A report of the Monitoring Officer 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 an allegation that Councillor McTigue had breached the Members Code of Conduct thereby bringing the Council or her role as Councillor into disrepute.
The allegation was as follows:
Following refusal by the Council to provide copies of marked registers for the Clairville Ward, and following advice to Councillor McTigue as to why such a request could not be complied with; Councillor McTigue falsely notified an officer of the Council that she had obtained a copy of the marked register for the Clairville Ward from a previous candidate. Following initial investigation by Cleveland Police, Councillor McTigue advised that she had not obtained a copy of the register. It is alleged that Councillor McTigue lied to a Council Officer and that such behaviour amounted to a breach of the Members Code of Conduct.
The Investigating Officer informed the Committee that the Monitoring Officer had referred the complaint to her on 1 July 2014. The Investigating Officers report had been circulated as Agenda Item 7. The report contained a summary of the complaint, the Standards Regime and the legal framework; as well as a summary of the findings and a recommendation.
The report concluded that Councillor McTigue had breached the Members Code of Conduct by acting dishonestly and by conducting herself in a manner contrary to the Councils duty to promote and maintain high standards of Member conduct.
Having considered the Investigating Officers 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 Members Code of Conduct.
On reconvening, the Chair summarised the issues and reported the decision of the Sub-Committee.
In regard to the allegation, the Sub-Committee unanimously concluded that Councillor McTigue had lied to officers, and had thereby breached the Members 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 this matter. The Investigating Officer advised that Members could consider whether Councillor McTigue should apologise to officers in Electoral Services for the amount of time and resources that had been wasted. The Investigating Officer also suggested that Councillor McTigue could be required to receive training on the Data Protection Act 1988 and the protection of privacy of peoples information.
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 it was ORDERED that the following sanctions were imposed:
1. Within 28 days, Councillor McTigue should provide written apologies to officers in the Councils Electoral Services Department and Cleveland Police in respect of her conduct and the time wasted in dealing with the matter.
2. By the end of October, Councillor McTigue must undertake and complete training in respect of her responsibilities under the Data Protection Act.
3. If Councillor McTigue failed to undertake the above training within the specified period, her access to the Councils IT system would be suspended until such time as she has successfully
4. The matter would be referred to full Council which would consider at a future meeting the passing of a motion of censure.