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Agenda item

Complaint against a Member of City of York Council

To consider a complaint made against a Member of City of York Council, which has been referred to the Hearings Sub-Committee for determination following an investigation.

 

Details of the procedure to be followed at the hearing can be found at pages 7 to 11 of the agenda papers.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a complaint brought by Mr Andrew Dickinson, Mrs Rosy Dickinson and Mr Michael Askew against Councillor Galvin, a City of York Councillor.  The complaint related to the behaviour of Councillor Galvin at a planning site visit on 9 March 2016, and at a meeting of the Planning Sub-Committee on 7 April 2016.

 

The matter had been referred to the Hearings Sub-Committee for determination following an investigation.

 

Introductions were carried out and the procedure for the hearing was explained.

 

Determining factual disputes

 

Copies of the investigator’s report and the written submissions received had been circulated to the Panel and to the parties prior to the meeting.  During the meeting the Panel took advice from the Independent Persons.

 

The investigating officer presented her report and responded to questions.

 

Mr Dickinson presented his case and responded to questions.

 

[Mrs Dickinson arrived at the meeting at 10:25am and introductions were carried out for her benefit]

 

Mrs Dickinson presented her case and responded to questions.

 

Councillor Galvin presented his case and responded to questions.

 

[The parties, press and public left the meeting at 11.25am whilst the Panel deliberated in private]

 

The Panel gave consideration to the following allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct:

 

(a)      At the Planning Sub-Committee meeting on 7 April 2016,

Councillor Galvin, being both a Governor of York Hospital and a Member of Council, had a conflict of interest in agenda items 3(a) and (b) and should not have taken part in the meeting.

 

(b)      That Councillor Galvin acted with bias at the meeting.

 

(c)      At the meeting Councillor Galvin failed to treat those present

          with respect, and bullied and intimidated them.

 

(d)      At the site visit on 9 March 2016, Councillor Galvin failed to

treat members of the public who were present with respect, bullied, swore and intimidated them.

 

Panel’s Findings

 

Having considered the written documentation and the verbal representations made at the meeting, the Panel

 

Resolved:  (i)      That, in respect of allegation (a) – Councillor

Galvin’s alleged conflict of interest, the Panel was satisfied that Councillor Galvin did not have a prejudicial interest in the planning application and the Panel therefore found no breach of Part 2 of the Code.  He had sought the advice of the Monitoring Officer and had acted in accordance with this guidance.  Whilst the Panel noted the advice in the Governors Code of Conduct, they believed that there was a lack of clarity and prominence given to the clause Governors must “act in the best interests of the Trust at all times”.  The Panel also noted that the sale of Groves Chapel would realise funds well below the threshold for Governor approval.

 

(ii)      That, in respect of allegation (b) – Councillor

Galvin’s alleged bias at the Planning Committee meeting, the Panel did not believe that Councillor Galvin had acted with bias at the meeting and therefore there had been no breach of the Code.  The Panel noted that all speakers at the Planning Committee meeting had had the opportunity to put forward their views and the Panel agreed with the Investigating Officer that there had not been bias on the part of Councillor Galvin.

 

(iii)     That, in respect of allegation (c) – Councillor Galvin’s alleged behaviour at the Planning meeting, the Panel agreed with the Investigating Officer that there had been no breach of paragraphs (1) and (2) of the Code of Conduct. The Panel noted that Councillor Galvin had allowed all those registered to speak to have their say.

 

(iv)    That, in respect of allegation (d) – Councillor Galvin’s alleged behaviour at the site meeting, the Panel accepted the finding of the Investigating Officer that Councillor Galvin had breached 3.1 (1) of the Code of Conduct – “You must treat others with respect”.  The Panel agreed that the word that Councillor Galvin had admitting saying was slightly disrespectful.  The Panel did not, however, find that Councillor Galvin had breached paragraph (2) of the Code.

 

                   (v)     That, to address issues raised during

consideration of the complaints, the Panel recommended that:

 

(a)         the NHS be asked to review and update the

York Teaching Hospital Governors’ Code of Conduct to ensure greater clarity.  Consideration should be given to including the wording “when acting in their capacity as a Governor” within the Code.  The Panel also recommended that new Governors are given training on the Code of Conduct on appointment.1

 

(b)         the protocol for site visits, including the role of the Chair during these visits, be reviewed.2

 

(c)         training be made available to Chairs of Planning Committees.3

 

[Mr Dickinson, the press and public rejoined the meeting at 12.20pm and were notified of the Panel’s decisions]

 

Determining Sanctions

 

Mr Dickinson was invited to make representations as to the sanction he believed to be appropriate. 

 

The Panel agreed that the following sanctions be imposed in response to the breach of the Code of Conduct:

 

Resolved:  That, in response to the breach of the Code of Conduct, Councillor Galvin’s Group Leader be made aware that Councillor Galvin had been found to have breached paragraph 1 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, and that the Monitoring Officer offer to make appropriate training available to Councillor Galvin if required.

 

[The Decision Notice issued following this meeting is attached as an annex to the minutes]

 

Supporting documents:

 

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