Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Hearing Sub-Committee
Tuesday, 17th March, 2015 4.00 pm

Venue: Lees Suite, Civic Centre, Oldham, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1NL. View directions

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 Moores be elected Chair for the duration of the meeting.

2.

Apologies For Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence received.

3.

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:

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.

4.

Consideration of a Standards Complaint

Minutes:

The Sub Committee considered a report of the Investigating Officer, Sophie Devlin which requested Members to consider allegations against a Member that he had breached the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.

The Sub Committee was advised that following an investigation into the subject Member’s alleged breach of the code of conduct the Investigating Officer had concluded that the subject Member had:

  1. More likely than not acted in an aggressive manner during the interruption, leaning forward in his chair as he did so, also that the subject Member spoke loudly whilst interrupting.

A reasonable person would consider the subject matter had breached paragraph 3.1, 3.2 (b) and 5 of the code.

  1. Passed a note around the meeting room appearing to undermine the work of John Crompton to date in respect of World War 1 Memorial land in Failsworth.

A reasonable person would consider the subject matter had breached paragraph 3.1, 3.2 (b) and 5 of the code.

  1. More likely than not glared at Ms Kelly/Councillor Garry during the meeting and cupped his head in his hands whilst going so.

A reasonable person would consider the subject matter had breached paragraph 3.1, 3.2 (b) and 5 of the code.

The Sub Committee took into account the oral and written representations on behalf on the Investigating Officer, which set out the details of the complaint.

Councillor Elaine Garry (complainant), Councillor Davis Dawson (complainant), Colette Kelly Assistant Executive Director of Neighbourhoods and Mr. John Crompton were called as witnesses on behalf of the Investigating officer. Each witness was questioned by the subject Member’s representative. 

The Sub Committee found that during the public question time at the meeting, subject Member interrupted Mr. Crompton saying “who are you?” in a loud and aggressive manner, gesticulating at him in an aggressive way in an attempt to intimidate him. There was a reasonable expectation that members of the public were able to address their questions at the meeting without an interruption and particularly an interruption of this nature. There was clear evidence before the Sub Committee that subject Member had known Mr. Crompton for a number of years. The Sub Committee also found, on a balance of probabilities that the subject Member also said “You’ve never done anything”.

The Sub Committee found that Mr. Crompton was “taken aback” by the interruption and other people at the committee were shocked at subject Member’s actions. The Sub Committee also found that subject Member then appeared to remember Mr. Crompton’s name and said in a theatrical manner, “Oh yes, Mr. Crompton.”

The Sub Committee found that the interruption and the nature of the interruption with the apparent intention of intimidating Mr. Crompton, amounted to a breach of the Code of Conduct. The Sub Committee found that subject Member failed to treat Mr. Crompton with respect (paragraph 3.1), bullied Mr. Crompton (paragraph 3.2(b)) and conducted himself in a manner bringing his office into disrepute (paragraph 5).

The Note:

The Investigating Officer came to the conclusion that subject Member had circulated a note  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.