Council

29 September 2021

 

Appointment of Interim Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer

 

Final Decision-Maker

Council

Lead Head of Service

Stephen McGinnes, Director of Mid Kent Services

Lead Officer and Report Author

Patricia Narebor, Head of Legal Partnership

Classification

Public

 

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

 

Patricia Narebor, the Councilís Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer is leaving the Council on 24 October 2021 to take up another position.

 

To maintain an effective legal service until such time that a permanent appointment is made, the report notes the appointment of Claudette Valmond as the Interim Head of Legal Partnership and Jayne Bolas as the Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership and recommends the appointment of Jayne Bolas as the Monitoring Officer for Maidstone Borough Council.

 

It is proposed that these appointments are reviewed on the recruitment of a permanent Head of Legal Partnership.

 

Purpose of Report

 

Decision

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to Council:

1.†††† That the appointment of Claudette Valmond as the Interim Head of Legal Partnership to exercise the Head of Legal Partnershipís delegated functions and responsibilities in the Councilís Constitution, save for the Monitoring Officer duties specified in paragraphs 5 and 12 of the current delegations to the Head of Legal Partnership (Section 2.3.15 of Part 2.3 of the Constitution), be noted.

2.†††† That Jayne Bolas be appointed to undertake statutory duties and responsibilities as the Councilís Monitoring Officer, as noted in the Constitution at paragraphs 5 and 12 of the delegations to the Head of Legal Partnership, with effect from 24 October 2021.

 

3.††††† That appropriate amendments be made to the Councilís Constitution to effect these changes.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Council

29 September 2021



Appointment of Interim Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

The Council is responsible for putting in place proper arrangements for the governance of its affairs. The appointment of the Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer support the Council to achieve its priorities.

Director of Mid Kent Services

Cross Cutting Objectives

The Council is responsible for putting in place proper arrangements for the governance of its affairs. The appointment of the Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer support the Council to achieve its objectives.

Director of Mid Kent Services

Risk Management

If the recommendation is accepted, the

risks are considered to be low given the

extensive legal and governance experience of the officers. The risks of appointing a Head of Legal partnership and Monitoring Officer without these skills and experience would be much higher.

Director of Mid Kent Services

Financial

The proposals set out in the recommendation are all within already approved budgetary headings and so need no new funding for implementation.

Director of Finance and Business Improvement†

Staffing

The Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer will be seconded to the Council from Swale Borough Council for the purpose of carrying out their duties

Director of Mid Kent Services

Legal

The Council is required to appoint a Monitoring Officer by section 5 of the Local Government & Housing Act 1989.† Section 113 of the Local Government Act 1972 allows one local authority to agree with another that it will place an officer at the disposal of the latter for the purposes of their functions.

Head of Legal Services

Privacy and Data Protection

The recommendations will have no impact on privacy and data protection.†

Director of Mid Kent Services

Equalities

The recommendations do not propose a change in service therefore will not require an equalities impact assessment

Director of Mid Kent Services

Public Health

 

 

We recognise that the recommendations will not negatively impact on population health or that of individuals.

Director of Mid Kent Services

Crime and Disorder

The recommendation will have no impact on Crime and Disorder.

Director of Mid Kent Services

Procurement

The recommendations will have no impact on procurement.†

Director of Mid Kent Services

Biodiversity and Climate Change

The implications of this report on biodiversity and climate change have been considered and there are no implications on biodiversity and climate change.

 

Director of Mid Kent Services

 

 

2.††††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1     The Council shares its legal service with Swale and Tunbridge Wells Borough

Councils (Mid Kent Legal Services).† Patricia Narebor is the current Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer for Maidstone Borough Council.

 

2.2†† Ms Narebor is leaving her post on 24 October 2021 to take up another

position.

 

2.3     To maintain an effective legal service until such time that a permanent appointment is made to the Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer roles, an interim structure is proposed to include the appointment of Claudette Valmond as the Interim Head of Legal Partnership and Jayne Bolas as the Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership and Monitoring Officer for Maidstone Borough Council.

 

2.4     It is proposed that these appointments are reviewed on the recruitment of a permanent Head of Legal Partnership.

 

2.5     Claudette Valmond, Principal Lawyer (Property, Contracts and Planning) has accepted a conditional offer to become Interim Head of Legal Partnership for the three local authorities as part of an interim structure until a permanent replacement for the Head of Legal Partnership post is recruited.† Claudette Valmond has been a qualified solicitor for over 30 years and has over 7 yearsí experience working in a local government legal service.

 

2.6     As the Interim Head of Legal Partnership, with effect from 24 October 2021, Claudette Valmond will exercise the Head of Legal Partnershipís delegated functions and responsibilities in the Councilís Constitution, save for the Monitoring Officer duties specified in paragraphs 5 and 12 of the current delegations to the Head of Legal Partnership.

 

2.7     The Council is required by law to appoint a Monitoring Officer and under the Councilís Constitution, the decision must be taken by Full Council.

 

2.8     The Monitoring Officer has a number of statutory duties and responsibilities

relating to the Councilís Constitution and the arrangements for effective

governance. These duties include maintaining the Constitution, ensuring that no decision or omission of the Council is likely to give rise to illegality or maladministration and promoting high standards of conduct. A full list of the Monitoring Officerís responsibilities and delegated powers is included within the Councilís Constitution.

 

2.9†† The Local Government and Housing Act 1989, section 5 requires an Authority to designate one of their Officers to perform the Monitoring Officer duties which includes:

 

†††††††††††††††† (a)†††††† the duty to consider proposals and prepare a report for consideration by the Authority if a proposal is likely to give rise to a contravention of any enactment, rule of law or any code of practice; or

(b)†††††† likely to lead to any maladministration or failure as is mentioned in Part 3 of the Local Government Act 1974 (Local Commissioners).

 

 

2.10  Jayne Bolas, Principal Lawyer (Contentious and Corporate Governance) and Deputy Monitoring Officer, has accepted a conditional offer to become Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership for the three local authorities as part of an interim structure until a permanent replacement for the Head of Legal Partnership post is recruited.

 

2.11  It is proposed that Jayne Bolas is appointed as the Councilís Monitoring Officer with effect from 24 October 2021 and that she is seconded to the Council from Swale Borough Council (her employing authority) whilst carrying out the Monitoring Officer duties. Jayne Bolas has been a qualified solicitor for 34 years and has 32 yearsí experience working in local government legal services.

 

2.7 † If the recommendation is accepted, Jayne Bolas will appoint a Deputy Monitoring Officer to assist her.

 

 

3.   AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1     The Council is required by law to appoint a Monitoring Officer.† It could decide to appoint a different officer to undertake the role however as the current Deputy Monitoring Officer, Jayne Bolas is held to be the best qualified officer to undertake the role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     The recommendation is to note the appointment of Claudette Valmond as the Interim Head of Legal Partnership and appoint Jayne Bolas as the Monitoring Officer for the reasons set out above.

 

5.       RISK

5.1     The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the Council does not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Councilís Risk Management Framework.† We are satisfied that the risks associated are within the Councilís risk appetite and will be managed as per the Policy.

 

 

6.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

6.1     Given that this report concerns the appointment of one of the Councilís statutory officers, the recommendation is being made directly to Full Council.

 

6.2     The proposed interim structure and appointments have been discussed and are supported by the Chief Executive and partner authorities.

 

 

 

7.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1     If the recommendation is approved, the decision will be communicated to staff and relevant stakeholders.

 

 

 

8.        REPORT APPENDICES

 

†††††† Appendix 1: Scheme of delegations

 

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None