Standards Sub-Committee – 13 July 2011

Chair:  Mr W Harvie
Venue:   Council Chamber, Pittwood House, Ashby Road, Scunthorpe
Time:  9.30am

AGENDA

  1. To consider whether the public should be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended)
  2. To conduct a hearing into allegations that Councillor N Smith of Bonby Parish Council failed to comply with and breached the council’s Code of Conduct
  3. Papers attached:
    (i)  Procedure at hearings
    (ii)  Legal Advisor’s summary
    (iii)  Complaint from Mr W Cheetham
    (iv)  Report of Richard Mell – Investigating Officer
    (v)  Statement from Councillor Smith
  4. To consider whether the public should be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended)
  5. To consider the findings of the Investigating Officer, Mr Will Bell, into an allegation that Councillor Montague Martin of Barton Town Council breached the council’s Code of ConductPapers attached:(i)  Procedure
    (ii)  Investigating officer’s report
    (iii)  Code of conduct.

DECISION RECORD

Hearing determination date :  13 July 2011 

Re:  Reference concerning possible failure to follow the code of conduct 

Respondent :  Councillor Montagu Martin 

Relevant authority :  Barton–upon-Humber Town Council 

Sub-committee members : 

Mr Wayne Harvie (Independent Member) (Chair)

Mr David Cuckson (Independent Member) 

Mrs Yvonne Aubrey (Parish Member) 

Mr Richard Nixon (Parish Member) 

Councillor David Whiteley (North Lincolnshire Councillor)

1.   The Referral 

1.1.  The Sub Committee considered a matter which had been referred for investigation by an Assessment Sub Committee (reference LD/04/09-10/02). Mr Will Bell had investigated the complaint and produced a report.

1.2   The Respondent had been provided with a copy of the investigating officer’s report and had been given an opportunity to respond. He had indicated that he was content to accept the Investigating  Officer’s findings.

2.  Attendance 

Mr Will Bell attended and presented the report.

The sub committee was advised by the Deputy Monitoring Officer, Mr Mel Holmes.

3.  The Complaint 

3.1   A complaint had been received that Councillor Martin had breached the Code of Conduct, and following consideration by the Standards Assessment Sub-Committee, the Investigating Officer had been charged with investigating whether Councillor Martin had breached paragraphs 5, 6(a), 8, 9, 10 and 12 of the Code of Conduct.

3.2  The complaint had been made by Councillors Neil Turner and Keith Vickers of Barton Town Council.

4.  Submission by the Respondent 

4.1  There was no submission for excluding the press and public and no attendance by the Respondent.

5.  Submission by the Investigating Officer 

5.1  The Investigating officer submitted an account of the investigation, the interviews which had been undertaken together with his findings and conclusions.

6.  Findings/Failure to comply with the Code

6.1  The Standards Assessment Sub-Committee had directed the Investigating Officer to investigate the following elements of the complaint that the respondent had breached the Code of Conduct by : –

(i)  failing to declare appropriate interests arising from his alleged close relationship with the town clerk;

(ii)  misrepresenting the facts and thereby improperly using his position, and

(iii)  bringing his office as a Barton Town Councillor and his authority of Barton Town Council into disrepute.

6.2  The investigating officer had carried out interviews with the Complainants and other relevant witnesses. The respondent had declined to be interviewed but had submitted detailed written responses.

6.3  The Investigating Officer had found that Councillor Martin had not breached paragraphs 5,6 (a), 8, 9,10 and 12 of the Code.

7.  Decision 

The sub committee reached the following decision having taken into account all representations made.

7.1  In all the circumstances and based on the information presented the sub committee were of the view the allegations were not made out and accordingly there had been no breach of the Code.

Reports