Agenda and minutes

Ethics and Engagement Committee - Monday, 20th June 2016 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall

Contact: Charlie Mason, Democratic Services Officer  (01522 873533)

No. Item


Confirmation of Minutes - 21 March 2016 pdf icon PDF 96 KB


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2016 be confirmed.


Declarations of Interest

Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.


No declarations of interest were received.


Individual Electoral Registration Update pdf icon PDF 121 KB


Steve Swain, Principal Democratic Officer:


a)    advised that he had reported to the Committee in the previous municipal year regarding progress made with the implementation of the Individual Electoral Registration (IER) process.


b)    updated the Committee regarding recent registration statistics, specifically highlighting the increase in registered voters from 63,270 to 66,386, of whom 63,336 would be eligible to vote in the forthcoming referendum on membership of the European Union.


c)    highlighted the work that had been undertaken to maximise the number of people who were registered to vote.


d)    noted that forthcoming legislative changes should allow the Council to make reductions in the cost of registration process by switching some elements of the process from post to email.


e)    stated that the grant which had been provided to the Council to assist with the implementation of IER had been reduced and officers were assessing the impact of this reduction.


f)     invited members’ questions and comments.




·         noted the considerable work which had been undertaken by officers in responding to IER.

·         questioned whether officers considered that the introduction of IER had been as damaging to registration levels as originally feared.

·         questioned how effective the Council’s social media campaign encouraging people to register to vote had been.

·         questioned whether it was possible to establish how many eligible residents were not registered.

·         questioned whether it was possible to email poll cards to residents.


The Principal Democratic Officer responded:


·         that while some groups had particular registration needs, officers had tried to be flexible in assisting people to register and maximising registration levels.

·         that the social media campaign had been a cost-effective method of circulating a message to a large number of people, although it was not possible to track its impact on registration rates. The campaign was initially planned to be targeted at young people but had been expanded to target all groups.

·         that it was not possible to accurately assess how many people were unregistered within the city from the resources currently available, although it was possible that the Lincolnshire Observatory could provide some assistance in this regard.

·         that it was not possible to circulate poll cards by email.


RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Code of Conduct: Cases Review pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Additional documents:


The Legal and Democratic Services Manager:


a)    presented a report containing information on recent cases relating to other local authorities' codes of conduct.


b)    summarised the cases within the report, noting the particular areas which members might wish to consider.


c)    invited members’ questions and comments.




·         noted that the case involving a statement by a member of a planning committee that he had been influenced by the leader of the council in making a decision was particularly serious. In addition to the damage to the council’s reputation it was also noted that such a comment could result in serious financial costs to the council if a planning decision were successfully overturned.

·         emphasised the training that was made available to Council members to limit the risk of any such incident occurring within Lincoln.


RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Member Induction Review pdf icon PDF 128 KB


The Democratic Services Officer:


a)    presented a report regarding the recent induction programme for newly-elected members.


b)    reminded members of the format of the induction, as discussed at previous meetings of the Committee.


c)    particularly invited feedback from members who had participated in the induction.


d)    invited members’ questions and comments.




·         stated that the induction had been well organised and had helped in giving members a sound start to their terms of office.

·         suggested that more notice should be given to prospective electoral candidates of forthcoming induction and meeting dates.

·         noted that the induction days were challenging but useful, although it was important to ensure that officers did not overrun the published timetable.

·         supported the induction taking place over two days rather than being spread across an increased number of shorter sessions.

·         noted that the induction programme had continued to improve in recent years and would continue to change in future years in response to member feedback.


RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Local Democracy Week Update pdf icon PDF 105 KB


The Democratic Services Officer:


a)    presented a report regarding the Council’s plans to engage with local schools during Local Democracy Week in October 2016.


b)    advised that only one school had expressed in an interest in taking part in Local Democracy Week following letters sent to local head teachers following the previous meeting.


c)    summarised the Council’s recent involvement with schools.


d)    invited members’ questions and comments.




·         noted their own difficulties in engaging with local schools.

·         suggested that those councillors who had more recently left school could seek to engage with their previous schools and attend events to promote local democracy.

·         suggested that political parties could seek to use any contacts within their parties to make contact with relevant teachers at local schools.

·         proposed that consideration should be given to engaging with schools outside Lincoln’s administrative boundary but which accepted a significant number of pupils from within Lincoln.


RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:


The Democratic Services Officer:


a)    presented the current Ethics and Engagement Committee work programme for consideration by members.


b)    advised that the work programme was largely based on the previous year’s and invited members to suggest any additional items.

c)    invited members' questions and comments.


Members suggested that the Leader and the Chair should meet with officers to examine the work programme and seek to ensure the Committee was proactively meeting its terms of reference.




1.    the work programme be approved.


2.    the Leader, the Chair, and officers would discuss the work programme and bring a report regarding this to a future meeting.


Member Code of Conduct Complaint Considered by the Monitoring Officer pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Metcalfe left the room during the consideration of this item as it related to complaints made directly against members of the City of Lincoln Council from which discussions, as Leader of the Council, he was excluded by the Committee’s terms of reference.


The Legal and Democratic Services Manager:


a)    presented the report relating to complaints against councillors which had been considered by the Monitoring Officer and had been determined as requiring no action.


b)    invited members to note the report.


RESOLVED that the report be noted.