CODE : Promotion of equality & respect
CODE - No Action Necessary
Wrexham County Borough Council
The Ombudsman received a complaint that a Member (“the Member”) of Wrexham County Borough Council (“the Council”) had breached the Code of Conduct (“the Code”). It was alleged that the Member used his position as an elected member to harass a member of the public in connection with a planning development.
The Ombudsman’s investigation considered whether the Member’s conduct may have breached paragraphs 4(c) and 6(1)(a) of the Code. Information was obtained from the Council. Witnesses, including the complainant, were interviewed. The Member was interviewed. Information was obtained from the Police.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found that the Member had acted on behalf of a constituent and concerns he received from members of the public. It was found that the Member and Complainant’s account of events differed considerably. The investigation found that there was a lack of independent evidence to account for what happened. The Police determined that the actions of the Member did not amount to harassment and no further action against him was required. The Ombudsman was not persuaded, on the balance of the available evidence, that there was evidence of a breach of the Code by the Member.
The investigation also found that witness evidence from council officers demonstrated the Member’s conduct appeared to have been in-line with the usual approach taken by local elected members in relation to planning applications and land developments in their constituency.
The Ombudsman found no evidence to suggest that the Member had attempted to assert undue influence on the Council department or use his position improperly. The Member also provided evidence to show members of the public contacted him to raise concerns about the Site which prompted him to visit on their behalf and look into the concerns.
Therefore, on the balance of the available evidence, the Ombudsman considered that the Member’s explanation that he acted as the local elected member on behalf of his constituent, and that his approach is the approach he takes with planning applications in his local area, appears reasonable. Accordingly, on balance, she was not persuaded that there was evidence of a breach of the Code.
The Ombudsman found that under 69(4)(a) of the Local Government Act 2000 there was no evidence of any failure to comply with the Code.