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February 2023

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When this content has been published

Published on 15 February 2023

Extraordinary Full Council

An Extraordinary meeting of Teignbridge Full Council took place on 14 February to consider the Report published on 19 January by The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman upholding a complaint by Cllr Richard Daws that the Council failed to follow due process when investigating him in 2019-2020 for alleged breaches of its code of conduct for elected councillors.

Council Leader Cllr Alan Connett repeated his apology to Cllr Daws and the Council voted in favour of the following recommendations:

"The Council notes and accepts without reservation the content and recommendations of the Ombudsman Report, and agrees:

  1. The Council apologises to Cllr Daws noting and accepting the apology presented by the Leader on 19 January and renewed at today’s meeting.
  2. To rescind and remove the Decision Notice dated 22 July 2020, replacing it with a statement stating the Notice has been withdrawn following an investigation and provide a link to the Ombudsman Report.
  3. That the Managing Director, on behalf of the Council, apologises to Cllr Daws within 7 working days.
  4. That the Managing Director apologises to Council for the matters identified by the Ombudsman in the Public Interest Report.
  5. That the Council refers its former Solicitor & Monitoring Officer and the Ombudsman Report to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for consideration.
  6. A robust programme of training on Standards and the complaints process is provided jointly for all councillors and the Senior Management Team within 3 months of the new Council being established this May.
  7. A report is published within 4 weeks in the Members’ Newsletter and on the Council website setting out how procedures for receiving and processing Standards Complaints have been updated to comply with the recommendations of the Ombudsman Report.
  8. Any further procedural changes to put into effect the Ombudsman Recommendations are conducted under the oversight of the Procedures Committee.
  9. Council also believes the Ombudsman Service’s interpretation of the Localism Act may have an impact for all other local authorities and is, therefore, a matter of wider local government interest. The Council’s Head of Legal Services writes to the Secretary of State and the Local Government Association seeking further clarity with regard to:
    1. Whether the Ombudsman has effectively created a new Appeal Process and suggested process changes above that required by legislation.
    2. The role of the Ombudsman Service which has, previous to Cllr Daws complaint and subsequently, declined to consider councillors complaints about Standards.
    3. The interpretation of the Localism Act, the Nolan Principles and the inter-relationship with the Human Rights Act
    4. The duty of Councils to protect employees from bullying, harassment and intimidation.
  10. The Council issues a News Release to inform the public of the actions agreed at this meeting."

This news release is issued to fulfil item 10 above.