Unnamed Doncaster councillor placed under 'ongoing investigation' by monitoring officer

A Doncaster councillor has been placed under an ongoing investigation for allegedly breaching code of conduct regulations.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 15:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th June 2019, 10:33 am
Doncaster Council

The unnamed elected member is being looked into by the council’s monitoring officer who said a complaint was deemed serious enough to be looked into further.

Philip Beavers who operates as the council’s MO, is a designated ‘independent person’ who deals with matters of member behaviour and complaints.

The report seen by councillors does not name the person but the allegation was said to be ‘sufficiently serious’ to warrant further investigation. The matter is ongoing.

Documents also show a complaint was made against another councillor but this was ‘was not considered’ to be a breach of the code of conduct but the elected member was spoken to by the MO.

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The report sent to councillors on the audit committee outlines the work of the monitoring officer over the last 12 months.

A further eight complaints were lodged against parish councillors from just two unnamed councils.

Mr Beavers said this was a ‘worrying development’ and had to observe the council meetings before addressing the members around the issues of councillor behaviour and complaints.

The monitoring officer even went as far to name Hatfield Town Council’s continuous ‘tit for tat’ complaints he receives from that authority.

Mr Beavers said: “Three Hatfield Town Council councillors were censured as to their behaviour and had sanctions imposed against them as a result of that behaviour.

“Sadly the situation at that particular town council has not yet improved and complaints continue to be received, often on a tit-for-tat basis.”

The report also acknowledges a ‘frustration’ because of the ‘lack of sanctions’ available to monitoring officers across the country and backed calls for a revamp in the laws through new legislation.

There was also a call to include the option to ‘suspend’ councillors from office and a clearer set of rules when dealing with a number of social media complaints.

Scott Fawcus, assistant director of legal and democratic services, said: “The work of the audit committee in monitoring the council’s ethical governance activities helps to ensure that council arrangements are open, accountable and ethically strong; promote high standards of conduct and to build a bond of trust between the council and its communities.”