Members Dispensations

Criteria for the determination of applications for dispensations made by Members of the Council.

Under Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 ("the Act"),  a Member or co-opted Member who has a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered or being considered at a meeting of the authority at which that Member or co-opted Member is present and the disclosable pecuniary interest is one which the Member or co-opted Member is aware of, the Member or co-opted Member may not participate or participate further in any discussion or vote on the matter at the meeting unless he/she has first obtained a dispensation in accordance with the Council’s dispensation procedure. 

The provisions on dispensations are significantly changed by the Localism Act 2011. There are 5 circumstances in respect of which a dispensation may be granted, namely:

1.1 That so many members of the decision-making body have disclosable pecuniary interests in a matter that it would "impede the transaction of the business";

1.2 That, without the dispensation, the representation of different political groups on the body transacting the business would be so upset as to alter the outcome of any vote on the matter.;

1.3 That the authority considers that the dispensation is in the interests of persons living in the authority's area;

1.4 That, without a dispensation, no member of the Cabinet would be able to participate on this matter; or

1.5 That the authority considers that it is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation.

Any grant of a dispensation must specify the duration up to a maximum of 4 years.

The Localism Act gives discretion for the power to grant dispensations to be delegated to a Committee or a Sub-Committee, or to the Monitoring Officer.
This Council has determined that in respect of grounds 1.1 and 1.4 above it is considered appropriate to delegate dispensations on these grounds to the Monitoring Officer for determination. The Monitoring Officer is permitted, but not required, to consult with the Ethics Committee prior to determining an application for dispensation on grounds 1.1 or 1.4.

In respect of grounds 1.2, 1.3 and 1.5 above, assessment of these grounds involve a value judgement such that it is considered appropriate that the discretion to grant dispensations on these grounds is delegated to the Ethics Committee, after consultation with the Independent Person.

Members wishing to apply for a dispensation are advised to complete the dispensation application form attached below.

Adopted: July 2012