Agenda and minutes

Standards Hearings Panel
Monday, 23rd January, 2017 9.30 am

Venue: Main Committee Room, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Northallerton

Contact: Democratic Services Officer  01609 767015

Items
No. Item

SHP.4

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

THE DECISION:

 

That Councillor R W Hudson be elected Chairman for duration of the meeting.

 

(Councillor Hudson in the Chair)

SHP.5

Exclusion of the Press and Public

To consider passing a resolution under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 4 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

Minutes:

THE DECISION:

 

That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public were excluded from the meeting during consideration of the items of business at minute no SHP.6 on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as the Panel was satisfied that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

SHP.6

Allegations about a Parish Council Member

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Minutes:

The subject of the decision:

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer presented a report about allegations that a Parish Councillor (“the Councillor”) failed to comply with the provisions of the Parish Council’s Code of Member Conduct.  It was alleged that the Councillor behaved in a disrespectful way towards a member of the public (“the Complainant”) during a meeting on 16 September 2016 and again in correspondence on 18 September 2016 and acted in a way that was bullying or intimidatory during a verbal exchange with the Complainant on 23 September 2016.

 

The Complainant had informed Hambleton District Council that he would not be attending the hearing.  No adjournment was sought and the Panel considered the matter in the Complainant’s absence.

 

The Councillor against whom the allegations had been made and the Councillor’s wife attended the hearing.

 

Alternative options considered:

 

The Panel considered making recommendations contained within paragraph 3.3 of the Monitoring Officer’s report.  However, having concluded, that the Councillor had not breached the Code of Conduct, no further action was necessary.

 

The reason for the decision:

 

Having considered the Monitoring Officer’s report, the written statement of the Complainant, the Parish Council’s Code of Conduct, and having heard oral representations from the Councillor and his wife (“W”), the Panel reached the following conclusions:

 

The Panel noted that the Parish Council Code of Conduct for Members only applies where a parish councillor is acting in their capacity as a Member of the Parish Council and does not apply when a parish councillor is acting in a private capacity. 

 

Both parties presented evidence that a meeting took place between the Complainant and the Councillor on 16th September 2016.  The Complainant alleged that, at this time, the Councillor had told the Complainant that he was a parish councillor.  The Complainant also alleged that the Councillor had used inappropriate language at the meeting.  During the hearing, the Councillor told the Panel that, on 16th September 2016, he was acting as a mediator (appointed by a third party) on a business matter which involved the Complainant.  The Councillor denied telling the Complainant that he was a parish councillor at that meeting.  He also denied using inappropriate language.  The Councillor told the Panel that the meeting was civilised and centred on the business matter in question.  The Panel concluded that the Councillor was acting in a private employment capacity during the meeting and, therefore, he was not subject to the Parish Council Code of Conduct for Members at the material time.

 

The Complainant alleged that, following the meeting on 16th September 2016, the Councillor drove through a road closure claiming authorisation to do so by displaying a parish council identification badge on the dashboard of his vehicle.  The Councillor provided to the Panel details of the route he had taken at the time and denied encroaching on the road closure. He told the Panel that his parish council identification badge was kept in the storage well of his car but denies displaying it on his dashboard.  ...  view the full minutes text for item SHP.6