Ryedale District Council

Member Induction 2015

Member develop

 

 

 

Introduction

Understanding Ryedale District Council

Understanding the roles of councillors and officers

Understanding the Local Delivery Plans and Policies

Understanding the Council Constitution and Code of Conduct

Understanding Local Government Finance

Member Development

Media and Communications

Information and Communication Technology

Partnerships

Useful links

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Introduction from the Chief Executive

Dear Councillor,

I would like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate you on your election as a Councillor for Ryedale District Council and I extend a very warm welcome to you.

This induction page has been prepared to assist you in your role throughout your term of office. It contains important information for ongoing reference, and updates will be made to this information as and when necessary or required. In addition, there are a number of forms for you to complete and return.

The page includes a number of web-links, which allow you how to access information across the Council’s website and also direct you to other useful websites.

I look forward to working with you during the forthcoming Council term.

Janet Waggott
Chief Executive

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Complying with the requirements of the Members' Code of Conduct after the District Council elections on 7 May 2015 in relation to the Register of Members' Registrable Interests (including gifts and hospitality) and Declarations of Interest at meetings of Council and Committees when considering Council business

Congratulations on your election to Ryedale District Council.

First, an important point of detail. Newly elected Members come into office and re-elected Members renew their office on Monday, 11 May 2015, which is the fourth day after the day of election.

The purpose of this information is to assist you as a District Councillor in complying with the requirements of the Members' Code of Conduct after the District Council elections on 7 May 2015, in relation to the Register of Members' Registrable Interests (including gifts and hospitality) and Declarations of Interest at meetings of Council and Committees when considering Council business. It also gives general advice on maintaining high standards of conduct in local government.

I appreciate that the quantity of new information may appear daunting. However, I am confident that you will find that knowledge of the ground rules of local government will be of great assistance to you in discharging your office as a District Councillor.

The following documents are relevant to this information:-

  1. Annex A – Code of Conduct
  2. Annex B – Register of Members' Financial and Other Interests
  3. Annex C – Notes to the Register of Member's Interests (PDF available to download at the foot of this page)
  4. Annex D – Declaring Interests Flowchart – questions to ask yourself (PDF available to download at the foot of this page)
  5. Annex E – Maintaining High Ethical Standards in Local Government (PDF available to download at the foot of this page)

The "New" Ethical Framework

The Coalition Government introduced the Localism Act 2011 which abolished the previous ethical framework and replaced it with a duty on Council's to adopt a new code with no powers for Councils to suspend Members for misconduct.

The Government is of the view that it is the right and proper responsibility of the electorate to determine who represents them and that the abolition of the previous ethical framework regime will restore power to local people. This is an important point of principle for the Government.

Chapter 7 of Part 1 of the Localism Act 2011 has introduced a new ethical framework where Local Authorities, including District Councils and Parish/Town Councils have a duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct and are required to adopt a code of conduct and standards of conduct arrangements within which elected and co-opted Members must operate backed up by arrangements to deal with allegations of misconduct .

The new system has the following six elements:

  1. Codes of Conduct. This sets the standard of conduct which elected members are expected to meet and is included in the constitution and there is a link to the code of conduct on the District Council's website on the webpage "Member Induction 2015"
  2. Disclosure of Members Pecuniary Interests on taking office. Members of the Council have a legal obligation to notify the Council's Monitoring Officer of any "disclosable pecuniary interest" for the purposes of inclusion within the register of Interests: Section 30(1) Localism Act 2011;
  3. Members of the Council have a legal obligation when attending a Council meeting (i.e. meeting of the Council, or any committee, sub-committee or joint committee of the Council), to disclose that "disclosable pecuniary interest(s)" to the meeting if it is not on the register : Section 31(2) Localism Act
  4. A person commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he/she fails to register or disclose a "disclosable pecuniary interest" as required or knowingly or recklessly provides information in relation to a "disclosable pecuniary interest" that is false or misleading : Section 34 Localism Act 2011. A person who commits an offence, as outlined above, shall upon summary conviction by a criminal court be liable to a fine not exceeding £5,000 and may be disqualified for a period not exceeding 5 years from being or becoming a Member or Co-opted Member of a Council.
  5. A Local Authority must have arrangements to deal with allegations of misconduct by Members. Complaints about Member misconduct may in the first instance be referred to me in my capacity as the District Council's Monitoring Officer. Cases which give cause for concern will be investigated. In the most serious cases the District Council's Corporate Governance Standards Sub-Committee may consider cases of alleged misconduct by Members. If a Councillor is found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct it may impose sanctions including a public censure.
  6. Independent Persons – Independent Persons give independent advice on standard issues.

The Code of Conduct

Ryedale District Council adopted its Code of Conduct (forms part of the Council's Constitution) on 19 May 2012 and 12 July 2012. The full title of the code of conduct is "Members' Code of Conduct with General Principles of Local Government".

The Code of Conduct comprises the following four parts:-

  1. Part 1 - Principles
  2. Part 2 - Outcomes
  3. Part 3 – Interests – Registering Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests
  4. Part 3 – Interests – Declaration of Interests at Council and Committee meetings

Principles

Part 1 of the Members Code of Conduct describes the Seven Principles of Public Life which set out the ways in which elected holders of public office should behave in discharging their duties.

These principles are consistent with the seven "Nolan" principles of Standards in Public Life, namely: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. A more detailed description of these important principles can be read in Part 1 of the Members Code of Conduct. You are recommended to carefully read the seven principles of Standards in Public Life.

The Nolan Principles were defined by the Committee for Standards in Public Life in a report published in July 1997 and are relevant to all elected Councillors. This report was commissioned and approved by Parliament.

The Members Code of Conduct is constructed around the values drawn from the Seven Principles of Public Life – "The Nolan Principles".

In accordance with the seven principles described above, the Localism Act 2011 and the Members Code of Conduct requires that the Council maintains a Register of Member's Pecuniary Interests and that Members make declarations of their pecuniary interests at Council and Committee meetings which are described below.

Outcomes

Part 2 of the Code relating to outcomes was produced by the Local Government Association (LGA) and is described as a principles based, outcomes focussed Code of Conduct. Part 1 of the Code provides the principles and Part 2 provides the eleven outcomes the principles seek to achieve. Absent are indicative behaviours that are required to produce the outcomes but the LGA believe many of these are to be found in existing documentation such as Member Officer relations protocol and the Planning Code of Practice. This is a different approach from the more traditional code with more precise do's and dont's.

Interests

The "Interests" part of the code includes the following provisions:

  • a section in Part A on Disclosable Pecuniary Interests. This incorporates the descriptions of interests contained in the regulations. This is considered helpful to start explaining to Members what the statutory provisions entail.
  • a section in Part B on Disclosable Other Personal Interests. This seeks to replicate the requirements of the last code; but excluding the statutory requirements for disclosable pecuniary interests.

As the regulations exclude any reference to gifts and hospitality, the Members' Code of Conduct and the Register of Members' Interests form also makes provision in the code for notification.

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI)

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPIs) are defined in the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012. These are listed in the Members' Code of Conduct .

A new (or re-elected) Member of the Council must notify the Monitoring Officer of any "disclosable pecuniary interest" (or any unregistered "disclosable pecuniary interest" in the case of a re-elected Member) before the end of 28 days beginning with the day on which the persons becomes a Member of the Council.

Failure to register or disclose a disclosable pecuniary interest will be punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to and including Level 5 (£5,000). In addition, the Magistrates' Court may on conviction disqualify a Member from being a Member of a Council or any other relevant authority for up to five years. Breaches of the Code of Conduct in relation to failure to declare other pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests can only be dealt with as a breach of the Code. Prosecutions for a breach of the legislation relating to disclosable pecuniary interests may only be brought by or on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP is unlikely to authorise a prosecution unless the breach of the legislation is considered serious.

The definition of a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in the 2012 Regulations is significantly different from the former Prejudicial Interest definition. It applies to interests of the Member and their spouse or partner. This means that for registration, it is wider than the old requirements which applied only to interests of the Member him/herself. But for disclosure and non-participation purposes it is significantly narrower than the old definition, as it omits reference to the Member's family or friends.

It is broader than the old definition of a prejudicial interest, in that it is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest even if there is no likelihood that it might prejudice the Member's perception of the public interest.

It is also narrower in that it applies only to very defined categories of interest and omits reference to matters likely to affect the wellbeing or financial standing of the Member, or his/her family or friends.

Councils are advised to adopt local Codes which require Councillors at least to disclose where a decision would affect or relate to family or friends. That is the reason why there is a second category of interests to register and declare apart from DPIs.

Register of Interests

The Monitoring Officer is responsible for ensuring that each Authority's register (ie District, Parish and Town Councils) is kept at the principal Authority's offices and is available for public inspection within the District Council's (principal authority). Copies of the District Council's Register of Interests and those of every Parish and Town Council must be published on the District Council's website and, if the Parish/Town Council has a website, then the relevant Register must also be available on that website.

You are asked to complete the Register of Interest Form on-line within 7 days from the date of this letter. Guidance notes are available to download at the foot of this page.

Declarations of Interest

A central feature of the Code of Conduct is the mechanism for handling conflicts of interest between a Member's pecuniary or personal interest and the public interest. Amongst many other things, the Code of Conduct advises Members about disclosures of interest whereby Members who have a pecuniary or personal interest arising at a local authority meeting should declare it.

Given the potentially serious consequences of breaching the Code of Conduct, Members are asked to take care when attending Council and Committee meetings to ensure that they declare disclosable pecuniary interests and personal and prejudicial interests.

Members will see that the agenda for Council and Committee meetings includes an item for the declaration of interests . It is the duty of the member to consider whether or not they need to make a declaration of interest at the meeting under that item and declare such interests.

For the avoidance of any doubt, it is your responsibility to disclose pecuniary and other interests.

Staff cannot formally remind or prompt you to disclose a pecuniary or personal and prejudicial interest. However, I will help informally when I can, but in the last resort it has to be your responsibility. It is always good practice to discuss declarations of interest matters with myself as the Council Solicitor or some other Senior Officer prior to any Council or Committee meeting rather than in open Committee.

The basic rule is that where a Councillor is present at a meeting of Council or a Committee or Sub-Committee at which a matter in which the Councillor has a pecuniary or personal and prejudicial interest is being considered:

  1. The Councillor must disclose that he/she has a disclosable pecuniary interest or a personal and prejudicial interest; and
  2. The Councillor must not speak or vote on the matter unless he/she has a dispensation and he/she should leave the Committee room during consideration of the item.

Further details are given below.

Disclosure of Interests and Participation

A Member has a duty to disclose a "disclosable pecuniary interest" in relation to Council/Committee business whenever they attend any meetings of the Council, or Committee. If the DPI is not currently on the register, or has not been notified already to the Monitoring Officer, then the Member must notify it to the Monitoring Officer within 28 days so that it can be included on the Register.

If a Member has a DPI in any matter, he/she must not participate in any discussion of the matter at the meeting. The Act does not define "discussion". Members must not participate in any vote on the matter. However, the Member can seek a dispensation which would allow him/her to speak and/or vote as necessary.

Failure to Comply

Failure to comply with the requirements outlined above is a criminal offence. The Council's Code of Conduct makes provisions for disclosure and withdrawal for interests other than DPIs, but failure to comply with these requirements would be a breach of the Code of Conduct but not a criminal offence. The requirement to withdraw from the meeting room is covered by Standing Orders, which would be neither a criminal offence nor a breach of the Code of Conduct. The requirement for Members to withdraw from the meeting room when they have a DPI in an item under discussion, provides transparency and openness in the decision making process.

Sensitive Interests

Section 32 of the Localism Act 2011 enables a Member to ask the Monitoring Officer to exclude from the public register and details which, if disclosed, might lead to a threat of violence or intimidation to the Members or any person in the Member's household. If the Monitoring Officer agrees, then this Member will only be required to recite at the meeting that he/she has a "disclosable pecuniary interest", rather than giving details of that interest, and the detail can be excluded from the published version of the Register.

Disclosable Other Personal Interests

You are advised that decisions of the Council or the Council can be challenged by judicial review by the High Court where a Member can be shown to have a bias. Bias has been defined as "an attitude of mind which prevents the [decision-maker] from making an objective determination of the issues that he has to resolve".

The context of this area of law is that decisions of the Council and its committees must be made in the public interest and not on the basis of the financial interest of an individual Councillor or a Councillor's family member/ friend/close business associate or outside body associated with the Councillor.

Following the House of Lords case in Porter v Magill the current test for bias is whether:

  • a fair minded observer
  • who is suitably informed; and
  • who having considered the facts
  • would conclude (ie not might conclude)
  • that there was a real possibility of bias (ie less than a real probability of bias)

The Localism Act 2011 and 2012 Regulations on DPI's as described above have the following limitations which justifies having a separate and distinct provision for Disclosable Other Personal Interests:-

(i) DPIs are limited to the Member and spouse. There are a range of other interests that are pecuniary (or 'prejudicial' in 2000 Act language) that would justify debarring Members from involvement in decision making and, preferably, from the meeting room during debate and decision making.

Accordingly interests of other members of a Councillor's family and persons having a close association with the Councillor need to be included in a disclosure of interests provision. Such interests may well amount to bias and Local Authorities are well advised to include provision in their own local codes to provide for disclosure and non participation in decision making in relation to the interests of such persons in order to minimise the risk of bias in their decision making. Without a provision of this kind there would be a risk of having a Councillor sitting in a Planning Committee meeting and deciding on their son or daughters planning application.

(ii) The 2012 regulations exclude the well applied judicial test of bias contained in paragraph 10 of the old code in the definition of prejudicial interest.

The judicial test of bias is underlined in the text below:-

"10(1) 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."

Again, it would seem appropriate for a local authority to include this test in their local codes as a means of enabling Councillors to make the judgement as to whether the interest (other than a disclosable pecuniary interest) they have (or their spouse or family member or person having a close association) is one in respect of which they should exclude themselves from involvement in any decision.

(iii) The words 'it relates to or is likely to affect' which defines (in Paragraph 8 of the old code) the relationship of an interest to a matter to be, or being considered, are absent from the description of a DPI. The effect would seem to narrow considerably the meaning of Section 31(1) (b) of the Localism Act 2011 – 'has a disclosable pecuniary interest in any matter'... So, for example, a Councillor may have an interest in a property, but that Councillor does not have an interest in the neighbour's property. It would not, therefore, seem to be contrary to the DPI provisions to participate and vote on a planning application about the neighbour's property as the Councillor does not, under Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011, have an interest in the neighbours property. The words 'relating to or affecting' the Councillors interest cannot be implied in criminal law, if they are not in the legislation. The effect seems to be that 'the matter to be considered, or being considered' must be about the Councillor's interest for the requirements on participation etc to apply. If the matter merely relates to or affects the interest, but is not actually about the interest, then the Councillor does not have a DPI. The limiting of the application of the DPI requirements would apply to all the descriptions of interests in the regulations. In order to plug this rather wide gap, a local code includes a provision including the 'relating to or affecting' part of the definition.

In general terms, in relation to Disclosable Other Personal Interests, Members will need to ask themselves two questions when deciding if they can participate in the consideration of a matter to be determined by Committee or Council:-

Firstly – Do I have a personal interest?

Yes if your interest falls within the definition of a "personal interest" as defined in the code. Please refer to Part B of the Members' Code of Conduct and the attached Annex D – Declaring Interests Flowchart

Where a Member considers he/she has such a personal interest in a matter, he/she must always declare it, but it does not then necessarily follow that the personal interest debars the Member from participation in the discussion.

Secondly – Is my personal interest pecuniary/prejudicial?

The Member then needs to consider whether the personal interest is a pecuniary/ prejudicial one. The Code provides that in general terms a personal interest becomes a pecuniary/prejudicial one if the interest is financial or relates to a regulatory issue eg planning permission and the following test is satisfied:

Non Participation in case of Pecuniary Interest

Where you have a personal interest in any business of your authority you also have a pecuniary 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 and where that business–

(a) affects your financial position or the financial position of a person or body described in paragraph 1(2); or
(b) relates to or affects the determining of any approval, consent, licence, permission or registration in relation to you or any person or body described in paragraph 1(2) or 2(2) above."

Please refer to the Members' Code of Conduct and Annex D – Declaring Interests Flowchart available at the foot of this page.

If a Member has such a personal and pecuniary/prejudicial interest, he/she should not participate in a discussion on the matter at Committee and must withdraw from the room and must not seek improperly to influence a decision in the matter.

It must be emphasised that the rules relating to the declaration of interests are not like a mathematical formula in which there is always a right answer and Members will always know when they should declare a pecuniary/prejudicial personal interest and leave the Committee Chamber.

Part of the new Code which deals with declarations of interest is a framework for Members to exercise a reasonable judgement – after taking advice from either myself, as the Council Solicitor or another Senior Officer.

If the interest is clear and substantial a Councillor should not take part in the proceedings and should always withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is being considered.

A failure by a Councillor to declare a personal and pecuniary/prejudicial interest in accordance with the Code of Conduct can give rise to a complaint to the Corporate Governance Standards Sub-Committee of Ryedale District Council which has been set up by Parliament to regulate the conduct of Members.

Dispensations

Under Section 33 of the Localism Act 2011 a dispensation can be granted in the following circumstances:

  • That so many Members of the decision-making body have DPIs in a matter that is would "impede the transaction of the business" (inquorate).
  • That without the dispensation, the representation of different political groups on the decision-making body would be so upset so as to alter the outcome of any vote on the matter.
  • That the authority considers that the dispensation is in the interests of persons living in the authority's area.
  • That, without a dispensation, no Member of the Committee would be able to participate on this matter.
  • That the authority considers that it is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation.

Any grant of dispensation must specify how long it lasts for, up to a maximum of four years.

Independent Persons

The Council has appointed two Independent Persons. The functions of the Independent Persons are that they must be consulted by the Authority before it makes a finding as to whether a Member has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct or decides to take action in respect of that Member. They may also be consulted by the authority in respect of a standards complaint at any other stage (for example on receipt of the complaint). Finally they may be consulted by any Member or co-opted Member of the District, Parish or Town Council against whom a complaint is made.

Maintaining High Ethical Standards in Local Government

Finally please do read Annex E which includes a summary of the legal obligations of Councillors. In a nutshell you are advised to apply, in public office, the standards that you expected to be applied by other public office holders before you took public office.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this letter with me, please do contact me.

K A Winship
Council Solicitor and Monitoring Officer

Understanding Ryedale District Council

Organisational structure and details of the Management Team

Janet Waggott, Chief Executive

janet waggott 2009Janet was appointed Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service in January 2007.

Prior to Ryedale, Janet had a wide and varied career within Local Government ranging from roles of Contracts Manager to her last role as Director of Economy and Environment at Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, which Janet held for over six years.

As Chief Executive, Janet is the Council's Head of Paid Service, the principal policy advisor and Returning Officer for District and Parish Elections. She provides the overarching managerial leadership for the Council.

The people and services reporting directly to Janet are the Corporate Director, Planning and Housing, Economy and Infrastructure and Legal Services.

Janet represents the Council on The Local Government North Yorkshire and York Partnership Board and is the District Councils' lead on the Local Resilience Forum and Public Health.

Chief Executive
Janet Waggott
Contact 01653 600666 ext 200

PA to Chief Executive
Jane Graham
01653 600666 ext 201

Management team

Head of Planning and Housing
Gary Housden
01653 600666 ext 307

Head of Economy and Infrastructure
Julian Rudd
01653 600666 ext 218

Legal Services
Anthony Winship
01653 600666 ext 267

Head of Corporate Services
Clare Slater
01653 600666 ext 347

Head of Health, Environment and Facilities
Beckie Bennett
01653 600666 ext 461

Finance Manager
Peter Johnson
01653 600666 ext 385

North Yorkshire Building Control Manager
Les Chapman
01347 822703

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Leadership model of RDC

The Local Government Act 2000, as amended, has required local authorities to choose a political management structure which may include:-

i. An executive which can be made up as follows:-

  • Leader and Cabinet Executive (Council elects an Executive Leader who appoints 9 Cabinet Members)
  • Mayor and Cabinet Executive (Directly elected Mayor appoints 9 Councillors as Cabinet Members)

ii. Alternative arrangements system based on a committee system.

Ryedale District Council has alternative arrangements and currently has a Leader of Council.

The roles of the Chairman of Council and the Leader of the Council are explained below:-

The main role of the Chairman is to act as the non-political, civic and ceremonial head of the District of Ryedale. The role of the Chairman also includes:

  • Chairing meetings of the Council;
  • Communication with private and voluntary sector organisations across the District;
  • Acting as official host to visitors to the District;
  • To represent the District at ceremonial events;
  • To promote public involvement in the Council’s activities.

The Chairman is elected at the Annual Meeting of Council in May of each year.

Parliament has provided that the Chairman has social precedence in the district but not so as to affect Her Majesty’s royal prerogative. When the Sovereign visits the District, she is met by the Lord-Lieutenant who then presents the Chairman of Council.

The Leader is the political head of the Council and usually the Leader of the majority political group. The Leader of Council is appointed at the Annual meeting of Council in May of each year.

The Leader’s primary role is to give leadership to the Council and to steer the policies of the ruling Group or coalition through the Council.

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Political makeup and recent political history

 At 22 May 2015, Ryedale's political make-up is as follows:-

Conservatives 19 63.3%
Liberal 4 13.3%
New Independents 3 10%
Independents 2 6.7%
Liberal Democrats 2 6.7%

Type of Council

In England there are three types of local authority:-

1. Single Tier Council Areas

(i) Unitary authority which discharges the full range of local authority duties. An example of a nearby unitary authority is the City of York Council.

2. Two Tier Council Areas

(ii) County Council

County Councils undertake strategic services on a county-wide basis such as highways, education, social services and trading standards.

(iii) District Councils undertake specialist services such as planning, environmental health, housing and economic development.

Ryedale District Council operates in a two tier authority area with North Yorkshire County Council.

North Yorkshire County Council

North Yorkshire County Council provides the following services:-

  • Education
  • Social care services
  • Libraries
  • Trading standards
  • Highways
  • Transport

Further information can be found on their website or by telephoning 0845 8727374.

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Member contact details

Contact information for the current Members of the Council is available on the Council Members page of the website.

Notices of meetings

All meetings of the Council and Standing Committees are usually held on Thursdays at 6.30pm with the exception of Planning Committee, which is held on a Tuesday at 6.30pm. Working Parties are also held during the year; the Resources Working Party is held on a Tuesday at 3.00pm, the Constitution Review Working Party is held twice a year at 4.00pm, and the Parish Liaison Committee is also held twice a year at 7.00pm.

Agendas for meetings are despatched approximately one week before the meeting by Democratic Services. Notification will be sent if time-tabled meetings are cancelled or if extra meetings are to be convened.

Democratic Services will send an email weekly in advance summarising Members meetings, committees, working groups and briefings that are to take place in the forthcoming week.

Committee timetable

The calendar of meetings is available online or as a PDF to download at the foot of this page.

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Understanding the roles of councillors and officers

Your role as a councillor

Roles and functions of all Councillors

Key Roles. All Councillors will:

  1. collectively be the ultimate policy-makers and carry out the principal strategic and corporate management functions, taking a District wide view;
  2. engage with and represent their communities whose views they will bring into the Council‘s decision-making process;
  3. balance different interests identified within the Ward and represent the Ward as a whole;
  4. deal with individual casework and act as an advocate for constituents in resolving particular concerns or grievances;
  5. be involved in decision-making;
  6. be available to represent the Council on other bodies; and
  7. maintain the highest standards of conduct and ethics, and show respect for fellow Members, staff and the community.

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Ward profiles

The Census Information page details Ryedale statistics taken from the Census and other sources.

Postal arrangements

The Personal Information Form (at the bottom of this page) requests details regarding your postal address preferences for the receipt of Council related post, e-mails and telephone calls. In order to ensure that post reaches you in a timely way it is important to complete this and return it to Democratic Services.

Any post for Members from this building that is not urgent will be placed in your individual pigeonholes, which are clearly labelled and situated in the corridor outside the Members’ Room. If this will not be convenient, please let Democratic Services know and they can arrange for everything to be posted to your preferred postal address. Post is usually sent out to Members’ on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Internal Post Facilities

A wooden post-box is fixed to the wall outside the Members’ Room, adjacent to the Member pigeonholes. This post-box is for mail from Members to any of the various Service Units at Ryedale House. The box is emptied daily and the contents distributed to the appropriate Service Unit.

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Members' Room

A room has been allocated for the use of Members for meetings (eg group meetings); to access information; for reading or for other Council business.

This room is equipped with desks and meeting tables and chairs; a telephone; a photocopier; a PC and printer; local newspapers; other local government or Council publications (eg Local Development Framework) and a hot drinks machine for your use. There is also a small library containing background reports and publications that may be referenced in committee reports and is also adjacent to pigeonholes for your post. In addition, a fridge, microwave, crockery and cutlery are also available for use ahead of evening meetings.

The entry doors are fitted with a security keypad.

If you need any assistance with any of the above, contact Democratic Services.

Room Bookings

All room bookings should be directed to Access to Services at Ryedale House on 01653 600666 ext 444.

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Member allowances/expenses

Members allowances/expenses - guidelines

All Members are paid a standard annual allowance with additional allowances for those Members occupying positions such as Chairman of Committee. These allowances are automatically paid by BACS transfer to your bank account every month.

For other expenses, a claim form will be prepared by Business Improvement and sent to individual Members for completion at the end of every month. Please note the forms must be signed before returning to Business Improvement.

In addition to claiming for attendance at committees and Council meetings, Members should also include on this claim form all allowances payable for attending meetings at outside organisations. If travelling by public transport please ensure you submit tickets and receipts as proof of expenditure.

The completed form should be returned to Business Improvement by the 5th of the following month to enable payment to be made without undue delay. Payments will be made on the 23rd of each month direct to your bank account by BACS transfer.

If you haven’t already done so it is very important to give your bank account details and National Insurance Number to Business Improvement as soon as possible (complete Bank Details Form in your pack or telephone ext 448), otherwise this will delay your receipt of the money.

If claims are not submitted regularly, particularly towards the end of the year then this will result in this expenditure being shown in the incorrect tax year (and the Council’s accounts will be affected).

A sample copy of the claim form is attached.

The allowances which are payable are detailed at the end of this section. Subsistence allowances payable are also listed, however, Members should be aware that if a meal is provided by the Council then no subsistence allowance is payable.

Tax Allowances

An arrangement has been secured with the York 2 District of the Inland Revenue to permit you to claim an allowance each year for expenses incurred in the performance of your duty as a District Councillor. This allowance is over and above the normal married or single persons allowance within your tax calculation.

The total allowance is £330.00 per annum made up of                                                 

Household expenses £120.00
Phone   £60.00
Car £150.00

The Inland Revenue has requested that you make an individual claim to your local tax office for this allowance unless you have an arrangement already with the Revenue.

See below an example of a letter to send to your local tax office for claiming this allowance.

If you have any queries or difficulties with your local tax office, please let the Business Improvement staff know (ext 448).

 

Sample Letter

(Your tax reference)

Dear Sir

Councillors Tax Allowance

I wish to claim for an annual tax allowance as a result of my duties as District Councillor for Ryedale District Council. The amount I wish to claim is £330.00 per annum, made up as follows:

Household expenses  £120.00

Phone   £60.00

Car&nbsp £150.00

I became a Councillor for Ryedale District Council on (Start date)

This allowance has been agreed between the District Council and North Yorkshire Area of the Tax Office (their reference 791/1368/46F).

Yours sincerely

 

(Your name)

Members' Allowances Scheme

 

Rate

A. Basic Allowance

This is a general allowance paid to all Councillors. All Councillors receive the same amount per annum. This allowance is paid automatically to each Councillor on a monthly basis.

£3,551.64 per annum per councillor

B. Special Responsibility Allowances

These are special allowances paid to Councillors who hold positions with significant responsibilities over and above the general duties of an elected Member. Any such allowance is paid automatically to the relevant Councillor on a monthly basis.

The affected positions and sums payable are as follows:-

Leader of the Council

Deputy Leader

Chairman, Overview & Scrutiny Committee

Vice Chairman, Overview & Scrutiny Committee

Chairman, Policy & Resources Committee

Vice-Chairman, Policy & Resources Committee

Chairman, Planning Committee

Vice Chairman, Planning Committee

Group Leaders (4)

 

 

 

 

£3,587.04 pa

£530.45 pa

£2869.63 pa

£530.45 pa

£2869.63 pa

£530.45

£2869.63 pa

£530.45 pa

£358.80 pa

C. Mileage Allowance

This is an allowance paid in respect of mileage incurred by a Councillor in travelling to and from official Meetings and other approved duties.

The mileage allowance set by an independent Review Panel in 2003 was equivalent to the Inland Revenue Approved Mileage Allowance Payment Rates (AMAPs). The current rates are:-

 

Travel by Motor Car

 

 

 

Travel by Motor Cycle

Travel by Bicycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

40p per mile for the first 10,000 miles

25p each mile over 10,000

24p per mile (all miles)

20p per mile (all miles)

 

Subsistence Allowance (13/14 rates, will need to update for 14/15)

Rates for Members attending meetings away from Ryedale House are as follows:

Breakfast

£7.37

More than 4 hours away from residence before 11am.

Lunch

£10.16

More than 4 hours away from residence including between 12 noon and 2pm.

Tea

£3.99

More than 4 hours away from residence after 6.30pm.

Evening Meal

£12.60

More than 4 hours away from residence after 8.30pm.

Overnight

£85.00

Outside of London.

 

£100.00

London only.

Lunch

£13.56

London rates

Tea

£8.17

London rates

Evening Meal

£27.13

London rates

Out of Pocket Expenses allowances – training courses £5.70 per night            £22.86 per week

NB - Allowances are paid on the salary run on the 23rd of each month and it is requested that all claims for travel and subsistence are submitted by the 5th in order for them to be paid promptly into bank accounts.

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LGA New Councillors' Guide

The Local Government Association have put together a short 2016/17 Councillors' Guide

This guide is designed to provide you with the key information that you need to know as a new councillor. It explores some of the main issues and challenges facing local government today and includes hints and tips from experienced councillors.

The guide is designed to provide you with the key information that you need to know as a new councillor. It explores some of the main issues and challenges facing local government today and includes hints and tips from experienced councillors.

It focuses principally on the needs of newly-elected councillors, although more experienced councillors will find it useful too.

The guide explores things new councillors need to know at the start of their careers in public life. It:

  • discusses councillors’ roles and responsibilities as ward representatives
  • explains how councils work and how they are funded
  • examines the various checks and balances that regulate councils and councillors
  • stresses the importance of community leadership.

Understanding the Local Delivery Plans and Policies

Council Plan

Annual Report

Single Equalities Scheme

Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy

Understanding the Council Constitution and Code of Conduct

Constitution

The Constitution sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. Some of these processes are required by the law, while others are a matter for the Council to choose. The Constitution is divided into 15 Articles which set out the basic rules governing the Council‘s business. More detailed procedures and codes of practice are provided in separate rules and protocols at the end of the document.

Terms of Reference

The terms of reference for each of the Council’s committees are set out, along with the responsibilities of Full Council, in Part 3 of the Constitution.

Standing Orders

The Standing Orders set out in Part 4 of the Constitution are the rules of procedure for Full Council and its Committees. They govern how business is conducted at meetings, setting out the rules of debate, the order of business and procedures for dealing with questions, motions, amendments and voting.

Member Code of Conduct

The Member Code of Conduct, which is found in Part 5 of the Constitution, defines the standards of conduct which are required of members of the District Council in carrying out their duties, and in their relationships with the District Council and the District Council‘s officers. The Code represents the standards against which the public, their fellow members, and the Council‘s Overview and Scrutiny Committee acting as Corporate Governance Standards Committee will judge their conduct. If any person has a complaint or concern about the conduct of a Member of the Council in relation to the Code of Conduct, they can submit a complaint to the Council.

Protocol for Member Officer/Relations

The Protocol for Member/Officer Relations, which is found in Part 5 of the Constitution, guides Members and Officers of the Council in their relations with one another. It seeks to enhance and maintain the integrity (real and perceived) of local government and therefore demands very high standards of personal conduct.

Changes to the Constitution

The Council is responsible for approving any alterations to the Constitution. Such changes can reflect decisions of the Council, decisions of committees or changes to national legislation.

In order to keep the Constitution up to date as a central reference point for the rules by which the Authority operates, the Council has delegated power to the Head of the Paid Service to amend the Constitution as required to reflect decisions of the Council, of its Committees or legislative changes.

Updates to the Constitution

All Members have been provided with a full copy of the Constitution. When the Constitution is amended, an updated version will be provided to Members.

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The Ombudsman Services

The Local Government Ombudsman looks at complaints about councils and some other authorities and organisations, including education admissions appeal panels and adult social care providers (such as care homes and home care providers). It is a free service. They investigate complaints in a fair and independent way and do not take sides.

Key facts about the Ombudsmen:

  • There are three Local Government Ombudsmen in England.
  • They make their decisions independently of all government departments, bodies they investigate and politicians.
  • They examine complaints without taking sides. They are not consumer champions.
  • They are appointed by Her Majesty the Queen. 
  • They have the same powers as the High Court to obtain information and documents.
  • Their decisions are final and cannot be appealed. However, they can be challenged in the High Court if it is thought their reasoning has a legal flaw.
  • They do not have to investigate every complaint received, even if they have the power to do so. For example, they may decide not to investigate if they think the problem mentioned has not affected someone significantly.
  • Their investigations are private.
  • Their findings are published, but people are not identified in the published information. 
  • They are committed to providing a fair service and spending public money effectively.
  • They do not charge for using their service.
  • When they find that a body they have investigated has done something wrong, they may recommend how it should put it right. Although they cannot make bodies do what they recommend, the bodies are almost always willing to act on what they say.

To access this information go to Local Government Ombudsman www.lgo.org.uk.

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Understanding Local Government Finance

Guide to Local Government Finance for Councillors (awaiting content) Edition

This guide is aimed specifically at members. This will give councillors a brief overview of key facts, figures and requirements in relation to local government finance in a user friendly and handy reference format.

There is a hard copy of this document available in the Members' Room

Contact:

Finance Manager – Peter Johnson

Tel: 01653 600666 ext 385.

Financial Strategy and Revenue Budget 2014-2018

The Financial Strategy sets out the overall shape of the Council's budget by establishing how available resources will be allocated between services, reflecting Council and community priorities, and therefore providing a framework for the preparation of annual budgets.

The focus of the Financial Strategy is on medium and long term planning, and decision making for the future. Whilst the Strategy includes specific proposals for a particular financial year, there should not be an over concentration on just one years budget. This Strategy seeks to avoid year on year budget setting, and use of short term/one off measures to balance the budget. It is a Strategy for the future, to ensure effective resource planning and the delivery of Corporate Objectives.

In particular the Financial Strategy:

  • sets out the Council's medium term financial aims and the measures to be taken to ensure they will be achieved;
  • sets out the Council's approach to delivering improved services and value for money over the next few years;
  • describes the Council's arrangements for developing the financial strategy, including:
  • The identification and prioritisation of spending needs;
  • The key financial influences on the medium term financial planning and the assumptions made in developing the plan;
  • The challenges and risks associated with the plan and how the Council will deal with them.
  • sets out the Council's policy on reserves and balances.
  • identifies the resource issues and principles, which will shape the Council's Financial Strategy and annual budgets.

The Financial Strategy covers all revenue and capital spending plans of the Authority.

Contact: Finance Manager – Peter Johnson
Tel: 01653 600666 ext 385.

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Risk Management Strategy 2013-2017

Please see the Risk Management Strategy 2013-17 available in our Web Library.

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Member Development

Ryedale District Council recognises that elected Members have a key role in taking forward the Council's aims and objectives and their continuous development is an important activity.

The Council is committed to the provision of learning and development opportunities for all elected Members and will work to ensure equality of opportunity across all learning and development activity.

A Member Development Task Group will ensure that elected Members are fully engaged in the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of Member development activities.

A key aim is to maintain Member Development Charter Status, thereby raising the profile of member development and ensuring that member induction, development and support priorities will continue to adapt and reflect local priorities and legislative requirements effectively.

A training needs form may be submitted to assist with identifying any specific training requirements.

Member Induction Programme 2015

Date Topic Trainer Audience
Thurs 14 May Welcome Chief Executive New Members
Thurs 14 May Council meetings and decision making
(including tour of the civic suite)

In house
New Members
(re-elected Members optional)
Tues 19 May Planning Trevor Roberts Associates All Members
Thurs 21 May Annual Council    
Thurs 21 May Individual photographs Business Improvement All Members
Thurs 21 May Media Awareness

Safeguarding and equality

Introduction to committees

Media Relations Officer

In house

Committee lead officers
New Members
(re-elected Members optional)
Mon 25 May Bank Holiday    
Weds 27 May Licensing O'Brien Licensing & Training Services (Ltd) All Licensing Committee members
Thurs 28 May Planning Committee    
Tues 2 June IT training IT Team New Members
(re-elected Members optional)
Thurs 18 June Policy and Resources Committee    
Thurs 25 June Overview and Scrutiny Committee    
End of June Tours of Ward and Ryedale House Officer buddy New Members
(re-elected Members optional)

(Available as PDF to download at the foot of this page)

For further information please contact Simon Copley, Democratic Services Manager, tel. 01653 600666 ext 277.

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Dates for your diary

There are two mandatory training sessions which you are required to attend, Planning 19 May 2015 and Licensing 28 May 2015.

There is a Member Development programme delivered throughout the year. For a timetable of planned events, please see the PDF at the foot of the page.

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Media and Communications

If elected members are approached by the media in relation to a particular service are they should contact the relevant head of service.

Media services provided by the Council  include:

• Press releases to local and national media
• Media calls
• RyedaleNews
• Responding to media enquiries
• General advice and assistance to the Chairman of Ryedale District Council and officers in relation to media management
• Attending key committee meetings to provide statements or advice for media unable to attend the meetings
• Updating press releases on the Council's website.
• Updating the Council's social media accounts

Photographs

Photographs of Members of Ryedale District Council are often used for publicity purposes including the Council's website and local media.

Members will be contacted by Democratic Services with the date for a photocall.

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Local papers / radio / TV

The following information may be useful if you wish to contact the local media:-

Gazette and Herald:
Karen Darley: tel 01653 690690
Email:
Deadlines: Articles – lunch time Tuesday, letters 12.00 noon Friday

Malton and Pickering Mercury:
Andrew Pitt
Tel 01653 600051
Email:
Deadlines: Articles – lunch time Tuesday, letters 12.00 noon Friday

Radio York:
Mike Kemp
Tel 07801752848
Email:

Minster FM:
Kevin Larkin
Tel 01904 486598
Email:

Yorkshire Post:
Paul Jeeves
Tel 01904 655357
Email
Deadlines: 4.00 pm daily

The Press
Newsdesk: 01904 653051
Email:
Deadlines: 4.00 pm every day

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Blogging and Social Networking

  1. Blogging and social networking are effective methods for Councillors to interact with constituents and support local democracy. Used effectively, they can engage those who would not normally have access to local Councillors and politics.
  2. Standards for England supports the use of such media and encourages Councillors to get online. You should think about what you say and how you say it, in just the same way as you must when making statements in person or in writing.
  3. You will also need to think about whether you are seen to be, or give the impression that you are acting in your official capacity as a councillor.
  4. The Council has facilitated a specific site in which Councillors can write blogs. Individual Councillors are permitted to write their own official blogs as Ryedale District Councillors, however, and under this circumstance, they will only be permitted to act in their official capacity, and not in their private capacity. Councillors must also bear in mind that if they do have private blogs and refer to council business on them, they will be viewed as acting in their official capacity.
  5. To make sure you comply with the Code of Conduct (the Code) and to ensure your use of online media is well received, you are requested to observe the following guidelines:

Do

  • set appropriate privacy settings for your blog or networking site – especially if you have a private, non-political blog
  • keep an eye out for defamatory or obscene posts from others on your blog or page and remove them as soon as possible to avoid the perception that you condone such views
  • be aware that the higher your profile as a councillor, the more likely it is you will be seen as acting in your official capacity when you blog or network
  • ensure you use council facilities appropriately; and be aware that any posts you make will be viewed as made in your official capacity
  • be aware that by publishing information that you could not have accessed without your position as a councillor, you will be seen as acting in your official capacity
  • make political points, but be careful about being too specific or personal if referring to individuals. An attack on individuals may be seen as disrespectful, whereas general comments about another party or genuine political expression is less likely to be viewed as disrespect.

Don’t

  • blog in haste.
  • post comments that you would not be prepared to make in writing or face to face

When the Code may apply

  1. Bear in mind the Code when you blog or use social networking sites. You should pay particular attention to the following paragraphs of the Code:
  • Disrespect
  • Bullying
  • Disclosure of confidential information
  • Disrepute
  • Misuse of authority resources
  1. However, it is difficult to give definitive advice on the application of the Code as each blog and social networking page is different. The content of a blog or other social networking tool and the circumstances surrounding its creation will determine whether or not it might be covered by the Code.
  2. Ethical use of online social media is not limited to what is covered in the Code. Councillors are encouraged to respect the Ten General Principles of Public Life, which can be found in the Constitution as the preamble to the Members’ Code of Conduct. While your conduct may not be a breach of the Code it may still be viewed as less than exemplary and attract adverse publicity for your office and authority.

Derogatory comments

  1. On occasion, Councillors might find themselves the subject of offensive or defamatory remarks on other people’s blogs or networking sites. The following approach is advised in such circumstances, and applies equally to any form of publication:
  • Pursue a policy of indifference to such remarks, and do not be tempted into retaliation because you may risk breaching the Code. You could ask the person making the remarks to remove them from the site.
  • If the person making the comments is a local authority, town or parish councillor, discuss the situation with the Monitoring Officer. It might be the case that the person has breached the Code by making the remarks, and it could be appropriate to make a complaint to the Monitoring Officer
  • Aside from any possible breaches of the Code of Conduct, the matter is usually deemed private between yourself and the individual. The Council cannot provide legal assistance for pursuit of a claim through the civil courts, but you may decide that you wish to take independent legal advice.
  • If a person had a blog or a social networking site, and a second person places comments about you on that site, you could ask the person to remove the second person’s comments from their site.

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Purdah - Guidance for Council Members and Officers

Local Government Elections and General Election Guidance for Council Members and Officers

Pre-election period and local authority publicity

The pre-election period for an election is the period between the publication of the notice of election and the date of the election.
During the pre-election period the actions of Members and Officers may be scrutinised to see whether (wittingly or unwittingly) there has been any publicity which can be seen to promote an individual candidate or the views of a political party in breach of the rules on local authority publicity.

Members and officers must, therefore, ensure they: -

  1. Avoid - or do not give the impression of - breaching any such guidance, as to do so could have electoral and reputational implications for any candidate standing for election and the Council; and
  2. If at all possible, improve the Council's standing and reputation in terms of electoral matters.

Local authority publicity

Publicity produced by a local authority is restricted at all times and the Local Government Act 1986 imposes: -

  1. A prohibition on local authorities publishing "any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party"; and
  2. A Code of Practice (issued by the Secretary of State under the Act) to which local authorities must have regard to in coming to any decision on publicity. An extract is included under Annex 1 below.

In the run-up to an election, further rules apply and the general guidelines and restrictions should be given more scrutiny than usual. The purpose of the guidance is to prevent activities which are controversial in the sense of assisting election candidates or parties with their campaigns.

"Publicity" is defined by the 1986 Act as being "any communication, in whatever form, addressed to the public at large or to a section of the public."

In determining whether any material contravenes the prohibition mentioned in (i) above, the Act provides that regard shall be had to a number of matters including "the time and other circumstances of publication". It is possible therefore that material published by the Council could fall foul of the prohibition and be unlawful - especially on account of its timing (i.e. in the run up to an election).

The key guiding principle, therefore, must be that, if anyone is unsure, they should ask the early advice of the Council Solicitor on extension 267.

Use of Council resources

What is also clear and paramount from the law, is that no elected member or Officer will be permitted to use any Council resources for private or party political purposes. This includes Council resources, headed paper, e-mail addresses and Council premises. To do so would be a breach of the Code of Conduct for Members and a reference to the Corporate Governance Standards Sub-Committee will be made if there is sufficient evidence of a breach of the Code.

In terms of Officers, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if there is sufficient evidence of a breach of the law or the Constitutional arrangements of the Council - for example, Standing Orders, Financial Regulations, Access to Information Procedure Rules, Scheme of Delegations to Officers and the Member / Officer Relations Protocol.

Council business as usual

One recognises that Council business has, of course, to continue and must continue during an Election period. Publicity around normal Council business/events must also continue, but it must be thoroughly thought through so as to ensure the Council 'machinery' is not used or allowed to be used / manipulated by anyone for private or party political purposes.

It is also worth noting, for the avoidance of doubt, that Councillors who hold positions of special responsibility within the Council (ie Committee Chairmen), and who would normally be expected to make some public comment (on the Council's behalf and with the use of Council resources) on "issues of the day", will be permitted to do so.

However, such occasions should sensibly be kept to a minimum during the pre-election period.

Blogging and social networking

Councillors will be aware that the Council meeting on 10 March 2011 adopted guidance on blogging and the use of social networking sites to interact with the public. Following the guidance is particularly important in the pre-election period, see above.

Conclusion

A local authority must always be careful in producing or publishing statements or information, and this is of particular importance when elections are imminent.

By reminding Members and Officers about the high standards of conduct required at election times, hopefully problems will be kept to a minimum.

Annex 1 - Relevant extracts from the Communities and Local Government Circular 01/2011

Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity

Care during periods of heightened sensitivity

During the period between the notice of an election and the election itself, local authorities should not publish any publicity on controversial issues or report views or proposals in such a way that identifies them with any individual members or groups of members. Publicity relating to individuals involved directly in the election should not be published by local authorities during this period unless expressly authorised by or under statute. It is permissible for local authorities to publish factual information which identifies the names, wards and parties of candidates at elections.

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Data Protection / Freedom of Information

The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates the holding and processing of personal information that relates to living individuals and which is held on computer or, in some cases, on paper. When prospective or elected Council Members consider using personal information for any particular purpose, they should take into account the context in which that information was collected to decide whether their use of the information will be fair and lawful.

There are three possible contexts in which a Councillor may have to deal with such data; as a Member of the Council, as a representative of local residents or as a representative of a political party. To assist in understanding the legislation the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) provide short guidance leaflets.

Councillors' Rights of Access to Information

Members of a Council have rights to obtain Council information.

Case law makes it clear that an officer faced with a request for information from a Councillor is required to be satisfied that the Member is entitled to the information. The crucial questions are these:

  1. Is it necessary for the Member to see that particular document or paper to get the information s/he is seeking?; and
  2. Are the duties s/he is seeking to carry out those which s/he has 'as a Councillor'?; are they, in other words, consistent with her/his responsibilities as an elected Member of the Council in question?

A Members' right to information exists because Members are under a duty to keep themselves informed of Council business which relates to their role as elected representatives and which they have "a need to know". If their motive for seeing documents is indirect, improper or ulterior this may be raised as a bar to their entitlement. Councillors are not, therefore, allowed a "roving commission" through Council documents. If a Councillor is not a Member of the specific Committee, the Councillor has to show cause why sight of them is necessary to perform his or her duties.

Accordingly, unless a Member can demonstrate a clear and convincing need to know in writing, they are not entitled to a copy of confidential or exempt information.

Freedom of Information

Ryedale District Council like all public bodies is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives individuals, regardless of motive or destination, the right to submit a request for recorded information that the Council holds.

Publication Scheme

If you are considering submitting a request for information, you may want to look through the Council's Publication Scheme. The FOIA also requires Authorities to produce and maintain a Publication Scheme which lists information that the Council routinely publishes.

The scheme lists the categories, or "classes" of information that are available and Sandwell's scheme contains seven classes of information. The scheme does not list every document that the Council produces, but details what information is available within each "class".

Classes

• Who we are and what we do
• What we spend and what we spend it on
• What our priorities are and how we are doing
• The services we offer
• How we make decisions
• Policies and procedures
• Lists and registers

The Publication Scheme for the Council is available here. If you cannot find the information you need in the Publication Scheme you can submit a request directly to the Council.

How to Submit a Request

Information held by the Council that is not published under the publication scheme can be requested in writing, to be considered in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Please write to:

The Freedom of Information Officer
Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
Malton
North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH
Email:

Requests must be submitted to the Council in writing.

Exempt Information

If the Council considers some or all of the information you have requested exempt from disclosure you will receive a refusal notice detailing what exemption is being applied and why the information is being withheld.

More information regarding Freedom of Information Act exemptions is available on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

Requesting a Review

If you are unhappy with the handling of your request or the response you received, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your request, and should be addressed to:

Contact:
Council Solicitor – Anthony Winship
Tel: 01653 600666 ext: 267

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Information and Communication Technology

Performance Management

Covalent

Why manage our performance?

The Council has developed a robust performance management framework which helps the Council and our communities know how well the Council is performing. In particular, it helps us to:

  • Understand whether we are achieving the goals of the organisation and the community
  • Prioritise what gets done and ensure there are resources to do it
  • Ensure that the Council provides value for money
  • Motivate and manage staff
  • Monitor satisfaction of service users and the wider community and improve our services in response

Why Covalent?

Covalent Performance Management System, which is internet-based, brings together information such as performance indicators, projects, actions, risks complaints and freedom of information requests. Traffic lights allow users to easily identify where we are performing well and identify areas for improvement.

The system:

  • Is accessible to all: Members, Managers, Staff, Auditors and potentially other partners and stakeholders
  • The reports generated from the system are made available for the public
  • Provides accurate timely information
  • Provides improved accountability and transparency

If you need any help, please contact:

Will Baines (Business Improvement)
Tel: 01653 600666 ext 228

Lynne Abbey (Business Improvement)
Tel: 01653 600666 ext 202

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Council Website

This website is the main communication vehicle for the Council with its citizens. In addition to the wide range of information about the services we provide and the associated regulatory guidance, a growing number of interactive services are available too. Examples of these are as follows:

  • Bill payment options
  • Calculating benefits
  • Job applications
  • View and submit comments on planning applications
  • Accessing council minutes and agendas
  • Viewing consultations
  • Bin collection schedule look-up
  • Problem reporting

The Council also releases key press and news items to its home page. In addition to this, social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are increasingly used by the Council to support the broadcasting of news and other information, alongside a regular electronic newsletter, the RyedaleNews.

Navigating around the Ryedale District Council website

The website is structured around key information areas, which form the menus across the top of the home page, twelve quick-links sections under the main image on the home page and the useful search function at the very top of each page.

To find an item you are interested in, we recommend the following procedure.

1. Check the menu sections
The menu sections on the Home Page represent the most commonly accessed of our web pages and services.

2. Search
The search facility is available on every page of the website and allows you to search by your choice of keywords for information on a specific subject. The search engine is re-indexed every day to remain current with new content.
Please remember, if you're looking for a specific document which may be available as a PDF, it is recommended to begin your search and to refine it when the results appear by selecting the "attachments" option.

3. A - Z of Services
The A - Z of Services section can be used to find information on individual services. This section is accessible using the A - Z of Services link in the main menu at the top of each page.

4. Navigation Drop-down Menus
The "Navigation" menu item in the main menu allows you to go to pages within each of the key information areas. The menu structure follows the 'Local Government Navigation List', a hierarchy recommended to the Council by central government, widely used by many local authorities on their websites to help structure content.

5. Site Map
This link is available from the lower site information menu on every page and shows a clickable map of the whole website.

Home page return
A convenient shortcut is available should you wish to return to the homepage, click on the "HOME" text at the left of the top navigation menu.

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Acronyms and Symbols
New Picture= a PDF document to read on screen or to print. A number of interactive forms are available to complete online and return either electronically or to print and return when completed.
word= a Word or similar document to complete online and return either electronically or to print and return when completed.
Link = a link to a page or page bookmark on a webpage, an email link, or a contextual link to another website.

RDC = an abbreviation or acronym "tooltip" is available which, when you hover your mouse over it, the full text of the abbreviation or acronym pops up.

Please note:
Adobe Acrobat Reader will be required to view and print PDF documents – this is a free application and can be downloaded from here

Cookies
Parts of the site require a cookie to be placed on your computer. Cookies are simple text files which speed up the way your computer interacts with our website. Cookies from Ryedale District Council are not dangerous and should be 'allowed' if prompted to do so when visiting the web site.

Providing feedback
All feedback is welcome and can be submitted using the online form available here

Requesting Support
If you're still unable to find the information you require or if further assistance is required, please contact the IT Help Desk or telephone (01653 600666 ext 229).

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Access Committee Information

Modern.gov

The Council uses the Modern.gov Committee Management System. This streamlines the committee process and makes it more efficient than a manual system.

Key benefits include;

  • the publication of agendas, reports, decision lists and minutes online and hard copy enabling all interested parties to view these documents online and immediately on publication
  • information about Councillors, including contact details, photographs and committee membership and the Committee Diary
  • production of a Forward Plan, which sets out items of business for future meetings
  • online publication of the Register of Interests
  • publication of more detailed information on outside bodies
  • transfer of information about parish councils to this area of the website, where it can be more easily edited and updated

Contact:

Democratic Services Manager – Simon Copley
Tel: 01653 600666 ext 277.

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Telephones

A freephone number is available for Members' use. This number will take you straight to the Contact Centre where your call can be transferred to the appropriate officer:-

0800 591714

IT Equipment

Members are provided with an iPad to support their role as a Council Member. Technical support is available from the ICT helpdesk, or telephone - 01653 60066, ext 229. 

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Partnerships

North Yorkshire Building Control Partnership

North Yorkshire Building Control Partnership was the first Local Authority Building Control Partnership in the UK. It provides a building control service to Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby Councils.

The Partnership processes Building Regulation applications under the provisions of Section 91 and 92 of the Building Act 1984. Building Regulations exist to secure the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people in and about buildings, the conservation of fuel and power and access and facilities for disabled people. In addition to Building Regulations, the Partnership undertakes work in relation to dangerous structures and demolitions for all five Partner Councils.

Our customers are the residents of each Partner Authority, developers and their agents, commercial and business employers, consultees (including statutory undertakers and public regulatory bodies), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Councillors, Management Board Members and departments within each local authority.

The Partnership consults with its customers (applicants) on a continuous basis through the issue of its Service Delivery Questionnaire, upon completion of works. In addition to this, it consults on a regular basis with other users e.g agents, architects, developers, stakeholders, staff etc.

Suite 2
Coxwold House
Easingwold Business Park
Easingwold
York
YO61 3FB
Telephone: 01347 822703
Email

Contact: Head of Building Control – Tel: 01347 822703

  • Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday: 8.30am - 5.00pm, Friday: 8.30am - 4.30pm
  • Free parking for the public on the roadside.
  • One parking space reserved for disabled visitors. There is a lift to the first floor office where Building Control is located. There are toilet facilities for disabled visitors.

Veritau -  Internal Audit and Counter Fraud

All local authorities have a statutory duty to make provision for internal audit in accordance with proper standards of professional practice, as set out in the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS). Public sector bodies also have a duty to protect public funds and to ensure that income and expenditure is not subject to possible fraud and error.

The Veritau group consists of two companies – Veritau Limited and Veritau North Yorkshire Limited. The group is owned by a number of member councils (including Ryedale District Council) and provides services to its customers in three related areas – internal audit, counter fraud and information governance. The services are primarily designed to:

  • provide assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of governance arrangements and internal controls;
  • provide advice on the design, implementation and operation of appropriate controls so as to minimise business risk;
  • recommend best practice solutions and innovative approaches which will add value and lead to continuous improvement in service delivery;
  • act as a visible deterrent against possible wrong doing, and investigate any cases of suspected fraud or corruption as and when it is detected;
  • help ensure compliance with data protection and other related legislation.

For further information about the services provided to the council by Veritau, please contact:

Stuart Cutts - Audit Manager

Telephone: 01609 535560

Procurement North Yorkshire

The Councils of Ryedale, Selby and Scarborough jointly spend £53 million every year on the supplies, services and works needed to deliver services to the public in all areas. How well we procure those requirements has a critical impact on our performance and ability to provide value for money.

The Joint Procurement Strategy sets out the over-arching framework, which will help to ensure that together our procurement delivers excellent value and supports the attainment of the councils’ priorities and visions.

The joint strategy will help the three councils achieve the objectives set for the North Yorkshire Joint Procurement Committee.

It takes into account the national agenda as set out in the National Procurement Strategy for local Government, together with the Councils local priorities. The strategy is supported by a business plan covering the next three years. This will require commitment from officers, elected members and partners to realise its targets and objectives,

Collaborative procurement is at the heart of the Government’s Operational Efficiency Programme, and Ryedale District Council now has on-hand expertise to allow us to deliver more effective procurement.

Contact:

Dale Casson, Procurement Advisor, North Yorkshire Procurement Partnership

Ryedale:         Tel: 01653 600666 ext 295; (Wednesday)

Scarborough:  Tel: 01723 383682; (Monday and Friday)

Selby:             Tel: 01757 292045; (Tuesday and Thursday)

Suppliers find business opportunities with the council by registering for free at YORtender

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Sports and Leisure Management Ltd, trading as Everyone Active

In October 2014, we engaged SLM Ltd, trading as Everyone Active, to run Ryedale Pool and Northern Ryedale Leisure Centre, Pickering and Derwent Pool, Norton on our behalf via a contractual arrangement.

Contact:

Steve Richmond, Environmental Health Manager ext. 247.

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