Agenda and draft minutes

Councillor Conduct Committee - Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Room 3, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

Contact: Penelope Williams 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Apologies

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Ergin Erbil. 

2.

Substitutions

Any members 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. 

Minutes:

Councillor Claire Stewart substituted for Councillor Ergin Erbil who had been unable to attend the meeting due to illness. 

3.

Declaration of Interests

Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relating to items on the agenda. 

Minutes:

There were no declaration of interests. 

4.

Appeal Hearing pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To carry out a hearing in relation to an appeal against a Monitoring Officer decision on a councillor complaint.  (Report No: 124)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the report of the Monitoring Officer (Report No: 124) with details of the appeal against a monitoring officer decision on a Councillor Code of Conduct complaint against Councillor Terry Neville. 

 

1.            Introduction by the Monitoring Officer

 

1.1         Jeremy Chambers, Monitoring Officer highlighted the following: 

 

1.1.1    A complaint had been made on the 25 January 2019 concerning Councillor Neville’s handling of a planning application matter, alleging that Councillor Neville had broken the Councillor Code of Conduct.  Several allegations were made but this committee was only concerned about those relating to the Councillor Code of Conduct. 

 

1.1.2    The Monitoring Officer had consulted Sarah Jewell, as Independent Person on the 31 January 2019 and she had agreed with him that the case did warrant investigation. 

 

1.1.3    On 7 February 2019 the Jeremy Chambers, Monitoring Officer had appointed Dina Boodhun, Senior Solicitor, to carry out an investigation. 

 

1.1.4    The complainant alleged that Councillor Neville had breached nine areas of the Members Code of Conduct, as follows: -

 

a.    Paragraph 8.1 (Selflessness)

b.    Paragraph 8.3 (Objectivity)

c.    Paragraph 8.5 (Openness),

d.    Paragraph 8.6 (Honesty)

e.    Paragraph 8.8 (Respect)

f.     Paragraph 8.10 (Stewardship

g.    Rule 11 (conduct yourself in a manner which will maintain and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of the authority and never undertake any action which would bring the Authority, you or members or officers generally into disrepute),

h.    Rule 12.1 (treat others with respect and courtesy), and

i.      Rule 12.3 (not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for yourself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage).

 

1.2         The Investigating Officer’s Report

 

Dina Boodhun, the investigating officer, presented her report, highlighting the following: 

 

1.2.1    She had considered the letter of complaint including the 40 emails referenced in the investigation and had interviewed both parties Josie Nicoloau and Councillor Terry Neville. 

 

1.2.2    She had drafted her report in July 2019 and sent the completed report to the Monitoring Officer and Sarah Jewell, Independent Person, for their consideration.  She had found no evidence that Councillor Neville had been in breach of the Councillor Code of Conduct.  Jeremy Chambers and had agreed with the findings and the Monitoring Officer had sent a letter with this determination to the complainant on 26 July 2019. 

 

1.2.3    On the 28 July 2019 an appeal had been received.  Since then the appeal hearing had been delayed twice; once as Councillor Neville had been on holiday and a second time because of the General Election purdah restrictions.

 

1.2.4    The complainant raised a number of issues around the delay in processing and determining a planning application but had provided little evidence in support of her complaint.  One of her concerns was that Councillor Neville had been copied in to a long email correspondence but had not responded.  When interviewed Councillor Neville had said that he had seen no need to reply to an email which he had only been copied in to.  He had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Update on Current Complaints

To receive a verbal update from the Monitoring Officer on the complaints currently under consideration. 

Minutes:

The Committee received a list detailing the five complaints currently under consideration.

 

NOTED

 

1.         Few details had been provided in case a complaint had to be considered at a later date by the committee.

2.         For the next meeting the information on complaints would be provided with the agenda,

3.         The aim was to determine complaints within 3 months, but this was not always possible. 

4.         Wherever possible complaints were investigated internally but a complaint involving the leader or leader of the opposition would be investigated externally. 

6.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 210 KB

To receive and agree the minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2019. 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2019 were agreed as a correct record. 

7.

Dates of Future meetings

To note that future meeting dates will be agreed at Annual Council on 13 May 2020. 

Minutes:

The date of the next scheduled meeting will be agreed at Annual Council on 13 May 2020.