Decisions should be taken in the interests of the Borough as a whole, and
          should not be improperly influenced by any person, company or group. The
          key is to demonstrate that each decision was taken on the facts alone, without
          any political or outside pressure.

3.6       The Officers‘ function is to advise and assist Members in matters of planning
          policy and in their determination of planning applications and enforcement
          issues by:-

                   Providing impartial and professional advice
               Making sure that all the information necessary for the decision to be taken
                is made available
               Providing a clear and accurate analysis of the planning issues
               Setting applications and enforcement issues against the broader
                Development Plan policies and all other material planning considerations
               Giving a clear recommendation
               Carrying out the decisions of Councillors in Committee meetings

3.7.      In addition, the RTPI Code of Conduct also sets out clear guidelines for the
          conduct of Planning Officers. More detailed guidance and requirements are in
          the Council‘s own Code of Conduct for Employees. Through the Local
          Government and Housing Act 1989, restrictions are set on the outside
          activities of senior staff, such as being an officer of a political party and
          serving on another Council.


4.        What Planning Decisions are based on

4.1       Planning decisions are based on planning considerations and cannot be
          based on immaterial considerations. The Town and Country Planning Act
          1990, together with Government guidance and cases decided by the Courts,
          define what matters are material to planning decisions.

4.2       It is the responsibility of Officers in preparing reports and recommendations to
          Members, and in advising Committees, to identify the material planning
          considerations and to advise Members about those matters which are
          immaterial to planning decisions.

4.3       The starting point for decisions on planning applications is the development
          plan. Section 38 (6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004
          says that planning decisions must be taken in accordance with the
          Development Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The
          Development Plan consists of:-

                    the Stockton-on-Tees Borough Local Plan, and
          
                     the Tees Valley Structure Plan (Feb 2004)

          These plans will shortly be superceded by:-


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               The Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS)
               Development Plan Documents

          The local planning authority is in the process of producing a Local
          Development Framework (LDF) consisting of the Local Development
          Documents (LDD‘s) which set out the authority‘s planning policies. LDD‘s can
          be either Development Plan Documents (DPD‘s) or Supplementary Planning
          Documents (SPD‘s)

4.4       Other material planning considerations include:-

                      Government guidance contained, for example, in Planning Policy
                Guidance/Statements        (PPGs/PPS‘s), Regional Planning Guidance,
                Circulars and Ministerial announcements;
                      planning briefs and other ―supplementary planning guidance‖
                approved by the Council following public consultation;
                      Environmental Impact Assessment where applicable
                      the ―presumption in favour of granting planning permission‖;
                      statutory duties in relation to conservation areas and listed
                buildings;
                      representations made by statutory consultees and other people
                making comments, to the extent that they relate to planning matters.

4.5       There is much case law on what are, and are not material planning matters.
          Planning matters must relate to the use and development of land. For
          example, the following are not planning matters and cannot be taken into
          account in planning decisions :-

               personal and financial considerations
               private property rights and boundary disputes
               covenants
               effects on property or land values
               developers‘ motives
               issues to do with morals
               competition between businesses
               loss of view from a house or private place
               public support or opposition, unless it is founded on valid planning matters
               matters regulated by other statutory codes

5.         Fettering Discretion in the Planning Process

5.1        Don‟t fetter your discretion and therefore your ability to participate in planning
           decision making by making up your mind, or clearly appearing to have made
           up your mind (particularly in relation to an external interest or lobby group), on
           how you will vote on any planning matter prior to formal consideration of the
           matter at the meeting of the planning authority and of your hearing the
           Officer‘s presentation and evidence and arguments on both sides.




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5.2        Fettering your discretion in this way and then taking part in the decision will
           put the Council at risk of a finding of maladministration and of legal
           proceedings on the grounds of there being a danger of bias or pre-
           determination or a failure to take into account all of the factors enabling the
           proposal to be considered on its merits.

5.3        Do be aware that you are likely to have fettered your discretion where the
           Council is the landowner, developer or applicant and you have acted as, or
           could be perceived as being, a chief advocate for the proposal. (This is more
           than a matter of membership of both the proposing and planning
           determination committees, but that through your significant personal
           involvement in preparing or advocating the proposal you will be, or perceived
           by the public as being, no longer able to act impartially or to determine the
           proposal purely on its planning merits).

5.4        Do consider yourself able to take part in the debate on a proposal when
           acting as part of a consultee body (where you are also a member of the
           parish council, for example, or sit on an outside body), provided:-

               the proposal does not substantially effect the well-being or financial
                standing of the consultee body
               you make it clear to the consultee body that:-
                       o your views are expressed on the limited information before you
                          only;
                       o you must reserve judgement and the independence to make up
                          your own mind on each separate proposal, based on your
                          overriding duty to the whole community and not just to the
                          people in that area, ward or parish, as and when it comes
                          before the Committee and you hear all of the relevant
                          information and
                       o you will not in any way commit yourself as to how you or others
                          may vote when the proposal comes before the Committee and
                       o you disclose the personal interest regarding your membership
                          or role when the Committee comes to consider the proposal.

5.5        Don‟t speak and vote on the proposal where you have fettered your
           discretion. You do not also have to withdraw, but you may prefer to do so for
           the sake of appearances.

5.6        Do explain that you do not intend to speak and vote because you have or you
           could reasonably be perceived as having judged (or reserve the right to
           judge) the matter elsewhere, so that this may be recorded in the minutes
           (Use the disclosure form provided for disclosing interests).

5.7        Do take the opportunity to exercise your separate speaking rights as a Ward
           Member where you have represented your views or those of local electors
           and fettered your discretion, but do not have a personal and prejudicial
           interest. Where you do exercise your separate speaking rights:-
            advise the proper officer or Chairman that you wish to speak in this
               capacity before commencement of the item;

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               remove yourself from the member seating area for the duration of that
                item; and
               ensure that your actions are recorded.


6.        Lobbying of Councillors

6.1       Lobbying is a normal and perfectly proper part of the political process
          consequently it is quite common for applicants or other interests parties to
          wish to discuss a proposed development with elected Members before a
          Planning Application is determined. However, lobbying can, unless care and
          common sense are exercised by all parties, lead to the impartiality and
          integrity of a Councillor being called into question.

6.2       Members are under an obligation to determine matters on their merits. That
          means that if they wish to continue to be properly involved in the
          determination of a particular planning matter, they must not make up their
          minds before receiving and reading any officer‘s report and before hearing
          any debate on the matter, because new information might come to light.

6.3       Offering a particular view in public before a matter is determined should not
          preclude a Member from taking part in the Committee and the vote providing
          that Member is not expressing a decided view and the guidance listed below
          is adhered to. However, in practical terms expressing a view may lead to a
          Member‘s impartiality being questioned.

6.4       In summary:-

               Do explain to those lobbying or attempting to lobby you that, whilst you
                can listen to what is said, it may prejudice your impartiality and therefore
                your ability to participate in the Committee‟s decision making to express a
                decided view to vote one way or another.

               Do remember that your overriding duty is to the whole community not just
                to the people in your Ward and, taking account of the need to make
                decisions impartially, that you should not improperly favour or disfavour ,
                or appear to do so, any person, company, group or locality,

               Don’t accept gifts or hospitality from any person involved in or affected by
                a planning proposal. If a degree of hospitality is entirely unavoidable,
                ensure it is of a minimum, its acceptance is declared as soon as possible
                and remember to register the gift or hospitality where its value is over £25
                in accordance with the Authority‟s rule on gifts and hospitality.

               Do copy or pass on any lobbying correspondence you receive to the Head
                of Planning at the earliest opportunity.

               Do promptly refer to the Head of Planning any offers made to you of
                planning gain or constraint of development, through a proposed s. 106
                Planning Obligation or otherwise.


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               Do inform the Monitoring Officer where you feel you have been exposed to
                undue or excessive lobbying or approaches (including inappropriate offers
                of gifts or hospitality), who will consider what action, if any, should be
                taken.

               Do note that, unless you have a personal and prejudicial interest, you will
                not have fettered your discretion or breached this Planning Code of Good
                Practice through:

                 listening or reviewing viewpoints from residents or other interested
                  parties and giving procedural advice

                 making comments to residents, interested parties, other Members or
                  appropriate Officers, provided they do not consist of or amount to pre-
                  judging the issue and you make clear you are keeping an open mind

                 seeking information through appropriate channels or

                 replying to and taking action to resolve complaints

                 being a vehicle for the expression of opinion or speaking at the meeting
                  as a Ward Member, provided you explain your actions at the start of
                  the meeting or item and make it clear that, having expressed the
                  opinion or ward/local view, you have not committed yourself to vote in
                  accordance with those views and will make up your own mind having
                  heard all the facts and listened to the debate.

7.        Lobbying by Councillors

7.1       Members need to exercise care where they are involved in a lobbying group .
          Members of lobbying groups will have to give particular regard to declarations
          of interest as well as issues of bias.

7.2       Members of a lobbying group will have a personal interest where matters
          directly affect the organisation and regarding matters on which the group has
          publicly expressed a view.

7.3       If the matter under consideration has a direct impact on the organisation to
          which the Member belongs, there is a possibility that a prejudicial interest will
          arise.

7.4       In addition, if it is a matter on which the organisation has expressed an
          opinion, the question arises as to whether the Member may be biased.

7.5       In further assessing the issue of bias a number of factors are considered
          relevant:

          7.5.1       the role of the Member in formulating the publicly expressed view of
                      the group.



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          7.5.2       the importance of the position of the Member on the Planning
                      Committee

          7.5.3       importance of the lobbying group in matter to be decided

          7.5.4       relationship of matter on which the group lobbies and the matter for
                      decision.

7.6       Mere membership of a particular group is unlikely to give rise to any inference
          or bias, but the risk significantly increases where the group are active on a
          particular issue before the Planning Committee.

7.7       Test in respect of bias is:-

          “whether these circumstances would lead a fair minded and informed
          observer to conclude that there was a real possibility that [the person] was
          biased”

          and it is considered unlikely that a member of the public will distinguish
          between

          a.         position of a Councillor who is a member of a body with a publicly
                     expressed view
          and
          b.         a Councillor involved in the formulation of the view of the group.

7.8       So unless there is clear evidence that a Member does not share the view of
          the group, the Member is likely to be regarded as having a prejudicial interest
          and/or biased as a Member of the Planning Committee.

          In summary:-

               Don’t become a member of, lead or represent an organisation whose
                primary purpose is to lobby to promote or oppose planning proposals. If
                you do, you are likely to have fettered your discretion and are likely to
                have a personal and prejudicial interest/predetermined view and have to
                withdraw.

               Do join general interest groups which reflect your areas of interest and
                which concentrate on issues beyond particular planning proposals, such
                as the Victorian Society, CPRE, Ramblers Association or a local civic
                society. But (1) disclose a personal interest where that organisation has
                made representations on a particular proposal and make it clear to that
                organisation and the Committee that you have reserved judgement and
                the independence to make up your own mind on each separate proposal
                and (2) consider carefully the tests for a prejudicial interest and bias in
                light of issues in para. 6.5.




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               Don’t excessively lobby fellow Councillors regarding your concerns or
                views nor attempt to persuade them that they should decide how to vote in
                advance of the meeting at which any planning decision is to be taken.

               Don’t decide or discuss how to vote on any application at any sort of
                political group meeting, or lobby any other Member to do so. Political
                Group meetings should never dictate how Members should vote on a
                planning issue.

               Do listen to constituents‟ views, but if you express a decided view in
                support of your constituents, you will be likely to be regarded as having a
                predetermined view.


          Members Representing the view of Constituents

           (a)       Members with a personal and prejudicial interest

7.9       A Member with a personal and prejudicial interest in a planning application is
          required to withdraw from the meeting during the consideration of the item in
          which they have such an interest and must not seek to improperly influence a
          decision about that matter.     However, where members of the public are
          allowed to make representations to the meeting, to give evidence or answer
          questions, a member with a personal and prejudicial interest may also attend
          the meeting for that same purpose.              Members wishing to make
          representations or answer questions must sit in the public gallery and once
          they have made their representations or answered questions they must
          immediately leave the room in which the meeting is being held. Members with
          personal and prejudicial interests may not remain in the public gallery after
          speaking, either to hear the debate or to observe the vote, otherwise they may
          be regarded as attempting to improperly influence the decision.

7.10      Members with a personal and prejudicial interest who wish to make
          representations in a personal or private capacity may also make written
          representations.     When making written representations, Members are
          advised to refer to the nature of their interest and state expressly that their
          representations are made in a purely private capacity. A Member who makes
          written representations about a matter in which he/she has a prejudicial
          interest must do so on non Councillor or non Council letter headed paper.
          The Member should also send the written representations to the relevant
          Planning Case Officer and not to any fellow Members, or the Chair and/or
          Members of the Planning Committee.

7.11      A Planning Case Officer when presenting his/her report to the Planning
          Committee will refer to the written representations received from a Member
          with a prejudicial interest in the matter by indicating that the Member
          concerned has a prejudicial interest, explaining the nature of that interest and
          that the representations have been made purely in the Members private
          capacity. The Standards Board has stressed that there should be no



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          suggestion that the Members status as a Councillor should give their views
          particular weight.

          (b)        Members with no interest to declare and/or Members who have
                     declared a personal and non-prejudicial interest

7.12      In situations where a Member decides that he/she wishes to act as a
          representative of their Ward, taking an active role in advocating the views of
          their constituents and giving a decided view on the matter, or attempting to
          persuade a particular point of view, it follows that they will no longer be acting
          impartially.   In those circumstances (and if they sit on the Planning
          Committee) they should not seek to participate in any vote on the matter, but
          should declare their commitment to represent the views of their constituents
          and seek the Committee‘s consent to represent those views to the meeting.
          When giving their views in this situation, they should sit separately to the rest
          of the Committee. Immediately after providing their views it is advisable for
          the Member to leave the meeting before any wider debate or discussions and
          prior to the vote being taken. Such a course of action does not prevent the
          Member from submitting written representations to the relevant Planning Case
          Officer who will then refer to them in his/her report.

7.13      Similarly Members who do not sit on the Planning Committee (and Ward
          Councillors) who have taken an active role in advocating the views of their
          constituents and/or have provided their own view on the matter prior to the
          meeting, are likely to be regarded as not acting impartially. Where such
          views have been made during lobbying or as a result of a campaign group,
          Members may have a personal or prejudicial interest in the matter. Members
          should therefore consider:-

               the nature of the matter to be discussed;

               the nature of their involvement with the lobbying or campaign group;

               the publicly expressed views of the lobby or campaign group;

                what you have said or done in relation to the particular issue

          The Standards Board Guidance states that Members should weigh up all
          these factors in relation to the specific matter being discussed and consider
          whether a reasonable member of the public who knows the relevant facts
          would think it is likely that the Members judgement of the public interest would
          be prejudiced.

          The more focused the campaign or Lobby Group is on a particular issue, the
          more involved and active you have been, and the more committed you appear
          to a particular outcome, the more likely it is that your interest will be
          prejudicial. The test is not what you reasonably believe, the test is whether a
          member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably
          regard the interest as so significant that it is likely to prejudice your judgement


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          of the public interest. Therefore it is not the Members belief that counts, it is
          what a member of the public may reasonably believe.

7.14      Guidance issued by the Local Government Association states that where
          Members are not being lobbied directly, but are attending separate public
          meetings where applications are being commented upon, eg a community
          group reviewing a proposal for development in their area, then they should
          follow the guidance on lobbying as if they were being lobbied

7.15      Where a Member is unable to attend a meeting and arranges for a substitute
          Member to attend, the substitute Member must have regard to the above
          guidance and must determine the matter on the merits as he/she sees them,
          and may not be mandated by the absent Member to support or oppose a
          particular proposal.


          Participating in a decision twice

7.16      Membership of a Parish Council which has expressed a view on an
          application does not by itself give rise to a conflict provided that the Member
          retains an impartial viewpoint. Members who sit on both a parish or town
          council and District Authority can also sit on the Planning Committee of the
          latter authority, provided that they considered all issues coming before the
          Committee on their planning merits without being bound by the parish or town
          council‘s discussions on those matters. They would also be able to speak on
          planning matters at parish or town council meetings, provided that they made
          it clear that their views were only preliminary ones. The Member must also be
          genuinely willing to listen to the later debate and weigh the considerations
          material to the later Planning Committee Decision. If a Member does not
          have an open mind at the later Committee and simply wishes to retain their
          original voting disposition they should not take part.

7.17      Where a Member receives relevant information in respect of an application
          which is not contained in the Planning Officer‘s report on the application, the
          means by which the Member should ensure that such information is made
          available to other Members of the Committee are that the Members should
          advise the Head of Planning directly, so that the information can then be
          confirmed, rather than run the risk that the Committee might take a decision
          on the basis of information which subsequently proves to be incorrect.

8.         Contact with Applicants, Developers and Objectors

8.1       The Council encourages pre-application discussions between Members,
          Planning Officers and potential applicants. These bring advantages to all
          parties; they can avoid applications being made which are clearly contrary to
          policy and so avoid unnecessary worries for those who could be affected; they
          can avoid abortive work for the Council and applicants by giving clear
          information about Local Plan policies etc, before proposals are designed; and
          so they can improve the quality of applications and development.



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           Do refer those who approach you for planning, procedural or technical advice to
            Officers.
         Don‟t agree to any formal meeting with applicants, developers or groups of
            objectors where you can avoid it. Where you feel that a formal meeting would be
            useful in clarifying the issues, you should never seek to arrange that meeting
            yourself but request the Head of Planning to organise it. The Officer(s) will then
            ensure that those present at the meeting are advised from the start that the
            discussions will not bind the authority to any particular course of action, that the
            meeting is properly recorded on the application file and the record of the meeting
            is disclosed when the application is considered by the Committee.
         Do otherwise:-
                    o follow the rules of lobbying;
                    o consider whether or not it would be prudent in the circumstances to
                        make notes when contacted; and
report to the Development Control Manager any significant contact with the applicant and
        other parties, explaining the nature and purpose of the contacts and your
        involvement in them, and ensure that this is recorded on the planning file.

8.2       However, if a balance is to be struck between impartiality and the wish to be
          seen as engaged, positive, open and transparent Members need to exercise
          caution in engaging with applicants. Any discussions with developers or
          applicants should therefore be part of structured arrangements agreed with
          Officers. Members should not engage in negotiations in their discussions with
          applicants or their agents regarding planning applications, agreements or any
          other planning matter.       Accordingly, pre application and pre decision
          discussions must take place with regard to the following guidelines:-

               When arranging meetings and presentations officers should emphasise in
                writing the informative nature of the meeting and explain that no decisions
                will be made.

               Presentations by applications should be limited to the development
                proposed and a question and answer session on factual matters. The
                understanding must be that the discussions are being held in order to
                improve understanding. Where appropriate such meetings may take place
                on site and incorporate a site visit.

               Members must maintain an impartial listening role and avoid expressing
                an opinion or giving advice beyond outlining the adopted local policies.
                Questions to clarify aspects of a proposal, or the expressions of policy
                concerns are legitimate as long as they do not develop into negotiations.
                It should be made clear at the outset of the meeting that discussions are
                not binding, and that the views expressed are not part of the determination
                process. It should be made clear in prefatory remarks that any statements
                should be categorised as ‗without prejudice‘.

               To reinforce the above, at the start of the meeting officers will explain that
                it is taking place at the request of the applicant or Council and that the
                merits of the case will not be discussed. Members and officers will, of
                course, be free to ask questions about the proposal at the presentation. If
                the applicant requests the views of the authority, these will be


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                communicated subsequently and in writing. In such communication,
                officers will make it clear that any views expressed prior to formal
                determination of an application are preliminary.

               Advice and observations should be based on the adopted plan and
                material considerations

               A written note of the proceedings should be kept- to include a record of
                officer attendance and follow up

               Officers of appropriate seniority should attend and for major or contentious
                applications members‘ involvement should be authorised by the main
                committee. As soon as it becomes apparent that a member ought to
                become involved the case officer should submit a report to committee in
                the interests of transparency but it may be necessary in the interests of
                urgency for this to be done verbally. Their involvement should be recorded
                in any subsequent committee report. Reports to the Planning Committee
                shall have regard to any duty of confidentiality in respect of pre-application
                discussions.

               In discussions touching on issues of a commercially sensitive or
                confidential nature, this Authority will need to set out in advance how it
                intends to deal with these cases and how they sit with the drive for
                increased openness and transparency and for the provisions of the
                Freedom of Information Act.

               Members should not seek to influence officers or pressure their officers to
                support a particular course of action.

8.3       Informal discussions between Members, Applicants and/or their agents are to
          be discouraged.        Members who wish to make applicants aware of
          constituents views or complaints should do so by informing the Planning Case
          Officer/Planning Enforcement Officer, or by writing to the applicant and
          sending a copy of their letter/email to the Planning Case Officer/Planning
          Enforcement Officer for the planning case file.

          Pre-Application Advice by Officers

8.4       Applicants and potential applicants sometimes ask for advice on whether
          planning permission will be granted in particular circumstances. For clarity,
          and to avoid a future decision on a planning application being compromised:-

               Officers should normally ask someone requesting advice on whether
                planning permission is likely to be granted to put the request in writing – so
                that it is clear on what proposal advice is being given.
               Written replies to such requests will contain a caveat that advice cannot
                bind a future decision of the Council on any subsequent application.
               Officer will be unable to say what their recommendation is on a particular
                planning matter until all issues have been considered and the papers
                published for the relevant Committee.

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               Where the Officer is exercising delegated decision making powers, they
                should not meet the applicant, agent or objectors to discuss a case without
                another officer being present wherever possible, however it must be
                recognised that staff resources will often preclude this and will happen
                only where felt absolutely necessary. A full file note of the meeting should
                also be placed on the planning case file.

9.        Political Groups

9.1       Members should not accept an instruction from anyone to determine an
          application in a particular manner, but must determine the issue on its merits.
          Accordingly, while they may accord appropriate weight to the views of other
          Members, whether expressed in the Committee Meeting or in prior
          discussions, they must determine the application on its merits and should not
          take into account any factor which they are not prepared to state in open
          Committee. As a result, it is inappropriate for any party group to instruct its
          Members to vote in a particular manner on an application or to apply or
          threaten to apply any sanction to any Member who voted contrary to the
          Group‘s collective view.

9.2       It is accepted that Councillors could be ―politically predisposed‖ to a particular
          view without being disqualified from considering a matter. This is a practical
          recognition of the role played by party politics in local government. If
          however a Member is actively involved in a campaign relevant to a planning
          decision this may lead to an appearance of a predisposed view which may
          warrant withdrawal from any discussion or decision on the issue.

10.       Declaration of Interests by Members at Committee

10.1      The law and the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council set out
          requirements and guidance for Councillors, on declaring personal and
          prejudicial interests and the consequences of having such interests. These
          must be followed scrupulously and Councillors should review their situation
          regularly. Impropriety must be avoided and also any appearance, or grounds
          for suspicion, of improper conduct. The responsibility for this rests individually
          with each Councillor.

10.2       Paragraph 8 of the Code states that:-



10.2.1 You have a personal interest in any business of your authority where either:-

         (a)         it relates to or is likely to affect:-

                     (i)        any body of which you are a member or in a position of general
                                control or management and to which you are appointed or nominated
                                by your authority;

                     (ii)       any body:-



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                                (aa)   exercising functions of a public nature
                                (bb)   directed to charitable purposes; or
                                (cc)   one of whose principal purposes includes the influence of
                                       public opinion or policy (including any political party or trade
                                       union),

                                of which you are a member or in a position of general control or
                                management.

                     (iii)      any employment or business carried on by you;

                     (iv)       any person or body who employs or has appointed you;

                     (v)        any person or body, other than a relevant authority, who has made a
                                payment to you in respect of your election or any expenses incurred
                                by you in carrying out your duties;

                     (vi)       any person or body who has a place of business or land in your
                                authority‘s area, and in whom you have a beneficial interest in a class
                                of securities of that person or body that exceeds the nominal value of
                                £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital (whichever
                                is the lower);

                     (vii)      any contract for goods, services or works made between your
                                authority and you or a firm in which you are a partner, a company of
                                which you are remunerated director, or a person or body of the
                                description specified in paragraph (vi);

                     (viii)     the interests of any person from whom you have received a gift or
                                hospitality with an estimated value of at least £25;

                     (ix)       any land in your authority‘s area    in which you have a beneficial
                                interest;

                     (x)        any land where the landlord is your authority and you are, or a firm in
                                which you are a partner, a company of which you are a remunerated
                                director, or a person or body of the description specified in paragraph
                                (vi) is, the tenant;

                     (xi)       any land in the authority‘s area for which you have a licence (alone or
                                jointly with others) to occupy for 28 days or longer; or

         (b)         a decision in relation to that business might reasonably be regarded as
                     affecting your well-being or financial position or the well-being or financial
                     position of a relevant person to a greater extent than the majority of:-

                     (i)        (in the case of authorities with electoral divisions or wards) other
                                council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the electoral division
                                or ward, as the case may be, affected by the decision;

                     (ii)       (in the case of the Greater London Authority) other council tax payers,
                                ratepayers or inhabitants of the Assembly constituency affected by
                                the decision; or




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                     (iii)      (in all other cases) other council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants
                                of your authority‘s area.

         10.2.2 In sub-paragraph (1)(b), a relevant person is

                     (a)        a member of your family or any person with whom you have a close
                                association; or
                     (b)        any person or body who employes or has appointed such persons,
                                any firm in which they are a partner, or any company of which they
                                are directors;

                     (c)        any person or body in whom such persons have a beneficial interest
                                in a class of securities exceeding the nominal value of £25,000; or

                     (d)        any body of a type described in sub-paragraph (1)(a)(i) or (ii)

10.3       Subject to 3 exceptions below Members must disclose a personal interest. The
           exceptions are:-

           (1)     Members need not declare a personal interest where an interest arises
                   because a decision relates to or is likely affect a body in which a Member holds
                   a position of management or control is appointed to that body by the Council;
                   or

           (2)     it concerns a body exercising functions of a public nature

                   unless and until the Member wishes to speak on that item;

          (3)     also, where an interest arises from registering a gift or hospitality, Members
          need not disclose that interest if it was registered more than 3 years before the date
          of the meeting.

10.4      The Code of Conduct provides that a personal interest becomes a prejudicial
          one if:-

          the interest is one which a member of public with knowledge of the relevant
          facts would reasonably regard as so significant as to prejudice the members
          judgement of the public interest.

10.5     (2)         You do not have a prejudicial interest in any business of the authority where
                     that business:-

         (a)         does not affect your financial position or the financial position of a person or
                     body described in paragraph 8;

         (b)         does not relate to the determining of any approval, consent, licence,
                     permission or registration in relation to you or any person or body described in
                     paragraph 8; or

         (c)         relates to the functions of your authority in respect of:-

                     (i)       housing, where you are a tenant of your authority provided that those
                               functions do not relate particularly to your tenancy or lease;



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                     (ii)      school meals or school transport and travelling expenses, where you
                               are a parent or guardian of a child in full-time education, or are a
                               parent governor of a school, unless it relates particularly to the school
                               which the child attends;
                     (iii)     statutory sick pay under Part XI of the Social Security Contributions
                               and Benefits Act 1992, where you are in receipt of, or are entitled to
                               the receipt of, such pay;
                     (iv)      an allowance, payment or indemnity given to Members;
                     (v)       any ceremonial honour given to Members; and
                     (vi)       setting council tax or a precept under the Local Government Finance
                                Act 1992.


10.6      The responsibility for declaring an interest lies with the individual Member.
          However, the following are examples of when it is likely to be necessary for a
          Member to declare an interest on a planning matter:-

               close acquaintance, personal friendship, close working or family
                connections with an applicant, agent, objector or other person with an
                interest in a planning application, enforcement case or Local Plan
                proposal;
               regular business dealings with a person with an interest in a planning
                matter;
               living, or running a business, in proximity to a particular site, such that you
                might be affected by the proposals under discussion;
               personal enmity against a person or organisation with an interest in the
                planning proposal;
               being a Member, representative or employee of an organisation which has
                applied for planning permission or is involved in a planning matter – unless
                the Member‘s involvement is no different from that of an ordinary member
                of the public (eg membership of a large national organisation like the
                Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, RSPC or the AA);
               where the Member has made his/her views known on the matter – see
                Section 6 above;
               the Member‘s family or a close associate has any of the above interests.



10.7      It can be seen that these provisions of the Code are an attempt to separate
          out interests arising from the personal and private interests of the Member
          and those arising from the Councillor‘s wider public life. The emphasis is on a
          consideration of the status of the interest in each case by the Councillor
          personally, and included in the judgement is a consideration of the perception
          of the public, acting reasonably and with knowledge of the facts.

10.8      Translated to a Member‘s involvement in planning issues, the two stage tests
          of personal and prejudicial interests will, require a Member to abstain from
          involvement in any issue the outcome of which might advantage, or
          disadvantage the personal interests of the Member, his family, friends or
          employer.


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10.9      In summary, where your interest is personal and prejudicial:-

               Don‟t participate, or give the appearance of trying to participate, in the
                making of any decision on the matter by the planning authority
               Don‟t try to represent ward/local views and participate in the decision. If
                you wish to represent constituents, sit in the public gallery and withdraw
                from the meeting immediately after making representations or answering
                questions
               Don‟t get involved in the processing of the application
               Don‟t seek or accept any preferential treatment, or place yourself in a
                position that could lead the public to think you are receiving preferential
                treatment, because of your position as a Member. This would include,
                where you have a personal and prejudicial interest in a proposal, using
                your position to discuss that proposal with officers or members when other
                members of the public would not have the same opportunity to do so.
               Do be aware that, you are not prevented from seeking to explain and
                justify a proposal in which you have a personal and prejudicial interest to
                an appropriate Officer, in person or in writing where the public are
                permitted to attend a meeting, you may attend and make representations,
                but must leave immediately after doing so.

11.       Officer Reports to Committee

11.1      To ensure that Committees give due consideration to the development plan
          and other material considerations, all Committee decisions on planning
          applications, enforcement cases and the Local Development Framework
          proposals will be taken only after the Committee has received a written Officer
          report.    Written Officer reports will be agreed by the Head of
          Planning/Development Control Officer/Area Team Leaders, as the Council‘s
          senior chartered town planners, and will reflect the collective view of the
          Service – not the view of the individual author.

11.2      Reports should be accurate and:

               cover, among other things, the substance of objections and the views of
                people who have been consulted (but see Section 22 on racist comments);
               include reference to relevant Development Plan policies and their
                implications for the case, site or related history (where relevant, and any
                other material considerations;
               should have a written recommendation of action; oral reporting (to update
                a written report) should be rare and be carefully minuted when it does
                occur;
               should contain an appraisal of the planning considerations which clearly
                justifies the recommendation and broadly indicates the weight which can
                be given to any opposing considerations;
               if the recommendation is contrary to the provisions of the development
                plan, clearly state the material considerations which justify this;
               describe the purpose and content of any planning agreement or obligation
                proposed in association with a planning permission.


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12.       Committee Procedures

12.1      Many decisions on planning applications are taken by the Council‘s Planning
          Committee (which meets on a 3 weekly cycle) in the following way:-


12.2      The Agenda is available to the public five working days before the date of the
          Committee on request. Reports may be viewed on the Council‘s website
          www.stockton.gov.uk through the ―E-genda system‖.               The planning
          application details and comments from interested parties are also available on
          the website under ―online planning services‖. All planning committee
          meetings are open to the public.

12.3      The Public are permitted to speak at the Planning Committee meeting
          provided they have supported or objected to the application in writing. Where
          there is more than one person wishing to speak either for or against an
          application, the Chairman will ask if a Spokesperson can be nominated (to
          avoid the same points being raised several times by each supporter or
          objector).    Each person may speak for a maximum of three minutes. A
          guidance leaflet has been prepared which sets out the process to be followed.
          In essence, the Officer will explain what is proposed and highlight the key
          planning issues. Any objectors wishing to speak can then address the
          Committee for up to 3 minutes. Members may then ask questions of an
          objector if they wish. If the applicant (or agent) wish to speak or respond to
          points raised by any previous speaker they can then do so. Again, members
          may ask questions of any speaker. Members will then debate the merits of
          the case and arrive at a decision.

          Don‟t allow Members of the public to communicate with you during the Committee‘s
          proceedings (orally or in writing) other than through the scheme for public speaking,
          as this may give the appearance of bias.

          Do ensure that you comply with the Council‘s procedures in respect of public
          speaking.

12.4      It is important that Members are present throughout the debate on an item in
          the meeting room. If any Member has to leave the Members room for any
          reason, thereby missing any part of the proceedings, he/she should take no
          further part in the voting arrangements for the item(s) considered during their
          absence.

12.5      The Committee may agree or disagree with the report and recommendation
          (but see Sections 13 and 14 below). Having considered all the relevant
          planning matters, the Committee may:-

               grant planning permission, with or without planning conditions
               refuse planning permission, with justified planning reason(s);
               defer the application for further consideration and/or site visit.



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12.6      Planning enforcement decisions are normally taken by the case officers
          except those where it is considered that it is not expedient to enforce , such
          decisions being referred to Planning Committee. A written Officer report will
          always be prepared in advance of the Committee.

12.7      Decisions on the form and content of the Local Development Framework are
          taken by Full Council following consideration of a written report. Reports for
          the comment and approval of members will be considered by Planning
          Committee and Cabinet before being submitted to Council for approval.

12.8      The Council may prepare Supplementary Planning documents (SPD‘s) on a
          number of key sites to provide a more detailed framework for developers. The
          approval of SPD‘s follows the same procedure as above.

12.9      The procedures governing the conduct of meetings are set out in the
          Council‘s Procedure Rules. However, the general public who attend these
          meetings will usually not be familiar with the Procedure Rules, nor this Code.
          It is therefore important that decisions are made on relevant grounds and that
          this is the impression left with those who watch. Responsibility for this rests
          primarily with the Chair of the meeting, assisted where appropriate by
          Officers. To facilitate this:-

               a briefing for the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee will be held after
                the Officer reports and recommendations have been published. The
                purposes of these briefings are to inform the Chair of the issues, to ensure
                that the rationale for the Officer recommendation is explained, and to
                identify any potentially problematic or controversial items;
               one or more chartered town planners will be present at all Committee
                meetings at which planning matters are considered;
               a Legal advisor will also be present, where appropriate.

13.       Committee Site Visits

13.1      A Planning Committee may sometimes visit a site prior to agreeing a
          recommendation on an application, particularly an enforcement case. The
          need for a Site Visit will initially be determined by Officers but sometimes
          result from a request by a Ward Councillor. It is acknowledged that this is a
          proper part of the representational role and should normally be acceded to, so
          long as the Ward Councillor can justify his/her request in relation to material
          planning considerations on grounds of principal or precedent. Such requests
          must be made in writing to the Head of Planning on the appropriate form
          within 4 weeks from receipt of the application.

13.2      However, site visits can cause delay and add costs, and should only be used
          where there are substantial benefits. Therefore: -

               A site visit is likely to be necessary only if the impact of the proposed
                development is difficult to understand from the plans and any supporting
                material including photographs taken by Officers, or if the proposal is
                particularly contentious.

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               The reasons for a site visit should be stated and minuted.
               All Members of the Planning Committee should make every effort to
                attend.

13.3      Site visit meetings will be conducted in a formal manner: -

.
               Officers will highlight the issues relevant to the site inspection and other
                planning considerations.
               On site the Officer will be asked to point out relevant features, which can
                be observed. Members may also wish to point out features, which can be
                observed, or to ask factual questions of the Officer.
               To avoid giving an impression of being lobbied, Members should not listen
                or talk to any individuals whilst on site, unless being addressed as a group
                in accordance with arrangements agreed beforehand. Any comments
                should be made to the whole Committee through the Chair.
               The public, applicant and objectors may attend the site visit but will not
                normally be allowed to participate (exceptionally, the Chair may wish to
                clarify a factual point). If any are present, the Chair will explain this to
                them prior to commencing the inspection of the site.
               To avoid Members being spoken to individually, the Committee should
                attempt to keep together as a group.
               At the Planning Committee meeting, the Chair will give the Officer, after
                presenting the report on the proposal, the opportunity to comment on any
                planning matters raised by the site visit, and to clarify any other planning
                matters, before the normal Committee debate and decision takes place.
               No discussion or decision-making will take place on site, to ensure that
                decisions are clearly reached and understood – and are seen to be so.
               No hospitality will be accepted on site visits.

14.       Decisions Delegated to Officers

14.1      The Council has agreed the category of applications which must be referred
          to Committee for determination, which include applications for the
          development of more than 30 dwelling houses or sites of more than 5
          hectares, industrial or storage buildings with more than 50,000 square meters
          of floorspace, applications which require an Environmental Assessment,
          Traffic or Retail Impact Assessment, applications not in accordance with the
          Development Plan or those which generate more than 5 letters of response
          contrary to the Officers recommendation. All other applications are delegated
          to the Head of Planning. The system allows quicker decisions to be taken.

14.2      New national best practice Targets (require 90%) of applications should be
          delegated to Officers, allowing Members to get involved in contentious issues
          whilst allowing speedy progression of more straightforward matters. A peer
          review of the Planning Service in 2007 recommended that the percentage of
          applications delegated to Officers should be increased over and above the national
          target




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14.3      The scheme of delegation is set out in Part 3 of the Council‘s Constitution.

15.       Decisions Contrary to the Development Plan

15.1      Planning decisions must normally be taken in accordance with the
          Development Plan (see paragraph 5.3).

15.2      If Officers are recommending granting planning permission contrary to the
          Development Plan:-

               The decision will always be taken by a committee, and not taken as a
                delegated decision.
               The Officers‘ report to the Committee must clearly identify the material
                planning considerations and how they justify overriding the Development
                Plan.
               The application will have been advertised by a site notice, and a local
                newspaper advertisement, in accordance with the Town and Country
                Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 Article 8.

15.3      If the decision would be a significant (as defined by Government Direction)
          departure from the Development Plan, the application will be referred –
          normally after the Planning Committee has agreed a recommendation – to
          the Secretary of State for the Communities and Local Government, to enable
          him/her to decide whether to ―call in‖ the application to be decided centrally.

16.       Decisions Contrary to Officer Advice

16.1      If the Planning Committee makes a decision contrary to the Officers‘
          recommendation on a planning application or enforcement case then:

               the proposer of the motion to go against the Officers‘ recommendation, or
                the Chairman of the meeting, must state the planning reasons for
                proposed decision before a vote is taken;
               the courts have said that the reasons should be clear and convincing, and
                be material planning considerations;
               the planning and/or legal Officer present at the meeting should be given
                the opportunity to comment upon whether the proposed reasons for the
                decision are planning matters, and if an approval is proposed, to
                recommend appropriate planning conditions;
               in the case of non-standard conditions being considered, these should be
                drafted by Officers and confirmed with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the
                Planning Committee prior to the issuing of a decision notice;
               if the decision would be contrary to the Development Plan, then the Officer
                must comment on the extent to which the other planning considerations
                could be seen to override the Development Plan and on whether the
                decision would be a significant departure from the plan requiring reference
                to the Secretary of State (see Section 14 above).
               a detailed minute of the Committee‘s reasons must be taken and a copy
                placed on the application file;

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               if the decision is contrary to the Development Plan, the minute should
                clearly set out those planning considerations which override the
                Development Plan.

16.2      If a Committee wishes to amend or add conditions to an approval, Officers
          should be delegated the task of drafting the detailed wording of the conditions
          in line with the Committee‘s wishes. Under the terms of regulations currently
          in force, both reasons for refusal and recommendations for approval with
          supporting conditions need to have regard to the relevant policies and
          proposals and clearly refer to those policies in the decision. In any cases of
          uncertainty, Officers will seek confirmation from the Chair and Vice-Chair of
          the Planning Committee, before issue of the final decision notice.

16.3       Planning Officers will not normally be able to defend at an appeal, decisions
          made contrary to their professional recommendations.                 In such
          circumstances, members will need to consider how the Council should be
          represented. This could include employing external consultants and/or
          members representing the Council.

17.       Development Proposals Submitted by, or Affecting Councillors and
          Officers

17.1      Proposals to their own authority by serving and former Councillors and
          Officers and their close friends and relatives can easily give rise to suspicions
          of impropriety. Proposals can take the form of either planning applications or
          development plan proposals, or may involve planning enforcement. It is
          perfectly legitimate for such proposals to be submitted. However, it is vital to
          ensure that they are handled in a way which gives no grounds for accusations
          of favouritism.

17.2      For planning applications from Officers within the Council and Councillors:

               Serving Councillors and Officers who submit their own application to the
                authority should play no part in the decision-making process for that
                proposal
               Such proposals will be reported to Committee and not dealt with by
                Officers under delegated powers.
               The Council‘s Monitoring Officer should be informed of such proposals by
                serving Councillors and the Officers‘ report to the Committee will show that
                the applicant is a Councillor.
               Councillors and Officers should never act as agents for people pursuing a
                planning matter with their own authority.

17.3      For proposals submitted by relatives and close associates of officers involved
          with the development control process:

               The Officer concerned will have no involvement with the application.
               The Officer concerned should alert the Head of Planning to the proposal,
                in writing.


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17.4      Where a planning proposal directly affects the property or personal interests
          of a Councillor she/he must play no part in the decision-making process. This
          would apply, for example, if a Councillor submitted comments, as a
          neighbour, on a planning application.

17.5      Similarly, an Officer must have no involvement in processing a planning
          proposal which directly affects her/his property or personal interests.

18.       The Council‟s Own Developments

18.1      Proposals for the Council‘s own development have to be treated in the same
          way as those by private developers.

               All applications for the Council‘s own development on which there has
                been third party objections will be reported to Committee and not dealt
                with by Officers under delegated powers.
               All applications for the Council‘s own development will be the subject of a
                written Officer report, as with other applications.

19.       The Media

19.1      The principles of this Code also apply to press contact. Councillors and
          Officers when commenting to the media on planning matters must:-

               have regard to the points made in the section on Lobbying (Section 6);
               ensure that they do not give the impression that they have pre-judged the
                planning application;
               make clear that Councillors will retain an open mind until such time as the
                full facts are available and these are debated by the appropriate
                Committee;
               for delegated applications, make clear that the Head of Planning will retain
                an open mind until such time as the full facts are available and presented
                for decision.
               have regard to the Council‘s guidance on publicity and elections

19.2      The Council‘s Press Officer should be the initial contact person for all press
          enquiries.

19.3      Any Officers can provide facts about a planning matter which are in the public
          domain available to the media (see guidance note on the Access to
          Information Act). However, the media should be referred to the Press Officer
          or to the Head of Planning for attributable comments.

20.       Record Keeping and Complaints
20.1      The Council has its own Corporate Complaints Procedure; a separate leaflet
          is available. Complaints are first investigated within the Department by an
          Officer more senior than the Case Officer.

20.2      So that complaints may be fully investigated and, in any case, as a matter of
          general good practice, record keeping should be complete and accurate.

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          Omissions and inaccuracies could, in themselves, cause a complaint or
          undermine the Council‘s case. It is not possible to keep a full note of every
          meeting and conversation. However, the guiding rule is that every case file
          should contain an account of the main events throughout its life. It should be
          possible for someone not involved with that application to understand what
          the decision was and how and why it was reached.

               The main source of this documentation will be the Officer‘s report to
                committee and, if the committee does not agree the recommendation, the
                committee minutes.
               For delegated applications, a formal note of the main planning
                considerations is written and kept on file.
               These principles apply equally to enforcement and Local Development
                Framework matters.
               All committee reports and delegated decision reports will be checked and
                agreed by the Development Control Manager.
               A written note should be kept of all potentially contentious meetings and
                telephone conversations; this may be in the form of a follow-up letter.
                Whilst it will be impossible to keep a full note of every meeting,
                conversation and site visit, a record should be kept of significant events
                and a record kept of when site visits have taken place. The extent of the
                note should be in proportion to the significance of the event.
               Complaints alleging a breach of the statutory local code may be made
                directly to the Standards Board.


21.       Training

               Don‟t participate in decision making at meetings dealing with planning matters if
                you have not attended the mandatory planning training prescribed by the Council.
               Do endeavour to attend any other specialised training sessions provided, since
                these will be designed to extend your knowledge of planning law, regulations,
                procedures, Codes of Practice and the Development Plans beyond the minimum
                referred to above and thus assist you in carrying out your role properly and
                effectively.
               Do participate in the consideration of planning appeal decisions to ensure that
                Members‘ judgements have been based on proper planning considerations.
          
22.       Hospitality

22.1      Councillors and Officers are advised to treat with extreme caution any offer or
          gift, favour or hospitality which is made to them personally. The general
          presumption should be that hospitality is declined politely but firmly. Where to
          do so would cause offence and the hospitality involved is minimal, it should be
          recorded as soon as practically possible in a Hospitality Book maintained by
          the Monitoring Officer.

22.2      Members are also obliged, under the Model Code to register any gifts or
          hospitality received over the value of £25 within 28 days of receipt.



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22.3      The high standard of conduct and impartiality expected of Officers is
          contained in the Council‘s Code of Conduct for Employees.




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Notes:

This constitutes a local protocol and not part of the Statutory Code of Conduct for
Members under the Local Government Act 2000.

It has to be read in conjunction with:

The Code of Conduct for Members.

Protocol - Member/Officer Relations.




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                      Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
        Licensing Committee Protocol (Licensing Act 2003 and Gambling Act 2005)

This Protocol sets out principles to guide members and officers in determining licensing
applications under the Licensing Act 2003 and Gambling Act 2005 and making other
decisions within the terms of reference of Licensing Committee.

Although it is of particular relevance to members of Licensing Committee, it applies to
all members of the Council who may become involved in licensing matters. It will
be distributed annually to all members of the Council.

Officers participating in the Licensing Committee process must comply with the
Employees Code of Conduct and any applicable professional code of conduct.

Copies will be available for the public in the Trading Standards and Licensing Section
and the Democratic Services Section. A copy will also be available on the Council's
internet site.




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                      Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

                          Protocol – Licensing Committee
1.        INTRODUCTION

This protocol contains guidance for members of the Licensing Committee. If members
are uncertain about the application of the Protocol, they should seek guidance from
officers, preferably in advance of any meeting. (Appendix A contains a list of current
contact officers).

Licensing has a very important role to play in the life of the Borough. The Licensing
Committee determines applications under the Licensing Act 2003 and the Gambling Act
2005. The Licensing Act 2003 regulates ‗licensable activities‘ which are defined in the
Act as the sale of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late night refreshment. The
Gambling Act 2005 regulates lotteries, the licensing of betting and gaming premises and
regulation of gaming machines and activities within clubs and pubs.

In this Protocol, reference to ‗the Regulations‘ means The Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings)
Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No 44) and/or The Gambling Act 2005 (Proceedings of
Licensing Committees and Sub-Committees) (Premises Licences and Provisional
Statements) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007 No 173).

2.        INTERESTS OF THE WHOLE COMMUNITY

         Members of Licensing Committee should determine licensing matters in the
          interests of the whole community of the Borough.

         All applications should be determined with regard to the relevant legislation, the
          statutory guidance and the Licensing Policy adopted by the Council.

         Members of Licensing Committee should not prejudge licensing applications nor
          do anything that may reasonably be taken as giving an indication of having
          prejudged licensing applications.

         All other members should have regard to these principles when dealing with
          licensing matters and must avoid giving an impression that the Council may have
          prejudged the matter.

3.        PARTICIPATION OF MEMBERS

(i)       Members must consider carefully whether it is right for them to participate in a
          matter before the Committee. There are two elements to this:

          (a)        where they have personal and prejudicial interests

          (b)         where members of the public may feel that the member will not be able to
                     approach matters with an open mind and consider the application on its
                     own merits.



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          While this Protocol seeks to guide Members each situation will be different and
          Members may wish to seek guidance from Officers.

Personal and prejudicial interests

(ii)      Members must comply with the provisions regarding personal interests and
          prejudicial interests set out in the Members Code of Conduct.

          In particular, members must be mindful that if they have a ―prejudicial interest‖ as
          defined in the Members‘ Code of Conduct, they must withdraw from the meeting
          room and take no part in the matter. The only exception to this allowed under the
          new Code is that such a member may stay to make representations, answer
          questions or give evidence provided that (a) members of the public have a similar
          right and (b) s/he leaves the meeting room immediately after making the
          representations or giving evidence. In practice, a member will only be able to rely
          on this exception if s/he is an ―interested party‖ entitled to make representations
          as explained in Section 9A below.

(iii)     Pre-judgment

          While the Code of Conduct for Members provides guidance as to personal and
          prejudicial interests which may affect a member's ability to take part in the
          decision-making process, members may have other interests which may
          influence their decision which will not amount to personal or prejudicial interests
          for the purposes of the Code. In order to maintain the integrity of the licensing
          system, members should be careful to ensure that such interests do not unduly
          influence their decisions. Such interests may arise:-

                    from ward concerns

                    from membership of other Committees of the Council

                    from membership of other public or community bodies

                    from membership of voluntary associations and trusts (including where
                     appointed by the Council)

                    from a connection with a particular policy initiative of the Council.

                    from membership of clubs, societies and groups

                    from hobbies and other leisure interests

                    from employment or professional concerns

                    from any public statements or actions

          Such interests may mean that a Member is involved with a licensing application
          before the matter comes before the Licensing Committee. Such involvement
          need not on its own debar a member from participating in making the licensing
          decision when the matter is considered by Licensing Committee providing that
          the member has not already decided how they will vote on the matter before the

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          Committee. Members should, however, always consider carefully whether in any
          particular case they can reasonably be seen to approach the application on its
          own merits and with an open mind. If the member considers that this is not
          possible, the member should withdraw from consideration of that item.

          As a minimum, the integrity of the licensing system requires openness on the part
          of members; it must operate fairly and be seen to operate fairly. Pre judgement
          may also constitute maladministration on the part of the Council, lead to a
          Judicial Review challenge or constitute a potential breach of the Code of
          Conduct.

4.        POLITICAL GROUP MEETINGS

          Members of Licensing Committee must not base their decision on any discussion
          that may have taken place in a political group meeting. To do so would mean that
          Members have not come to the Committee meeting with an open mind, and that
          they may have been influenced by group discipline rather than the merits of the
          case. The Ombudsman has found maladministration in cases where members
          have been influenced by political group decisions in deciding planning
          applications, and the same principles apply to licence applications.


5.        NATURAL JUSTICE

There are two elements to natural justice:

a)        Fairness

          i)         When the Licensing Committee is considering an application, the applicant
                     will be given an opportunity to put his/her case before the Committee, in
                     accordance with the Regulations governing such hearings and the
                     Procedure adopted by the Licensing Committee and appended to this
                     Protocol. If the applicant or his/her representative does not attend, the
                     Licensing Committee may proceed in the applicant's absence in
                     accordance with the Regulations and the Procedure.

          (ii)       The Licensing Authority will arrange a hearing when it receives relevant
                     representations under the legislation.

          (iii)      All documentation to be considered by the Licensing Committee will be
                     available in advance in accordance with the Regulations and the
                     Procedure.

          (iv)       All Members of the Licensing Committee shall be present throughout the
                     consideration of a particular application. Where a Member arrives late or
                     leaves the room once consideration of the matter has started, that
                     Member shall play no part in the decision-making process for the
                     particular application. Where an application is adjourned it shall be heard
                     by the same Members only, and no others.

(b)        Prevention of Bias



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          (i)        The rules about personal and prejudicial interests set out in the Code of
                     Conduct for Members shall be firmly applied. Members are also referred to
                     the guidance about prejudgement in paragraph 3.

          (ii)       When the Licensing Committee moves into private session to consider its
                     decision, it should be accompanied only by its Democratic Services Officer
                     and legal adviser, all of whom shall have taken no substantive part in the
                     debate, and shall play no substantive part in the decision-making process.

6.        HEARINGS

          Hearings shall generally be in public and the Committee shall retire to consider its
          decision and take advice from their legal adviser.

7.        DEBATE

          (a)   Only members of the Licensing Committee can take part in the decision
          making.

          (b)     All members of the Council have the right to attend meetings of Licensing
          Committee under the Council Procedure Rules. Such members may not remain if
          the Licensing Committee goes into private session to consider their decision
          unless the members in attendance are undertaking business on behalf of the
          Standards Committee.

          (c)        Members of Licensing Committee must:-

                     (i)     listen to all arguments for and against an application and weigh
                     them up carefully before deciding whether to support or oppose a
                     particular application.

                     (ii)    make sure that they are not swayed by arguments which are not
                     directly related to the merits of the application.

8.        GENERAL PROCEDURES FOR HEARINGS

                 See Procedure appended to this Protocol (Appendix E)




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8A.        ROLE OF MEMBERS IN RELATION TO APPLICATIONS

          Licensing Act 2003

          S13 of the Licensing Act 2003 sets out the definition of ‗interested parties‘;
          that is persons who may make representations to licensing authorities on
          applications for the grant, variation or renewal of a premises licence for the
          licensable activities covered by this Act.

          There are five categories of ‗interested parties‘ described in the Act:

          − A person living in the vicinity of the premises in question;

          − A body representing persons living in that vicinity, for example a residents‘
             association;

          − A person involved in a business in the vicinity of the premises in question; and

          − A body representing persons involved in such businesses for example a trade
             association.

          - A member of the relevant Licensing Authority (i.e. Members of Stockton
              Council)

          The law changed in January 2010 to give elected Members the right to make
          such representations in relation to this Act. Members may also do so if they live in
          the vicinity of the premises (as is the case for any other member of the public) or
          are requested to represent another interested party.

          This section of the Act is explained in paragraphs 8.9 – 8.15 of the Statutory
          Guidance issued by the government, a copy of which can be obtained from
          officers and viewed on the internet if necessary.

          In July 2010 responsibility for the Licensing Act 2003 passed to the Home Office,
          the most recent Statutory Guidance was published in October 2010 and is
          available on the Home Office website by following the link below:-

          http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/alcohol/guidance-section-182-
          licensing?view=Binary

          Gambling Act 2005

          S 158 of the Gambling Act 2005 sets out who is an interested party in relation to
          an application under this Act for a premises licence for gambling. An interested
          party is a person who:

          a)         lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the
                     authorised activities

          b)         has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities ,
                     or



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          c)         represents persons who satisfy paragraph (a) or (b)

          Guidance issued under the Act by the Gambling Commission states at Para.8.11:

          „Interested parties can be persons who are democratically elected such as
          councillors and MPs. Where appropriate this will include county, parish and town
          councillors. Other than these persons, authorities should require written evidence
          that a person „represents‟ someone who either lives sufficiently close to the
          premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised activities and/or business
          interests that might be affected by the authorised activities. A letter from one of
          these persons requesting the representation is sufficient.‟

          Under the Gambling Act members also have an automatic right to make
          representations on applications.

          Guidance from the DCMS can be accessed on the internet by following the link
          below:-

          http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/gambling_and_racing/4154.aspx

9.        LOBBYING

          While recognising that lobbying of members has an important role in the local
          democratic process, this should not prejudice the licensing process. See
          Appendix C for guidance.

10.       HOSPITALITY

          Members should refer to the Gifts and Hospitality Protocol within the Constitution.

          Members should not accept gifts or hospitality from applicants or objectors in
          connection with their membership of the Licensing Committee as this might
          reasonably be interpreted as likely to influence a Member's judgement.

          In addition, all Members are reminded of their obligations under paragraphs
          8(1)(a)(viii), 9(1), 9(3), 13(1) and 13(2) of the Code of Conduct for Members
          regarding registration of gifts and hospitality valued at £25 or more.

          In summary, under the Code all receipts or offers of gifts or hospitality worth at
          least £25 must be notified to the Director of Law and Democracy as Monitoring
          Officer who will record the fact.

          Also, a member will have a ―personal interest‖ in a matter if it relates to or is likely
          to affect a person from whom the member has received a gift or hospitality worth
          at least £25 in the previous three years. The interest will also be a ―prejudicial
          interest‖ under the Code if (a) the licensing application is made by, or affects the
          financial position of, that person and (b) the public would reasonably think the
          member‘s personal interest is so significant it is likely to prejudice his or her
          judgement of the public interest.

11.       VISITS TO PREMISES



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          The main role of Licensing Committee is to decide individual applications, which
          is a quasi-judicial function. The Committee (in conjunction with the appropriate
          scrutiny committee) also has a role in deciding a policy framework.

          On rare occasions the Committee may find it useful in the course of its
          consideration of an application to visit the premises in question. While it is proper
          for the Committee to do this, care must be taken not to prejudice the integrity of
          the licensing process. The following ground rules will help to prevent this

          •          Arrangements for visits should be approved by the Committee and
                     arranged by officers. Members should not make their own arrangements.
                     If Members are approached direct, they should pass the person
                     concerned on to officers.

          •          Members should not accept any gift or any hospitality during such visits.
                     Any such offer must be registered whether or not it is accepted (see
                     paragraph 11 above).

          •          There should be no discussion of individual applications - including those
                     that have been determined, those that are pending and those that
                     potentially could arise in the future.

          •          At such visits, there should be no one-to-one discussions between
                     Members and others.

          •          Officers should always be present at such visits.

•    A note should be kept of who attended the visits, what occurred and an outline of any
     discussions. A copy should be placed on the relevant file and will be open to public
     inspection on request.

•    Members may attend on such visits with the Applicant and/or representatives of
     responsible bodies and interested parties.*

     *NOTE: „interested parties’ and „responsible authorities’ are defined in S13(3)
     and (4) Licensing Act 2003 as follows:-

          ““(3) “Interested party” means any of the following –

                     (a)        a person living in the vicinity of the premises,
                     (b)        a body representing persons who live in that vicinity.
                     (c)        a person involved in a business in that vicinity,
                     (d)        a body representing persons involved in such businesses.
                     (e)        a member of the relevant licensing authority

          (4)         “Responsible authority” means any of the following –

                     (a)        the chief officer of police for any police area in which the premises
                                are situated,

                     (b)        the fire authority for any area in which the premises are situated,



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                     (c)         the enforcing authority within the meaning given by section 18 of
                                the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for any area in which
                                the premises are situated,

                     (d)         the local planning authority within the meaning given by the Town
                                and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8) for any area in which the
                                premises are situated,

                     (e)        the local authority by which statutory functions are exercisable in
                                any area in which the premises are situated in relation to
                                minimising or preventing the risk of pollution of the environment or
                                of harm to human health,

                      (f)       a body which –

                                (i)     represents those who, in relation to any such area, are
                                        responsible for, or interested in, matters relating to the
                                        protection of children from harm, and

                                (ii)     is recognised by the licensing authority for that area for the
                                        purposes of this section as being competent to advise it on
                                        such matters,

                     (g)         any licensing authority (other than the relevant licensing authority)
                                in whose area part of the premises is situated,

                     (h)         in relation to a vessel –

                                (i)     a navigation authority (within the meaning of section 221(1)
                                        of the Water Resources Act 1991 (c.57)) having functions in
                                        relation to the waters where the vessel is usually moored or
                                        berthed or any waters where it is, or is proposed to be,
                                        navigated at a time when it is used for licensable activities,

                                (ii)    the Environment Agency,

                                (iii)   the British Waterways Board, or

                                (iv)    the Secretary of State,

                     (i)        a person prescribed for the purposes of this subsection.””

**„”interested parties” and “responsible authorities” are defined in the Gambling
Act 2005 S 157 and S158.

“157 Responsible authorities

For the purposes of this Part the following are responsible authorities in relation to
premises-

                     (a)   a licensing authority in England and Wales in whose area the
                     premises are wholly or partly situated,


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                     (b)        the Commission,

                     (c)        either-

                                (i)        in England and Wales, the chief officer of police for a police
                                           area in which the premises are wholly or partly situated, or

                                (ii)       in Scotland, the chief constable of the police force
                                           maintained for a police area in which the premises are
                                           wholly or partly situated,

                     (d)        the fire and rescue authority for an area in which the premises are
                                wholly or partly situated,

                     (e)         either-

                                (i)        in England and Wales, the local planning authority, in
                                           accordance with Part I of the Town and Country Planning
                                           Act 1990 (c.8), for an area in which the premises are wholly
                                           or partly situated, or

                                (ii)       in Scotland, the planning authority, in accordance with Part I
                                           of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997
                                           (c.8), for an area in which the premises are wholly or partly
                                           situated,

                     (f)        the council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government
                                etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 (c.39) for an area in which the premises
                                are wholly or partly situation,

                     (g)        an authority which has functions by virtue of an enactment in
                                respect of minimising or preventing the risk of pollution of the
                                environment or of harm to human health in an area in which the
                                premises are wholly or partly situation,

                     (h)         a body which is designated in writing for the purposes of this
                                paragraph, by the licensing authority for an area in which the
                                premises are wholly or partly situated, as competent to advise the
                                authority about the protection of children from harm,

                                (i)        Her Majesty‟s Commissioners of Customs and Excise, and

                                (j)         any other person prescribed for the purposes of this section
                                           by regulations made by the Secretary of State.

158       Interested Party

          For the purposes of this Part a person is an interested party in relation to a
          premises licence or in relation to an application for or in respect of a premises
          licence if, in the opinion of the licensing authority which issues the licence or to
          which the application is made, the person-


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                     (a)         lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by
                                the authorised activities,

                     (b)         has business interests that might be affected by the authorised
                                activities, or

                     (c)        represents persons who satisfy paragraph (a) or (b).

12.       STATUTORY DUTIES

          The Council is subject to a number of statutory duties which it must comply with
          when carrying out its statutory functions. These will apply to the licensing function
          except when such matters are clearly immaterial in the light of the particular
          statutory regime. Examples of these duties include:

          RACE RELATIONS - section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 provides that:

          "[A local authority] shall, in carrying out its functions, have due regard to the need
          –

          (a)        to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination, and
          (b)        to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of
                     different racial groups"

          Members are reminded of their obligation not to do anything which may cause the
          Council to breach any of the equality enactments and to treat others with respect
          under paragraph 3 of the Code of Conduct for Members (Part 5.2A of the
          Newcastle Charter). An extract from the Code of Conduct for Members is
          included at Appendix D.

          HUMAN RIGHTS - section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 provides that

          "It is unlawful for a public authority to act [or fail to act] in a way which is
          incompatible with a Convention right".

          CRIME AND DISORDER - section 17(1) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998
          provides that:

          "Without prejudice to any other obligation imposed on it, it shall be the duty of a
          [local authority] to exercise its various functions with due regard to the likely effect
          of the exercise of those functions on, and the need to do all that it reasonably can
          to prevent, crime and disorder in its area"



13.       PRESS COMMENTS

All members should ensure that any enquiries from the press or media are referred to
the Communications Team who will provide guidance and assistance.

In general:-


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          (i)        All members should ensure that any contact which they may have with the
                     press should accord with the principles of this Code and should not affect
                     the integrity of the licensing system.

                     Members should also comply with the Protocol on Member/Officer
                     Relations.

          (ii)        The principles of the code apply to press contact; in particular:-

                     •    Members of Licensing Committee should ensure that they do not
                          create the impression that they have prejudged the licensing
                          application.
                     •    All other members should ensure that they do not create the
                          impression that the Council has already pre-judged the licensing
                          application.

14.       OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY

          The role of the Executive Scrutiny Committee is explained in the Executive
          Scrutiny Committee Procedure Rules within the Constitution.

          The "call-in" procedure allows Executive Scrutiny Committee to ask executive
          decision-makers to reconsider decisions before they are implemented. Under the
          Local Government Act 2000, this does not apply to non-executive decisions such
          as those made by Licensing Committee. In most circumstances an interested
          party aggrieved by the decision of the Licensing Committee has a right of appeal
          to the Magistrates Court.


15.       BREACHES

          Complaints about any breach of this Protocol by a Member may be referred to
          the Monitoring Officer in accordance with the protocol for complaints. Certain
          breaches may also amount to breaches of the Code of Conduct for Members and
          lead to complaints to the Council's Standards Committee.




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                                                  APPENDIX A –

                                                CONTACT OFFICERS


Division                              Officer                        Direct
                                                                     Telephone
                                                                     Numbers

Trading Standards                     Dave Kitching –                01642 526530
and Licensing
                                      Mick Vaines –                  01642 526578

Legal Services                        Julie Grant – Head of Legal    01642 527063
                                      Services.

                                      Jonathan Nertney – Principal   01642 526312
                                      Solicitor

Democratic Services                   Margaret Waggott – Head of     01642 527064
                                      Democratic Services




                                                   APPENDIX B


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GUIDANCE ABOUT LOBBYING

(a) Lobbying of Licensing Committee Members:

(i)        A Member of Licensing Committee who is lobbied before the meeting:-

          •          May listen to what is being said

          •          Should refer the lobbyist to the relevant Licensing Enforcement Officer for
                     advice on Licensing Act procedures and their right if any to make formal
                     representations.

          •          Should not give details of voting intentions or otherwise enter into a
                     commitment to oppose or support the application.

          •          Should report all instances of significant, substantial or persistent lobbying
                     to the Director of Development and Neighbourhood Services.

          There is no problem about listening to a point of view. If, however, members of
          Licensing Committee express an opinion, without hearing the alternative view, it
          may create the impression that members have pre-judged the matter and will not
          approach the matter with an open mind on its merits at the Committee.

(ii)      Members of Licensing Committee should avoid entering any premises or site in
          connection with an application unless part of an organised site visit. However,
          members may sometimes be asked by constituents to visit them in their homes,
          and on those visits the question of a licence application (or objection or support)
          may be raised. In such circumstances, members should not give any
          commitment.

(b)       Lobbying of other members

          While recognising that lobbying of members has an important role in the local
          democratic process, all other members should ensure that their response is not
          such as to give reasonable grounds for suggesting that the decision has already
          been made by the Council.

(c)       Lobbying by Licensing Committee members:

(i)       Members of Licensing Committee should not directly or indirectly organise
          support or opposition, lobby other members, act as an advocate, or put pressure
          on officers for a particular recommendation or give instructions to officers about
          any application. Members are also reminded of their obligation under Paragraphs
          3(2)(c) and (d) of the Code of Conduct for Members. An extract from the Code of
          Conduct for Members is included at Appendix C.

(ii)      If members of Licensing Committee engage in such conduct, it will be apparent
          that they have prejudged the application and are incapable of dealing with the
          matter with an open mind. If members find themselves in such a situation, they
          should withdraw from the Committee for that item.



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(d)       Lobbying by members not on Licensing Committee

(i)       All other members should generally follow the principle set out in section (c) and
          do nothing to affect the integrity of the licensing system; in particular, they should
          not put pressure on officers for a particular recommendation or give instructions
          to officers about any application. Members are also reminded of their obligation
          under Paragraphs 3(2)(c) and (d) of the Code of Conduct for Members. An
          extract from the Code of Conduct for Members is included at Appendix C.

(ii)      Members should consider carefully what effect on the integrity of the licensing
          process any action they take may have (such as the circulation of
          correspondence to members). If members receive correspondence about an
          application, they should copy it to the Head of Trading Standards and Licensing
          Protection rather than directly to members of Licensing Committee. This ensures
          that the information appears on the appropriate file.

(iii)     Ward members have a number of important roles in licensing matters:-

          •          informative - making sure that their constituents are aware of licensing
                     matters in the Ward

          •          representative – any member may put forward their own representation or
                     if requested by an ‗interested party‘*/he/she should ensure that party‘s
                     views are brought to the attention of the Licensing Committee

          •          advocacy - speaking for those who feel unable to speak on their own
                     behalf.

          Care must be taken to ensure that a member's actions are not misunderstood. A
          number of steps can prevent this:-

          •          information that is distributed should be factually correct

          •          where a member is asked to represent conflicting views on a specific
                     application he/she should ensure that all views are represented.

          •          other members should not be lobbied.




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          *Section 13(3) Licensing Act 2003 – defines ―interested party‖ as:-

          (a)        a person living in the vicinity of the premises
          (b)        a body representing persons who live in that vicinity.
          (c)        a person involved in a business in that vicinity.
          (d)        a body representing persons involved in such businesses.
          (e)        a member of the relevant licensing authority


**S158 Gambling Act defines ‗interested party‘ as a person who:-

(a)       lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised
          activities

(b)       has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities, or

(c)       represents persons who satisfy paragraph (a) or (b)




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                                                 APPENDIX C

                       EXTRACTS FROM OTHER CODES AND PROTOCOLS

GENERAL OBLIGATIONS

Paragraph 3 of the Code of Conduct for Members:

―3. -     (1)         You must treat others with respect.

          (2)        You must not –

                     (a)        do anything which may cause your authority to breach any of the
                                equality enactments (as defined in section 33 of the Equality Act
                                2006);

                     (b)        bully any person;

                     (c)        intimidate or attempt to intimidate any person who is or is likely to
                                be -

                                (i)     a complainant,

                                (ii)    a witness, or

                                (iii)   involved in the administration of any investigation or
                                        proceedings, in relation to an allegation that a member
                                        (including yourself) has failed to comply with his or her
                                        authority‘s code of conduct; or

                     (d)        do anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the
                                impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of, your authority.

          (3)        In relation to police authorities and the Metropolitan Police Authority, for
                     the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)(d) those who work for, or on behalf of,
                     an authority are deemed to include a police officer‖.

PRESS COMMENTS

Paragraph 11 of the Protocol - Member/Officer Relations

“11.       Publicity Material and Press Releases

11.1      The guiding principles as to the publication of publicity material and the issuing of
          press releases by Officers are found in the Local Government Act 1986 and the
          related Code of Conduct or Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority
          Publicity as revised by the Secretary of State on 2nd April 2001. For practical
          purposes the LGIU publication the Right Side of the Law is adopted‖.

It should be noted that:-

         Publicity should not be party political.


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         Official news releases and official press statements should only be sent out
          through the Press Office in the Communications and Marketing Unit.

         Any interviews to be given by a Member (where he or she is to appear as a
          Council spokesperson) should be managed by the Press Office in the
          Communications and Marketing Unit.




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                                          APPENDIX D

                  PROCEDURE AT LICENSING COMMITTEE/SUB-COMMITTEE

•    Applicants should read these guidance notes on procedure in conjunction with the
     Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005 as amended and the Gambling Act
     2005 (Proceedings of Licensing Committees and Sub-Committees) (Premises
     Licences and Provisional Statements) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

A. Hearings Under the Licensing Act 2003

•    All parties have a right to a fair hearing.

•    All local government decision making should be conducted in an open, transparent
     and accountable way.

•    All efforts will be made by this Licensing Authority to promote these principles.

NOTICE OF HEARING (REGULATION 6)

•    The Authority (Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council as the Licensing Authority) shall
     give 10 working days notice of a hearing save in specified cases (see Regulation 6
     (2) and (3)) as detailed below.

•    Reg 6(2) provides for two days notice in urgent cases involving cancellation of
     interim authority notice or counter notice following police objection to a temporary
     event notice.

•    Reg 6(3) provides for 5 days notice for the following applications:-

-conversion of existing licence
-conversion of existing club certificate
-personal licence

ADDITIONAL PERSONS AT THE HEARING (REGULATION 8(2))

Where a party wishes any other person (other than the person he intends to represent
him) to appear at the hearing, a request must be made in writing in accordance with the
notice provisions of this regulation. The request must give the name of the person and a
brief description of the information with which that person may be able to assist the
Committee.
(Where additional persons have been permitted to appear at the hearing such persons
shall be invited to address the committee after the party who requested their attendance
has addressed the committee, and answered any questions).

RIGHT TO DISPENSE WITH HEARING (REGULATIONS 9 & 27)

•    The hearing may be dispensed with if the parties and the Authority agree that the
     hearing is not necessary. Parties must confirm their agreement in writing.



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•    Where it is agreed to dispense with a hearing the Authority must make its
     determination within the period of 10 working days beginning with the day the
     Authority gave notice to the parties that a hearing was unnecessary.

WITHDRAWAL OF REPRESENTATIONS (REGULATION 10)

•    Objections/representations may be withdrawn in writing up to 24 hours before the
     hearing or orally at the hearing.

THE HEARING

•    The hearing will be conducted in public except that the Committee will adjourn to
     take legal advice and make its decision. (see below)

•    Parties to the hearing may attend and be may be assisted or represented by a
     person of their choice.

•    The Licensing Authority has the power to exclude the public or any party from all or
     part of a hearing where the Committee considers it in the public interest to do so
     (Regulation 14 (2)).

DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOUR (REGULATION 25)

•    The Authority may require any person attending the hearing who in their opinion is
     behaving in a disruptive manner to leave the hearing and may:

     a) Refuse to permit that person to return, or

     b) Permit him/her to return only on such conditions as the Authority may specify.

     But such a person may, before the end of the hearing, submit to the Authority in
     writing any information which they would be entitled to give orally had they not been
     required to leave.

FAILURE OF PARTIES TO ATTEND THE HEARING (REGULATION 20)

•    If a party has informed the Authority that he/she does not intend to attend or be
     represented at the hearing, the hearing may proceed in his/her absence.

•    If any party fails to attend without notice, the Committee may adjourn the hearing if
     they consider it necessary to do so in the public interest and shall forthwith give
     notice to the parties of the adjourned date.

•    Where the Authority proceeds with the hearing in the absence of the party, the
     Authority shall consider at the hearing the application or representations made by
     that party.




ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (REGULATION 18)


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•    The Committee may take into account documentary or other information produced at
     the hearing by a party in support of their case provided all other parties consent.

RECORDS OF PROCEEDINGS

•    The Authority will retain a record of the proceedings for 6 years from the date of
     determination or, where an appeal is brought against determination of the Authority,
     the disposal of the appeal.

B.        Hearings Under the Gambling Act 2005

The main provisions are as follows:-

PERIOD OF TIME WITHIN WHICH A HEARING IS TO HELD (REGULATION 4)

The Committee is required to hold a hearing as soon as practicable after the deadline for
making representations

NOTICE OF HEARING (REGULATION 5)

Notice of any hearing must be given to relevant persons (listed in Schedule)

INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS TO ACCOMPANY NOTICE OF HEARING
(REGULATION 6)

Sets out further information and documents that must accompany the notice

POWER TO POSTPONE (REGULATION 7)

Allows the Committee to postpone hearings either where it needs to consider information
or documents, or if a party, witness or person representing a party is unable to attend.

DETERMINATION OF AN APPLICATION FOR REVIEW
(REGULATIONS 13 AND 14)

The Committee is required to determine the application or review within 5 days after the
last day of the hearing but may extend this time limit if it is in the public interest.

The remaining regulations mirror the provisions of the Licensing Act (Hearing
Regulations) in relation to holding hearings in public except where the Committee
considers it necessary to hold it in private, dispensing with a hearing with the agreement
of the parties, removal of disruptive persons from a hearing, the keeping of records of
proceedings and the procedure to be followed at the hearing.


                                             APPENDIX E

                                      PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED

•    The Chair will open the meeting and introduce members of the Committee and
     Officers to all present. The Chair will explain the nature of the decision to be taken


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     and the procedure (as detailed below) to be followed, emphasising that the role of
     the sub committee is to determine the application in an impartial and even-handed
     manner, and in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Licensing Act
     2003/Gambling Act 2005, National Guidance and the Licensing Authority‘s own
     policy.

•    The Licensing Officer will outline the application together with any relevant
     representations and their relevance to the Local Authority Licensing Policy Statement
     and Statutory Guidance.

•    Members may ask questions of the Officer.

•    The Applicant or the person representing him/her will be invited to address
     Committee. The Applicant will normally be allowed 10 minutes to present his/her
     case. The Chair will at all times be mindful of the requirement to permit the parties
     equal time so far as is possible.

•    Members and then parties may ask questions of the Applicant

•    Responsible Authorities will be invited to address the committee, and will in general
     be allowed 10 minutes.

•    Members and then parties may ask questions of the Responsible Authorities.

•    Interested Parties will be invited to address the committee. Where there are a
     number of parties making similar representations the Chair will expect the parties to
     nominate a spokesperson to make the representations. Parties will in general be
     allowed 10 minutes

•    Members and then parties may ask questions of the Interested Parties

•    The Chair will invite the Applicant and parties to summarise their points if they wish.
     The time allowed for summing up shall in general be 5 minutes.

•    The Chair will confirm that all parties are satisfied they have had adequate
     opportunity to present their case.

•    Members of the Committee will retire to discuss and make their decision, and will be
     accompanied by the legal advisor and the democratic services officer (whose roles
     are to assist the committee with legal advice and to record the decision: they are not
     part of the decision making process).

•    The Chair will relay the decision and the reasons for the decision and details of any
     conditions placed upon the Licence (if granted) under the licensing objective that
     they relate to. If the Committee feel that they need time to consider evidence and
     submissions made then they may resolve to notify all parties within five working
     days.

•    Written notification of the decision together with information regarding the right of a
     party to appeal against the decision will be sent out within 5 working days.




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*    Note – persons in attendance at the meeting (including applicants, responsible
     authorities and interested parties) may, at the discretion of the Committee, be given
     additional time to present their case if felt necessary and in the interests of natural
     justice.




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