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Agenda Item No. 6

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Standards Committee: 22nd September, 2016

 

Report of the Monitoring Officer

 

Outcome of Reference to the Adjudication Panel for Wales

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To update Standards Committee regarding the 25 July 2016 decision of a Case Tribunal drawn from the Adjudication Panel for Wales.

Recommendation

THAT the report be noted.

Reason for the Recommendation

Having regard to the contents of the report.

Background

  1. Pursuant to section 69 of the Local Government Act 2000, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales ('the Ombudsman') may conduct an investigation into whether a member or co-opted member of a "relevant authority" has failed, or may have failed to comply with the authority's code of conduct.
  2. In a letter dated 22 February 2016, the Adjudication Panel for Wales received a referral from the Ombudsman following an investigation in relation to allegations relating to Councillor Rob Curtis, who at the time was both a member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Barry Town Council.
  3. The allegations were that Councillor Curtis had breached paragraph 6.1 (a) of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Code of Conduct and paragraph 6 bullet point 1 of the Barry Town Council Code of Conduct. Details relating to the allegations and the case are set out in the Adjudication Panel for Wales' Notice of Decision and Decision Report attached at Appendices [ A ] and [ B ] to this report.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The referral was considered by a case tribunal of the Adjudication Panel for Wales by way of written representations on 25th July 2016.
  2. The Case Tribunal found that Councillor Curtis had breached paragraph 6.1(a) of the Vale of Glamorgan's Code of Conduct, which states that you must not conduct yourself in a manner which could be reasonably regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute. The Tribunal also found that as a Town Councillor, Councillor Curtis had breached paragraph 6, bullet point 1 of the Barry Town Council's Code of Conduct, which provides that members must not conduct themselves in a manner which could be regarded as bringing the office of member or the authority into disrepute.
  3. The Case Tribunal found that the conduct of Councillor Curtis was unacceptable and concluded that he had brought his office into disrepute and suspended him from acting as a member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Barry Town Council for a period of three months.
  4. The Adjudication Panel for Wales in line with section 79 of the Local Government Act 2000 has notified the appropriate parties and published notice of the Case Tribunal's decision in a local newspaper.
  5. For information, Councillor Rob Curtis has resigned from the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Barry Town Council.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. None.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. For members information, extracts from Section 79 of the Local Government Act 2000 provide that:

"(1) A Welsh case tribunal which adjudicates on any matter must decide whether or not any person to which that matter relates has failed to comply with the code of conduct of the relevant authority concerned.

………………………………..

(3) Where a Welsh case tribunal decides that a person has failed to comply with the code of conduct of the relevant authority concerned, it must decide whether the nature of the failure is such that the person should be suspended or disqualified in accordance with subsection (4).

(4) A person may be -

(a) suspended or partially suspended from being a member or co-opted member of the relevant authority concerned, or

(b) disqualified for being, or becoming (whether by election or otherwise), a member of that or any other relevant authority.

(5) Where a Welsh case tribunal makes such a decision as is mentioned in subsection (4)(a), it must decide the period for which the person should be suspended or partially suspended (which must not exceed one year or, if shorter, the remainder of the person's term of office).

………………………………….

(8) Where a Welsh case tribunal decides that a person has failed to comply with the code of conduct of the relevant authority concerned and should be suspended or partially suspended as mentioned in subsection (4)(a), it must give notice to the standards committee of the relevant authority concerned -

(a) stating that the person has failed to comply with that code of conduct,

(b) specifying the details of that failure, and

(c) stating that the person is suspended or partially suspended for the period, and in the way, which the tribunal has decided.

………………………………………….

(12) A copy of any notice under this section -

(a) must be given to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales,

(b) must be given to any person who is the subject of the decision to which the notice relates, and

(c) must be published in one or more newspapers circulating in the area of the relevant authority concerned."

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Not applicable.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. Not applicable.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. None.

Background Papers

Local Government Act 2000

Contact Officer

Gareth Davies, Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer

Officers Consulted

Head of Democratic Services

Responsible Officer:

Ms. D. Marles, Monitoring Officer

 

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