Top

Top

 STANDARDS COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 21st April, 2015.

 

Present: Mr. A.G. Hallett (Chairman); Mr. A.J. Lane (Vice-Chairman); Mr. J.F. Baker, Mr. D. Carsley, Town Councillor M. Cuddy and Councillors K. Hatton, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and Mrs. A.J. Moore.

 

 

1143   APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Mrs. M.J. Pearce.

 

 

1144   MINUTES -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 26th February, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

1145   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillors K. Hatton, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and Mrs. A.J. Moore declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 4 in that they knew the Councillor subject to the report i.e. Councillor C.J. Williams.  This personal interest did not equate to a prejudicial interest and they were therefore able to speak and vote on the matter.

 

 

1146   APPLICATION FOR DISPENSATION (MO) -

 

The Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 permitted Members to apply to the Standards Committee to speak, and if appropriate, to vote on matters concerning which due to a prejudicial interest, they might not otherwise be able to speak or vote.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T dispensation be granted to Vale of Glamorgan Councillor C.J. Williams to speak and vote at meetings of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Dinas Powys Community Council on matters relating to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s 'Reshaping Services Strategy’ in view of his wife being an employee of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, in compliance with paragraph (d) of the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 which governs a grant of dispensation to speak/speak and vote.

 

(2)       T H A T the above dispensation be granted until the date of the next Local Government Elections.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1&2)  To comply with the Standards Committees (Grant of Dispensations) (Wales) Regulations 2001 governing applications for the grant of dispensations to speak/speak and vote.

 

 

1147   OUTCOME OF APPEAL TO THE ADJUDICATION PANEL FOR WALES (MO) -

 

Committee were updated regarding the decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales on 22nd January, 2015 and were advised of the issuing of notification pursuant to the Local Government Investigations (Functions of Monitoring Officers and Standards Committees) (Wales) Regulations 2001.

 

The decision of the Standards Committee held on 31st July 2014 was

 

(1)       T H A T, arising from the decision of the Standards Committee, and contrary to Paragraph 4(b) of the Sully and Lavernock Community Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Community Councillor L. Scaglioni made inappropriate and personal comments about Councillor K. Mahoney in an e-mail dated 25th September 2012, Councillor Scaglioni be suspended from being a Member of Sully and Lavernock Community Council for a period of six months.

 

(2)       T H A T, arising from the decision of the Standards Committee, and contrary to Paragraphs 4(b) and 6(1)(a) of the Sully and Lavernock Community Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Community Councillor L. Scaglioni made inappropriate and personal comments about Councillor K. Mahoney in an e-mail dated 13th December 2012, Councillor Scaglioni be suspended from being a Member of Sully and Lavernock Community Council for a period of six months.

 

(3)       T H A T, arising from the decision of the Standards Committee, and contrary to Paragraphs 4(b) and 6(1)(a) of the Sully and Lavernock Community Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Community Councillor L. Scaglioni made inappropriate and personal comments about Councillor K. Mahoney in an e-mail dated 18th December 2012, Councillor Scaglioni be suspended from being a Member of Sully and Lavernock Community Council for a period of six months.

 

(4)       T H A T, arising from the decision of the Standards Committee, and contrary to Paragraphs 4(b) and 6(1)(a) of the Sully and Lavernock Community Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Community Councillor L. Scaglioni made inappropriate and personal comments about Councillor K. Mahoney in an e-mail dated 4th January 2013, Councillor Scaglioni be suspended from being a Member of Sully and Lavernock Community Council for a period of six months.

 

(5)       T H A T Community Councillor L. Scaglioni be required to attend a training session regarding the Members’ Code of Conduct. 

 

(6)       T H A T Community Councillor L. Scaglioni be advised of his right to appeal against the Committee’s determination within a period of 21 days of his receiving notification, by giving notice in writing to:

 

            The Registrar

            Adjudication Panel for Wales

            Government Buildings

            Spa Road East

            Llandrindod Wells

            Powys

            LE1 5HA

 

and that the notice of appeal must specify:

 

the grounds for appeal, and whether or not the person giving notice of the appeal consents to the appeal being conducted by way of written representations.

 

(7)       T H A T, subject to an appeal (if any) the findings of the Standards Committee as detailed in paragraphs (1) to (5) above be publicised in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Investigations (Functions of Monitoring Officers and Standards Committees)(Wales) Regulations 2001.

 

Councillor Scaglioni exercised his right of appeal against the Committee’s determination by giving notice within the specified time, to the Registrar of the Adjudication Panel for Wales.

 

The appeal was considered by a Tribunal of the Adjudication Panel for Wales on 22nd January, 2015 and it was the finding of the Appeal Tribunal that Councillor Scaglioni did not breach Paragraph 4(b) of the Community Council’s Code of Conduct on the basis that some of his comments were political in nature and attracted enhanced protection under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The Tribunal considered that the comments were not sufficiently offensive or abusive in the context in which they were written to amount to a failure to show respect and consideration.

 

The Appeal Tribunal having found that Community Councillor Scaglioni did not breach the Code of Conduct with regard to failing to show respect and consideration agreed that Community Councillor Scaglioni could not therefore have brought the office or authority into disrepute. 

 

The Appeal Tribunal decided to overturn the determination of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Standards Committee that Community Councillor Scaglioni had breached the Sully and Lavernock Community Council’s Code of Conduct and the sanction imposed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Standards Committee was rescinded. 

 

The contents of the Adjudication Panel’s Notice of Decision had been considered by the Standards Committee on 26th February, 2015 at which it had been decided that consideration of the decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales be deferred pending the publication by the Adjudication Panel for Wales of its full reasons for its decision.

 

The Adjudication Panel for Wales had now published its decision report and a copy was attached at Appendix 2 to the report. 

 

Having given considerable consideration to the contents of the decision report, and in particular the findings of the Adjudication Panel for Wales, the Members of the Standards Committee expressed disappointment at the Tribunal’s decisions. 

 

Members of the Standards Committee recalled the words used by Councillor Scaglioni to Councillor Mahoney in his e-mail dated 18th December 2012 entitled 'Shower Heads - a seasonally light-hearted assessment of the situation'.  It was the belief of the Standards Committee that the reference to Councillor Mahoney using the shower was derogatory and offensive to Councillor Mahoney.  Whilst mentioning the incident in broad terms, the Adjudication Panel for Wales did not specifically refer to the words used in the relevant e-mail when writing its Decision Report, and the Committee were concerned that consideration may not have been given to the same. 

 

It was the belief of the Standards Committee that the use of the language in the 18th December, 2012 e-mail had brought the office of Chairman of the Community Council into disrepute. 

 

In further referring to the Adjudication Panel for Wales’ comments that Councillor Scaglioni did not intend his e-mail to Councillor Mahoney dated 18th December 2012 to be 'malicious or offensive', it was the view of the Standards Committee that the contents of the e-mail were just that. 

 

The Decision Report, in referring to the e-mail dated 13th December 2012, was in response to an earlier e-mail from Councillor Mahoney that contained 'sarcastic and belligerent remarks' and said that it had not had sight of this earlier e-mail. 

 

The Standards Committee had not had sight of this e-mail either and it was the view of the Standards Committee that the decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales had been based on the contents of an e-mail it had not seen and in part on an assumption.

 

The Committee felt that the decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales did not reflect any criticism of the Monitoring Officer and that she had acted to the credit of the Authority. 

 

In its findings regarding the decision of the Standards Committee in respect of Councillor Scaglioni’s e-mail dated 4th January 2013, the Adjudication Panel for Wales had agreed that the e-mail from Councillor Scaglioni had been sent in a private capacity, yet the Adjudication Panel for Wales further acknowledged that the e-mail had been sent to a member of the public and in view of this, it was the Standards Committee’s belief that the Adjudication Panel for Wales’ comments that the e-mail was 'private' was incorrect. 

 

The Standards Committee felt that it had made its decisions based on the case as presented to it, and not on assumptions.  It was felt that, in its deliberations, the Adjudication Panel for Wales had made factual mistakes, e.g. the e-mail dated 18th December 2012 had not just been an exchange of e-mails between Councillors Scaglioni and Mahoney, it had also involved a member of the public.

 

Having considered the Decision Report of the Adjudication Panel for Wales, it was  

 

RESOLVED - by the Committee

 

(1)       T H A T the decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales be accepted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Chairman of the Standards Committee write to the Registrar of the Adjudication Panel for Wales to advise of the Committee’s concerns.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1)       Having regard to the content of the Decision Report of the Adjudication Panel for Wales.

 

(2)       To inform the Adjudication Panel for Wales of the Committee’s concerns.

 

 

 

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook