Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee Initial Assessment Hearing Panel
Thursday, 13th December, 2018 6.30 pm

Venue: Cross Room, Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland PR25 1DH

Contact: Charlotte Lynch  Email: clynch@southribble.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

5.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

None.

6.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested to indicate at this stage in the proceedings any items on the agenda in which they intend to declare an interest. Members are reminded that if the interest is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct) they must leave the room for the whole of that item. If the interest is not a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, but is such that a member of the public could reasonably regard it as being so significant that it is likely that it would prejudice their judgment of the public interest (as explained in the Code of Conduct) then they may make representations, but then must leave the meeting for the remainder of the item.

Minutes:

None.

7.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider the exclusion of the press and public for the following items of business on the ground that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

By Virtue of Paragraph 1: Information relating to any individual.

Minutes:

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That the press and public be excluded for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

By virtue of Paragraph 1: Information relating to any individual.  

8.

Initial Assessment Hearing

Report of the Interim Monitoring Officer attached.

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report and background information on two similar complaints by two members of the council against Councillor A.

 

The complaints both centred on Councillor A’s response to a question concerning a Tweet posted by another member of Councillor A’s group, which was brought to their attention at a Council meeting. It is alleged that Councillor A’s response to this question constitutes a breach of the Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

Councillor A denied any wrongdoing.

 

The Panel carefully considered all the evidence before it. There were some differences between Councillor A’s version of events and those of the complainant councillor.

 

The Interim Monitoring Officer informed the Panel that Councillor A stated that she had access to an audio recording of the meeting, which could facilitate a more informed decision.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously):

 

That the Hearing be deferred until audio recording and transcript are provided, to allow more informed consideration.

 

 

9.

Initial Assessment Hearing

Report of the Interim Monitoring Officer attached.

Minutes:

The Interim Monitoring Officer presented a report on a complaint against Councillor B from an officer of the Council concerning information shared on social media.

 

The complaint had previously been considered by Hearing Panels on 30 August 2017 and 26 July 2018. At the meeting of the 26 July 2018, the Hearing Panel requested that Councillor B apologise to the officer concerned.

 

The purpose of the meeting was to provide an update on the situation to members, and to decide if and/or what additional measures should be taken against Councillor B.

 

The Panel were informed that the Interim Monitoring Officer had wrote to Councillor B on a couple of occasions requesting that an apology be given. No response to those emails had been received and no apology given.

 

The Panel again carefully considered the complaint and conduct of Councillor B. The various options available to the Panel were also considered.

 

The Panel did not consider this complaint would warrant the time and expense of a formal investigation, in part due to the limited powers of sanction at the Panel’s disposal. Nevertheless, the Panel felt that there was no justification for Councillor B’s conduct in this regard and expressed their sympathy for the officer concerned.

 

RESOLVED (Unanimously):

 

That the Interim Monitoring Officer write a strongly-worded letter to Councillor B criticising her conduct in regards to the complaint itself and her lack of cooperation throughout the Hearings process.