Standards Sub-Committee – 24 March 2011

Chair: Mr W Harvie
Venue: Function Room 1, Pittwood House, Ashby Road, Scunthorpe
Time: on the rising of Standards Committee which commences at 2pm


  1. To consider whether the public should be excluded from the meeting for the following item on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
  2. To consider the findings of the Investigating Officer, Ms Sarah Monaghan, into an allegation that Councillor Allan Smith of North Lincolnshire Council breached the Members’ Code of Conduct by failing to treat others with respect (Paragraph 3 (i)) and by bringing his office into disrepute (Paragraph 5).Papers attached:
    1. Procedure
    2. Investigating officer’s report
    3. Code of conduct


Hearing determination date: 24 March 2011

Re: Reference concerning possible failure to follow the Code Of Conduct

Respondent: Councillor Allan Smith

Relevant authority: North Lincolnshire Council

Sub-committee members:

Mr Wayne Harvie (Independent Member) (Chair)
Mr D Cuckson (Independent Member)
Councillor Richard Nixon (Parish Member)
Councillor John Kitwood (Parish Member)
Councillor Barry Briggs (Member)

1. The referral

1.1. The Sub Committee considered a matter which had been referred for investigation by an Assessment Sub Committee (reference 2008-9/39. Sarah Monaghan (Legal Services) had investigated the complaint and produced a report.

2.1 The respondent had been provided with a copy of the investigating officer’s report and had been given an opportunity to respond. No comments had been made.

2. Attendance

Sarah Monaghan attended and presented the report.

The sub committee was advised by the Monitoring Officer, Mr Mike Wood.

3. The complaint

3.1 A complaint had been received that the respondent had breached the Code of Conduct by failing to treat the complainants with respect, and by bringing his office or authority into disrepute.

3.2 The complaint had been made by Councillor John England on behalf of Councillors Liz Redfern and Rob Waltham of North Lincolnshire 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 her findings and conclusions.

6. Findings/failure to comply with the code

6.1 The Complainants had alleged that at and after a public meeting of the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel held on 18 February 2009 the Respondent had made comments which they found to be hurtful, upsetting and embarrassing.

6.2 The investigating officer had carried out interviews with the complainants, the respondent and others present at the meeting.

6.3 The respondent was not acting in his capacity as a councillor at the time of one of the comments as the meeting had concluded.

6.4 At the time of the other two remarks the respondent was acting as a councillor but the remarks in one case did not in all the circumstances cross the threshold to be regarded as offensive and in the other was incomplete.

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.

7.2 However this was not to be interpreted as condoning the remarks made. It was noted that in interview the Respondent had accepted that the complainants had been hurt by his remarks and that he would be pleased to apologise to them on that basis. If this had not happened it should take place.