Decision Maker: Audit Hearings Sub-Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Sub-Committee considered the final report of the Investigating Officer, Helen Potts which was presented to the Monitoring Officer on 30th November, 2018.
The report related to allegations in respect of Town Councillors Jessie Credland, Michael Glynn and William Morrison of Hatfield Town Council, that they had breached the Hatfield Town Council’s Member Code of Conduct. The investigation had been undertaken following a complaint, submitted by Mrs Clare McRoy, Clerk to Hatfield Town Council on 20th June, 2018, alleging that the three Councillors had handed her a letter dated 11th June 2018, dismissing her from her post as Clerk. The complainant alleged that the three Councillors had no authority to issue the letter and did so without the knowledge of the rest of the Councillors, or any proper processes being followed. It was also alleged that Councillor Morrison had passed on an email without authority or permission to another Councillor that Mrs McRoy had sent to him marked ‘confidential’.
The Investigating Officer summarised the main findings within her report, in particular, outlining the rationale for reaching her conclusions that, in respect of complaints regarding Town Councillors Jessie Credland and Michael Glynn and William Morrison had failed to comply with the Hatfield Town Council Code of Conduct (“the Code of Conduct”) in relation to the following obligations of the Code:-
· He/she shall behave in such a way that a reasonable person would regard as respectful.
· He/she shall not act in a way which a reasonable person would regard as bullying or intimidatory.
In addition, Morrison had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct in relation to the following Obligation of the Code:-
· He/she shall not disclose information which is confidential or where disclosure if prohibited by law
Town Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison were each provided the opportunity to question the Investigator on the content of her report. Members of the Hearings Sub-Committee were then afforded the opportunity to ask questions of the Investigating Officer.
The subject members, Town Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison, were invited to present their respective cases, following which the Sub-Committee asked them a number of questions with regard to the allegations.
The Investigating Officer was then invited to sum up the complaints. Town Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison were afforded the opportunity to sum up their respective cases, prior to the Sub-Committee reaching its decision on these matters in private.
On the conclusion of this part of the process, in accordance with the Hearings Procedure, all parties with the exception of the Monitoring Officer, the Independent Person and the Clerk were asked to leave the room to allow the Sub-Committee to deliberate in private, in order to determine whether or not there had been breaches of the Code of Conduct and, if so, whether any sanctions should be imposed. In reaching its conclusions, the Sub-Committee considered the representations and evidence, in consultation with the Independent Person.
All parties were then re-admitted to the meeting and the Chair announced the Sub-Committee’s decision.
Having regard to the report and findings of the Investigation conducted by Helen Potts, Investigating Officer on behalf of the Monitoring Officer, the Hearings Sub-Committee accepted the Investigating Officer’s findings that there had been a failure by Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison to comply with Obligations 1 and 2 of the Code of Conduct adopted by Hatfield Town Council. In addition, there had been a failure by Councillor Morrison to comply with Obligation 5 of Hatfield Town Council’s Code of Conduct for the reasons identified in the Investigating Officer’s report, and agreed that sanctions should be applied.
(1) the Investigating Officers findings that there had been a failure by Town Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison to comply with Obligations 1 and 2 of the Code of Conduct adopted by Hatfield Town Council and there had been a failure by Town Councillor Morrison to comply with Obligation 5 of the Code of Conduct adopted by Hatfield Town Council, be accepted; and
(2) that in the circumstances of this case, appropriate sanctions to be imposed upon Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison be as follows:-
i. that Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison be censured and reprimanded for their actions;
ii. that Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison each provide a written apology to Clare McRoy, copied to the Monitoring Officer;
iii. that the Sub-Committee’s findings in respect of Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison’s conduct be published on Doncaster Council’s website and to recommend to Hatfield Town Council that the Sub-Committee’s findings be published on its website;
iv. That the Sub-Committee’s findings be reported to Hatfield Town Council, for consideration;
v. To recommend to Hatfield Town Council that Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison undertake training at the expense of Hatfield Town Council on the Member Code of Conduct and the roles and duties of a Councillor, to be arranged with the Yorkshire Local Council’s Association;
vi. To recommend that Town Councillor Morrison also undertakes training on General Data Protection Regulations; and
vii. To recommend to Hatfield Town Council to immediately remove Councillors Credland, Glynn and Morrison from the Hatfield Town Council Personnel Committee and, not to consider their reappointment to that Committee for a period of two years after the completion of the training at Recommendation v. (and in the case of Councillor Morrison Recommendation vi., and the receipt of the apologies detailed at Recommendation ii.
Publication date: 31/01/2019
Date of decision: 22/01/2019
Decided at meeting: 22/01/2019 - Audit Hearings Sub-Committee