Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda and decisions

Venue: The George Hudson Board Room - 1st Floor West Offices (F045). View directions

Contact: Fiona Young  Interim Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chair

To appoint a Member to chair the hearing.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

At this point in the meeting, Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary interest or other registerable interest they might have in respect of business on this agenda, if they have not already done so in advance on the Register of Interests.

 

3.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider whether to exclude the Press and Public:

a)    At any point in the hearing when there is a possibility that exempt information under Paragraph 1 of Schedule 12A to Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as revised by The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006) may be disclosed; namely, information relating to individuals and

b)   During the deliberations and decision-making at the end of the hearing.

4.

Complaints against a Member of a Council covered by the Joint Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 568 KB

To consider a number of complaints made against a member of a Parish / Town Council, which have been referred to the Hearings Sub-Committee for determination following an investigation.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

CITY OF YORK COUNCIL

Joint Standards Committee

Hearings Sub Committee – 20 April 2022

Code of Conduct Complaints Relating To Haxby Town Council

 

DECISION NOTICE

 

IN ATTENDANCE:

 

Hearing Panel:

 

Councillor T Fisher (Chair)

Councillor C Douglas

Parish Councillor C Chambers

 

Advisors to the Hearing Panel:

 

Alex Oram, Independent Person

Janie Berry, Monitoring Officer, City of York Council

 

Investigating Officer:

 

Stephen Pearson, externally appointed Investigating Officer

 

Complainants and or Subject Members:

 

Councillor T Carmichael, Haxby Town Council (complainant)

Councillor M Preston, Haxby Town Council (complainant)

Councillor M Guilford, Haxby Town Council (complainant)

Councillor T Richardson, Haxby Town Council (subject member)

Apologies were received from Mr M Scott (complainant)

 

BACKGROUND

 

The Hearing Panel, a sub-committee of the Joint Standards Committee, was constituted in accordance with procedures approved by the City of York Council’s Joint Standards Committee to consider five complaints in relation to the conduct of Councillor T Richardson of Haxby Town Council.

 

The Hearing Panel noted that the complaints dated from 2019 and early 2020, with the fifth complaint being received in early 2021, however noted that delays had been caused by a number of frustrating factors including the national lockdown, delays in the criminal trial involving Councillor T Richardson and other health related factors of key individuals.

 

The Hearing Panel had the benefit of an Investigating Officer report prepared by Stephen Pearson, an externally appointed Investigator. 

 

The Hearing Panel did not receive any witness statements or heard evidence from any named witnesses, this was due to the fact that there were a number of complainants attending and the volume of written material provided upon which they based their complaints.

 

The Hearing Panel considered the allegations in light of the Joint Standards Committee published criteria for the assessment of complaints.

 

The Panel noted that Councillor Richardson had been offered and had accessed the support of Alex Oram, Independent Person.

 

EVIDENCE AND FINDING OF FACT

 

The Panel was concerned with five complaints received from four complainants in respect of Councillor T Richardson of Haxby Town Council.  All Three of the complainants are current Councillors of Haxby Town Council and the remaining complainant is the former Clerk to Haxby Town Council.  It is noted that one of the complainants, Councillor Guilford, has been the Chair of Haxby Town Council throughout the time period covering all of the complaints.

 

Councillor T Richardson is a long standing member of Haxby Town Council.

 

The complaints from Councillors Carmichael and Preston and Mark Scott were received during the time period November 2019, to February 2020.  The fifth complaint submitted by Councillor Guilford was received in early 2021, however due to the commonality of the issues, the decision was taken to include this final complaint within Mr Pearson’s investigation.

 

The Panel noted that at the time of the submission of his complaints, Mark Scott was employed as the Clerk to Haxby Town Council.  Mr Scott has since resigned from this position.

 

The Panel noted that there are no outstanding Code of Conduct complaints submitted by Councillor  ...  view the full decision text for item 4.

5.

Urgent Business

Any other business which the Chair considers urgent under the Local Government Act 1972.

 

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