To consider a report by the Head of Legal and Support Serviced (Reference 11/327 attached)
LOCAL ASSESSMENT DECISION NOTICE:
Standards Referrals Sub-Committee
Scarborough Borough Council
Councillor Tom Fox
Date Complaint Received: 28 June 2011
Date of Standards Referrals Sub-Committee Meeting: 6 July 2011
Date of Assessment
Decision Notice: 6 July 2011
Outcome: That no action be taken on the Complaint
1. The Complaint
The Standards Committee of the Scarborough Borough Council recently received a complaint in relation to the Councillor. The following summarises the general nature of the allegations:
The Complainant alleged that for the duration of the 2007 to 2011 Council, Councillor Tom Fox claimed the annual Telecommunications and Internet Connection allowance of £255, albeit that his wife was also a Councillor and claimed the same allowance and was a member of the same household.
The Committee determined to take no action on the complaint in relation to Councillor Tom Fox as under the Member’s Allowance Scheme Council has determined on the advice of the Independent Remuneration Panel that a fixed sum of money be provided toward the telecommunications and internet connection costs of each member.
[Separately in the interests of good governance the Committee determined to ask the Audit Committee to request the Independent Remuneration Panel to review the current arrangements and consider whether there might be any reason for a change to the current scheme.]
At the request of the Complainant the Council’s Standards Appeals Sub-Committee may be convened to review this decision and change a decision not to refer an allegation for investigation. However, the Committee will generally only do this if it is persuaded that the decision was unreasonable in law. This would be if the decision was flawed because of the irregular way in which the allegation was processed or because the decision maker made an irrational judgement on the reported facts.
A request for the Committee to conduct a review must be made in writing addressed to The Standards Committee Support Officer, Scarborough Borough Council, Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough YO11 2HG or by electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A request for a review must be receivedwithin 30 calendar days of the date of this notice. The request must explain in detail the grounds upon which a review is sought.
Where a member of the Committee was the decision maker in relation to the initial referral, the member will take no part in the consideration of any review of the decision. However, such a member is not disqualified from hearing the matter subsequently.
4. Relevant Paragraphs of the Code of Conduct
The code of conduct, so far as relevant, provides as follows:
5. You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute
5. Terms of Reference
s57A of the Local Government Act 2000 (as introduced by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) provides that a person may make a written allegation to the Standards Committee of the Scarborough Borough Council that a member or co-opted member (or former member or co-opted member) of the Council or a Parish Council within the Borough has failed or may have failed to comply with the Relevant Authority’s code of conduct.
Upon receipt by the Committee the Committee must do one of the following:
(a) decide that no action should be taken in respect of the allegation
(b) refer the allegation to the monitoring officer of the Authority for investigation
(c) refer the allegation to the monitoring officer of the Authority mediation, training or alternative action
(d) refer the allegation to the Standards Board for England
The information upon which a decision is made is restricted to information provided by the complainant or is publicly available, for example information in the Members’ Register of Interests and the public minutes of meetings. It will not include interviews or an investigation.
6. Additional Help
If you need additional support in relation to this or future contact with the Committee, please contact the Standards Committee Support Officer on 01723-232432 or by electronic mail at email@example.com.
Date: 4 July 2011
The Committee was informed of complaint 2011/18531
The Committee was further informed that it was required to assess what action should be taken in respect of the complaint. The actions included the following:
(a) no action;
(b) refer the allegation to the monitoring officer to undertake mediation, training or an alternative measure to address the issue;
(c) refer the allegation to the monitoring officer to the Authority for investigation;
(d) refer the allegation to Standards for England.
That in respect of complaint 2011/18531 no further action be taken
The committee recommended that the issues raised be sent to the Audit committee for clarification by the Independent Remuneration Panel.