Agenda and minutes
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Contact: Sarah Claridge, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for Absence
An apology for absence was received from Godfrey Cole (Independent Person).
Declarations of Interest
Members serving on the Committee are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests they may have in any of the following agenda items.
Matters Exempt from Publication
If the Committee wishes to exclude the press and the public from the meeting during consideration of any aspects of the preceding or following agenda items it will be necessary for the Committee to pass a resolution in accordance with the provisions of Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 specifying the grounds on which their presence could involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in specific paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act if and so long, as in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
With the agreement of the Committee a representative of the local press addressed the meeting. He presented the argument that the public interest in releasing to the press and public the Investigator’s report into a potential breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct by Councillor Alan Armitage outweighed the reasons given on the agenda for dealing with the matter with the press and public excluded. The press representative said that for his part he would be willing to give undertakings not to release any names of persons there might be in the Investigator’s report.
The Monitoring Officer explained to the Committee why, in his view, the public interest would not be served by releasing the Investigator’s report to the press and public, namely:-
(1) The report referred to individuals by name;
(2) The report had been commissioned on behalf of the Committee and should be considered in full and not in any redacted form (which would have to be the case if the report was released from confidentiality);
(3) To release the report from confidentiality and to hold the hearing in public might result in inadvertent disclosure of person’s names;
(4) The public interest would be met by the publication, at the conclusion of the hearing, of a reasoned decision notice and a redacted version of the Investigator’s report.
On the matter of a press undertaking not to disclose person’s names, the Monitoring Officer said that a holding of the meeting in public would mean that any member of the public could attend and it would be impractical and unenforceable for them to give and to maintain a non-disclosure undertaking.
Resolved, upon consideration of the press representations and the advice of the Monitoring Officer, to exclude the press and public from the remaining business of the Committee by virtue of paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (information relating to an individual) and because the public interest in maintaining the exemption was in order that discussions and deliberations of the Committee about the investigation were not compromised and in order that the confidentiality of personal information collected during the investigation was protected.
Standards Investigation - 703/4/39
Report of the Monitoring Officer.
This item is recommended to be exempt from publication by virtue of Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (information relating to an individual). The public interest in maintaining the exemption is recommended to be so that discussions and deliberations of the Committee about the investigation are not compromised and so that the confidentiality of personal information collected during the investigation is protected.