Agenda item


To pass the following resolution:


“That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Act”.


The MO stated that the first matters to consider were whether the Hearing should proceed in public or private session, and whether the Hearing should proceed in the absence of the Subject Member. She added that the starting position of any Standards Committee meeting should always be in favour of a public Hearing, which should only be held in private under limited circumstances where there is justification in law for doing so. It was noted that this related primarily to where individuals are or are likely to be identified by information contained in the report clearly able to identify individuals involved in the investigation. The MO stated that Members should therefore consider whether the public interest fell on holding the meeting in public or private, and this could be determined by the public’s interest in transparency or member conduct. Matters against the public interest were stated to include specific circumstances that would present a compelling reason to debate the matter in private, such as protecting individuals privacy rights. The MO noted that whilst the report did identify individuals, the Complainants were in attendance at the meeting, and both had confirmed that that they were content for the meeting to proceed in public session.


Questions and Discussion


       i.          The Investigator stated that she had no objections to the Hearing taking place in public in the interest of transparency, so long as no reference was made to sensitive data, and no third parties were identified by referring to them by name.


      ii.          The MO stated that the Independent Person had been contacted and was supportive of holing the Hearing in public. Similarly the Subject Member had been given the opportunity to provide his preference on holding the Hearing in public or private on at least two occasions, to which he had not responded. She added that previous tribunal cases had operated on the basis that elected Councillors should expect more public scrutiny on their actions, in so far as they were relevant to their public office, and members of the public would therefore have an interest in Councillor conduct as it may influence future elections.


     iii.          The Chairman asked whether it could be evidenced that the Subject Member had been contacted for their view on whether the Hearing should proceed in public or private, to which the MO replied that she had emails to confirm this.


    iv.          Cllr N Dixon stated that he saw no reason to move into private session and was therefore supportive of continuing the Hearing in public.


      v.          Cllr L Shires stated that she was supportive of holding a public Hearing, given that the investigation covered matters which had taken place in public.


    vi.          Cllr P Porter agreed that the events leading to the investigation had taken place in public and she was therefore supportive of holding the Hearing in public.


   vii.          Cllr A Brown stated that he agreed that the Hearing should be held in public.


  viii.          The Chairman agreed that the Hearing should proceed in public.   




To hold the meeting in public session.