FOI Disclosure Log

Customer Request Details

12 February 2021

1.            In 2020 how many times was your council’s Monitoring Officer tasked with investigating the actions of a (i) councillor for your authority or (ii) a parish councillor in relation to an allegation/claim that they had breached any code or guidance into how they should conduct themselves.

 

2.            For each case where the Monitoring Officer ruled there was a breach please provide details of the case and specifically (i) what council the councillor was a member of and (ii) a brief summary of the conduct and (iii) any sanction that was recommended.



East Herts Council Response

05 March 2021

Thank you for your request for information, this has now been processed and the information that we hold is enclosed.

 

1.            In 2020 how many times was your council’s Monitoring Officer tasked with investigating the actions of a (i) councillor for your authority or (ii) a parish councillor in relation to an allegation/claim that they had breached any code or guidance into how they should conduct themselves.

The Monitoring officer reported how many complaints they had dealt with in 2020 to the Audit & Governance Committee on 17th November, which is available here: http://democracy.eastherts.gov.uk/documents/s53929/Standards%20Update.pdf?J=4

 at paragraph 2.9. Since that report went to A&G, another two complaints were made, taking the total number of complaints  considered in 2020 to 7. Of those 7, one was an EHDC Councillor, and the rest were Parish or Town Councillors.

2.            For each case where the Monitoring Officer ruled there was a breach please provide details of the case and specifically (i) what council the councillor was a member of and (ii) a brief summary of the conduct and (iii) any sanction that was recommended.

The Monitoring officer only considered that one of the complaints may have been a breach, this is Complaint 3/2020 in the table at paragraph 2.9 of the report to A&G.

  1. The Councillor was an East Herts District Councillor,
  2. It involved perceived inappropriate language used at the close of a meeting. Several witnesses to the incident said they felt the Councillor in question could have expressed themselves differently, but didn’t feel it was meant in the way it was received by the complainant. In my determination, having consulted the Independent Person, the language used was ill-advised and clumsy, but having spoken to the Councillor and the witnesses, perhaps not intended in the way it was taken by the complainant. Nevertheless, the Councillor should not have used the language which they did, which is why I considered it may have breached the Code of Conduct.
  3. Complaint was dealt with informally under paragraph 4.2 of the Complaints Procedure by way of an apology, which the Councillor was happy to provide, and the complainant was happy to receive.

If you have any queries or complaint about the processing of your request please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Alternatively for more information on the Freedom of Information Act contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioners Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 0303 123 1113

https://ico.org.uk/

 

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.

 

Thank you for your request.