Oxfordshire County Council logo

Independent and Co-opted Members

We appoint various Independent and Co-opted Members to carry out a variety of functions

Independent Members vacancy

We are currently seeking to appoint Independent Members.  Deadline 22 September.

Co-opted Members and Independent Members differ from County Councillors, as they are not elected to Council, but can be appointed by Full Council, or by the respective diocese in the case of People Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

These individuals are not employed by the Council, although some roles do receive a small allowance paid in recognition of their importance of work to the Council’s Corporate governance framework.

Audit and Governance Committee – Independent Members

The Audit and Governance Committee is supported in its work by two Independent Members, in line with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Audit Committee Guidance.

Independent Members for this committee are appointed to serve for a four-year fixed term and are expected to attend the six scheduled meetings per year, and on occasion the meetings of the Audit Working Group and relevant training sessions.  Although Independent Members do not have a vote in the same way as councillors do at committee, they fulfil an important role in an advisory and consultative capacity and are fully involved in the discussions of issues due considered at the committee.

Independent Members should:

  • not be affiliated with a political party and
  • should preferably be residents of Oxfordshire, or otherwise be able to demonstrate some direct connection.

Independent Persons

The Council promotes and maintains high standards of conduct through its Audit & Governance Committee and Monitoring Officer.  The Council uses the Members’ Code of Conduct to reflect the Nolan Principles of Public Life and promote and maintain the expected standards of conduct for Elected Members and Co-opted Members.

The Council have currently appointed two Independent Persons, who have the ability to act objectively, impartially and in confidence, making reasoned judgements based on evidence.

The role of an Independent Person is twofold:

Ethical governance:

  • To offer an opinion when consulted by the Council’s Monitoring Officer or Audit & Governance Committee, to help inform decisions about the promotion of high standards of Member conduct in future and
  • To help guide an Elected Member on process and practice when allegations or a complaint have been made them.

Statutory officers:

  • An Independent Person has a further role if the authority is considering dismissing one of its statutory officers:

People cannot be appointed as an Independent Person if they are:

  • an elected member, co-opted member or an officer of the council, or any other council within the county area, or have been so within the past 5 years;
  • the relative or close friend of a member, co-opted member or office of the council, or any other council within its district, and
  • a member of a political party/politically active.

Independent Remuneration Panel Members

The Members of the Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel work on a voluntary basis and are appointed for 3 years, although this can be extended by agreement.  The Panel receive information from councillors and seek comparative information from other councils, to enabling them reached informed decisions and make recommendations on councillors allowances.  The Council are unable to review or make decisions on the Council’s Members Allowances Scheme (pdf format 212Kb), without first consulting the Panel.

Members of the Independent Remuneration Panel must not be:

  • An elected Member of the local authority
  • A co-opted member of any committees of the local authority
  • Disqualified from becoming a member of the local authority.

Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee – Co-opted Members

The Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee is supported in its work by three non-voting Co-opted Members.  Members normally serve for a period of two years, but may serve for a further consecutive period of two years after which they must face an open recruitment process if they are to be reappointed.  Co-opted Members of this committee are appointed on the basis of the skills, knowledge and experience they bring, particularly in representing under-voiced groups or those unrepresented by the elected committee membership. It is not a formal requirement that they be Oxfordshire residents but this is deeply preferable.

People Overview & Scrutiny Committee – Co-opted Members

The People Overview & Scrutiny Committee has a maximum of four Co-opted Members made up as follows:

  • One representative of the Church of England (appointed by the Oxford Diocesan Council of Education)
  • One Roman Catholic representative (appointed jointly by the Archbishop of Birmingham and the Bishop of Portsmouth to represent the Roman Catholic Church) and
  • two elected persons who must be parent governors of an Oxfordshire maintained school; one representing primary schools and the other representing secondary and special schools. Employment by the Council, in an educational capacity or otherwise, will prevent a parent governor from being able to become a co-optee.

The Co-opted Members are only able to exercise their vote, when the Committee is dealing with education functions which are the responsibility of the Council or the Cabinet, and in relation to questions relating to the work programme of the Committee.