Hearing before the Adjudication Panel for Wales
- Meeting of Standards Committee, Monday, 3rd February, 2020 6.30 pm (Item 62.)
- View the background to item 62.
To receive an update on/the outcome from the
recent APW hearing in respect of Councillor A Shotton
That the repot be noted
The Monitoring Officer introduced a report to provide an update on the outcome from the recent Adjudication Panel for Wales (APW) hearing in respect of Councillor A Shotton.
The Monitoring Officer provided background information and gave an overview of the hearing on 27, 28 and 29 January 2020, held at Llandudno Magistrates Court. He explained that parts of the hearing had taken place in private and could not be disclosed to the Committee to preserve confidentiality.
The Monitoring Officer reported that the Case Tribunal found by unanimous decision that Councillor A Shotton had failed to comply with the Authority’s Code of Conduct and had breached Paragraphs 6(1)(a) and 7(a) of the Code by, in his official capacity using or attempting to use his position improperly to confer on or secure for himself or his PA an advantage or create or avoid for himself or his PA a disadvantage by providing an opportunity to view questions before her interview for the permanent role of PA; and that Councillor Shotton had breached 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct by sending and/or encouraging his PA to send inappropriate messages, to include messages of a sexual nature, during office hours. The Case Tribunal decided by unanimous decision that Councillor A Shotton should be suspended from acting as a member of Flintshire County Council for a period of three months. The Monitoring Officer advised that Councillor Shotton had the right to seek the leave of the High Court to appeal the above decision. The full decision report would be published on the APW website in due course.
The Monitoring Officer reported that the Case Tribunal had found that Councillor Shotton had not breached the Code of Conduct in respect of a third allegation referred from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. However, the Monitoring Officer explained that as a result of the allegation the Council had improved its procedures and the booking of a hire car must in future be approved by a manager.
The Monitoring Officer reported that the Council’s workforce had been notified that Councillor A Shotton had been suspended as a member of the Council for a period of three months as a result of the decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales. During this period Councillor Shotton was to be treated, temporarily, as a member of the public and was only entitled to access public parts of the Council’s premises. Likewise his rights to information were restricted during this period and he was not entitled to any papers or information relating to confidential Council business. Notice that Councillor A Shotton had been suspended until 29 April 2020 had also been published on the Council’s website. The Monitoring Officer advised that Councillor Shotton would be able to resume his role and responsibilities as a County Councillor when the period of suspension came to an end.
The Monitoring Officer responded to the comments raised around the findings of the Case Tribunal. During discussion he explained that the Council had a wide range of employment policies which would be reviewed in light of the hearing to consider if any amendment was required. The Monitoring Officer advised that the Committee would have the opportunity to reflect further on the findings of the APW and review the Member/Officer Protocol at the next meeting of the Committee.
That the repot be noted