Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Hearings Panel
Thursday, 3rd October, 2019 9.30 am

Venue: Main Committee Room, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Rotary Way, Northallerton, DL6 2UU

Contact: Democratic Services Officer  01609 767015

Items
No. Item

SHP.4

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.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 Town Council Member

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Minutes:

The subject of the decision:

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer presented a report in relation to allegations that a Town Councillor (“the Town Councillor”) failed to comply with the provisions of the Town Council’s Code of Member Conduct, namely that she had:

 

i)              behaved in a bulling or intimidatory manner;

ii)             disclosed confidential information; and

iii)            prevented the complainant from carrying out her duties. 

 

 Alternative options considered:

 

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

 

The reason for the decision:

 

The Panel considered:

·         the Monitoring Officer’s report;

·         the written and oral submissions of the Town Councillor;

·         the written and oral submissions of the complainant;

·         the written submissions of six witnesses; and

·         the Town Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

The Panel reached the following conclusions:

 

The Panel considered evidence relating to the alleged disclosure of confidential information by the Town Councillor.  The complainant alleged that on 5 July 2019 she entered the Town Council office and saw the Town Councillor reading a confidential letter which had been submitted by the complainant to another member of the Town Council “Y”.  The complainant stated that when she entered the room the Town Councillor “jumped off her seat”.  The complainant informed the Panel that the Town Councillor was not entitled to view the document and that the contents of that letter were later shared by the Town Councillor with a third party “X”.

 

The complainant told the Panel that she did not challenge the Town Councillor at the time of the alleged incident.

 

The Town Councillor refuted the allegation that she had read the complainant’s confidential letter and that she had “jumped off her seat”.  The Town Councillor stated that she had attended the office to complete paperwork and meet with Y at his request.  The Town Councillor informed the Panel that had she read the letter she would have been compelled to withdraw from her role as a point of contact for a third party.

 

The Panel considered the written submission of Y who stated that Town Councillor had not been shown the complainant’s confidential letter, nor had it left his possession.

 

The Panel also considered the written submission of X.  X stated that the Town Councillor had not shared any information about Town Council business with X.

 

 

The Panel was not satisfied that the complainant had the requisite knowledge to be certain that the incident occurred in the way described by the complainant.  The Panel was therefore not satisfied that the Town Councillor had read or disclosed any information in relation to the complainant’s confidential letter.

 

The Panel considered an allegation that, during a telephone conversation which took place on 22 July 2019, the Town Councillor had behaved in an aggressive manner which amounted to bullying and intimidatory behaviour.  The complainant alleged that during the conversation the Town Councillor persistently shouted at her in an aggressive manner.  The Town Councillor informed the Panel  ...  view the full minutes text for item SHP.6