Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Hearing Sub-Committee
Tuesday, 1st November, 2016 10.30 am

Venue: Uppermill Civic Hall, Lee Street, Uppermill, OL3 6AE. View directions

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 Williams be elected Chair for the duration of the meeting.

2.

Apologies For Absence

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

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 paragraph(s) 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:

Councillor Williamson moved and Councillor Gloster seconded, that Item 4 of the agenda to be heard in the public domain as the Item was in the public interest.

 

RESOLVED – That Item 4 of the agenda be moved into the public domain as the Item was in the public interest.

5.

Consideration of a Standards Complaint

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered a report of the Investigating Officer, Simon Goacher, which requested the Sub-Committee to consider allegations against Parish Councillor Buckley, that he had breached the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.

Complaints had been made by Holly Wood a constituent of the Dobcross ward and Pam Bailey, the Clerk to the Parish Council.

The complaint set out three allegations, that Parish Councillor Buckley:

  1. Had been convicted of offences of downloading indecent images of children between 6 and 17 years old.
  2. Tried to attend a public meeting at Saddleworth Civic Hall on 2nd February and whilst outside the civic hall engaged in an altercation with a photographer during which he grabbed the photographer’s arm, shouted and swore at him.
  3. Refused to inform the parish Clerk whether he would attend a public meeting at the Civic Hall on 8th February 2016 meaning that she had to engage security staff.

The Sub-Committee was advised that, following an investigation into the subject Member’s alleged breach of the Code of Conduct and evidence given by Holly Wood, Pam Bailey, the Caretaker of the Civic Hall, a security guard, a PCSO and Parish Councillor Buckley the Investigating Officer on findings of fact had concluded that:

In relation to allegation 1, Parish Councillor Buckley was not acting in his official capacity at the time he committed the offences of which he was convicted.

Mr.Goacher advised the hearing that he had reached this conclusion with a great deal of unease as most people would believe that a person convicted of such an offence had no place holding public office. In applying the law as it stood, the Parish Councillor Buckley’s offence and conviction did not amount to a failure on his part to comply with the code.

In relation allegation 3 and as result of the finding that Parish Councillor Buckley had not made his mind up on whether he would be attending the meeting of 8th February 2016 when the Parish Clerk, Pam Bailey had spoken to him, it followed that he did not fail to comply with code when he refused to tell Mrs Bailey if he was attending.

In relation to allegation 3 and in the investigating officer’s view, taking into account all evidence and statements, Councillor Buckley was attending the Parish Council meeting on the 2nd February 2016 in capacity as a councillor. The meeting was a public meeting but it was being held in the Civic Hall, it was being facilitated by the Parish Council and the Council paid for security for the event. Therefore it was a Parish Council event. As Parish Councillor Buckley entered the building through a back entrance suggesting that he thought he should be granted access not afforded to the public, in the investigators view, taking into account the nature of the event in attending it, Councillor Buckley was acting in his capacity as a councillor when he attended.

It was further reported that although there were slight variations in the accounts  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.