Agenda and minutes

Standards Panel
Tuesday, 13th October, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking, Surrey GU21 6YL

Contact: Doug Davern 

Items
No. Item

1.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

“That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of items 2 and 3 in view of the nature of the proceedings that, if members of the press and public were present during these items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Paragraph 1 – Information relating any individual.”

 

PART II – PRESS AND PUBLIC EXCLUDED

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of items 2 to 4 in view of the nature of the proceedings that, if members of the press and public were present during these items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, to the Local Government Act 1972.

Paragraph 1 – information relating to any individual.

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary and other interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

Minutes:

No Declarations of Interest were made.

 

The Director of Legal and Democratic Services / Monitoring Officer advised that due to Councillor Bond being unable to sit on the Sub-Committee for the Local Hearing, Councillor Boote was attending the meeting as his appointed Substitute.

3.

Election of Vice-Chairman

Minutes:

Councillor Elson was elected Vice-Chairman of the Sub-Committee for the remainder of the Municipal Year.

4.

Local Hearing - Arrangements for dealing with Standards Allegations under Localism Act 2011 STA20-015

Reporting Person – Peter Bryant

Minutes:

The Chairman stated that the purpose of the meeting was to hold a Local Hearing into a complaint that Councillor Bond had failed to comply with the Members’ Code of Conduct.  The process to be followed at the Hearing was outlined and it was noted that the Sub-Committee would need to determine whether there had been a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct and, if so, what, if any, action should be taken as a result. 

 

The Chairman introduced John Austin to the Sub-Committee who had been appointed by the Monitoring Officer to investigate the matter and report the findings to the Sub-Committee, following the decision of the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Independent Person, Tim Stokes, that local resolution of the complaint was not appropriate.

 

In addition to the committee report circulated alongside the publication of the agenda, a supplementary report was received which contained the response submitted by Councillor Bond to the report from John Austin.

 

John Austin advised that he was independent of the local authority and referred Members to his summary biography which was included in the report.  He advised that he had been commissioned to investigate an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct by Councillor Bond by way of submitting a formal complaint to the Monitoring Officer on 19 October 2019 regarding Declarations of Interest reported at a Council meeting, which did not follow the requirements set out in the ‘Protocol for Complaints Submitted by Members under the Members’ Code of Conduct’, adopted by the Council on 4 April 2019.  John Austin thanked Councillor Bond for co-operating fully with the investigation.

 

John Austin outlined his report and stated that the investigation had concluded that there was evidence to show that Councillor Bond had breached the confidentiality provisions within the Protocol, and therefore had breached the Council’s Code of Conduct, specifically in relation to paragraph 2.6, which required Members to comply with any related Member Protocols. 

 

Councillor Bond advised that he had no questions for John Austin.  Sub-Committee Members asked questions of John Austin regarding the issue of Declarations of Interest.  The Monitoring Officer was asked a question of training on Protocols for Members and the availability of the latest version of the Constitution on the Council’s website.

 

The Chairman gave Councillor Bond the opportunity to present his case to the Sub-Committee.  Councillor Bond referred to his concerns over Declarations of Interest for the Council’s subsidiary companies and stated that the information held by Companies House and the listing on the Thameswey website had been updated.  He stated that he welcomed transparency and had not realised he was in breach of the Code of Conduct by the way in which the formal complaint was submitted, adding that he was happy to apologise for the mistake.

 

John Austin stated that he had no questions for Councillor Bond.  A Sub-Committee Member asked a question regarding raising the issue as a formal complaint as opposed to a question regarding process.

 

The Chairman gave the Independent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.