CODE : Duty to uphold the law
CODE - Referred to Standards Committee
Llandovery Town Council
The Ombudsman received a complaint that a Member (“the Member”) of Llandovery Town Council (“the Council”) had breached the Code of Conduct. The Member had been convicted of drug driving and it was reported in a newspaper that she did not intend to stand down as Mayor.
The investigation considered whether the Member failed to comply with paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct in that members must not conduct themselves in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing their office or authority into disrepute.
The Ombudsman considered the Member’s conviction and the fact that her sentence fell short of automatic disqualification as outlined in Section 80A of the Local Government Act 1972. The Ombudsman also considered the account provided by the Member.
The Ombudsman considered whether further action was needed in the public interest and the overriding purpose of the ethical standards regime in Wales, which is to uphold standards of conduct in public life and maintain confidence in local democracy. The Ombudsman was of the view that the Member’s conviction and the press coverage that followed which referred to the Council, the Member’s membership of the Council and her position as Mayor, could be regarded a conduct that was capable of bringing her Council and/or her office as a councillor into disrepute and was suggestive of a breach of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct.
The report on the investigation was referred to the Monitoring Officer of Carmarthenshire County Council for consideration by its Standards Committee.
The Standards Committee concluded that the member had breached paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct. Accordingly, the Standards
Committee decided that the Member should be suspended to 2 months and be required to attend Code of Conduct training within 6 months.