Report Date


Case Against

Powys County Council


Selflessness & stewardship

Case Reference Number



Referred to Standards Committee

The Ombudsman received a complaint from a member of the public that a Member (“the Member”) of Powys County Council (“the Council”) had improperly used his position as a member of the Council when corresponding with the complainant about a civil dispute.

The Ombudsman considered that the Member had become involved in the dispute with the complainant in his capacity as a solicitor, and later relied on his role as a Member of the Council in corresponding with the complainant.  In corresponding with the complainant, the Member required assistance from a Council Members Officer in receiving and sending emails.  The Ombudsman did not consider there to have been a credible link to Council business in relation to the civil dispute.

The Ombudsman was not persuaded that there was evidence that the member had used his position improperly in order to create an advantage or disadvantage for a person (paragraph 7(a) of the Code of Conduct) but he concluded that the Member may have breached paragraphs 7(b)(i), 7(b)(iv), and 7(b)(vi) of the Code of Conduct as the Member appeared to have used the Council’s resources imprudently, other than in a manner which is calculated to facilitate the discharge of the Council’s functions, and improperly for private purposes

During the course of the investigation, the Member made a number of comments about the complainant’s mental health, which the Ombudsman considered to be disrespectful and discriminatory in respect of a potential disability.

The Ombudsman found that the Member’s behaviour was suggestive of a breach of the Council’s Code of Conduct, in particular paragraphs 4(a) and 4(b), as the Member failed to carry out his duties and responsibilities with due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people regardless of their disability, and a failure to show respect and consideration.

The Ombudsman also found that the Member’s actions could reasonably be regarded as behaviour which might bring the office of Member or the Council into disrepute and may amount to a breach of paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct.

The Ombudsman referred his investigation report to the Council’s Monitoring Officer for consideration by its Standards Committee.

The Council’s Standards Committee held a hearing on 26 June 2023 and found that the Member, who was no longer a Member of the Council at the time of the hearing, had breached paragraphs 4(a), 4(b), 6(1)(a), 7(b)(i), 7(b)(iv), and 7(b)(vi) of the Code of Conduct and decided to censure him.