Agenda and minutes

Councillor Conduct Committee
Tuesday, 24th May, 2016 6.30 pm

Venue: Room 1, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

Contact: Penelope Williams 

Items
No. Item

10.

Welcome and Apologies

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting including the two new committee members Councillors Alessandro Georgiou and Katherine Chibah. 

11.

Substitutions

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.

Minutes:

Councillor Anne Marie Pearce was the substitute for Councillor Alessandro Georgiou for Item 4 Complaints against Councillors. 

12.

Declaration of Interests

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

Minutes:

Councillor Alessandro Georgiou declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 4 Complaints against Councillors as he was one of the complainants and was the subject of the other complaint.  He withdrew from the meeting when this item was discussed. 

13.

Complaints Against Councillors pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider a report produced by Olwen Dutton, of Bevan Brittan Associates, setting out the results of her investigation into complaints from two councillors. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the report of the Monitoring Officer on the complaints investigation.

 

The Monitoring Officer introduced the report and set the context to the complaints. 

 

NOTED

 

1.               The advice that members had to decide whether or not any further action was required or whether a formal complaint hearing should be heard. 

 

2.               No appeal against the decision of the Councillor Conduct Committee was possible except to the Local Government Ombudsman. 

 

Before considering the complaint the committee watched an extract from the 11 November 2016 full council meeting where the incidents, from which the complaints had arisen, had occurred. 

 

Olwen Dutton presented her investigation report to the committee. She highlighted the following: 

 

·       Four complaints had been received in total:  one from Councillor Alessandro Georgiou about Councillor Haydar Ulus, three from Councillor Haydar Ulus about Councillors Alessandro Georgiou, Terry Neville and Erin Celebi. 

 

·       Because they had all been concerned with the events which had occurred at the full Council meeting on 11 November 2016, she had thought it appropriate that they should all be covered in the same investigation. 

 

·       Article 10 of the European Human Rights Convention set a high bar for political expression so as not to fall within the category of justifiable comment and free speech.  

 

·       The comments of Councillor Neville received after the report had been completed.

 

·       Having investigated the complaint and considered all the evidence, in the light of Article 10 of the European Convention, although she could not condone the behaviour, on balance, she had found that all four complaints were not upheld. 

 

·       Her recommendation that the Monitoring Officer should provide refresher training to all councillors on the code of conduct and on the need for all councillors to behave in a way that was fitting for a public meeting in the Council Chamber, with due regard to their office.

 

·       She also felt that members should be discouraged from taking part in “tit for tat” complaints. 

 

NOTED

 

1.               The view of Christine Chamberlain, Independent Person, that the incidents at the Council meeting, as seen in the recording of the meeting, raised fundamental issues about the behaviour of members and their relationships to each other.  She had concern that the situation had escalated very quickly, in a way that she thought would be unacceptable in a work context.  The behaviour was not good for informed debate, the reputation of the councillors or the Council itself.  She was also concerned that if the complaints were not upheld then a message should also be put out that such behaviour could not be condoned. 

 

2.               These comments were supported by Sarah Jewell, Independent Person. 

 

3.               All members of the committee condemned the behaviour that had occurred and felt that members should show greater respect for each other and for the Mayor. 

 

4.               The view that if the Mayor had been able to control the initial incident more quickly, the subsequent events would not have occurred.  It was suggested that the Mayor should receive more training on how to manage difficult  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Dispensation Request pdf icon PDF 229 KB

To consider a request from a councillor for a dispensation in respect of a disclosable pecuniary interest. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Monitoring Officer containing a request for a dispensation from Councillor Bernadette Lappage, the current Mayor, on her disclosable pecuniary interest in matters relating to the North London Waste Authority.

 

NOTED

 

1.               The Mayor’s husband was a senior officer at the North London Waste Authority which would mean that whenever the North London Waste Authority was discussed at Council meetings she would need to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest and withdraw from the meeting.

 

2.               The Mayor had requested a general dispensation to cover her year of office to enable her to participate in all Council meetings where issues relating to the North London Waste Authority were discussed. 

 

3.               The dispensation has been requested under circumstance (a) “where members of the decision making body have disclosable pecuniary interests in a matter that would “impede the transaction of the business”.

 

4.               Although the Mayor did not normally vote at Council meetings, having to leave the meeting as chair could impede the transaction of business.

 

5.               The Independent Persons advised that they thought that the request was reasonable.  

 

AGREED that a dispensation be granted to Councillor Bernadette Lappage whilst she was Mayor, for the municipal year 2016/17, in regard to her disclosable pecuniary interest in relation to her husband’s position on the North London Waste Authority. 

15.

Councillor Conduct Committee Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 316 KB

To consider and agree the Annual Report for 2015/16

 

To note that once approved by the Committee the report will be referred to Full Council. 

Minutes:

The Committee received a copy of the draft annual report for 2015/16. 

 

AGREED to approve the report as the Councillor Conduct Committee Annual Report for 2015/16. 

 

The report would be referred to the Council meeting to be held on 8 June 2016. 

16.

Minutes of meeting held on 21 March 2016 pdf icon PDF 30 KB

To receive and agree the minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2016. 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2016 were agreed as a correct record. 

17.

Work Programme 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To consider and agree the Committee’s work programme for 2016/17. 

Minutes:

The Committee received a draft work programme for 2016/17.

 

NOTED that additional items can be added to the work programme throughout the year. 

 

AGREED that the draft work programme should form the basis of items to be considered by the Committee in 2016/17. 

18.

Dates of Future Meetings

To note the dates agreed for future meetings of the Committee: 

 

·       Wednesday 6 July 2016

·       Wednesday 5 October 2016

·       Wednesday 7 December 2016

·       Thursday 2 March 2016

Minutes:

The Committee noted the dates agreed for meetings for the 2016/17 Municipal Year:

 

·       Wednesday 6 July 2016

·       Wednesday 5 October 2016

·       Wednesday 7 December 2016

·       Thursday 2 March 2016

19.

Exclusion and Press and Public

To pass a resolution under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the press and public from the meeting for any items of business moved to part 2 of the agenda on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in those paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act (as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006).

 

There is no part 2 agenda.