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Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Venue: Kennet Room - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Kieran Elliott  Email: kieran.elliott@wiltshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

To elect a Chairman for this meeting only

Minutes:

Nominations for a Chairman of the Standards Hearing Sub-Committee were sought and it was,

 

Resolved:

 

To elect Councillor Desna Allen as Chairman for this meeting only.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.

Minutes:

There were no declarations.

3.

Meeting Procedure

To note the procedure for the meeting as detailed in Protocol 12 of the Constitution – Arrangements for dealing with Code of Conduct Complaints.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The procedure to be followed for the meeting was noted.

4.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

To agree that in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the public from the meeting for the business specified in Item Number 5  because it is likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public.

 

Paragraph 1 - information relating to an individual

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the public from the meeting for the business specified in Item Number 5  because it is likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public.

 

Paragraph 1 - information relating to an individual

 

5.

Determination of Code of Conduct Complaint WC-ENQ00137 Regarding Councillor A MacRae, Wiltshire Council

Minutes:

The Hearing Sub-Committee considered complaint WC-ENQ00137 submitted by Mrs Carolyn Godfrey, a Corporate Director of Wiltshire Council, against Councillor Alan MacRae of Wiltshire Council. It had been alleged that Councillor MacRae had breached the Wiltshire Council Code of Conduct as a result of disclosing confidential information obtained through his role as a councillor to an individual who was not entitled to that information.

 

Following an initial assessment decision by Mr Frank Cain, Deputy Monitoring Officer, the complaint had been referred for investigation. That investigation had concluded that by divulging confidential information gained specifically from his role at Wiltshire Council, Councillor MacRae had failed to abide by the Nolan Principles of Leadership as required by the Code of Conduct, and therefore failed to maintain high standards in public office and improperly conferred a disadvantage. The conclusion of the investigating officer’s report was upheld by Mr Ian Gibbons, Monitoring Officer, and it had therefore be referred to the Hearing Sub-Committee for consideration and determination.

 

The Chairman welcomed all those present at the hearing and advised them of the procedure that was to be followed, as previously detailed during pre-hearing arrangements sent to all parties.

 

At the request of the Sub-Committee Mr Martin Davis, a Head of Service at Wiltshire Council attending on behalf of the complainant, then provided details on the requirements of confidentiality and potential implications of disclosure of confidential information in the circumstances of this case.

 

Mrs Marie Lindsay, Ethical Governance Officer and Investigating Officer, then presented her report to the Sub-Committee, which included details of the original complaint, supporting information, responses from and interviews with Councillor MacRae. The report detailed that the facts of the circumstances and nature of the disclosure of confidential information was not contested by Councillor MacRae, who had acknowledged his error in disclosing and cooperated fully with the investigation, and that his motivation for disclosing information was not in question.

 

The Sub-Committee then sought further details and clarity from the Investigating Officer.

 

Councillor MacRae was then given the opportunity to present his position to the Sub-Committee. He fully accepted that he had made a serious error in making the disclosure and apologised for doing so, noting that as a result he was no longer responsible for work at the council in the same area as at the time of disclosure, work he cared a great deal about.

 

The Parties were then given the opportunity to make concluding statements.

 

The Sub-Committee then withdrew at 13:30 with the Committee Lawyer, Democratic Services representatives and Mr Stuart Middleton, Independent Person supporting the Sub-Committee.

 

The Sub-Committee returned at 14:15 and detailed their decision.

 

Resolved:

 

Inaccordancewiththeapprovedarrangementsforresolvingstandards complaintsadoptedby  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

 

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