Agenda and draft minutes

Standards Assessment Panel - Tuesday, 4 June 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Perceval House. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

Minutes:

There were none.

 

2.

Urgent Matters

Minutes:

There were none.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were none.

 

4.

Matters to be Considered in Private

Item 5 contains information that is exempt from disclosure by virtue of Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Panel to consider whether or not the public interest requires the assessment of the complaint, detailed in item 5 on the agenda, to be held in private.

 

Minutes:

Item 5 contained information that was exempt from disclosure by virtue of Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

The Panel considered item 5 in private.

 

5.

A Report to Consider a Complaint Investigation Report about Conduct of a Councillor

Minutes:

The Panel agreed to hold the meeting in private in order to protect the identity of those involved in the complaint. This was in line with Ealing’s usual practice.

 

Helen Harris introduced the report and explained that, this was a complaint which she had determined under paragraph 3.1of the council’s adopted Standards Procedure. Ms Harris had concluded that the complaint required investigation and therefore consulted the council’s two independent standards people. Both agreed that the complaint should be referred for investigation.

 

Ms Harris appointed Jackie Adams as the investigating officer. Ms Adams, at that time, was Ealing Council’s Head of Legal (Commercial) but had since retired. 

 

When reviewing the complaint, Ms Adams had initially reached the conclusion that paragraph 5 of the code (failure to treat others with respect) had been breached, however, following the submission of some medical evidence, Ms Adams concluded that it would not be appropriate for her to make any finding of what would otherwise have been a breach of the Code.

 

At the meeting, the complainant, the Councillor who was the subject of the complaint and Ms Adams were given the opportunity to make representations, however, they were not permitted to submit further evidence.

 

Following the representations, the Panel and independent standards people were given the opportunity to ask questions, however, it was noted that any questions asked did not have to be responded to and could be declined. No questions were asked.

 

Ms Harris stated that, if the Panel were to agree with the investigating officer’s recommendation, then no further action would be required.  However, if the Panel did not agree, the case would be referred to the full Standards Committee for consideration.

 

The panel thanked Ms Adams for conducting the investigation and her subsequent report.

 

The complainant, the Councillor who was the subject of the complaint and Ms Adams were directed to leave the room whilst the Panel deliberated and reached its decision. They were then invited back to hear the outcome.

 

During deliberations the Panel invited the independent standards people to discuss their views on the complaint.

 

 

It was UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that:

 

     I.  The Standards Assessment Panel did not accept the investigator’s conclusions. However, due to the serious nature of the actions and the repeated language and behaviours from someone holding public office, the Panel didn’t feel they should be dealt with at Panel level and that accordingly it was appropriate for full Standards Committee to make the determination.

    II.        The Director of Legal and Democratic Services issue the appropriate notice to the complainant and the councillor who was the subject of the complaint, in accordance with the Panel’s decision.

  III.        The public minutes of the meeting should not name the councillor who was the subject of the complaint.