“The Ombudsman, Michelle Morris, welcomes the recent decision of the Adjudication Panel for Wales to disqualify Former Councillor Gordon Lewis of Pencoed Town Council from holding office as a councillor for 2 years.”
“The Ombudsman’s office investigated Former Councillor Lewis’s conduct and referred a report to the Adjudication Panel for Wales, which is the process when the Ombudsman finds evidence that suggests an individual has breached the statutory Code of Conduct for elected members.”
“The Code of Conduct for elected members is intended to maintain high standards in public life and includes the requirement that elected members should not bring their authority or their office as a councillor into disrepute.”
“It is the role of the Adjudication Panel for Wales to independently consider evidence gathered by Ombudsman during an investigation and decide whether the elected member has breached the Code of Conduct.”
“The Adjudication Panel found that the Former Councillor breached the Code of Conduct by having deliberately or recklessly completed election paperwork which falsely declared that he was eligible to stand for election in 2018, and having continued to act as a member despite being disqualified for being elected.”
“It is hoped that lessons will be learned from this case and that the decision to disqualify the former councillor serves as a deterrent to anyone who is not eligible to stand for election from doing so.”
“Following the Pembrokeshire County Council’s Standards Committee’s careful consideration of her office’s investigation and report on Former Councillor Paul Dowson of Pembrokeshire County Council, the Ombudsman welcomes its decision to censure Former Councillor Dowson in respect of his public comment about the Black Lives Matter Movement.”
“It is hoped that lessons will also be learned from this case and that it will serve to promote high standards of conduct by elected members in their public roles, both within the Council and across Wales.”
The Local Government Act 2000 provides the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales with the statutory powers to investigate allegations that members of local authorities in Wales have breached their Code of Conduct.
Where the Ombudsman’s investigation finds that the evidence suggests that a member has breached the Code of Conduct and further action is required in the public interest, the Ombudsman may refer the matter to either the Adjudication Panel for Wales or a local standards committee for consideration.
Where the Adjudication Panel for Wales decides that a member has breached the Code of Conduct it may suspend a member from office for up to 12 months or disqualify the member from holding office for up to 5 years.
Where a standards committee decides that a member has breached the Code of Conduct it may suspend a member from office for up to 6 months or issue the member with a censure. Where a member subject to a referral to a standards committee no longer holds office as a member the standards committee may only censure the member.