Declarations of Interests
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services provided the Committee with the following information and advice in regards to interests and predetermination, which related in particular to the School Strategic Improvement Plan report which was included on the Cabinet agenda:
· The proposal included in the circulated report was a new and fresh decision that Members will need to make; the fact that Members may have voted in a particular way at a previous meeting, will not amount to pre-determination provided Members retain a genuinely open mind in respect of this new meeting.
· When arriving at decisions relating to any of the Councils business, Members must do so with an open mind and consider all the information before them objectively, having due regard to the advice of Officers. During the decision-making process, Members must act fairly and in the public interest. Members were required to make their decisions on the basis of the facts in front of them, and not to have made their mind up in advance of the meeting.
· If Members consider that they have come to a settled view or decision in respect of this matter, and were unable or unwilling to take into account any other representations or advice, or a member of the public may feel that in taking into account all matters there was a risk, Members would in all likelihood have predetermined the matter. Accordingly if Members feel they have predetermined their position, they should not be taking part in any vote. Pre-determination could not only invalidate the decision, it could lead to proceedings being brought against the Council and it may also amount to a breach of the Members Code of Conduct. This would be the opportunity for Members to declare that
· Members were entitled to hold a preliminary view about a particular matter in advance of a meeting (otherwise known as pre-disposition) as long as Members keep a genuinely open mind and were prepared to consider the merits of all the arguments and points made about the matter under consideration before reaching their decision.
· It should be noted that the determination here was one for Members to decide.
· For the sake of clarity, manifesto commitments and policy statements which were consistent with a preparedness to consider and weigh relevant factors when reaching the final decision, were examples of legitimate predisposition, not predetermination. In addition, previously expressed views on matters which arise for decision in the ordinary run of events were routine provided, Members were able to approach this particular decision with an open mind.
The following Members made declarations of interest at the start of the meeting:
Agenda Item 6 on the Cabinet Agenda - Strategic School Improvement
Programme - Proposal to Establish and English-Medium 3 - 11 School to Replace
Alltwen, Godre'rgraig and Llangiwg
Primary Schools as he is a school governor at Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera – Bro Dur but has dispensation to speak and vote.
Agenda Item 6 on the Cabinet Agenda - Strategic School ... view the full minutes text for item 2