Complaint 02/09-10: Councillor Steve Reed
Decision Maker: Standards (Hearings) Sub-Committee
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Summary of decisions on complaint concerning Councillor Steve Reed
The Sub-Committee decided:
- To meet with the press and public present and to publish the Investigating Officer’s report and pre-hearing summary.
- That the Code of Conduct applied to the matters that were the subject of the complaint.
1. Alleged breach of paragraph 3(1) of the Code (treat others with respect):
The Sub-Committee concluded that the language used by Councillor Steve Reed on his blog and tweets was not sufficient to breach the threshold for councillors of not treating former Councillor Betty Evans-Jacas with respect. The Sub-Committee concluded that the views expressed by Councillor Reed were reasonably held opinion. No breach was found. Relevant guidance from the Standards Board for England and representations made were considered, including the South Holland District Council case.
2. Alleged breach of paragraph 4 of the Code (disclosure of confidential information):
The Sub-Committee concluded that the disclosure of the confidential information on Betty Evans-Jacas’ Council Tax arrears failed the exceptions set out in para. 4(a)(iv) of the Code, namely this was:
Not in the public interest.
Not made in good faith
Not in compliance with the reasonable requirements of the authority.
The Sub-Committee concluded that the disclosure did meet the reasonableness test in that it was an accurate disclosure.
The Sub-Committee carefully considered the mitigating factors submitted, and other action that has taken place since the complaint was made:
- A written apology has already been given by Councillor Reed.
- A written protocol on Section 106 has been put in place, and so training is not appropriate
The fact that an apology had been issued, and a written protocol including group leaders was now in place obviated the necessity for the sanction that would otherwise have been imposed.
The Sub-Committee decided to not impose a sanction, but to ask the Monitoring Officer to write to:
- All councillors and co-opted members to advise on necessary vigilance on tweets and blogs.
- Councillors and officers to remind them on the need for clarification on the nature of information being disclosed, and in particular if it is confidential information and the limited rights for members to disclose such information.
- All Councillors and co-opted members to remind them to raise with the MO at the earliest opportunity any issues on interpretation of the code they may require.
Right of Appeal
In respect of the found breach of para. 4 of the Code, Councillor Steve Reed has the right of an appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal (Local Government Standards in England).
Report author: Tim Stephens
Publication date: 16/02/2011
Date of decision: 15/02/2011
Decided at meeting: 15/02/2011 - Standards (Hearings) Sub-Committee
- 01a Hearing report 030211 PDF 95 KB
- 01b Ap1 17a Decision notice 02 standards assess sub public summary SReed 100902 final PDF 90 KB
- 01c Ap 1 Member code of conduct PDF 81 KB
- 01d Ap3 StandardsCommiteeDeterminations%2011-03-10 PDF 108 KB
- 01e Ap4 03a standards local determination proc 10.08 PDF 148 KB
- 01f Ap5 Pre hrg summary 110131 PDF 76 KB
- 01g Ap 6 Invest report final PDF 382 KB
- 02 decision - public Cllr Reed 110215 final PDF 128 KB