Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Committee Initial Assessment Hearing Panel
Thursday, 29th August, 2019 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Coral Astbury  Email: castbury@southribble.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

None.

20.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

21.

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.

22.

Initial Assessment Hearing

Report of the Interim Monitoring Officer attached.

 

Background Documentation:

 

Report to Standards Initial Assessment Hearing – 18 June 2019

Appendix 1 – Complaint from Cllr Paul Foster dated 27 September 2018

Appendix 2 – Complaint from Cllr David Howarth dated 27 September 2018

Appendix 3 – Letter of response from Cllr Mary Green

Appendix 4 – Investigation and Hearing Procedure

Appendix 5 – The Council’s Code of Conduct for Elected Members which was in force at the relevant time

Appendix 6 – Guidance to the Council’s Code of Conduct for Elected Members

Appendix 7 – Transcript of the relevant part of the Council meeting in question

 

Minutes:

The panel considered an update from the Interim Monitoring Officer regarding an ongoing complaint against Councillor A from the 27 September 2018. The Panel previously met on 18 June 2019 to consider submission of audio evidence, and had come to the conclusion that Councillor A should apologise for her actions and agree to undertake training.

 

The Interim Monitoring Officer explained that following the meeting on the 18 June he wrote to Councillor A on the 21 June, 16 July and the 30 July but no response had been received from Councillor A.

 

The Panel were given the opportunity to listen to the views of David Haley, the Independent Person.

 

Members of the panel were of the view that due to the nature of the complaint and the lack of response from Councillor A that the complaint should go before a full Standards Committee hearing panel if no further response from Councillor A was received.

 

The Interim Monitoring Officer explained that usually in order for a complaint to go before a full Standards Hearing Panel a formal investigation is required. However, given the exceptional circumstances and evidence available to the Panel a formal investigation would not be required.

 

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

The Interim Monitoring Officer will write to Councillor A again, to request that she apologise for her actions – the wording of the apology should be agreed by the Monitoring Officer. The letter will also detail what further action will be taken if no further response is received.

 

Councillor A should agree to undertake training.

 

If no positive response is received from Councillor A within 7 days receipt of the letter, the complaint will be referred to a full public hearing of the Standards Committee.

23.

Initial Assessment Hearing

Report of the Interim Monitoring Officer attached.

 

Background Documentation:

 

Report to Standards Initial Assessment Hearing – 1 August 2019

Appendix 1 – Complaint from Cllr Keith Martin

Appendix 2 – Copy of the newspaper article referred to in Cllr Martin’s complaint

Appendix 3 – Copy of the minutes of the Cabinet meeting 20 March 2018

Appendix 4 – Register of Interests from 2015

Appendix 5 – Register of Interests from 2019

Appendix 6 – Cllr Clark’s response

Appendix 7 – Email from Jonathan Noad (Director of Planning and Property)

Appendix 8 – Email from Peter McHugh (Assistant Director of Property and Housing)

Appendix 9 – Investigation and Hearing Procedure

Appendix 10 – The Council’s Code of Conduct for Elected Members which was in force at the relevant time

Appendix 11 – Guidance to the Council’s Code of Conduct for Elected Members

 

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report from the Interim Monitoring Officer which provided them an update following a further response from Councillor B.

 

The Interim Monitoring Officer advised the panel that the response given by Councillor B included additional information which was not previously disclosed.

 

The Panel were of the view that Councillor B should have sought advice from the Interim Monitoring Officer prior to the Cabinet meeting on 20 March 2019. Further, the Panel expressed disappointment that Councillor B did not provide a full account of events at the first instance.

 

The Panel were given the opportunity to listen to the views of Barry Parsonage, the Independent Person.

 

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

The Interim Monitoring Officer will write to Councillor B, inviting him to attend a meeting with the Monitoring Officer and Independent Person to discuss the matter and work towards informal resolution.

 

The Interim Monitoring Officer will keep the Chair of Standards Committee informed of any progress made, and the Panel members will be informed of the final outcome.