“My office investigated a complaint that the Councillor was involved in an incident with a Council contractor, following which there was a Police investigation. The Councillor then pleaded guilty to a charge of causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving.”
“We referred a report to the Adjudication Panel for Wales. It is the role of the Adjudication Panel for Wales to independently consider evidence gathered by us during an investigation and decide whether the elected member has breached the Code of Conduct.”
“The Adjudication Panel found that Councillor Vaughan had breached paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct by bring her office as Councillor into disrepute. The Panel decided that she should be disqualified for 12 months from holding office as a Councillor.”
“We hope that lessons will be learned from this case. On that note, it is especially helpful that the Panel also recommended that all Councillors of the Community Council and the Clerk should attend training on the Code to ensure they understand its provisions, including paragraph 6(1)(b).”
The Local Government Act 2000 provides us with the statutory powers to investigate allegations that members of local authorities in Wales have breached their Code of Conduct.
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.
Where our investigation finds that the evidence suggests that a member has breached the Code of Conduct and further action is required in the public interest, we 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.