Venue: Morecambe Town Hall
Contact: Liz Bateson, Democratic Services - email email@example.com
Minutes of meeting held on 8 July 2021 (previously circulated).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 July 2021 were agreed as a correct record.
Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chair
There were no items of urgent business.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations by Councillors of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.
Councillors are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting).
Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Councillors should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting.
In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Councillors are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct.
No declarations of interest were made at this point.
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 item(s) of business, on the grounds that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information, as defined in paragraph *** of Schedule 12A of that Act.”
Members are reminded that, whilst the following item(s) have been marked as exempt, it is for Committee itself to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public. In making the decision, Members should consider the relevant paragraph of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and also whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. In considering their discretion Members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers.
That, in accordance with Section 110A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it could involve the possible disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of that Act.
Standards Complaint 5/21
Report of the Monitoring Officer
The Committee considered an exempt report from the Monitoring Officer with regard to two separate Code of Conduct complaints concerning a City Councillor in their capacity as a parish councillor. Details of the alleged breaches were detailed in the exempt report.
The Subject Member and Investigating Officer were invited to join the meeting and the Chair introduced those present including the Independent Person who was present in an advisory non-voting capacity.
The complaints were considered individually and in accordance with procedure, the Investigating Officer and the Subject Member responded to questions from the Committee and the Independent Person.
The meeting adjourned at 12.45 in order for the Committee to determine whether in their opinion the Subject Member had breached the Code of Conduct. The Subject Member and Officers left the meeting at this point. The meeting reconvened at 13.55.
On reconvening, the Chair confirmed that the Subject Member had been found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct in both cases. With regard to the first complaint the Subject Member was found to have breached Section 3 ‘you must treat others with respect’ and section 5 ‘you must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing the Council or the office of councillor into disrepute.” With regard to the second complaint in the opinion of the Committee Section 3 ‘you must treat others with respect’ had been breached.
The Subject Member was invited to make representations before the Committee considered what, if any sanction should be imposed. At this point the Subject Matter advised the meeting that he had retired from the parish council.
The Subject Member, Investigating Officer and Principal Democratic Support Officer left the meeting at 14.00 whilst the Committee discussed any possible sanctions. The Monitoring Officer remained in the room to provide legal advice. The Subject Member and Principal Democratic Support Officer were invited back into the meeting at 14.12.
On reconvening the Chair noted the resignation from the parish council of the Subject Member and expressed appreciation for the long and dedicated service that the Subject Member had provided to the community. The Chair confirmed that there would be no public censure.
(1) That there be no public censure of the Subject Member
(2) That the parish council be recommended to undertake a review of its financial procedures and that the parish councillors be recommended to undergo training on rules and procedures.