Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King's Lynn PE30 5DQ
Welcome and Introductions
The Monitoring Officer welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained that the Panel was not quorate and that the Hearing would adjourn for 15 minutes for the third Panel Member to arrive.
The Panel Hearing adjourned at 9.30 am and reconvened at 9.45 am.
The Monitoring Officer explained that late correspondence had been received. At 9.46 am the hearing adjourned to consider the submission of late correspondence.
At 9.52 am the Panel reconvened.
To appoint a Chair for the Hearing
RESOLVED: Councillor B Ayres be appointed as Chair for the Hearing.
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
Exclusion of Press and Public
Please indicate if there are any interests which should be declared. A declaration of interest should indicate the nature of the interest (if not already declared on the Register of Interests) and the agenda item to which it relates. It a disclosable pecuniary interest is declared, the Member should withdraw from the room whilst that matter is discussed.
These declarations apply to all Members present, whether the Member is part
of the meeting, attending to speak as a local Member on any item or simply observing from the public seating area.
RESOLVED: That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
To consider the Local Investigation as to an allegation against Downham Market Town Councillor Doug Lawson PDF 3 MB
The Chair welcomed everyone to the Hearing and invited those present to introduce themselves.
The Monitoring Officer referred to the three items of late correspondence:
• Email from the subject Member dated 1 November 2022. The Panel accepted this item of late correspondence.
• Email from a Borough Councillor, personal reference for the subject member dated 2 November 2022. The Panel accepted this item of late correspondence.
• Submission from the Subject Member’s representative dated 3 November 2022. The Panel did not accept this item of late correspondence.
At the invitation of the Chair, the Investigating Officer presented his report.
The Panel was invited to ask questions of the Investigating Officer.
The Investigating Officer responded to questions from the Panel, the Independent Person and the Monitoring Officer.
In the absence of the Subject Member, the Monitoring Officer presented the Subject Member’s written submission.
The Panel was invited to ask questions of the Monitoring Officer.
The Monitoring Officer responded to questions from the Panel, the Independent Person and the Investigating Officer
The Investigating Officer summed up the complaint.
The Monitoring Officer outlined her role and the Independent Person’s role in the decision making process to all parties.
At 11.52 am the Panel retired to consider the decision in private.
The Panel reconvened at 1.20 pm
The Chair read out the Decision.
The Monitoring Officer advised that as the Panel had determined that there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct, the Panel may wish to confirm that it had agreed to take the late correspondence received - personal reference from the Borough Councillor into account.
The Panel confirmed the personal reference had been considered.
The Chair invited the Investigation Officer to comment on the sanctions available.
The Investigating Officer commented on the sanctions available to the Panel.
The Monitoring Officer read out the full list of sanctions available.
The Panel retired at 1.28 pm to consider appropriate sanctions.
The Panel reconvened at 1.45 pm and the Chair read out the sanctions which would be recommended to Downham Market Town Council.
The Chair confirmed that a formal decision notice (copy attached to the minutes) would be prepared by the Monitoring Officer and published within 7 working days following the Hearing. A copy would be sent to the complainant, and to the Member of the Town Council.
The Chair also confirmed that the decision notice would be made available for public inspection and reported to the next meeting of the Standards Committee.