Couincillors who have been refered to the Standards committee

Ron Close made this Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear East Devon District Council,kindly list the Councillors who have served any council in East Devon including, but not restricted to, parish and town councils, who has been referred to the standards committee to hold an investigation into alleged offences and the dates thereof. Kindly list the findings of said standards committee and note if the individual councillor has, or has not, undertaken the recommended actions set out by the committee.
By this I mean if a councillor has been recommended to attend special training sessions has he/she attended or to make an apology has this been done??

Yours faithfully,

Ron Close

Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

I will not be able to respond to your message until Tuesday 30th July
2013.

 

If you wish to make a complaint or submit a request for information under
the Freedom of Information Act, please refer to our website at
[1]www.eastdevon.gov.uk

 

If you need to complain about an urgent matter, please dial 01395 516551
and speak to a member of our Customer Service Team.

 

 

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Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

Mr Close

Would you be able to clarify a time period in which you are interested please?

Many thanks

Kate

Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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Dear Kate Symington,
Starting at 1st january 2006 to date please

Yours sincerely,

Ron Close

Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

Thank you for clarifying.

I'll log this one and you'll receive an acknowledgement shortly.

Regards

Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for information. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible, within the 20 working day statutory deadline under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000295626 .

---------------------------------------
Customer Service Centre
East Devon District Council
Web: www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

Mr Close

 

Thank you for your request for information. Below are details of
complaints referred for investigation during the stated timescale which
resulted in a Hearing being held.

 

Month/Year of Name/Council Outcome
Hearing
May 2007 Cllr Huntingdon Breach - In relation to combining the
Cotleigh Parish role of Chairman and Clerk - this
Council conduct was found to bring Cotleigh
Parish Council into disrepute and In
relation to the allegation that the
way Cllr Huntingford dealt with
planning applications lacked
transparency and did not allow the
public to see or hear decisions being
made - this conduct was also found to
bring Coteligh Council into
disrepute.

 

Sanction – censure and Cllr requested
to attend training in planning
procedures as well as Code of
Conduct.

Attended training on planning
organised by EDDC.
June 2007 Cllr P Burrows Breach - Failure to declare a
personal interest at a meeting of the
Seaton Town Council Seaton Traffic Management Group.
This conduct was found to breach
paragraph 9(1) of the Code of
Conduct.

The sanction imposed was censure.

 
Aug 2007 Cllr Buskin Breach - failure to declare a
personal interest at a meeting of the
Seaton Town Council Seaton Finance and General Purposes
Committee. This conduct was found to
breach paragraphs 8(1) and 9(1) of
the Code of Conduct.

The sanction imposed was censure with
immediate effect.
Nov 2008 Cllr G Jones No breach –Cllr has not breached
paragraph 13 of the Code of Conduct
Seaton Town Council by failing to declare ‘Stand up for
Seaton’ on his register of interest
form.

 
Nov 2008 Cllr Drew It was found that Cllr Drew did not
have an obligation to declare a
EDDC personal interest under paragraph 9
(1) of the Code of Conduct of the
  Council as she did not attend the
meeting in question and there was
therefore no breach in respect of
that paragraph.

 

It was found that Cllr Drew had a
personal and prejudicial interest in
the planning application and that her
representations to the Development
Control Committee amounted to seeking
improper influence and was therefore
a breach of paragraph 12 (1) (c) of
the Code of Conduct of the Council.

 

The sanction imposed was censure and
partial suspension for her breaches
of the Code.

Cllr Mrs Drew would be suspended from
any participation in activities
relating to the Development Control
Committee for a period of a minimum
of one month  and until she received
a programme of training on the Code
of Conduct, with particular reference
to planning applications.

 
Dec 2008 Cllr Meakin Breach - failed to comply with
paragraph 12(1)(a) of the Code of
Seaton Town Council Conduct in that he failed to withdraw
from the room or chamber where the
meeting considering the business was
being held and failed to comply with
paragraph 12(1)(b) of the code of
Conduct in that he sought to
improperly influence a decision
regarding the business of  Seaton
Town Council.

 

Sanction imposed was public censure
and suspension of a period of 2
months from office for his breaches
of the Code. Cllr Meakin would,
during his suspension, have to
undertake training on the Code of
Conduct. The Sub-Committee also
demanded a written apology be sent to
the Standards Committee, addressed to
the Monitoring Officer.
Feb 2011 Cllr D Griffiths Breach - It was found that Cllr
Rewe Parish Council Griffiths had close association and
contact with the Isaac family which
constituted a clear Prejudicial
Interest in planning application
09/1031/FUL.

 

The sanction imposed was censure.

 
March 2010 Cllr Metson No breach - there had been no breach
Bishops Clyst Parish of failing to register a personal and
Council prejudicial interest as Councillor
Metson had not attended, and
therefore had not chaired, the
meeting of the Bishop Clyst Parish
Council on 8 December 2008 when the
planning application (08/235/FUL) was
considered.  The Sub-Committee also
rejected the complaints that
Councillor Metson had misused her
authority and behaved inappropriately
after the meeting
March 2011 Cllr Collier The Cllr did not fail to follow
paragraphs
Colyton Parish Council
a)      3(1) failing to treat others
with respect

b)      3(2)(b) bullying

c)       3(2)(c) intimidating, or
attempting to intimidate a person
involved in an allegation made
against the councillors

of the Code of Conduct of Colyton
Parish Council in relation to
interaction with another Councillor
at a meeting of the Colyton Parish
Council held on the 13 September
2010.

 
June 2011 Cllr Dinnis The former Cllr did not fail to
follow paragraphs
EDDC
a)      3(2)(b) bullying

b)      5 bringing an office or
authority into disrepute

c)       6(a) using his position
improperly to secure an advantage or
disadvantage

 

of the Code of Conduct of East Devon
District Council in relation to the
alleged behaviour of the former
Councillor when dealing with planning
applications on 10 July 2009 and 9
March 2010.
July 2011 Cllr Collier Breach:

Colyton Parish Council ·         In saying what he did about
the Reece Strawbridge Centre to
Councillor John Hart, Councillor
Collier brought his office into
disrepute and therefore failed to
follow paragraph 5 of the Code of
Conduct;

·         In his comments at the
meeting of Colyton Parish Council on
8 November 2010 he did not bring his
office into dispute therefore did not
fail to follow paragraph 5 of the
Code of Conduct;

·         Councillor Collier did not
use or attempt to use his position to
improperly confer a disadvantage on
the Reece Strawbridge Trust and
therefore did not fail to follow
paragraph 6(a) of the Code of
Conduct.

 

The Committee decided to sanction
Councillor Collier by censure; and
for Councillor Collier to write a
letter to the Reece Strawbridge Trust
apologising for his comments to
Councillor John Hart about the
Centre, which Councillor Collier has
agreed to undertake.

 
March 2012 Cllr Skinner Although the Sub Committee found no
breach of the Code, they were
EDDC concerned

about public perception in respect of
declarations of interest and
supported the

recommendation of the Investigating
Officer that it was good practice for
members to

declare their interests at Panel
meetings as if they were a Council
Committee.
May 2012 Cllr Allen The Sub Committee found that:

EDDC  

Cllr Mike Allen did not fail to
comply with paragraphs 3(2)(b) or
6(a) of the Code of Conduct based on
evidence presented.

Cllr Mike Allen failed to comply with
paragraphs 3(1) and 5 of the Code of
Conduct.

 

Regarding the complaint of Sandra
Semple (LSB 46) the decision is as
follows:

At the Local Development Framework
Panel meeting of 1 November 2011,
Councillor Allen did not treat
Councillors Giles or Wright with
respect and therefore failed to
follow Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of
Conduct.

By his treatment of Councillor Giles,
Councillor Allen brought his office
into disrepute and therefore failed
to follow Paragraph 5 of the Code of
Conduct.

 

Regarding the complaint of xxxx (LSB
48) the decision is as follows:

At the Local Development Framework
Panel meeting of 1 November 2011,
Councillor Allen did not treat
Councillors Giles or Wright with
respect and therefore failed to
follow Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of
Conduct.

By his treatment of Councillor Giles,
Councillor Allen brought his office
into disrepute and therefore failed
to follow Paragraph 5 of the Code of
Conduct.

 

Regarding the complaint of Councillor
Giles (LSB 47) the decision is as
follows:

At the Local Development Framework
Panel on 16 August 2011, Councillor
Allen did not treat Councillor Wright
with respect and therefore failed to
follow Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of
Conduct.

At the Local Development Framework
Panel on 1 November, Councillor Allen
did not treat Councillors Giles and
Wright with respect and therefore
failed to follow Paragraph 3(1) of
the Code of Conduct.

By his treatment of Councillor Giles,
Councillor Allen brought his office
into disrepute and therefore failed
to follow Paragraph 5 of the Code of
Conduct.

(There was a finding of no breach of
Paragraph 3(1) in respect of
Councillor Giles at the meeting on 4
October because he was eventually
given the opportunity to speak after
a short delay).

 

Regarding the complaint of Councillor
Giles (LSB 50) the decision is as
follows:

By his comments to the Pulman’s View,
Councillor Allen did not treat
Councillor Giles with respect and
therefore failed to follow Paragraph
3(1) of the Code of Conduct.

Councillor Allen brought his office
into disrepute and therefore failed
to follow Paragraph 5 of the Code of
Conduct.

 

The Sub Committee decided to impose
the following sanctions on Cllr Mike
Allen:

Ø  Censure

Ø  A formal letter of apology to the
Council as a whole in which
Councillor Allen is to accept
responsibility for his behaviour and
specifically acknowledging and
apologising for his unacceptable
treatment of Councillor Giles and
Councillor Wright and his failings as
a Chairman,  to be in a form
specified by the Sub Committee.

Ø  Relevant training – to include
media awareness and observation of
examples of well-chaired meetings. 
The Sub Committee recommended that
Councillor Allen is not appointed to
a position of responsibility until
the Council was satisfied that he had
undertaken this training/development.

 
May 2011 Cllr Sheil the Sub Committee found that:

Budleigh Town Council §  Former Councillor John Shiel
failed to comply with paragraphs 3(1)
and 5 of the Code of Conduct.

§  Budleigh Salterton Town Council
to be informed that the Sub-Committee
felt that the town council had good
procedures in place and particularly
referred to the standard paragraph
contained in the planning committee
minutes setting out the declaration
by District Councillors in respect of
their role and reserved rights
(reserving their position, and
keeping an open mind about a planning
application or similar issue until
they are in full possession of all of
the relevant facts and arguments for
and against).

§  When the new Code of Conduct
(under the Localism Act) had been
agreed, for EDDC to ensure that
training of district and local
councillors includes clarification in
respect of the role of district
councillors on parish and town
planning committees.

 

Sanction imposed – Censure.

 
July 2013 Cllr E Wragg The Sub Committee agreed with the
Investigating Officer’s reasoning as
set out in Paragraphs 6.3-6.5 where
the description of ‘arrogant’ was
considered discourteous but not
sufficiently disrespectful to have
breached the Code of Conduct – and
therefore found that she did not
breach the Code in this respect.

However, the Sub Committee found that
Councillor Wragg’s questioning of 
Richard Cohen’s competence was
disrespectful and that she therefore
failed to follow Paragraph 4(a) of
the Code of Conduct for the reasons
given in 6.6-6.11 of the
Investigating Officer’s report;  and

Councillor Wragg made significant
personal criticism of Richard Cohen
in her letter.  The criticism was
made in public and not well founded. 
She had not taken up her concerns
with Richard Cohen privately in the
first instance, as set out in the
protocol for relationships between
Members and Officers.  The Sub
Committee concluded that Cllr Wragg
therefore failed to follow Paragraph
123 of the protocol for relationships
between Members and Officers.

 

The Sub Committee considered the
representations and imposed the
following sanctions:

1.       Censure - Councillor Wragg
was unwilling to accept the finding
of the Sub Committee and advised that
she would take the same action again
in similar circumstances. The
Sub-Committee accepted Councillor
Wragg’s right to challenge
alternative views but this needed to
be done in an appropriate way.

2.       Reporting - The findings of
the Standards Hearing Sub-Committee
to be reported to the Standards
Committee and published through the
Council’s press office. The Press
Release should include details of the
legal advice, and subsequent
correction, given to the Hearing
regarding the complaint procedure.
The Sub-Committee wished to make it
clear that the correction to the
legal advice was a technicality and
did not affect the Sub-Committee’s
findings that Councillor Wragg had
breached the Code of Conduct and had
failed to follow the Protocol on
Relationships between Members and
Officers.

 

The Sub-Committee also made the
following recommendations to the
District Council:

1.       All councillors to receive
training on the protocol on
Relationships between Members and
Officers.

2.       To review and raise
awareness of current Council
procedures for Officers publishing
letters/articles in the Press.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this information is helpful.

 

If you feel dissatisfied with the way we have responded to your request,
please contact our Deputy Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer, Denise
Lyon at [1][email address] or on 01395 516551. You  may
also approach the Information Commissioner for advice at [2]www.ico.gov.uk
or on 0303 123 1113.

 

Regards

Mrs Kate Symington

Information and Complaints Officer

East Devon District Council

 

01395 517417

www.eastdevon.gov.uk

 

 

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Dear Kate Symington,Thank you for your partial reply There have been two Exmouth town Councillors who have been reported to the standards committee in the past three years. Cllr R Turner by the liberal democrat group and again by local residents the complaints were about his handling (chairmanship) of a committee meeting that included poor control of the meeting and failing to respect another councillor. Councillor P Stott was similarly reported to the Standards committee for abusing the public at a meeting of the Exmouth Town council's finance committee.
I did ask for all not some of those who were reported!

Yours sincerely,

Ron Close

Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

This is an automated reply.

 

Please note that I will not be able to respond to your message until
Tuesday 20th August 2013.

 

If you wish to make a complaint or submit a request for information under
the Freedom of Information Act, please refer to our website at
[1]www.eastdevon.gov.uk

 

If you need to complain about an urgent matter, please dial 01395 516551
and speak to a member of our Customer Service Team.

 

 

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eastdevon
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/eastdevon
Subscribe to our connectED enewsletter: http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/enews
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Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

Thank you for your reply Mr Close.

It may be that these complaints did not result in a hearing. I will check on this and respond to you as soon as possible.

Regards

Mrs Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

Mr Close

My apologies for the delay in replying.

The previous information related to complaints which had resulted in a hearing. In all, there are over 100 complaints which fall within the scope of your request for detail of all councillors complained about. This information can be made available for public inspection, here at the Council's offices in Sidmouth or, if there are specific complaints that are of interest (for example, those within one town or ward), we can arrange for these decision notices to be scanned and emailed to you.

Let me know your preference.

Regards

Mrs Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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Dear Kate Symington,
Thank you. It is surprising to hear that there have been so many complaints about councillors. Can you concentrate on the Councillors elected to represent Exmouth Seaton and Budleigh Salterton for the present please?

Yours sincerely,

Ron Close

Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

Mr Close

Yes, we will pull out the information for these areas and respond to you as soon as possible.

Regards

Mrs Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    New Compressed zipped Folder.zip

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Mr Close

 

Please find attached the decision notices regarding complaints about
Councillors in the Exmouth, Seaton and Budleigh Salterton areas as
requested.

If you have any problems opening the attached file – please let me know
and I will send the decision notices as individual attachments.

 

Regards

 

 

 

Mrs Kate Symington

Information and Complaints Officer

East Devon District Council

 

01395 517417

www.eastdevon.gov.uk

 

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