Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Local politics - Shropshire style

From the Shropshire Star:
A fight broke out at a Shropshire town council meeting, leaving a 67-year-old councillor needing hospital treatment.

Councillor Tony Pound ... suffered cuts to his head, a swollen jaw and bruising and swelling to his neck in the fracas at a Ludlow Town Council meeting last night.

He was treated for his injuries in the accident and emergency department of Hereford Hospital.

The scuffle broke out at the end of a meeting of Ludlow Town Council’s markets, amenities and cemeteries committee and involved Councillor Pound and town clerk Paul Russell. Police are investigating.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It seems that the amenities have been neglected for too long.

Jonathan said...

If you lamped the town clerk every time a community had poor facilities, local government in England would soon become impossible.

Anonymous said...

Standards Board Case Summary

The following case summaries concern members of the selected authority. The most recent cases are displayed first.

Case no. SBE1125.02, SBE1318.02 and SBE1349.02

APE Tribunal no. APE0148

Member: Councillor Anthony Pound

Authority: Ludlow Town Council

Date received: 16 Sep 2002

Date referred to the Adjudication Panel for England: 06 Nov 2003

Date completed: 06 Jan 2004

Allegation: A member failed to disclose a personal interest and failed to withdraw from meetings when a matter in which he had a prejudicial interest was discussed.

SBE outcome: Referred to the Adjudication Panel for England for determination by a tribunal.

APE outcome:
Disqualified for two years.

The Ethical Standards Officer investigated an allegation that Councillor Anthony Pound had breached the Code of Conduct by failing to declare a personal and prejudicial interest at and taking part in certain discussions at Ludlow Town Council meetings. The discussions in question took place on 22 July 2002, 5 September 2002, 14 October 2002 and 13 January 2003 and concerned the dismissal of a council employee, who was Councillor Pound's niece. Councillor Pound did not declare an interest at the meetings (with the exception of the last meeting, when he declared a personal interest at the end of the meeting), and participated in the discussions.

The Ethical Standards Officer considered that Councillor Pound had a personal and prejudicial interest in the discussions concerning his niece's employment with the council. A member of the public would reasonably regard Councillor Pound's interest in the dismissal of his niece as so significant that it would be likely to prejudice his judgement of the public interest. The Ethical Standards Officer therefore considered that Councillor Pound breached the Code by failing to declare a personal interest and failing to withdraw from the meetings.

The Ethical Standards Officer also believed that Councillor Pound had brought his office or authority into disrepute and used his position as a member improperly to try to secure an advantage for his niece at the meetings.

The Ethical Standards Officer decided to refer the matter to the Adjudication Panel for England for determination by a tribunal.

The Adjudication Panel for England's case tribunal found that Councillor Pound had failed to declare a personal interest and failed to withdraw from the meetings in which he had a prejudicial interest. The case tribunal also found that Councillor Pound tried to improperly secure an advantage for his niece at the meetings on 22 July 2002 and 5 September 2002, which discussed the dismissal of the niece and the related question of whether the niece had received training. The case tribunal believed that this conduct had brought Councillor Pound's office or authority into disrepute.

The case tribunal decided to disqualify Councillor Pound from being a member for two years.


Relevant Paragraphs of the Code of Conduct

The allegation in this case relates to Paragraphs 4, 5(a), 7, 8, 9(1) and 10 of the Code of Conduct. Paragraph 4 states that "a member must not in his official capacity, or any other circumstance, conduct himself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his office or authority into disrepute". Paragraph 5(a) states that a member "must not in his official capacity, or any other circumstance, use his position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for himself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage". Paragraph 7 states that "a member must regard himself as having a personal interest in any matter if the matter relates to an interest in respect of which notification must be given under paragraphs 12 and 13 below, or if a decision upon it might be regarded as affecting to a greater extent than other council taxpayers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the authority's area, the well-being or financial position of himself, a relative or friend". Paragraph 8 states that "a member with a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered must disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest at the commencement of that consideration, or when the interest becomes apparent". Paragraph 9(1) states that "a member with a personal interest in a matter also has a prejudicial interest in that matter if the interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the member's judgement of the public interest". Paragraph 10 states that a member with a prejudicial interest in any matter must "(a) withdraw from the room or chamber where a meeting is being held whenever it becomes apparent that the matter is being considered at that meeting" and that he must "(b) not seek improperly to influence a decision about that matter".

Anonymous said...

Ludlow Town Council
Case no. SBE19691.07
Member: Councillor Graeme Kidd
Authority: Ludlow Town Council
Date received: 10 Sep 2007
Date completed: 04 Mar 2008

Allegation:

The member failed to disclose a personal interest, failed to withdraw from a meeting in which they had a prejudicial interest and improperly secured an advantage or disadvantage.
[..]
The complainant alleged that Councillor Graeme Kidd failed to declare an interest in his limited company, Cittaslow UK Limited, at numerous meetings between March 2006 and August 2007 when Ludlow Town Council discussed it.

It was also alleged that Councillor Kidd used his position to secure an advantage for himself as the sole shareholder of Cittaslow UK.

The complaint further alleged that Councillor Kidd did not declare an interest in a disciplinary matter involving the town clerk, who was the company secretary for Cittaslow UK and therefore Councillor Kidd’s employee.
[..]
In March 2006 Cittaslow UK was set up as a limited company by changing the name of an existing limited company already owned by Councillor Kidd. At no time did Councillor Kidd declare his interest as the president and sole shareholder of Cittaslow UK.

Councillor Kidd stated that the company was run on a not-for-profit basis and that he intended to turn it into a community interest company. Community interest companies are registered as such with a regulator and are created for people who want to run a business for the benefit of the community rather than a private advantage. Councillor Kidd admitted that he had not yet done this but commented that it was still his intention and that he had stated on public record that he had taken no profits from Cittaslow UK, nor would he.

The ethical standards officer considered that under the Code of Conduct, a member has a personal interest in any matter relating to a company of which they are a director and that Councillor Kidd had failed to comply with the Code by not declaring this interest when matters related to Cittaslow UK were discussed.

[..]

Relevant paragraphs of the Code of Conduct

The allegations in this case relate to paragraphs 5(a) 9, and 12 of the Code of Conduct. Paragraph 5(a) states that a member "must not in his official capacity, or any other circumstance, use his position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for himself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage".

Paragraph 9 states that "a member with a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered must disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest at the commencement of that consideration, or when the interest becomes apparent".

Paragraph 12 states that a member with a prejudicial interest in any matter must "withdraw from the room or chamber where a meeting is being held whenever it becomes apparent that the matter is being considered at that meeting" and that he must "not seek improperly to influence a decision about that matter".