Agenda and minutes

Employment Committee - Monday, 1st February, 2021 4.30 pm

Venue: Via Microsoft Teams

Contact: John Armstrong, Democratic Services and Elections Manager. 

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No. Item


Apologies for absence and notification of substitutes

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There were no apologies for absence.



Local Code of conduct - disclosable pecuniary interests

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must notparticipate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must also withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.


If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.

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There were no disclosures of interest.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Employment Committee held on 9 September 2020.


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The minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2020 were confirmed as a correct record.



Election of Vice-Chairman of the Committee for 2020-21

The seat allocated to the Residents for Guildford and Villages Group on this Committee has now been filled by Councillor Joss Bigmore, in place of Councillor John Rigg. 


As Councillor Rigg was elected Vice-Chairman of the Committee  by the Council in May 2020, Council Procedure Rule 29 (b) provides that if, during the course of a municipal year, a councillor is no longer appointed as a member of the committee to which he or she was elected chairman or vice-chairman, the election of his or her successor for the remainder of that municipal year shall be conducted by the Committee at its next meeting.


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The Committee


RESOLVED: That Councillor Joss Bigmore be elected vice-chairman of the Committee for the remainder of the 2020-21 municipal year.



Designation of the Council's Monitoring Officer pdf icon PDF 582 KB

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The Committee considered a report on the proposed designation of the Council’s Monitoring Officer in the light of Sarah White’s departure from the Council with effect from 24 February 2021.


The Committee noted that the Monitoring Officer had a number of statutory duties and responsibilities relating to the Council’s Constitution and arrangements for effective governance and promoting high standards of conduct. 


The report noted that Sarah White had shared the post of Lead Legal Specialist with Diane Owens, who was currently the Senior Deputy Monitoring Officers, as part of a job-sharing arrangement.  Officers were currently consulting with legal services staff on restructuring the legal services team.  It was proposed that the structure would predominantly revert back to the structure proposed and consulted upon as part of Future Guildford Phase A. 


Under the Council’s staffing structure, the post of Lead Legal Specialist was deemed to be the post most appropriate to be designated as the Monitoring Officer, as the role was the Council’s most senior legal officer and solicitor.  Whilst there was no specific requirement for the most senior solicitor or legal officer of any Council to be the Monitoring Officer, it was common practice for the monitoring officer to be a fully qualified solicitor given that part of the role was to ensure the Council’s compliance with laws and regulations. 


The role of Lead Legal Specialist required the post holder to be a qualified solicitor with significant post qualification experience and experience of working in a public sector environment.  The Lead Legal Specialist was the ‘head of profession’ for legal services at the Council. 


Having noted that in accordance with Officer Employment Procedure Rule 4 (a), the formal designation of the Monitoring Officer was undertaken by full Council on the recommendation of this Committee, the Committee


RECOMMEND: That, in accordance with Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, Diane Owens (Lead Specialist – Legal) be designated as the Monitoring Officer for the Council with effect from 25 February 2021.


Reason for Recommendation:

As a qualified solicitor with many years of local government experience carrying out both legal services and monitoring officer duties at a number of different councils, Diane Owens was currently the Senior Deputy Monitoring Officer and already held the post of Lead Legal Specialist.  Diane Owens was therefore considered to be the most suitable officer to be designated as Monitoring Officer.