Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Assessment Sub-Committee
Tuesday, 15th December, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Sian Walter-Browne 

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

The Panel is asked to elect a Chair for the duration of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Williamson be elected Chair for the duration of the meeting.

 

2.

Apologies For Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

3.

Declarations of Interest

To Receive Declarations of Interest in any Contract or matter to be discussed at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

4.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they contain exempt information under paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and it would not, on balance, be in the public interest to disclose the reports.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they contain exempt information under paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and it would not, on balance, be in the public interest to disclose the reports.

5.

Consideration of a Standards Complaint

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which required assessment of a complaint in relation to a Councillor which said that the Councillor had breached the Council’s Members Code of Conduct.  The Legal Services Officer set out the complaint, as detailed in the report, and outlined the criteria to be used by the sub-committee for deciding whether a complaint should be accepted for investigation, dealt with informally or rejected.

 

Members gave thorough consideration to the agenda pack which included the complaint form and the response provided by the elected member. 

 

The criteria considered in relation to the complaint was:

·         Whether a substantially similar allegation had previously been made by the complainant to Standards for England or the Standards Committee, or the complaint had been the subject of an investigation by another regulatory authority;

·         Whether the complaint was about something that happened so long ago that those involved were unlikely to remember it clearly enough to provide credible evidence, or where the lapse of time meant there would be little benefit or point in taking action now;

·         Whether the allegation was anonymous;

·         Whether the allegation discloses a potential breach of the Code of Conduct, but the complaint was not serious enough to merit any action; and

o   The resources needed to investigate and determine the complaint was wholly disproportionate to the allegations; and

o   Whether in all the circumstances there was not overriding public benefit in carrying out an investigation.

·         Whether the complaint appeared to be malicious, vexatious, politically motivated or tit-for-tat;

·         Whether the complaint suggested that there was a wider problem throughout the Authority; or

·         Whether it was apparent that the subject of the allegation was relatively inexperienced as a Member or had admitted to making an error and the matter would not warrant a more serious sanction.

 

Members applied the facts to the criteria adopted to assess complaints, considered the information provided to them and the options available.  Members sought and received clarification related to criteria as defined by the Members’ Code of Conduct. 

 

Members considered that no investigation was warranted but expressed their concerns about the lack of respect shown by the elected member. Members requested that Legal Services write to the elected member to remind them of the requirements of the Code of Conduct and to offer training to the elected member.

 

RESOLVED that no further action be taken in relation to the complaint, and the Committee recommended that Legal Services write to the elected member to remind them of the requirements of the Code of Conduct and to offer training to the elected member.