Standards (Hearings) Sub-Committee Minutes

Standards (Hearings) Sub-Committee Minutes

Date:
Tuesday 8 April 2014
Time:
2:00 p.m.
Place:
Stainsby Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Rostron, (Chair), Davison, Taylor.
Observers:
Councillors P Khan, Loughborough and McPartland, A Pain and N Sayer.
Officers:
S Harker, B Roberts, A Symon.
Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
13/1 APPOINTMENT OF CHAIR

Nominations were sought for the appointment of Chair of the Standards (Hearings) Sub Committee for the Municipal Year 2013/2014.


ORDERED that Councillor Rostron be appointed as the Chair of the Standards (Hearings) Sub Committee for the Municipal Year 2013/2014.

13/2 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for Absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Cox and P Sharrocks.

13/3 DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS

There were no Declarations of Interest made at this point of the meeting.

13/4 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC.

As notification had been received prior to the meeting from Councillor McTigue, indicating that she had no objection to the matter being considered in public, and Councillor Khan indicated at the meeting that he did not object to the matter being dealt with in public, the Chair sought the views of the Sub-Committee as to whether the meeting should be held in private or open session.  As there were no objections, it was determined that the meeting be held in public.

 

ORDERED that the meeting be held in open session.

13/5 STANDARDS COMPLAINTS REF: MSC004/2013 AND MSC007/2013

A report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services was presented, a copy of which had been circulated to the Sub-Committee prior to the meeting, regarding an investigation which had been undertaken in accordance with the prevailing legislation and guidance in relation to two allegations that Councillor McTigue had breached the Council’s Code of Conduct. 

 

The allegations were as follows:

 

1. Confidential information discussed at a Licensing Committee was circulated in an email to all Councillors and The Mayor by Councillor McTigue. In addition, Councillor P Khan was contacted by a member of the national press who also had knowledge of that confidential discussion.

 

2. That Councillor McTigue behaved inappropriately at the Licensing Sub-Committee A held on 28 November 2013.

 

The Investigating Officer informed the Committee that the Monitoring Officer had referred the first complaint to her on 3 December 2013 and the second on 16 January 2014. A decision was made that both complaints should be investigated together.

 

The Investigating Officer’s report was attached at Appendix A to the report. The Investigating Officer drew Members' attention to a typographical error in the report at paragraph 8.2, line 9, the word "we" to be replaced with "he". The report contained summaries of both complaints, the Standards Regime and the Code of Conduct.

 

The report concluded that Councillor McTigue had breached the Code of Conduct in respect of both complaints.

 

Having considered the Investigating Officer’s report, the Chair adjourned the meeting to enable the Sub-Committee to consider the findings of fact and, based on those findings, whether Councillor McTigue had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct.

 

On reconvening, the Chair summarised the issues and reported the decision of the Sub-Committee.

 

1. In regard to the allegation of disclosure of confidential information - paragraph 1.2 of the Code, the Committee determined that there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct.

 

2. In regard to the allegation of behaviour at a meeting such that it was contrary to the authority's duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct of members - paragraph 1.1 of the Code, the Committee determined that there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct.

 

The Chair then sought the views of the Investigating Officer in regard to what sanctions were considered appropriate to be imposed in these matters. The Investigating Officer advised that Members could consider whether Councillor McTigue should apologise to the complainants as an appropriate sanction. The Investigating Officer also commented that, had Councillor McTigue still been a Member of the Licensing Committee, Members could have considered whether she should have been removed from that Committee.

 

The Chair adjourned the meeting for a second time to enable the Sub-Committee to consider the sanctions to be imposed.

 

On reconvening the Sub-Committee:

 

ORDERED that having regard to the evidence presented the Sub-Committee determined that Councillor McTigue had breached the Council’s Code of Conduct in relation to disclosure of confidential information - paragraph 1.2 of the Code and behaviour at a meeting such that it was contrary to the authority's duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct of members - paragraph 1.1 of the Code.

 

1. In respect of the first complaint, the Sub-Committee required that Councillor McTigue should apologise to Councillor P Khan and all those concerned with the Licensing Committee meeting of 4 November 2013.  The Sub-Committee further recommended to the Council that Councillor McTigue should not serve as a member of any Committee that dealt with confidential information for a period of twelve months from the date of the next Council meeting.

 

2. In respect of the second complaint, the Sub-Committee required that Councillor McTigue should apologise to all those concerned with the Licensing Sub-Committee A meeting held on 28 November 2013.

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