CODE : Promotion of equality and respect
CODE - No evidence of breach
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
The Ombudsman received a complaint that a Former Member of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (“the Council”) and Llantwit Fardre Community Council (“the Community Council”) had breached the Code of Conduct for Members (“the Code”) in using the term “Pikies” during a community WhatsApp group discussion.
The Ombudsman investigated whether the Former Member’s conduct may have breached paragraphs 4(a), 4(b) and 6(1)(a) of the Code. During the investigation the Member resigned from both the Council and Community Council. The Ombudsman’s investigation found that the community WhatsApp group was comprised of members of a village hall committee and at the time of the exchange the Former Member was not a Council or Community Council representative on the committee or WhatsApp group. The Ombudsman found the Former Member was not acting in his public role during the exchange and therefore paragraphs 4(a) and 4(b) of the Code were not engaged when he made the post in his private capacity, and these provisions of the Code were not engaged when the Former Member made his comment on WhatsApp.
The Ombudsman considered that had the Former Member been a Council or Community Council representative, his conduct could be suggestive of a breach of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code. However, the Ombudsman was not persuaded there was a sufficient link to the Former Member’s role to suggest the comment would affect the reputation of the Former Member’s office or authority. This being the case, the Ombudsman did not consider that the conduct was suggestive of a breach of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code.