Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda and decisions

Venue: The Snow Room - Ground Floor, West Offices (G035). 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

Members are asked to declare:

·        any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests

·        any prejudicial interests or

·        any disclosable pecuniary interests

which they may have in respect of business on this agenda.

 

3.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider whether to exclude the Press and Public 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.

 

4.

Complaints against Members of a Council covered by the Joint Standards Committee pdf icon PDF 406 KB

To consider code of conduct complaints brought against two Parish Councillors, 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 – 8 March 2022

Code of Conduct Complaints relating to Skelton Parish Council

 

DECISION NOTICE

 

IN ATTENDANCE:


Hearing Panel:

Councillor D Carr (Chair)

Councillor T Fisher

Parish Councillor C Chambers


Advisors to the Hearing Panel:

Alex Oram, Independent Person

Janie Berry, Monitoring Officer, City of York Council

Frances Harrison, Deputy Monitoring Officer, City of York Council


Investigating Officers:

Faye Dickinson, Senior Solicitor, City of York Council

Dan Moynihan, Senior Solicitor, City of York Council


Complainants and or Subject Members:

Councillor A Mansell, Skelton Parish Council (complainant and subject member)

Mrs Mansell (complainant)

Councillor J Watt, Skelton Parish Council (complainant and subject member)

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 complaints in relation to the conduct of Councillor A Mansell and Councillor J Watt of Skelton Parish Council.

 

In this matter the Hearing Panel noted that Councillor A Mansell and Councillor J Watt were both complainants and subject members of the complaints.  A further complaint had been submitted by Mrs Mansell in relation to Councillor J Watt.

 

The Hearing Panel had the benefit of three Investigating Officer reports.  Investigating Officer Report One addressed complaints submitted by Councillor A Mansell and Mrs Mansell.  Investigating Officer Report Two addressed a complaint submitted by Councillor J Watt in relation to Councillor A Mansell.  Investigating Officer Report Three addressed further complaints submitted by Councillor A Mansell and Mrs Mansell.

 

The Hearing Panel did not receive any witness statements or heard evidence from any named witnesses.

 

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

 

EVIDENCE AND FINDING OF FACT

 

During the period in question relating to these complaints, Skelton Parish Council was facilitating its meetings via remote means as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Councillor J Watt is the Chair of Skelton Parish Council.  Councillor J Watt had previously made a complaint in relation to Councillor A Mansell however this was concluded in July 2020, which was not upheld and the Panel did not consider any information or representations arising from this complaint.

 

Mrs Mansell was a former Member of Skelton Parish Council and during the hearing it was confirmed that Mrs Mansell was co-opted to Skelton Parish Council in October 2021.

 

The Panel was concerned with complaints initially submitted by Councillor A Mansell and Mrs Mansell in December 2020, in relation to Councillor J Watt; followed by a Complaint submitted by Councillor J Watt on 31st January 2021, in relation to Councillor A Mansell and finally two further complaints submitted in April 2021 by Councillor A Mansell and Mrs Mansell in relation to Councillor J Watt.

 

The Monitoring Officer instructed two Investigating Officers to consider the respective complaints. 

 

During October and November 2020, a succession of vacancies arose on Skelton Parish Council and Mrs Mansell submitted successive applications to  ...  view the full decision text for item 4.

 

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