Agenda and minutes

Standards Hearing Panel - Thursday, 29th April, 2021 9.30 am

Venue: online via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Committee Services  Email:

Link: View Meeting

No. Item


SHS 21/1

Election of Chairman pdf icon PDF 3 KB

To elect a Chairman for this meeting of the Standards Hearing Panel


RESOLVED: That Councillor J Sergison be elected as the Chairman for this meeting of the Standards Hearing Panel.

SHS 21/2

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 3 KB


There were no declarations of interest made in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

SHS 21/3

Consideration of Matters in Public pdf icon PDF 3 KB

The Hearing Panel to determine whether the confidential report may be considered in public


The Hearing Panel was invited to determine whether the confidential report of the Monitoring Officer could be considered in public.  The Panel was advised that the Hearing should be held in public unless there was a good reason to exclude the public.


RESOLVED:  That the Hearing be carried out in private, pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. 


SHS 21/4

Exclusion of Press and Public pdf icon PDF 4 KB


The Chairman moved, it was seconded and


RESOLVED:  That as public discussion would disclose exempt information, the following matters be considered in private.

SHS 21/5

Code of Conduct Complaint against a Parish Councillor

Members are asked to consider a complaint made by the Parish Clerk that a Parish Councillor had breached the Parish Council’s Code of Conduct


The Hearing Panel of the Joint Standards Committee gave consideration to an allegation that a parish councillor had breached the Code of Conduct of Kings Hill Parish Council.


The Panel received the report of the external independent investigator (Investigating Officer), Mr A Oram of CH&I Associates, who had been appointed to carry out the investigation into the allegation.  The report, dated 29 March 2021, contained details of the relevant legislation and protocols, evidence gathered and witness statements made by and supporting the complainant.  In addition to the Investigating Officer’s report the Panel agreed to accept and have regard to a written statement received from the Solicitor to the Subject Member dated 16 March 2021 which had been circulated as a supplementary report in advance of the meeting.


The Investigating Officer made an oral presentation to the Panel regarding the complaint made by the complainant about the conduct of the Subject Member on a number of occasions between 17 March and 17 June 2020.  The report concluded that, following the events of 17 March 2020, the Subject Member had failed to treat the complainant with respect, to the extent that he bullied and intimidated her.  The Investigators also found that the Subject Member had subsequently criticised and challenged the complainant in an inappropriate manner with the intention to embarrass and demean her.


The Investigating Officer’s report concluded that there had been breaches of the Kings Hill Parish Council Code of Conduct on the part of the Subject Member consisting of a failure to observe the following Member Obligations:-


“When a member of the Council acts, claims to act or gives the impression of acting as a representative of the Council, he/she has the following obligations


(1)             He/she shall behave in such a way that a reasonable person would regard as respectful; and

(2)             He/she shall not act in a way which a reasonable person would regard as bullying or intimidatory.”


The Subject Member indicated that he had no questions to put to the Investigating Officer regarding his report.


The Panel heard the views of the Independent Person, Mr D Mercier, who acknowledged the Subject Member’s decision to instruct his solicitors to provide his written statement but expressed concern that the only real evidence of the matters set outin the complaint was the account of the complainant set out in the Investigator’s report.  The Independent Person noted that, while refuting the account of the complainant, the Subject Member had failed to provide any specifics relating to the conversations which had taken place.  The Independent Person felt that the Subject Member’s lack of engagement with the process may not have helped and believed that, on the balance of probabilities and in the absence of any real evidence to the contrary, there seemed to have been a breach in the Code.


The Panel had regard to all the evidence, including the Investigating Officer’s report and the evidence given by the Subject Member, both written and oral, and, having taken into account the  ...  view the full minutes text for item SHS 21/5