CODE : Integrity
CODE - Referred to Standards Committee
Bridgend County Borough Council
The Ombudsman’s office received a complaint that a Member (“the Member”) of Bridgend County Borough Council (“the Council”) had breached the Code of Conduct. It was alleged that the Member used his position inappropriately in relation to fundraising efforts to oppose plans by the Ministry of Justice to consider using a Porthcawl hotel to house Wales’ Residential Women’s Centre.
The investigation considered whether the Member failed to comply with the following provisions of the Code of Conduct:
During the investigation, copies of relevant documents were obtained from the Council, witness accounts were obtained, and an account was provided by the Member.
The investigation found that the Member did not gain financially from his actions; there was no evidence to support a breach of paragraph 7(a) of the Code of Conduct. However it found that, although the Member’s intentions may have been well meaning, he provided misleading information to residents when they were asked to donate money to a fund which was not necessary, and from which they could not retrieve their money if the anticipated legal action did not take place. No planning application had actually been submitted so there was no planning application to be challenged at that time. The Member ought to have known that the information was not correct. The Ombudsman therefore considered that the Member’s conduct was such that it may amount to a breach of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct.
The report on the investigation was referred to the Monitoring Officer of Bridgend County Borough Council for consideration by the Council’s Standards Committee.
The Standards Committee concluded that the Member had breached paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct by providing misleading and inaccurate information to residents about the Ministry of Justice’s plans for the hotel. Accordingly, the Standards Committee decided that the Member should be suspended for 3 months.