Agenda item

Members' Personal Safety

To consider the report of the Chair of the General Purposes Committee relating to the personal safety of elected Members and identify what is currently in place and highlight additional advice and guidance.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chair of the General Purposes Committee which highlighted matters relating to the personal safety of elected Members’ and the need to identify what is already in place to support Members’ and to highlight additional advice and guidance.

 

The Committee recognised that the risk to Councillors’ safety had changed over the years due to advanced technology and this had highlighted the need to improve safety for all Councillors.  The Chair noted the release of Members’ personal addresses on ballot papers and on the Council’s website. 

 

The Policy and Governance Manager advised that when a Member had been elected, they would be requested to complete a form to provide contact details which would be published on the Council’s website.  Members’ would be given an option to give their home details or the Council’s office address, also the choice for their personal phone or a council-supplied phone number. Members could also request for their personal details to be removed at any time.

 

The Policy and Governance Manager added that the Register of Interest form required Members to provide details of any interests in land ownership e.g. their home.  Members would be required to submit details as to why this information should not be disclosed.  This decision would be approved by the Monitoring Officer.

 

The Policy and Governance Manager referred to the inclusion of candidate personal addresses on ballot papers and advised that the legislation had now been passed which meant that this would no longer be compulsory. She noted that agents addresses did have to be published therefore a candidate acting as their own agent would still have their address in the public domain.

 

The Committee discussed the various options to protect themselves and the need to reassure newly elected Members of their personal safety.

 

The Chair advised that she had spoken to the Head of Democratic Services at the County Council relating to issuing Members with numbers of welfare and support networks.

 

The Policy and Governance Manager referred to the Council’s Employee’s Assistance Programme, which Members could access and suggested details be included in the Members’ bulletin each month.

 

Councillor D Norman referred to the Member development session on personal safety held on 13 February 2017 which had seen a low attendance by Members.  He added that if another event was to be held, each political party would need to encourage their Members to attend.  He also suggested inviting colleagues from other local authorities to attend the session.

 

Due to the low attendance at the previous development session and the upcoming elections in 2020, the Policy and Governance Manager suggested this should be included in the induction for all Members.

The Chair made reference to public meetings. The Committee were advised that the Council had employed security during difficult/hostile meetings. This option would be available if any Members had concerns for a particular meeting.

 

The Policy and Governance Manager suggested that the Chair make use of announcements at Council on 24 January 2019 to make Members aware of the discussion and agreed actions.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(1)       The contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       The report and guidance documents referred to in the report be circulated to all Members and uploaded to the Intranet. 

 

(3)       The LGIU guidance to be shared with the County Council.

 

(4)       Details of the EAP be included in each Members’ Bulletin and leaflets be circulated at the next full Council meeting.

 

(5)       A personal safety card be produced in conjunction with the County Council.

 

(6)       Personal safety training to be included in the 2020 Member Induction Programme.

 

(7)       The Member Development Working Group be asked to explore personal resilience training for Members.

 

Supporting documents:

 

 
 
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