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Agenda Item No. 3

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 19th June 2014

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

Allegations of Failure to Observe the Members' Code of Conduct Made Against Community Councillor Brian Kennard of Colwinston Community Council

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         Standards Committee is requested to consider the allegations made against Community Councillor Brian Kennard of failure to observe the Colwinston Community Council's Code of Conduct.  After considering representations, Committee is requested to make its determinations in line with Regulation 9(1) of the Local Government Investigations (Functions of Monitoring Officers and Standards Committees) (Wales) Regulations 2001 ("2001 Regulations").

Recommendations

1.         That Standards Committee makes its determinations in line with Regulation 9(1) of the Local Government Investigations (Functions of Monitoring Officers and Standards Committees) (Wales) Regulations 2001, in respect of the allegations detailed in paragraph 5 of this report.

2.         That the Standards Committee notifies relevant parties in line with Regulation 9(3) of the Local Government Investigations (Functions of Monitoring Officers and Standards Committees) (Wales) Regulations 2001.

Reason for the Recommendations

1&2  To comply with the provisions of the 2001 Regulations.

 

Background

2.         At its meeting on 11th April 2014, Standards Committee resolved  as follows:

(1)          T H A T Community Councillor B be given the opportunity to make representations at a future meeting of the Standards Committee, either orally or in writing, in respect of the findings of the investigation and any complaint that he had failed, or may have failed, to comply with the Community Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

(2)          T H A T the Acting Public Services Ombudsman for Wales’ Investigation Officer be requested to attend the Standards Committee in line with Regulations 8(3A) and 8(3C) of the Local Government Investigations (Functions of Monitoring Officers and Standards Committees) (Wales) Regulations 2001. 

 

3.         Attached at Appendix A is a copy of the Acting Ombudsman's Investigation Report ('Investigation Report') in respect of a complaint received on 3rd June 2013.  As various appendices contained in the Investigation Report contain emails and letters which bear the personal email or postal address of the sender or the recipient these have been redacted. However a master-copy of the Investigating Report has been retained. 

4.         The analysis of the evidence is set out at pages 11 and 12 of the Investigation Report, and the conclusions of the Acting Ombudsman's investigation are set out at pages 12 and 13 of Appendix A.

5.         The allegations relating to Councillor Kennard are as follows:

  • Contrary to Paragraph 7(a) of the Colwinston Community Council's Members' Code of Conduct and having a personal interest, he used or attempted to use his position as a Colwinston Community Councillor improperly to secure or receive for himself an advantage by contributing to discussions at the Colwinston Community Council meeting of 21 August 2012, at which members took decisions aimed at rendering future planning applications on the site known as Land to the South of Hen Cartref, Colwinston, less likely to succeed.
  • Contrary to Paragraph 11(1) of the Colwinston Community Council's Members' Code of Conduct he failed to disclose a personal interest at the meeting of the Colwinston Community Council on 21 August 2012 and 12 April 2013 in respect of the planning matter related to Land to the South of Hen Cartref, Colwinston, at the meeting of 12 April 2013.
  • Contrary to Paragraph 14(1)(a) of the Colwinston Community Council's Members' Code of Conduct he failed to withdraw from the Colwinston Community Council meetings of 21 August 2012 and 12 April 2013 when the planning matter relating to Land to the South of Hen Cartref, Colwinston,was being considered by the Colwinston Community Council when having a prejudicial interest in the matter.
  • Contrary to Paragraph 14(1)(c) of the Colwinston Community Council's Members' Code of Conduct he sought to influence a decision about the planning matter relating to Land to the South of Hen Cartref, Colwinston, (“ the Siteâ€) at the Community Council’s meetings on 21 August 2012 and 12 April 2013 and by taking a leading role in the Community Council’s response to Mr. Pritchard’s planning appeal in respect of the Site when having a prejudicial interest in the matter.

6.         Attached at Appendix B is a copy of the 'Procedure for Dealing with Allegations made against Councillors and referred to the Standards Committee'.  Paragraph 8.4 of the Procedure requires the Standards Officer to provide specified information to the Members of the Committee, Councillor Kennard and the Investigating Officer.  This information is provided at Appendix C to the report.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.         In line with the 2001 Regulations, after considering any oral or written representations made by or on behalf of Councillor Kennard, Standards Committee must determine:

  • That there is no evidence of any failure to comply with the Code of Conduct of the relevant Authority and that therefore no action needs to be taken in respect of the matters which are the subject of the investigation;
  • That a Member of co-opted member (or former Member or co-opted member) of a relevant Authority has failed to comply with the relevant Authority's Code of Conduct but that no action needs to be taken in respect of that failure;
  • That a Member or co-opted member (or former Member or co-opted member) of the relevant Authority has failed to comply with the Authority's Code of Conduct and should be censured, or
  • That a Member of co-opted member of a relevant Authority has failed to comply with the Authority's Code of Conduct and should be suspended or partially suspended from being a Member or co-opted member of that Authority for a period not exceeding six months.

8.         The Standards Committee is required to notify Councillor Kennard, any persons who made the allegations which gave rise to the investigation and the Ombudsman of its decisions together with reasons for the decisions.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.         None.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10.      None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.      The Standards Committee is required to comply with the 2001 Regulations.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.      None.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.      None.

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.      None.

Policy Framework and Budget

15.      None.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.      The report does not require consultation with other parties.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.      Not applicable.

Background Papers

Report by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales on an investigation into allegations against Councillor Brian Kennard of Colwinston Community Council dated 18th February 2014.

 

Contact Officer

Ms. D. Marles - Tel. No. (01446) 709401

 

Officers Consulted

None.

 

Responsible Officer:

Ms. D. Marles, Monitoring Officer