Standards Sub-Committee – 18 May 2009
Hearing date : 18 May 2009
Re: Reference concerning possible failure to follow the code of conduct
Respondent: Councillor Mick Wilson
Relevant Authority: Barnetby le Wold Parish Council
Mr David Cuckson (Independent member) (Chair)
Mr Wayne Harvie (Independent Member)
Councillor John Kitwood (Parish Member)
Councillor Richard Nixon (Parish Member)
Councillor Sue Armitage (Member)
1. The Referral from the Standards Board for England
1.1. The Sub Committee considered a matter referred to the council by the Standards Board for England (reference SBE 18759.07). Mr Will Bell (Legal) and Mr Richard Mell (Democratic Services) had investigated the complaint and produced a report.
1.2 The Respondent had been provided with a copy of the investigating officers’ report and had been given an opportunity to respond.
Mr Bell and Mr Mell attended and presented the report.
The sub committee was advised by the Monitoring Officer, Mr Mike Wood.
The respondent attended
3. The Complaint
3.1 A complaint had been received that the Respondent had breached the Code of Conduct by failing to declare a personal and prejudicial interest, seeking improperly to influence a decision, failing to treat others with respect, using his position improperly to confer an advantage and bringing the council into disrepute.
3.2 The complaint had been made by Councillor Julie Follows of Barnetby le Wold parish council.
4. Submission by the Respondent
4.1 There was no submission for excluding the press and public.
4.2 The pre-hearing forms had not been returned. The Respondent was given the opportunity to comment and address the sub committee throughout the hearing.
5. Submission by the Investigating Officers
5.1 The Investigating officers submitted a detailed account of the investigation, the interviews which had been undertaken together with their findings and conclusions.
6. Findings/Failure to comply with the Code
6.1 As regards the meeting of the parish council held on 19 February 2007 even if Councillor Wilson was not a member of the Youth Activities Group which had applied for funding his wife had submitted and signed the application. Accordingly a personal and prejudicial rather than a personal interest should have been declared and that by speaking and voting in support he had improperly influenced the decision.
6.2 Due to the conflict of evidence it was not possible to find that the necessary standard of proof had been met to establish that Councillor Wilson had failed to treat others with respect and had used his position improperly to confer an advantage at meetings of the Village Hall Committee (which he attended as a representative of the council) on 16 February 2007 and subsequently.
6.3 Again the necessary standard of proof had not been met as regards the allegation that Councillor Wilson had given unilateral permission for the positioning of a storage container on the playing field thereby failing to treat others with respect and bringing the council into disrepute.
6.4 On balance his conduct at a special council meeting on 16 April 2007 towards the clerk did not amount to failing to treat others with respect.
The sub committee reached the following decision having considered written and oral contributions from the investigating officers and the Respondent.
7.1 That the Respondent had failed to declare a personal and prejudicial interest at the meeting of the parish council on 19 February 2007 and that by speaking and voting in support he had improperly influenced the decision.
7.2 That none of the other allegations had been proved to be in breach of the Code.
7.3 That in view of all the circumstances the Respondent be censured and undertake training on the Code at the next available session organized by the regional association (ERNLLCA) or other reputable body.
7.4 That the copy decision forwarded to the Clerk express the view that all members of the parish council look to attending such or similar training sessions.
7.5 That the Respondent may apply to the Adjudication Panel of England for permission to appeal against the decision within 21 days of receiving written notification of the decision