Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Remote meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Democratic Services Officer  01530 454512

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED THAT:

 

Councillor K Merrie be appointed Chair for the meeting.

 

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested to declare any interests connected to this matter and to identify the nature of that interest as to whether it is pecuniary or non pecuniary under the Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no interests declared.

4.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

Assessment Sub-Committee to decide whether the press and public should be excluded from the hearing and the grounds for the exclusion based on representations from all parties.

Minutes:

Members of the Assessment Sub-committee were asked if they had any reason to consider that the public and press should be excluded from the meeting. 

 

RESOLVED THAT:

 

For items 5 and 6, the meeting remain open to the public and press on the grounds that the matters scheduled to be discussed did not disclose confidential or exempt information under the provisions of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, relating to information presented to a Standards Committee or one of its Sub Committees.

 

For item 7 the meeting remain open to the public and press on the grounds that the matters scheduled to be discussed did not disclose confidential or exempt information under the provisions of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, relating to information presented to a Standards Committee or one of its Sub Committees. However it was agreed that appendix A to the report would remain restricted on the website.

 

 

5.

Allegations of a Failure to Observe the Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 297 KB

Report of the Head of Legal and Commercial Services and Monitoring Officer

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The members considered the report of the Monitoring Officer in relation to a complaint made about Councillor Peter Moult who is a Parish Councillor of Whitwick Parish Council. The complaint was made by Councillor Wyatt also a Parish Councillor of Whitwick Parish Council.

 

The complaint made related to a comment that Councillor Moult made at a meeting of the Parish Council on 15 October 2020 during the discussion of an item regarding a letter from a local interest group.  The meeting was being held remotely via Zoom.

 

The Monitoring Officer explained to Members that under the arrangements for dealing with complaints there was an opportunity for her to work with both parties to ascertain whether an informal resolution of the complaint was possible and outlined the informal resolution process that had been followed along with the work that she had carried out.

 

The Monitoring Officer advised that at a meeting of the Whitwick Parish Council on 19 November 2020, Councillor Moult made a statement about the matter. Following the meeting, Councillor Wyatt confirmed that the statement made by Councillor Moult did not fully address his complaint, as it did not include an apology for any offence, which may have been caused, and that he wished to pursue his complaint. 

 

Given that the informal resolution process had been unsuccessful, the matter had been referred to the Assessment Sub-Committee in order that it could consider the report and determine whether to:

 

- refer the complaint to the Monitoring Officer to take other action;

 

- request further information from the parties;

 

- refer the complaint to the Monitoring Officer for investigation;

 

- take no further action in respect of the complaint.

 

Members considered the details of the complaint. They noted that Councillor Moult had recognised that, in hindsight, he could have chosen a better phrase and, also noted the views of the Independent Person that the complaint would not be of serious concern to the public.

 

The meeting was adjourned for deliberation at 10.20am and reconvened at 10.48am.

 

RESOLVED THAT:

 

No Further action be taken as The Assessment Sub-committee considered that the initial complaint was not trivial as it related to a statement being made in a public meeting.  However, since the complaint was received by the Monitoring Officer, work had been done by the parties to try and agree a form of words to resolve the complaint and Councillor Moult had made a statement at the Parish Council meeting on 19 November 2020.  Although the form of words was not agreed by Councillor Wyatt, Councillor Moult’s statement did express regret and was apologetic in nature. Having considered the matter carefully the Assessment Sub-committee did not consider that it would be in the public interest to take any further action; they did not consider that the matter was “something which is of serious concern and benefit to the public”.

 

6.

Allegations of a Failure to Observe the Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 307 KB

Report of the Head of Legal and Commercial Services and Monitoring Officer

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The members considered the report of the Monitoring Officer in relation to a complaint made about Councillor Nigel Smith who is a District Councillor of North West Leicestershire District Council. The complaint was made by Councillor Johnson, also a District Councillor of North West Leicestershire District Council.

 

The complaint made related to comments that Councillor Smith made at meeting of Council on 8 September 2020 in the debate on a motion regarding the economy.  Councillor Johnson’s complaint was that Councillor Smith’s statement inferred that Labour members of the Planning Committee had been whipped in relation to an application regarding Land at M42, Junction 11, Stretton-en-le-Field, Leicestershire, DE12 8AA which had been considered at the Planning Committee meeting on 3 September 2019.  Councillor Johnson considered that this conduct breached paragraph 3 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

The Monitoring Officer explained to Members that under the arrangements for dealing with complaints there was an opportunity for her to work with both parties to ascertain whether an informal resolution of the complaint was possible and outlined the informal resolution process that had been followed along with the work that she had carried out.

 

The Monitoring Officer advised that at the meeting of Council on 17 November 2020, Councillor Smith made a statement under the item - Minutes of the Meeting Held on 8 September 2020. Following the meeting, Councillor Johnson confirmed that the statement made by Councillor Smith did not fully address his complaint, as, whilst it sought to clarify the statement made on 8 September, it did not include an apology for any offence, which may have been caused, and that he wished to pursue his complaint. 

 

Given that the informal resolution process had been unsuccessful, the matter had been referred to the Assessment Sub-Committee in order that it could consider the report and determine whether to:

 

- refer the complaint to the Monitoring Officer to take other action;

 

- request further information from the parties;

 

- refer the complaint to the Monitoring Officer for investigation;

 

- take no further action in respect of the complaint.

 

Members considered the details of the complaint. They noted the views of the Independent Person, who felt that the complaint was politically motivated.

 

The meeting was adjourned for deliberation at 10.58am and reconvened at 11.42am.

 

RESOLVED THAT:

 

The complaint be referred to the Monitoring Officer to take some other action, namely to work with Councillor Smith and Councillor Johnson to see whether agreement could be reached on a statement which could be made to the Council meeting in February 2021. The Assessment Sub-committee noted the original complaint made by Councillor Johnson and the fact that Councillor Smith had made a statement at the Council meeting in November 2020. Whilst the statement had confirmed that Councillor Smith had not said that the Labour members of the Planning Committee were whipped, it had not apologised for the original statement or clarified the inference, which could be drawn from it. The Assessment Sub-committee strongly urged the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Allegations of a Failure to Observe the Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 303 KB

Report of the Head of Legal and Commercial Services and Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The members considered the report of the Monitoring Officer in relation to a complaint made about Councillor Graham Allman who is a Town Councillor of Ashby Town Council. The complaint was made by Councillor Kneale also a Town Councillor of Ashby Town Council.

 

The complaint centred around the discussion which took place during the public question and answer session at the meeting of Ashby Town Council on 27 July 2020, the way that Councillor Allman had managed the meeting thereafter and that the events at the meeting did not appear to have happened spontaneously and had been planned with and by Councillor Allman.  The meeting was being held remotely via Zoom.

 

The Monitoring Officer explained to Members that under the arrangements for dealing with complaints there was an opportunity for her to work with both parties to ascertain whether an informal resolution of the complaint was possible and outlined the informal resolution process that had been followed along with the work that she had carried out.

 

The Monitoring Officer advised that an informal resolution meeting was held with Councillors Allman and Kneale on 13 November 2020.  Councillor Allman provided his initial response to the complaint. Following the meeting, Councillor Kneale confirmed that she remained concerned about the issues which she raised under her complaint and that she wished to pursue her complaint

 

Given that the informal resolution process had been unsuccessful, the matter had been referred to the Assessment Sub-Committee in order that it could consider the report and determine whether to:

 

- refer the complaint to the Monitoring Officer to take other action;

 

- request further information from the parties;

 

- refer the complaint to the Monitoring Officer for investigation;

 

- take no further action in respect of the complaint.

 

Members considered the details of the complaint. They noted the views of the Independent Person, who felt that the complaint was of a serious nature and required careful deliberation.

 

The meeting was adjourned for deliberation at 11.58am and reconvened at 12.10pm.

 

RESOLVED THAT:

 

The complaint be referred for investigation as the Sub-committee considered that the complaint was complex and raised a number of issues which warranted further consideration and investigation.