The Ombudsman report concerned a complaint that the Former Councillor Karen Laurie-Parry had breached the Code of Conduct. It was alleged that the Former Councillor had disclosed confidential information, made vexatious complaints and complaints without foundation amongst other allegations.
As a result, the report on the investigation was referred to the President of the Adjudication Panel for Wales.
The investigation found the Former Councillor Karen Laurie-Parry’s conduct had breached paragraphs 4(b), 4(c), 5(a), 6(1)(a) and 6(1)(d) of the Code of Conduct.
The Adjudication Panel for Wales concluded that the Former Member should be disqualified for 18 months from being or becoming a member of the authority or of any other relevant authority.
As the purpose of the ethical standards framework in Wales is to promote high standards for councillors and to maintain public confidence in local democracy, the Ombudsman welcomed the decision to disqualify the Councillor and thanked the members of the Adjudication Panel for Wales for their careful consideration of the case.
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.