Standards Sub-Committee – 3 November 2010
Chair: Mr P Kelly
Venue: Function Room 2, Pittwood House, Ashby Road, Scunthorpe
- 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).
- To consider the findings of the Investigating Officer, Mr Mel Holmes, into an allegation that Councillor Paul Shore of West Butterwick Parish 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).
- Legal adviser’s summary
- Investigating officer’s report
- Code of conduct.
Hearing determination date: 3 November 2010
Re: reference concerning possible failure to follow the code of conduct
Respondent: CouncillorPaul Shore
Relevant authority: West Butterwick Parish Council
Mr Paul Kelly (Independent Member) (Chair)
CouncillorRichard Nixon (Parish Member)
Councillor Sue Armitage (Member)
Councillor Andrea Davison (Member)
Councillor John England (Member)
1. The referral
1.1. The Sub Committee considered a matter which had been referred for investigation by an Assessment Sub Committee (reference 2009-10/03). Mel Holmes (Democratic Services) 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. No comments had been made.
Mel Holmes 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 complainant with respect, and by bringing his office or authority into disrepute.
3.2 The complaint had been made by Burton and Dyson Solicitors on behalf of Mr Brian Charlton a Director and General Manager of Axgro Foods Limited which operated in the area of the authority.
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.He also referred the sub committee to comments made by the complainant on his report to the effect that there was little purpose in rehearsing his position as there was a straightforward difference of evidence on the point.
6. Findings/Failure to comply with the Code
6.1 The complainant had alleged that at a public meeting of West Butterwick Parish Council held on 21 September 2009 the respondent had commented as follows:-
“Mr Charlton states in his letter to the parish council that allegations were made some time ago that he had been accused of lying about The Croft and we all know he is a liar anyway.”
6.2 The investigating officer had carried out interviews with the complainant, the respondent and others present at the meeting.
6.3 The respondent was acting in his capacity as a councillor at the time in question.
6.4 The recollections of the event gave no consistent view of what had happened.
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 that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not made out and accordingly there had been no breach of the Code.
7.2 The complainant had suggested that the Parish Council consider having an open forum for say 10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting to allow local issues of pressing concern to be raised by residents which may help to prevent such issues recurring in the future. This had been taken up with the clerk and the sub committee asked that it be looked into further by the parish council.