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Apologies for the length - I've highlighted my key question below in yellow. 

Our PC uses model standing orders, so 14D states:
Upon notification by the District or Unitary Council that a councillor or non-councillor with voting rights has breached the Council’s code of conduct, the Council shall consider what, if any, action to take against him. Such action excludes disqualification or suspension from office. 

I'm aware that this is somewhere in statute, but we have a situation where an investigation took place into the actions of one of our Councillors (not me) after they made a post on social media. The post was quite damning and clearly in breach of the Code of Conduct, which they later accepted. The standing order wasn't followed though; the results of the investigation were not brought to the Council, but instead were read out at a Parish Meeting (not a Council meeting). The report has been kicking about for a year now and one councillor (also not me) has got it on the agenda for discussion. We've had a number of councillors come and go over the past year, including myself. Those who put in the original complaints are no longer on the Council.

I would like to know other people's thoughts and feelings about this. Irrespective of the report and the actions taken by the transgressing councillor, I'm particularly keen on understanding the significance of the specific wording "Upon notification". In the spirit of the law, is it there to purely recommend it's done quickly to put the issue to bed, or could it mean that the recommendations become unenforceable after a set length of time?

The transgressing councillor has admitted fault and attended training, which covers the majority of recommendations anyway. The only outstanding one is to stand down from a particular committee, which was disbanded just prior to the report coming out. However, a new and similar one has been spun up in it's ashes with a new name. It has ex-officio positions within its terms of reference and typically, we're about to elect a new chair of the council which may, arguably, impact this recommendation. Obviously, one also has to question the timing of bringing this matter up again given the publicity it has generated and with the elections just around the corner.

by (990 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
No apology necessary as most questions carry no useful details upon which others can respond. Your standing orders pretty well cover it and show up the futility of Repercussion for breaking the code of conduct. Up until the decision on whether the code of conduct has been broken is made by the MO then the matter is nothing to do with the PC. Once the decision is made public by the MO the PC would be informed. As a body their only power available to them is to make available any suggested remedial path suggested by the MO for the councillor to take but there is no timetable to which they have to work. They have no power to insist or force them to do so and can only minute for the record that it was offered to a councillor and a) refused or b) completed.

Have long stated that a professional body for elected councillors would have more ability to pressurise members to keep professional standards and integrity at the forefront of councillors minds.
by (27.0k points)
Thanks for your answer Mentorman. I totally agree with you. The issue here is that the Parish Council didn't take a vote on whether to accept the conclusions of the investigation or not (i.e. vote on the sanctions put on the councillor). I agree that the council can't force the councillor to act on it's decision, but in this instance, the councillor has technically complied with everything asked of them voluntarily.
I do suspect it's been resurfaced because of the election. A vote in either direction isn't going to make any material difference; if it's upheld some will be pointing this out during the election, and if it's not, they will be pointing this out too! I'm not re-standing myself, but I was kind of looking for a technical "out" to quash the motion and put the age old arguments to bed.
As far as I can see there is no requirement for the council to vote in any way as they do not have the powers to impose or ratify "punishment "on a councillor as such, just make available, in support of the councillor, the suggested remedial action from the MO.

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