Duty to uphold the law
CODE - No action necessary
Langstone Community Council
The Ombudsman received a complaint that a Former Member (“the Former Member”) of Langstone Community Council (“the Community Council”) had breached the Code of Conduct. It was alleged that the Former Member was violent and abusive during an altercation outside the complainant’s property. It was also alleged that the Former Member operated an illegal waste disposal business on his property.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found that whilst an Enforcement Notice for an alleged breach of planning control had been served against the Former Member, there was no evidence to suggest the Former Member’s involvement in any official capacity in planning affairs and the matter related to the Former Member’s private capacity alone. In addition, the Former Member had an ongoing appeal against the Enforcement Notice, which had not been determined. The investigation also found there was historic animosity between both parties and that, during the altercation, both had used expletives and provocative behaviour, which culminated in the Former Member throwing a punch and the matter being reported to the Police. The Police did not take further action and the Former Member stepped down from the Council during the investigation.
The Ombudsman considered that the Former Member’s conduct was suggestive of a breach of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct and may have brought his office as member or the Community Council into disrepute. However, the Ombudsman also considered that as the matter was not sufficiently serious for the Police to take action, and the Former Member was no longer a councillor, it was unlikely that a sanction would be imposed, and it was not in the public interest to pursue the matter. The Ombudsman therefore found that under Section 69(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 2000 no action needed to be taken in respect of the matters investigated.