The Monitoring Officer presented a report to decide what action
to take in respect of 4 complaints against Councillor X regarding
the following paragraphs of the Code of Conduct:
Section 3-(1): You must treat others with
Section 3-(2)(a) You must not- do anything which may
cause your authority to breach any of its equalities duties (in
particular as set out in the Equality Act 2010).
all four complaints were relating to the same incident they were
heard as one complaint.
The complaints were received between 30th July 2019
and 6th August 2019. The Monitoring Officer and Deputy
Monitoring Officer met with Councillor X on 21st August
to discuss the complaints.
The Monitoring Officer sought the views of an Independent
Standards Consultancy. Their advice was included in the Monitoring
The Committee considered the external advice, asked questions of
the Monitoring Officer and sought the views of both Independent
The Sub-Committee initially considered if the complaint met the
initial tests as set out in the report:
It is a complaint against one or more named councillors of the
The named councillor was in office at the time of the alleged
conduct and the Code of Conduct was in force at the time;
The complaint, it proved, would be a breach of the Code under which
the councillor was operating at the time of the alleged
The Committee felt that the complaints did not meet paragraph
(c) of the initial tests and therefore the Code of Conduct was not
Complaints A-D: Code of Conduct not engaged. Equalities Act
training required for all councillors.
Reasons for Decision
The Committee considered the complaint and evidence submitted
and found that whilst Councillor X’s choice of words were ill
advised, there was insufficient evidence for them to find that the
provisions of the Equality Act 2010 was specifically breached which
is the requirement of the Code of Conduct. The Committee felt strongly that mandatory
training for all councillors on the duties set out in the
Equalities Act should be organised as soon as possible.
The Committee considered that the balance between Freedom of
Expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human
Rights and treating others with respect under the Code of Conduct
was a fine line but one which they did not consider Councillor X to
have crossed on this occasion.
declared the meeting closed at 12.25pm)