Executive Member for Finance and Governance Minutes

Executive Member for Finance and Governance Minutes

Date:
Tuesday 19 February 2019
Time:
10:00 a.m.
Place:
Oberhausen Room,Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor N Walker.
Officers:
A Johnstone, C Lunn and P Schofield.
Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
18/1 ANNUAL EQUALITY AND INCLUSION REPORT

The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration submitted a report, the purpose of which was to present the Council’s Annual Equality and Inclusion report for consideration.

 

The Equality Act 2010 placed a Public Sector Equality Duty on Local Authorities and other bodies.  The broad purpose of the equality duty was to integrate consideration of equality and good relations into the day-to-day business of the Council.  It required equality considerations to be reflected in the design of policies and the delivery of services, including internal policies, and for these issues to be kept under review.

 

This duty was supported by specific regulations, which placed additional duties upon the Council.  It was required to publish information / data to demonstrate compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

 

The Council was also required to periodically publish information around the composition of its workforce.

 

This report ensured both duties were met and would be published annually, in line with statutory requirements. This was the second report presented in this format.

 

The 2018 Annual Equality and Inclusion report, attached at Appendix 1, set out a comprehensive picture of equality and diversity both in the town and in the Council, and outlined a range of actions to influence the diversity of the Council where there continued to be areas of under-representation.  It also outlined where the Council was taking action to improve inequalities within the town and in comparison to regional and national performance figures.

 

OPTIONS

Other potential decisions and why these had not been recommended

 

The Council could choose to present information on the workforce and information on the diversity of the town in two separate reports, however, this was not recommended.  Combining these two into one report enabled a holistic view to be taken of diversity, directly comparing the town to the Council.  By doing so, the report supports the Council’s ambition that its workforce should more closely reflect the diversity of the local population.

 

ORDERED that the Annual Equality and Inclusion report be approved.

 

REASONS

The decision was supported for the following reason:

 

Publication of equality and diversity annual reports provides evidence of the Council’s compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty and Transparency Code requirements.

18/2 REGULATORY INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT (RIPA) POLICY

The Strategic Director of Finance, Governance and Support submitted a report, the purpose of which was to seek approval of the Council’s RIPA policy.

 

RIPA and the supporting guidance set out a prescribed process that the Council must comply with if it deemed that it was necessary to exercise its powers under RIPA.

 

RIPA was enacted as part of a suite of legislation flowing from the Human Rights Act 1997.  The Act required that when public authorities needed to use covert techniques to obtain private information about someone, they only did so if surveillance was necessary, proportionate and compatible with human rights.

 

For Public Authorities, where a suspected offence could result in a custodial sentence of more than six months, or where it was suspected that alcohol or cigarettes were being sold to children, covert surveillance could be undertaken, subject to magistrate approval, if it was not possible to gather sufficient evidence to secure a prosecution without this.

 

The policy, attached at Appendix A, set out how the Council undertook that process.  Most RIPA applications were made by the Public Protection Trading Standards Service for enforcement in relation to tobacco, alcohol and counterfeit goods.  Details on the small number of applications made were presented to Members within the Senior Information Responsible Officer (SIRO) report to the February 2019 meeting of the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee.

 

The Council was regularly assessed to ensure it complied with legislative requirements in relation to RIPA.  The latest inspection by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO) was completed in October 2018 and shared with the Council in January 2019.

 

The inspection found that the Council had demonstrated a good level of compliance.  It stated that the draft RIPA policy was well written and included the recent legislative changes, with signposts to the Codes of Practice on Covert Surveillance and Property Interference, as well as Covert Human Intelligence Sources.

 

Information on the use of RIPA was reported to the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee on an annual basis as part of the SIRO report.

 

OPTIONS

Other potential decisions and why these had not been recommended

 

No other options were considered as they were not applicable to the report.

 

ORDERED that the Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) policy be approved.

 

REASONS

The decision was supported for the following reason:

 

The policy would ensure compliance with legal requirements in relation to RIPA activities.

The decision will come into force after five working days following the day the decision was published, unless the decision becomes subject to the call in procedures.
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