Venue: Room 3, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions
Contact: Penelope Williams
Welcome and Apologies
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. She extended a special welcome to the new committee members Councillors Elaine Hayward and Glynis Vince and to Olwen Dutton and Alex Laurence from Anthony Collins Solicitors.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Katherine Chibah.
Any member who wishes to appoint a substitute for this meeting must notify the Monitoring Officer in writing, before the beginning of the meeting, of the intended substitution.
Any notifications received will be reported at the meeting.
Councillor Bambos Charalambous acted as substitute for Councillor Katherine Chibah who was unable to attend the meeting.
Declaration of Interests
Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary, non pecuniary or other interests relating to items on the agenda.
Councillors Charalambous, Vince and Elaine Hayward declared that they had a non-pecuniary interest in the issue as they knew Helen Osman, through her community activities, had sent information to her website and had read her blogs.
The Monitoring Officer reminded members that we were in an election purdah period but that this did not mean that the normal business of the Council should not continue.
To carry out a hearing in relation to an appeal against a Monitoring Officer decision on a councillor complaint.
A report on the complaint will be published and dispatched as soon as it is available. (Report No: 5)
Copies of the Councillor Code of Conduct, the Procedure for Handling Complaints against Councillors and Co-opted Members and the Procedure for Hearing Complaints against Councillors and Co-opted Members and for Appeals against Monitoring Officer Decisions on Complaints are attached for information.
The Committee received the report of the Monitoring Officer setting out the details of the complaint received from Helen Osman against Councillor Daniel Anderson and the subsequent appeal from Helen Osman. (Report No: 4).
The Committee also received copies of the Councillor Code of Conduct, the Procedure for Handling Complaints against Councillors and Co-opted Members and for Appeals against Monitoring Officer Decisions and the Procedure for dealing with Complaint Hearings.
1. The Monitoring Officer presented her report to the Committee highlighting the following:
· That she had reviewed all the information submitted by Helen Osman in support of her appeal, as instructed by the Committee at its last meeting (2 March 2017), but had not included the information relating to Cycle Enfield as she had decided it was not relevant. Helen Osman had accepted this decision.
· She had engaged Olwen Dutton from Anthony Collins Solicitors to carry out the investigation into the original complaint on her behalf.
· She had also consulted Sarah Jewell as Independent Person.
2. Olwen Dutton highlighted the following from her independent report:
· The report centred on two complaints about Facebook posts made by Councillor Anderson in October 2016. The complaints were from Sue Woollard and Helen Osman. The appeal related to the second complaint from Helen Osman.
· That she had not had any involvement with the Cycle Enfield Scheme and had not considered the rights and wrongs of the scheme which she felt were not relevant to the complaint. She had concentrated entirely on the alleged breach of the code of conduct.
· She had set out in detail the evidence she had received from those interviewed and appended full copies to the report as appendices.
· A draft report had been sent to the complainants in January 2017 and their responses were also included.
· The issues under consideration related to Councillor Anderson’s Facebook entries.
· Following her investigation, she had concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that Councillor Anderson had breached the code of conduct and she therefore did not uphold the complaint.
3. Sarah Jewell (Independent Person) reported that she had been consulted on the case by the Monitoring Officer. She had agreed that it was reasonable to consider whether or not there had been a breach of the code and had agreed with Olwen Dutton’s conclusions.
4. The members of the Committee discussed the following issues:
· When a councillor could be considered to be acting in a private capacity or when as a councillor. It was agreed that although Councillor Anderson had been using his private Facebook account he had been using information that he would have received as a result of being a councillor and cabinet member.
· Concern that Councillor McGowan had not responded to Olwen Dutton’s request for an interview, but reassurance that this had not made a material difference to the outcome of the investigation.
· There had been a meeting about Cycle Enfield at the Ponders End Mosque, requested by the members of the community but Helen Osman had not attended as ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
Dates of Future Meetings
To note the dates agreed at Council (10 May 2017) for future meetings of the Councillor Conduct Committee:
· Thursday 6 July 2017
· Thursday 5 October 2017
· Thursday 7 December 2017
· Tuesday 6 March 2018
All meetings will take place at 6.30pm unless otherwise indicated.
The Committee agreed to note the dates of future meetings:
· 6 July 2017
· 5 October 2017
· 7 December 2017
· 6 March 2018