Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Hearings Panel - Monday 10th October, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Allerdale House. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  01900 516809

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

To elect a Chair for the Panel

Minutes:

Councillor M Grainger was elected Chair for the ensuing meeting.

 

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

None received

3.

Declaration of interests

Councillors/Staff to give notice of any disclosable pecuniary interest, other registrable interest or any other interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda, in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

None declared

4.

Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 113 KB

As a preliminary consideration, the Panel is to determine whether the hearing should be open to the public and press. 

 

Please see further details for consideration attached.

 

Minutes:

The Senior Legal Specialist read out agenda item 4, members discussed the options.

 

Councillor E Lynch proposed to move the meeting into part 2 to exclude the press and public.

 

Councillor M Grainger seconded.

 

Members voted unanimously to exclude the press and public.

5.

Complaint

To considerthe externalinvestigating officer’s reporton a complaint against an Allerdale Borough Councillor.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Manager: Legal and Information Governance outlined the complaint to members.

 

The Presenting Officer presented the report to members in sections and answered questions from members and the Subject Member throughout.

 

Councillor N Cockburn found the comment ‘the independent group were inexperienced’ offensive, Councillor Cockburn clarified there was a lot of new Councillors elected at that time and she had a lot more experience than fellow Councillors.

 

The Presenting Officer outlined the conclusions from the external investigating officer.

 

Break for lunch 12:15 – 12:45

 

The Subject Member made detailed representations and answered questions from members

 

The Councillor left the meeting 15:05pm

 

Members discussed all the evidence presented to them from officers and the Subject Member.

 

Members also considered the investigating officer’s final report into complaints 1 and 2.

 

Complaint 1, based on the evidence set out in sections 4.1 – 4.3

 

4.1 – Disclosure of documents to a third party

4.2 – Confidentiality of the documents

4.3 – Risk to the Council’s reputation and in relation to a current legal case

 

Members all agreed that the Subject Member did not breach the Code of Conduct and this element of the complaint was not upheld.

 

Complaint 2, based on the evidence presented to them by both the Presenting Officer and the Subject Member: Members all agreed that the Subject Member had failed to comply with the proper procedures the Council has in place.

 

Disclosure of confidential information: members all agreed that the Subject Member had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct in respect of the disclosure of confidential information.

 

Bringing the member’s office or the Authority into disrepute: members all agreed that the Subject Member had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct in respect of bringing his office into disrepute.

 

Respecting the impartiality and integrity of officers: all members agreed that there had been a failure to respect the integrity of officers. A majority of members upheld the complaint in respect of the breach of the Code of Conduct by failing to respect the impartiality and integrity of officers, further that the Subject Matter had failed to comply with the Council’s procedures and that the subject member had further breached the Code of Conduct by disclosing confidential information.

 

The sub-committee then considered the question of sanction.

 

Sanction

 

The sub-committee ruled that:-

 

A)  A formal letter be sent to the Subject Member in respect of the breaches.

 

B)  That the panel’s findings be reported to Council.

 

C)  Recommend to the Subject Member’s group leader that the member be removed from all committees and sub-committees of the Council.

 

D)  Instruct the Monitoring Officer to arrange 1-2-1 training of the Code of Conduct and the Council procedures.