{meta} Agenda for Standards Committee on Tuesday, 29th August, 2017, 2.15 pm

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Suite - County Hall

Contact: Rob Hooper 01392 382300  Email: rob.hooper@devon.gov.uk

Items
Note No. Item

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9.

Exclusion of Press and Public

Recommendation that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act namely, information relating to an individual and in accordance with Section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, by virtue of the fact that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Minutes:

It was MOVED by Councillor Mathews, SECONDED by Councillor Gribble,and

 

RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act namely, information relating to an individual and in accordance with Section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, by virtue of the fact that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

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10.

Allegation of Breach of Members' Code of Conduct

Documentation enclosed:

 

·     Report of the Monitoring Officer (CS/17/25);

·     Investigating Officer’s Report;

·     Independent Persons Comments;

·     Members’ Code of Conduct; and

·     Guidance/Procedural Note for the Assessment & Determination of Allegations of Breaches of the Code of Conduct for Members

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Councillor Bloxham declared a personal interest in this matter by virtue of being a County Council representative on the RD&E NHS Foundation Trust Council of Governors, a member of the Healthy New Towns Executive Board and also Councillor for the Broadclyst Division).

 

The Committee considered the:

 

·     Report of the Monitoring Officer (CSO/17/25);

·     Investigating Officer’s Report;

·     Independent Persons Comments;

·     Members’ Code of Conduct; and

·     Guidance/Procedural Note for the Assessment & Determination of Allegations of Breaches of the Code of Conduct for Members

 

relating to complaints of an alleged breach or breaches of the Members’ Code of Conduct by County Councillor Randall Johnson (the subject member).

 

The Committee were advised that a number of complaints had been received alleging that on 25 July 2017, when presiding at a meeting of the Council’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee,  the subject member had failed to apply one or more of the Principles of Public life set out at paragraph 1.2 of the Council’s Code of Conduct for Councillors and, in particular, had  breached specific provisions  set out at paragraphs 4 and 5 (a), (c), (d), (g) and (h) of the Code. It was variously alleged that the subject member had failed to treat others (and one other County Councillor in particular) with courtesy and respect and that her actions could be characterised as bullying or intimidation and/or a potential abuse or misuse of power or authority and that she had conducted herself in such a manner as to achieve her own objectives and had brought her office and/or the Council into disrepute.

 

In summary, the main elements of the complaints received were that the subject member:

 

·     had not made the Committee aware of a ‘proposal’ of which she had been given ‘notice’ and had not called elected Members to speak in the order they had indicated a wish so to do;

·     had allowed another elected Member to put a proposal to the Committee before that referred to above;

·     had, allegedly, encouraged elected Members to vote in a particular way and herself voted on a proposal not to refer the matter to the Secretary of State;

·     had showed bias and partiality in the way speakers were called and in her conduct of the meeting, not allowing fair and balanced debate;

·     had not provided adequate guidance for or direction to elected Members to consider/scrutinise all relevant issues or service provision in specific areas or encourage robust questioning of the Clinical Commissioning Group representatives at the meeting;

·     similarly, had not questioned or caused to be questioned the Clinical Commissioning Groups previous responses to the Committee’s questions and/or address whether the requirements of a referral to the Secretary of State for Health had been met, as indicated in the papers before the Scrutiny Committee;

·     should be removed or suspended from the office of Chairman of the Health & Adult Care Scrutiny Committee;

 

and a number of those complainants had also questioned the voting process at the meeting and the voting rights of the co-opted member representing Devon  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.