Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual WEBEX video conference via YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/cheltenhamborough. View directions

Contact: Bev Thomas, Democratic Services Team Leader 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Councillors Stafford and Hobley.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were none.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 309 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 3 February 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 3 February 2020 be agreed as a correct record.

4.

Cheltenham Borough Council Code of Members' Conduct- Complaint against Councillor Dennis Parsons pdf icon PDF 353 KB

Report of the Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer explained that the report before the Committee considered three complaints that had been received alleging that Councillor Dennis Parsons had failed to comply with the Council’s Code of Members’ Conduct arising from his contribution to a debate at the Council meeting held on 15 June 2020. She advised that the report set out in full, at Paragraph. 1.2, the substance of the complaints and the factual background was set out at Paragraph 3 of the report. In that respect, the facts were a matter of record and were not disputed. The Monitoring Officer indicated that, as required by the Council’s arrangements for the determination of complaints, she had consulted with the Independent Persons and assessed the complaints made against a number of preliminary tests: whether the Member had acted in their capacity as a Member – which was clearly the case in this instance; whether the behaviour was likely to constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct – which in this case related to the requirements to treat others with respect and to promote high standards of conduct when serving in a public post by leadership and example; and whether it was necessary to seek any additional information before being able to determine where there had been a breach of the Code – in this case, the facts were clear, were not disputed and there had been no need for further investigation.

Having completed the preliminary investigation, the Monitoring Officer had considered the complaints in the context of the facts, the Code of Conduct and the views of the Independent Persons which were set out at Paragraph 5.6 of the report. It was clear from the analysis that Councillor Parsons’ conduct at the Council meeting had fallen significantly short of the standards of conduct expected of holders of public office and had caused damage to both his own reputation and that of the Council. As well as being contrary to the general principles of conduct in public life which underpinned the Council’s Code of Conduct, Councillor Parsons’ comments were completely inappropriate and disrespectful, contrary to the provisions of Clause 7(1) of the Code which required Members to treat others with respect and also Clause 7(8) which required Councillors to promote high standards of conduct by leadership and example.

The Committee was advised that Councillor Parsons had acknowledged he had made a gross error of judgement which had contravened the Code of Conduct and attention was drawn to the supplemental report which attached two letters from Councillor Parsons that had been sent after the main report had been issued. In the first letter, Councillor Parsons recognised the inappropriateness of the comments made and apologised unreservedly to the Council and the public for his gross error of judgement and, in the second, which was to the Chair and Members of the Committee, he sought to clarify the facts surrounding his contribution to the Council meeting, specifically that neither his decision to contribute to the debate or the remarks  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Date of next meeting

To be confirmed

Minutes:

TBA