Agenda and minutes

Standards Hearings Panel
Wednesday, 17th January, 2018 3.50 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Northallerton

Contact: Democratic Services Officer  01609 767015

Items
No. Item

SHP.27

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

THE DECISION:

 

That Councillor G W Dadd be elected Chairman for duration of the meeting.

 

(Councillor G W Dadd in the Chair)

SHP.28

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:

 

The Panel considered whether to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of the items of business at minute no. SHP.29 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.  The Panel was satisfied that the public interest in disclosing the information outweighed the public interest in maintaining the exemption. 

 

The Panel resolved to hear the matter in public.

SHP.29

Allegations about District Council Members pdf icon PDF 356 KB

Minutes:

The Panel considered a request from the complainant to adjourn the hearing on the basis that the Panel’s previous hearing had overrun and that the complainant had not wanted to wait any longer for her matter to be heard.  The Panel noted that the complainant had been notified that the other matter would overrun and had been advised that the Panel may proceed in her absence.  The Panel considered the request for an adjournment and noted that whilst it was unfortunate that a delay had occurred, the Panel was in receipt of all relevant information including that provided by the complainant.  Therefore, the Panel decided that a fair hearing could take place and that it was in the public interest to deal with the matter in a timely manner. For those reasons the Panel refused the complainant’s request for an adjournment.   

 

ALLEGATIONS AGAINST DISTRICT COUNCILLOR C ROOKE

 

The subject of the decision:

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer presented a report with regard to an allegation that Councillor C Rooke had failed to comply with the provisions of the Council’s Code of Member Conduct by:

 

(i)         conducting himself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as failing to treat others with respect; and

(ii)        conducting himself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his authority or his office as a Member of the Authority into disrepute.

 

Alternative options considered:

 

The Panel considered all the options available but having concluded that Councillor Rooke had not breached the Code of Conduct, none of the alternative options were deemed appropriate.

 

The reason for the decision:

 

The Panel considered:

 

·         the Deputy Monitoring Officer’s report;

·         the written submissions of the complainant;

·         the oral submissions of Councillor Rooke; and

·         the District Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

The Panel considered the written submissions of the complainant who stated that, during a Planning Committee meeting held on 9th November 2017, Councillor Rooke (who was sitting as a Member of the Planning Committee) made comments in respect of wildlife and ecological issues and expressed “glee” at the outcome of a vote on a planning application before the Committee and, in doing so, failed to treat those present at the meeting with respect and brought his Authority into disrepute. 

 

Councillor Rooke told the Panel that, during the Planning Committee deliberation, he had presented his views on the application including wildlife and ecological issues and had referred to his personal notes to ensure he covered all the points he wanted to address. 

 

Councillor Rooke told the Panel he denied celebrating the outcome of a vote on a planning application.  Councillor Rooke told the Panel that on 9th November 2017 the Planning Committee was dealing with two applications and that following the decision of the first application there was a 5-10 minute adjournment.  Councillor Rooke informed the Panel that, during this adjournment, Councillor Rooke had spoken with the Members of Planning Committee sitting adjacent to him about a mistaken road reference made by one of the Councillors during deliberation.  ...  view the full minutes text for item SHP.29