Background
Background

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Bainbridge Room, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven. CA28 7SJ

Contact: Clive Willoughby  Tel: 01946 598328

Items
No. Item

SEC 19/1

Appointment of Chair

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Joan Hully duly seconded and

 

RESOLVED – That Councillor Dave Banks be appointed Chair of the Standards and Ethics Committee for the Municipal Year 2019/2020.

 

SEC 19/2

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Sean Cullen.

SEC 19/3

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillors Joan Hully declared a non-pecuniary Interest in Agenda Items 5, 7 and 8 due to knowing the complainant and subject Members.

 

Councillors Dave Banks, declared a non-pecuniary Interest in Agenda Items 5, 6, 7 and 8 due to knowing the complainant and subject Members.

 

Councillors Graham Calvin declared a non-pecuniary Interest in Agenda Items 5 and 8 due to knowing the complainant and/or subject Member.

 

SEC 19/4

Exclusion of Press and Public

The Chair to move:

That under Section 100 (a) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item on the grounds that, if they were present, there could be disclosed to them exempt information as defined in the relevant paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Act.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that the press and public be excluded for the remaining items of business in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

SEC 19/5

To Consider Complaint 1 under the Council's Code of Conduct procedure

Minutes:

Committee was advised that the subject of this complaint was no longer a Parish Councillor, having resigned since the complaint was made. The current Copeland Code of Conduct did not allow for this circumstance and it was suggested that a proposed amendment to the Code of Conduct be made to the full Council, but with the timescale altered from 12 months to 24 months.

 

RESOLVED:- that

 

a)      full Council be requested to amend the Code of Conduct procedure (previously adopted by full Council on 14th September 2018) by the inclusion of a new paragraph 19 to the procedure as follows:

 

“That where a member is the subject of a complaint against him/her which is received by the Principal Authority whilst holding office, and subsequently resigns prior to the determination of that complaint, that no further action be taken against that member in respect of that complaint for a period of 24 months from the date of resignation. If within that period the subject is either re-elected or co-opted on to a council, that the complaint is resumed and will be referred back to the Standards and Ethics Committee for consideration; that if the subject is not so re-elected or co-opted within that period that no further action be taken on the complaint”

 

b)      that this complaint be noted and no further action be taken on it for the time being pending full Council’s decision on the recommendation shown in a) above and if full Council endorses the recommendation shown in a) above that this complaint be dealt with in accordance with that recommendation.

SEC 19/6

To Consider Complaint 2 under the Council's Code of Conduct procedure

Minutes:

Prior to the commencement of the consideration of this complaint Members introduced themselves to the named Member.  Mr Anthony Payne confirmed that he was an independent member who was attending to observe, challenge and advise.

 

The Chair advised the named Member that the meeting was in private and recording was strictly prohibited.  The named Member, Members of the Committee, independent person and officers all confirmed that they were not recording the proceedings.

 

Consideration was then given to an allegation that the named Member had acted in a manner which ‘borders on inciting racial hatred and completely flouts the acceptable behaviour rules’ and ‘is hateful towards Muslims and black people’.

 

The committee received representations from the Council’s Solicitor and the Chair invited comments from the subject Member.

 

A full questioning and open debate then took place, before the subject Member was provided with an opportunity to sum up.

 

The subject Member left the room whilst the committee deliberated and considered their decision.

 

At the conclusion of the deliberation it was

 

RESOLVED – that the committee unanimously agreed that the subject Member was in breach of the Parish Council’s Code of Conduct:-

 

“No 4 – The code is intended to be consistent with the seven principles as attached to the code and applies whenever a person is acting in his/her capacity as a Member of the Council or co-opted member in the conduct of the Council’s business or acting as a representative of the Council”,

 

“No 5 – When acting in your capacity as a Member:

(4) You must not bring your office or your Council into disrepute.”

 

“No 11 – You must promote and support high standards of conduct when serving in your office.”

 

The complaint be upheld and the following sanctions applied.

 

a)      The Member be issued with a conditional warning in respect of future behaviour for a period of two years. If a further complaint is received within that period against the subject Member, which is substantiated, that any sanction imposed for that breach will take into account this breach as well; and

b)      That appropriate training be arranged for the subject Member by the Parish Clerk.

 

In addition to these sanctions and due to the serious nature of the complaint, Committee also agreed that the Police be notified of the complaint for their consideration.

 

SEC 19/7

To Consider Complaint 3 under the Council's Code of Conduct procedure

Minutes:

Committee was advised that the subject Members were unable to attend this meeting.

 

RESOLVED: that the hearing of this complaint be deferred until Tuesday 20th August 2019 at 9:30am.

 

SEC 19/8

To Consider Complaint 4 under the Council's Code of Conduct procedure

Minutes:

Committee was advised that the subject Member was unable to attend this meeting.

 

RESOLVED: that the hearing of this complaint be deferred until Tuesday 20th August 2019 at 9:30am.

 

 

Original text