Report Date

03/30/2023

Case Against

Solva Community Council

Subject

Promotion of equality & respect

Case Reference Number

202201039

Outcome

No Action Necessary

The Ombudsman received a complaint that a Member (‚Äúthe Former Member‚ÄĚ) of Solva Community Council (‚Äúthe Council‚ÄĚ) had breached the Code of Conduct)

The Former Member recorded a video of himself verbally abusing the complainant and uploaded this video to his Facebook page before removing it a couple of hours later.  In the video the Former Member can be seen making allegations regarding the complainant and his daughter.  It is also alleged that he made inappropriate comments; he stated the complainant would be dead by the time of the next election and he called the complainant a derogatory term.  The Ombudsman’s investigation considered whether the Former Member’s conduct may have breached paragraphs 4(a), 4(b), 4(c) and 6(1)(a) of the Council’s Code of Conduct.

Information was obtained from the Council including minutes confirming that the Former Member had resigned his post.  Three witnesses, including the complainant, were interviewed.

In comments to the Ombudsman, the Former Member acknowledged the remarks had been inappropriate, although clarified his comment regarding the complainant’s death was a remark against his age rather than a threat of any physical harm.  The Ombudsman accepted that the Former Member did not mean the reference to the complainant’s death to be interpreted as a threat on his life.  The explanation he gave was credible.  However, the comment was in reference to his age and failed to show regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people, regardless of their age.  The comments were also disrespectful and his actions amounted to behaviour which may be capable of bringing his office or authority into disrepute.

The Ombudsman considered that the actions of the member were suggestive of a breach of paragraphs 4(a), 4(b) and 6(1)(a).

The Former Member has resigned as a member and apologised publicly and privately for his conduct and those apologies seemingly have been accepted by the complainant.  The Ombudsman considered that his actions had addressed his behaviour and it would not be in the public interest to take further action.

The Ombudsman 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.