Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Hearing Sub-Committee
Monday, 30th November, 2015 4.00 pm

Venue: Crompton 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 Chadderton 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.

Urgent Business

Urgent business, if any, introduced by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business received.

5.

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:

The Sub-Committee were advised that they could exclude the press and public from the hearing, as paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended applied (information relating to any individual or which is likely to reveal the identity of any individual). In this case, discussion would involve details of individuals including not just the subject Member, but the witness referred to in the report. The witness, John Crompton had given consent for the matter to be dealt with publically.

The Sub-Committee sought the views of the Investigating Officer and the subject Member as to whether they had any views on the matter being held in the public domain. The Investigating Officer and subject Member’s representative, Joseph Fitzpatrick, agreed that it was in the public interest to hold the meeting in public.

Following legal advice the Sub-Committee agreed that it was in the public interest to hold the meeting in public.

 

RESOLVED – That the meeting be held in public.

 

6.

Consideration of an investigation regarding 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 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:

  1. In April 2015, Councillor Bates had more likely than not sought to obtain Mr Crompton’s personal email address from Penny Kenworthy, Acting District Co-ordinator and Leslie Garner.

Having considered the explanation offered by the subject Member, a reasonable person would not consider there had been any failure to comply with the Code of Conduct in relation to this matter.

  1. On 16 April 2015 Councillor Bates had more likely than not approached Mr Crompton in Manchester City Centre.

Having considered the explanation offered by the subject Member, a reasonable person would not consider there had been any failure to comply with the Code of Conduct in relation to this matter.

  1. In early May 2015, when Mr Crompton was walking home in Failsworth, he had more likely than not been approached by Councillor Bates in a manner that had been calculated to intimidate him. A reasonable person would consider the subject matter had breached paragraph 3.1, 3.2 (b), 3.2(c) 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.

 

The Sub-Committee agreed with the findings of the Investigating Officer with regard to allegations (1) and (2) and RESOLVED that there had been no failure to comply with the Code of Conduct in relation to these allegations.

 

With regard to allegation (3), Mr. John Crompton was called as a witness by the Investigating Officer and was questioned by the subject Member’s representative. The subject Member did not give evidence.

 

The Sub-Committee took into account all of the oral and written evidence before them, and unanimously found, on the balance of probabilities, that the subject Member had acted in the manner complained of. The Sub-Committee unanimously found that the subject Member, in acting in this way, had breached the Code of Conduct in that

  1. he failed to treat Mr Crompton with respect (paragraph 3.1),
  2. he bullied Mr Crompton (paragraph 3.2(b)) and
  3. he intimidated a person who was likely to be a complainant in relation to an allegation that a Member had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct (paragraph 3.2(c))

The Sub-Committee unanimously found that the subject Member’s conduct was not such as to reasonably be regarded as bringing his office or the Council into disrepute.

 

Neither the Investigating Officer nor the subject Member wished to make submissions on the matter of sanctions.

 

RESOLVED –

That the following sanctions be unanimously agreed:

  1. The findings (including the Investigating Officer’s report, to be redacted by the Monitoring Officer to remove personal data) be published on the website by the Council
  2. The findings (and the Investigating Officer’s report) be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.