Venue: The Council House, Burcot Lane, Bromsgrove. View directions
Contact: Debbie Parker-Jones
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from District Councillors Mrs. S. J. Baxter and L. C. R. Mallett.
Mrs. K. May, Deputy Parish Councils' Representative, substituted for Mr. J. Cypher, Parish Councils' Representative, who was precluded from participating in the proceedings as both he and the Subject Member were Members of Alvechurch Parish Council.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were received.
[To make a final determination in relation to Complaint References 03/10 and 04/10 against Alvechurch Parish Councillor D Matthews.]
Further to Minute No. 17/11 of the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 8th July 2011, the Committee considered a report of the Investigating Officer on an alleged failure by Parish Councillor David Matthews to follow the Alvechurch Parish Council Code of Conduct. The allegation (which arose from two linked complaints) concerned Councillor Matthews's failure to declare an interest during discussions of a proposed development of a site in Alvechurch at three Alvechurch Parish Council meetings.
It was noted that at the meeting on 8th July 2011 the Committee had agreed to make public the Investigating Officer's report, subject to certain personal data contained in both the Investigating Officer's report and Schedule of Evidence which had to remain exempt and which could not therefore be discussed in public. It was further noted that no request had been made by Councillor Matthews as part of the pre-hearing process for any part of the hearing to take place in closed session, and with the agreement of all parties present it was agreed that the hearing would continue in public.
A report of the Investigating Officer dated 27th June 2011, which found that Councillor Matthews had failed to follow the Alvechurch Parish Council Code of Conduct in relation to the allegation, was considered. The Committee was asked to determine whether, based on the facts set out in the report and the representations made at the hearing, it agreed with the Investigating Officer's findings.
A copy of a letter from Councillor Matthews dated 29th August 2011, which included an apology from him for an "unintended" breach of the Code together with a statement for the Committee's attention in relation to the complaints, was included in the agenda papers.
Councillor Matthews was present at the hearing and represented himself. No witnesses were called by either Councillor Matthews or the Investigating Officer.
(a) that Councillor Matthews had failed to follow the Code of Conduct by not declaring a personal interest at meetings of Alvechurch Parish Council on 13th July 2009 and 14th September 2009, contrary to paragraph 9 of the Alvechurch Parish Council Code of Conduct; and
(b) that the following sanction be imposed on Councillor Matthews:
1. that Councillor Matthews be required to attend training on the Code of Conduct to be arranged by the Monitoring Officer, such training to take place by 1st December 2011; and
2. that Councillor Matthews be subject to a partial suspension from Alvechurch Parish Council limited to not attending two meetings namely:
(i) the meeting of the Planning Committee of Alvechurch Parish Council on 7th November 2011; and
(ii) the full Parish Council meeting on 14th November 2011.
There were no recommendations to the authority but the Committee agreed, as an additional action, that the Chairman of the Committee would write to the Chairmen and Clerks of the parish councils within the Bromsgrove District endorsing the Code of Conduct training provided by Bromsgrove District Council and encouraging all parish councillors to attend.
(A copy ... view the full minutes text for item 36.