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Code of Conduct complaints

0 votes
A Cllr has 2 'live' CoC complaints for activities whilst on official business of the council which have already been submitted to, and acknowledged as received by MO, and progressed past initial screening to investigation, and approaching the conclusion of a lengthy investigation (plus 1, more complex, complaint being drawn up but still awaiting additional detail before being submitted) when the subject Cllr resigns.

There is a reasonable suspicion that communication may have occurred between "interested parties" and the subject Cllr which may have "suggested" the CoC complaint would "go away" if they resigned.

Cllr resigned, MO declares that complaint(s) will not be progressed to conclusion (they are already overdue and well along the investigative process) since there is no mandate to censure a member of public who used to be a Cllr.

On the 1 hand, I can accept the cessation of processing of the complaint at early stage might represent a cost saving in relation to administration of the investigation, and, of course the point about jurisdiction is relevant (although it is a pretty lame point since there is next door to SFA a MO can do to a Cllr too.)

Cllr resigns, MO states the complaints will not be progressed to conclusion and so doesn't have to issue a unfavourable conclusion....

Appropriate to abandon or a lazy cop out which will further denude public confidence in the Code of Conduct process?
by (13.3k points)
edited by

3 Answers

+1 vote
Personally I'd like to see rules changed whereby resignation effectively end jurisdiction because far to often said person returns to public office sometimes within a matter of months sometimes a little longer). I'd make the process more akin to court and make the sanctions along lines of Banned From Public Office for X period but we are along way off that though.
by (6.8k points)
+1 vote
The MO was correct. Their powers relate solely to serving councillors. The individual may return to the council once their "offence" has timed out with a clean slate.
by (50.1k points)
0 votes
Thanks Dave & Progress for your thoughts....

I put a lot of time, effort, detail and resource into a pair of complex complaints which had the very strong potential, due to video and documentary evidence, to be upheld - even in the face of some of the patently ludicrous decisions that have come out of that office.   I may share the detail later....

I feel a little 'cheated' that the subject has resigned as the chair of the PC and as a Cllr and has avoided the even greater ignominy of a portfolio of upheld complaints - the previous one (from a different person who was then a serving Cllr) was Feb 23.
On reflection, he's resigned.  If the complaint had been upheld he might have had a a public rebuke but - so what?

If he seeks to return to Cllr duty (anywhere) within 6 months, the complaints may be re-initiated.  The relevance of 6 months is that a complaint can only be levied for behaviour within the past 6 months (I've got a separate story about that which will follow)
So, significant complaint x2 submitted, pretty much guaranteed to be upheld and deeply critical but subject resigns in advance of conclusion from MO.  Tick success.

Had he not resigned he would have suffered the personal reputational damage but would have continued as chair PC and as a Cllr and would have continued to cause grave PC reputational damage.
The 6 month rule - a while back I submitted a complaint on a completely separate subject and a different subject Cllr (yeah, I know - serial complainer, it has been said before!)  There were 3 or 4 separate elements / examples of poor behaviour detailed in the complaint the oldest of which was about 5 ½ months previous but the others were more recent.  They were all packaged up together to provide evidence of a pattern of behaviour which was deteriorating.

The MO pretty much immediately dismissed the oldest example quoting the 6 month rule.  I responded with a calendar and pointed out that 5 ½ was not 6 months.  He actually replied by saying something like - because you know so much about the complaints process I am not going to allow your 5 ½ month example which is too close to 6 months.

So I lodged a complaint against the MO.

Within 48hrs he responded and affirmed that he WOULD include the 5 ½ month old example since it was NOT disqualified under the 6 month rule...  I think I said - It's not a difference of opinion, its just counting.
No Christmas card again....
by (13.3k points)

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