Standards Committee (Determination Panel) – 30 April 2013
Chair: Councillor Clark
Venue: International Room, Civic Centre, Ashby Road, Scunthorpe
Time: 2 pm
1. Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Personal and Personal and Prejudicial Interests (if any).
2. 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).
3. To consider the findings of the Investigating Officer Mr Simon Batt, into an allegation that Councillor Margaret Lindley of Epworth Town Council breached the council’s Code of Conduct.
Papers attached: –
(ii) Monitoring Officer’s Summary Report.
(iii) Investigating Officer’s Report.
(iv) The Code of Conduct.
Re: Reference concerning possible failure to follow the Code of ConductRespondent: Councillor Margaret LindleyRelevant Authority: Epworth Town Council
Councillors Clark (Chairman), Davison and Wells
1. The Referral
1.1. The Panel considered a matter that had been referred for investigation by an Assessment Sub Committee (reference 2011-12/13(i). Mr Simon Batt (Investigating Officer) had investigated the complaint and produced a report.
1.2 The complainant and the respondent had been provided with a copy of the Investigating Officer’s report and had been given an opportunity to respond. The Complainant did not accept the Investigating Officer’s findings. The respondent accepted the contents of the report.
Mr Batt attended and presented the report.
The Panel was advised by the Monitoring Officer, Mr Will Bell.
3. The Complaint
3.1 The Complainant alleged that Epworth Town Council had been aware of the link and connection between a proposal to include Station Road, Epworth within the Local Development Framework as an area to be developed for residential housing and the offer by the owners of the land to be so developed to inject £6 million into local projects in Epworth including but not limited to a new health centre, a small supermarket with trolley shopping and a substantial public car park prior to 2009. Councillor Mrs Lindley had claimed in a letter addressed to the complainant dated 1 December 2011 that Epworth Town Council had become aware of the link between the two schemes in 2009. The complainant in his letter of complaint dated 8 February 2012 claimed that in her letter dated 1 December 2011 the complainant had “lied about what the council (Epworth Town Council) knew at the time.” In the circumstances, the complainant claimed that Councillor Lindley had brought Epworth Town Council into disrepute, thus breaching Paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct in force at the time.
3.2 The complaint had been made by Mr C Parker.
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 that had been undertaken, together with his findings and conclusions.
6. Findings/Failure to comply with the Code
6.1 The Investigating Officer had carried out interviews with the complainant, the respondent, two members and one former member of the Town Council, and the Town Clerk.
6.2 He had concluded that Councillor Lindley and the Town Council had known about the link between the two issues in or around November 2007. However he did not believe that Councillor Lindley had lied about this issue when she had stated that the Town Council had not been aware of the link between the two issues until 2009. Consequently there had been no breach of the Code by the Respondent.
The Panel, having taken into account all representations, accepted the recommendation of the Investigating Officer that there had been no breach of the Code.