Agenda and decisions

Code of Conduct Review Panel Hearing - Monday, 12th December, 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Introductions

2.

Election of Chairman for the Review Panel

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    Decision:

    Cllr Philip Knowles was voted in as Chairman for this Review Panel only.

3.

Declarations of Interests

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    Decision:

    Interests declared were included as part of the decision notice at item 6.

4.

Procedure for Hearing pdf icon PDF 82 KB

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    To agree the procedure for the Review Panel Hearing.

    Decision:

    It was agreed to follow the procedure as set out in the agenda pack.

5.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

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    Under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public may be excluded from the meeting during the following item of business, on the grounds that if they were to be present, exempt information could be disclosed to them as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

    Decision:

    Under Section 100(a)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public were excluded from the meeting for the following item of business, on the grounds that if they were present, exempt information could be disclosed to them as defined in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

6.

Code of Conduct Investigation Report

    Inclusive of:

     

    ·       Investigation Report from Monitoring Officer

    ·       Response from subject Councillor

Decision:

DECISION

 

The hearing was held to consider whether Councillor Baxter had failed to comply with the District Council’s Code of Conduct.

 

This hearing was convened in accordance with the requirement of the Localism Act 2011 to have procedure in place for the determination of complaints that a Member may have breached the Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

The Panel heard representations from Councillor Baxter in respect of the procedure, which he indicated had not been approved by the Council, and had regard to those representations before deciding to proceed with the procedure set out on the agenda.

 

Councillor Baxter attended the hearing, along with his representatives Councillor Phil Dilks and Councillor Virginia Moran.

 

After electing a Chairman, members moved to declarations of interests. Councillors Knowles and Fellows declared that they were present at the meeting of Full Council held on 3 March but were entering the Panel with an open mind and would make a decision on the basis of the investigation report. Councillor Broughton declared that although he was a member of the Conservative Group, he had not been present at the Council meeting on 3 March and was not part of the overall complaint lodged on behalf of the Conservative Group.

 

Having had regard to the submissions of the Acting Monitoring Officer and Councillor Baxter in respect of the public interest, the Panel determined to consider the complaint in private on the grounds that paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A to Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 applied. The press and public were excluded from the meeting at this stage of proceedings.

 

The first part of the complaint was submitted by a member of the Conservative Group on behalf of the whole group, who alleged that, during a council meeting held on 3 March 2022, Councillor Baxter had disrespected the office of the Chairman of the Council on several occasions during the meeting. The second part of the complaint stated that Councillor Baxter disrespected three senior officers by making unfounded accusations challenging their personal integrity.

 

The Panel then heard oral, and read written findings from the Acting Monitoring Office, who had undertaken the investigation of the complaint. The Acting Monitoring Officer’s report set out the details of the complaint, the evidence gathered as part of the investigation and the conclusions reached. Councillor Baxter had the opportunity to question the Acting Monitoring Officer on the findings and conclusions of their report. The Panel also took the opportunity to question the Acting Monitoring Officer on the report and findings.

 

The Panel then heard oral representations from Councillor Baxter, and his representatives, Councillor Phil Dilks and Councillor Virginia Moran, as well as having the opportunity to review Councillor Baxter’s written response to the Acting Monitoring Officer’s report. In accordance with the procedure, the Acting Monitoring Officer and the Panel took the opportunity to question Councillor Baxter on the points raised in his representations.

 

Having considered the Acting Monitoring Officer’s report and the representations made by the Acting Monitoring Officer,  ...  view the full decision text for item 6.