Agenda and minutes

Standards Committee Initial Assessment Hearing Panel
Wednesday, 5th September, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Ribble Room, Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland PR26 1DH

Contact: Dianne Scambler  Email: dscambler@southribble.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

None, all were present.

2.

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 were declared.

3.

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 item 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 of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

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

4.

Initial Assessment Hearing - Anonymous Complaint

Report of the Interim Monitoring Officer attached.

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report and background information on a complaint against Councillors A and B.

 

The complaint centred on the contents of a leaflet that was allegedly distributed by Councillors A and B which caused offence and contained confidential information, thus potentially constituting a breach of the Code of Conduct.  

 

Councillors A and B denied any wrongdoing.

 

The purpose of the meeting was to decide whether any further investigation should occur.

 

In considering the matter, the panel was informed that the complainant wished to remain anonymous and that it was unusual to act upon anonymous complaints. The issue was raised that in the event of the complaint being taken further, it may not be possible or practical for the complainant to remain anonymous.

 

Furthermore, the panel was very conscious of setting a precedent by investigating an anonymous complaint and expressed concern that this could lead to a rise in anonymous complaints in the future.

 

The panel expressed their concerns with regards to the impact upon the subject of the critical comments, considering it inappropriate to openly criticise officers publicly and referring to the Member Officer Protocol that all members had been asked to sign.

 

On weighing up the information and the options available to be taken, the panel felt that no action was needed against Councillor B. However, it was felt that Informal Resolution was the most appropriate action in respect to Councillor A.

 

RESOLVED: that in respect of

 

1)    Councillor A, the panel felt that the appropriate action was by Informal Resolution; in that Councillor A be requested to attend a meeting of the Interim Monitoring Officer to discuss the situation and the importance of adhering to the Code of Conduct.

 

2)    Councillor B, the panel felt that no action was necessary on the basis that her involvement – if it could be proved – was minimal.