The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales is investigating a complaint that Councillor Steve Davies of Ceredigion County Council and Aberystwyth Town Council has breached the Code of Conduct for Councillors. During the investigation, the Ombudsman issued an interim report to the Adjudication Panel for Wales (‘the APW’) recommending that it was in the public interest for Councillor Steve Davies to be suspended immediately from his role as a councillor on both local authorities, pending the conclusion of the Ombudsman’s investigation of the complaint.
The APW’s Interim Case tribunal found that the prima facie evidence was such that it appeared that Councillor Davies has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct and that it was in the public interest to suspend Councillor Davies for a period of up to 6 months, pending the outcome of the Ombudsman’s investigation. As this was an Interim referral, no findings of fact have been made at this stage, this will be a matter for a Case Tribunal to decide, should the Ombudsman decide to refer the matter to the APW when her investigation has concluded.
If, during an investigation, the Ombudsman considers it is in the public interest for a councillor to be immediately suspended on an interim basis, pending the conclusion of her investigation, she may refer the matter to the APW. If the APW considers that the prima facie evidence suggests that the member may have breached the Code of Conduct and the nature of any breach of the Code is likely to lead to disqualification, then the APW may suspend the councillor on an interim basis for up to 6 months, pending the outcome of the Ombudsman’s investigation.