Code of con­duct com­plaints put un­der spot­light

Loughborough Echo - - SHEPSHED SCENE - By Me­gan Cox me­gan.cox@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

MORE than 60 com­plaints about par­ish, town and bor­ough coun­cil­lors breach­ing the Code of Con­duct have been made in the last five years.

Charn­wood Bor­ough Coun­cil has re­vealed it re­ceived 10 com­plaints in 2012/13, six in 2013/14, 21 in 2014/15 and 14 in 2015/16.

Last year seven Code of Con­duct com­plaints - six re­lat­ing to par­ish/ town coun­cil­lors, and one re­lat­ing to a bor­ough coun­cil­lor - were lodged.

And so far this year (2017/18) three com­plaints have been made about bor­ough coun­cil­lors - two of which re­late to Coun Har­ley Hachem.

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil, 50 of the com­plaints were found to need ‘no fur­ther ac­tion’. The rest were ‘in­ves­ti­gated’, had ‘other’ ac­tion taken, or went be­fore a hear­ing.

The Echo asked Charn­wood Bor­ough Coun­cil to re­veal which coun­cil­lors had re­ceived com­plaints and why.

A spokesper­son told the Echo: “The coun­cil’s view is that while the process should be as trans­par­ent as pos­si­ble, coun­cil­lors should not be iden­ti­fied in re­ports over un­sub­stan­ti­ated com­plaints.

“Once a com­plaint is re­ceived, it is re­viewed by the Mon­i­tor­ing Of­fi­cer who de­cides if any fur­ther ac­tion is re­quired in con­sul­ta­tion with an in­de­pen­dent per­son.

“Fur­ther ac­tion is only taken if there is enough ev­i­dence of a po­ten­tial breach for the Code of Con­duct and it is of a sig­nif­i­cantly se­ri­ous na­ture.

“We nor­mally only re­lease names of coun­cil­lors where a com­plaint goes to the hear­ing stage.”

The spokesper­son told the Echo, there­fore, they could only give the fol­low­ing details; that a com­plaint made in 2016/17 pro­ceeded to a hear­ing, held on Oc­to­ber 7 2016.

The com­plaint was against Coun Janet Mid­g­ley, of Sys­ton Town Coun­cil, and the hear­ing found the general con­duct of Coun Mid­g­ley in re­spect to an­other coun­cil­lor to be in breach of the town coun­cil’s code of con­duct.

Coun Mid­g­ley ap­pealed against the panel’s de­ci­sion, but her ap­peal was not up­held. In­for­ma­tion on the hear­ing and ap­peal is pub­licly avail­able at www.charn­wood.gov.uk

The spokesper­son said dur­ing 2017/18, as al­ready re­ported in the Echo, two com­plaints were re­ceived against bor­ough coun­cil­lor Coun Har­ley Hachem.

The Echo re­ported at the start of Septem­ber that county coun­cil­lor Max Hunt had sub­mit­ted a com­plaint about the Ashby ward coun­cil­lor.

The spokesper­son said: “For the first com­plaint it was con­cluded at the fact find­ing stage that no fur­ther ac­tion or in­ves­ti­ga­tion was re­quired as there was no ev­i­dence of any breach of the Code of Con­duct. The sec­ond is still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.”

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