Agenda and minutes

Venue: Springfields, Towcester, Northants NN12 6AE

Contact: Natasha Clark, Democratic and Elections  Email: natasha.clark@cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk, 01295 221589

Items
No. Item

12.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

13.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 5 October 2012.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 5 October 2012 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

14.

Urgent Business

The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any item of urgent business being admitted to the topics for discussion.

 

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

15.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed all Members and parties to the meeting.

16.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The Committee to resolve as follows:

 

That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the ground that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part 1, Paragraphs 1 and 2 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the ground that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part 1, Paragraphs 1 and 2 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

17.

Hearing of Investigation into Complaints Against Parish Councillors

Report of Head of Law and Governance / Monitoring Officer

 

 

Minutes:

The Standards Committee conducted a hearing to consider the investigation into complaints of alleged misconduct by Councillors Martin Smith and Tony Walker of Grange Park Parish Council, determine whether the members had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct and, if so, whether to take any action in respect of the members.

 

The Head of Law and Governance explained that the date of the alleged misconduct meant that the Committee was dealing with potential breaches of the former code of conduct in place at the time.

 

The Parish Councillors had been notified of the meeting in accordance with the Council’s arrangements for dealing with complaints of Councillor misconduct but were not in attendance at the meeting. The Standards Committee unanimously determined to continue with the hearing in the absence of the appellant.

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer, who had been appointed investigating officer, presented the final investigation report to the Committee and questions were invited.

 

At the discretion of the Chairman, one of the complainants who was present at the meeting, made a short statement.

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer, Legal Assistant and complainant left the meeting room while the Committee deliberated. The views of each of the independent persons present were given to the Committee verbally and recorded in writing. Following the Committee’s deliberation, the investigating officer and the complainant  were invited to return to the meeting.

 

The Committee commended the Deputy Monitoring Officer for a comprehensive and though provoking report.

 

The Chairman reported that the Committee accepted the investigating officer’s findings that Councillor Smith breached the former code of conduct for councillors at the meeting of Grange Park Parish Council on 1 March 2012 by:

 

a)                 Failing to treat one of the complainants with respect;

b)                 Failing to register his personal interest as a trustee of the Grange Park Community and Sports Association; and

c)                  Failing to declare the above interest at the said meeting.

 

The Committee accepted the investigating officer’s finding that Councillor Walker breached the former code of conduct for councillors at the same meeting by failing to declare his interest as Chairman of the Grange Park Community and Sports Association.  The investigating officer’s finding that Councillor Walker did not breach the code of conduct by preventing the complainant from gaining access to information to which you were entitled by law was also upheld.

 

The Head of Law and Governance confirmed that all parties and the Clerk to Grange Park Parish Council would be notified of the findings and confirmed that the hearing concluded the investigation into the complaints.

 

Resolved

 

(1)   That both Councillor Smith and Councillor Walker be censured for their breaches of the code of conduct during the meeting of Grange Park Parish Council on 1 March 2012.

 

(2)   That Councillor Smith be urged to write to the complainant apologising for his failure to treat him with respect during the meeting of Grange Park Parish Council on 1 March 2012.

 

(3)   That it be recommended that all Councillors and Clerks at Grange Park Parish Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Re-admittance of the Public and Press

The Committee to resolve as follows:

 

That the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.

Minutes:

Resolved

 

That the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.

 

 

 

19.

Co-option of Town/Parish Council Members

Verbal Update of Head of Law and Governance

 

At the Committee’s October 2012 meeting, Councillor Jacqueline Hart and Councillor Peter Byng were appointed as co-opted Parish Council members of the Committee with immediate effect. Members also agreed the way forward for identifying a third Town or Parish Councillor for co-option be agreed. The Head of Law and Governance will provide a verbal update on the process.

 

Recommendations

 

The Committee is recommended to consider the appointment of a third co-opted Town/Parish Councillor to the Committee.

Minutes:

That Head of Law and Governance gave a verbal update on the co-option of Town/Parish Council Members.

 

At the Committee’s October 2012 meeting, Councillor Jacqueline Hart and Councillor Peter Byng had been appointed as co-opted Parish Council members of the Committee with immediate effect. Members had agreed the process way forward for identifying a third Town or Parish Councillor for co-option and delegated authority to the Head of Law and Governance to carry out the process.

 

The Committee was advised that Town/Parish Councillors had been approached via their clerks and asked to express an interest in co-option to the Committee. Three expressions were received which were each duly considered.

 

Members agreed that it was important to ensure that the Town/Parish co-opted committee members represented the spread of towns and parishes across the district.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That Parish Councillor Sandra Lemon of Ashton Parish Council be appointed as co-opted Member of the Committee with immediate effect.