Venue: Committee Room G
Contact: Angela Guest, Regulatory Committee Manager
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter
(i) Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or
(ii) Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
Recommendation: That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information under the relevant paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
To inform the Member Conduct Panel about the outcome of an investigation into alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct by a member and to invite the Panel to make decisions as to the future progress of the complaint.
Confidential: Not for publication under paragraph 1:
Information relating to any individual.
NOTICE OF A DECISION OF THE MEMBER CONDUCT PANEL
Date of Panel meeting: 30 November 2018
Allegation concerning: Mr Peter Martin
Chairman of Panel: Mr Ken Gulati
Members of Panel: Mrs Hazel Watson
Mr Tim Hall
Investigating Officer: Mr Richard Lingard
Independent Person: Mr Bernard Quoroll
Date of Final decision: 14 December 2018
1) The Member Conduct Panel has been established as part of Surrey County Council’s arrangements for dealing with complaints made about the conduct of Surrey County Councillors and Co-opted Members.
2) Mr Martin is a Member of Surrey County Council.
3) Mr Bernard Quorroll has been appointed by Surrey County Council as an Independent Person as defined by S28(7) of the Localism Act 2011
Consideration of Complaint
1. The Member Conduct Panel met on 30 November 2018 to consider the report of an investigation into a complaint where the complainant had alleged that questions asked of them by Mr Martin during a meeting with him were ‘unlawful’ and ‘unjustified’ and that the line of questioning constituted harassment and discrimination.
2. Prior to taking the decisions set out below the Panel sought and took into account the views of the Independent Person.
3. The complaint was initially considered by the Monitoring Officer and the Independent Person and the matter was referred for an investigation into whether there had been a breach of paragraphs 3 and 9 of the Council’s Code of Conduct for Members (the Code).
4. Paragraph 3 of the Code provides: ‘When carrying out your public duties you must make all choices (such as making public appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits) on merit, and must be impartial and be seen to be impartial.’ The Investigating Officer found that there had been no breach of this paragraph because, in his conversation with the complainant, Mr Martin was not taking part in a decision making process.
5. The Investigating Officer found that Mr Martin’s conduct during the meeting with the complainant did amount to a breach of Paragraph 9 of the Code, which provides: You must promote and support high standards of conduct (characterised by the above requirements) by leadership and example when serving in your public post.
6. The Member Conduct Panel met to consider whether Mr Martin did fail to comply with the Code, and what action to take.
7. After hearing from the Investigating Officer and from Mr Martin, and consulting the Independent Person, the Panel asked the Investigating Officer to provide further information as to the feedback provided by Mr Martin following his meeting with the complainant. On receipt of this information, the Panel concluded that Mr Martin was not taking part in a decision making process in his conversation with them, and had therefore not failed to comply with Paragraph 3 of the Code.
8. The Panel considered all the circumstances of the case, and concluded that Mr Martin had failed to comply with Paragraph 9 of the Code.
Reasons and Action
9. The Panel ... view the full decision text for item 4.
PUBLICITY FOR PART 2 ITEMS
To consider whether the items considered under the confidential part (part 2) of the agenda should be made available to the Press and public.