[To make a final determination in relation to Complaint Reference 01/11 against District Councillor Dr. D. W. P. Booth.]
Further to the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 27th April 2012, the Committee considered a report of the Investigating Officer on an alleged failure by District Councillor Dr. Del Booth to follow the Bromsgrove District Council Code of Conduct. The allegation concerned Councillor Dr. Booth's alleged failure to declare a personal and prejudicial interest at a meeting of the Cabinet on 5th October 2011, in connection with the transfer of land comprising the recreation ground at Housman Close, Charford, Bromsgrove to Bromsgrove District Housing Trust.
It was noted that at the meeting on 27th April 2012 the Committee had agreed to make public the Investigating Officer's report, subject to certain personal data contained in the report (the name of Councillor Dr. Booth's partner) which would remain subject to exemption and could not therefore be discussed in public. It was further noted that no request had been made by Councillor Dr. Booth 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 therefore agreed that the hearing would continue in public.
A report of the Investigating Officer dated 29th February 2012, which found that Councillor Dr. Booth had failed to follow the Bromsgrove District Council Code of Conduct in relation to part of the allegation, namely that Councillor Dr. Booth had failed to declare a personal interest, was considered. The Investigating Officer had further found that the personal interest did not amount to a prejudicial interest. 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.
Councillor Dr. Booth was present at the hearing and represented himself. Mr. Michael Blamire-Brown, the Investigating Officer, was also present. No witnesses were called by either Councillor Dr. Booth or the Investigating Officer.
(a) that Councillor Dr. Booth had failed to follow the Code of Conduct by not declaring a personal interest at the Cabinet meeting of Bromsgrove District Council on 5th October 2011, contrary to paragraph 9 of the Bromsgrove District Council Code of Conduct; and
(b) that the following sanction be imposed on Councillor Dr. Booth:
that Councillor Dr. Booth be required to attend one of the training sessions for Members on the Code of Conduct which are scheduled to take place on 13th, 18th and 20th June 2012, or in the event he is unable to attend one of those sessions, such other training on the Code as may be arranged for him by the Monitoring Officer.
There were no recommendations to the authority. However, the Committee asked for the following statement to be noted for the record:
"Generally, the Committee would take this opportunity to emphasise the importance of regular training and to encourage all elected Members to attend the Standards training that is arranged for Members."
(A copy of the Committee's full decision, together with the reasons for it, is appended.)