Meeting documents

Standards Committee
Monday, 24th January, 2011 6.00 pm

Monday, 24th January, 2011
6.00 pm
Meeting Room A and B, Town Hall, Bury

Attendance Details

Mr K Wainwright (Independent Member) (in the Chair); Mr D A Gremson (Independent Member) and Councillor A Garner.

Also in Attendance:Councillor M J Connolly represented by Ms F Randle, Mr M Dudfield (Investigator), Mrs C Swinnerton (Legal Adviser) and Mr C Shillitto (Clerk to the Hearing Panel).

Public Attendance:There were two members of the public in attendance.
Apologies for absence:
There were no apologies for absence.
Item Description Decision

1.That Councillor Connolly be requested to make a statement of apology to the meeting of Council on 30 March 2011.

2.That Councillor Connolly be required to attend training on the Code of Conduct to be organised by the Monitoring Officer.


1.The Panel was of the view that there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct in that under Section 8(b), moving the Notice of Motion might reasonably be regarded as affecting the well-being or financial position of a relevant person, which would include a partner, which the Panel believes Councillor Connolly should have reasonably been aware of from the outset, particularly as Councillor Connolly has stated that the report from a previous breach was at the forefront of his mind.

2.The Panel was of the view that the interest was not prejudicial as it considered that a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would not have considered the interest to be so significant as to prejudice Councillor Connolly’s judgement of the public interest.

3.Councillor Connolly accepted and acted on advice immediately it was given.

4.Councillor Connolly now accepts that he should not have moved the Motion.

5.The breach is at the lower end of the scale.

6.Councillor Connolly held a mistaken view that there was no personal interest involved.

7.Councillor Connolly’s previous record of good service.

8.No aggravating factors apply.

The chair in closing the meeting reminded Councillor Connolly of his right of appeal against the decision of the Panel.
The meeting started at 6.00 pm and ended at 9.45 pm.


SH.02In opening the Hearing, the Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure.

The Panel considered a report of an investigation under Section 66 of the Local Government Act 2000 into an allegation concerning Councillor Michael Connolly.

The summary of the allegation as set out in the Investigation Report, dated 2 November 2010, was that at the meeting of the Council on 3 February 2010, Councillor Connolly moved a Labour Group motion on Employee’s pay and spoke on the issue and took part in the debate. During the item he declared a prejudicial interest and left the meeting. The allegation was that Councillor Connolly should have declared his interest at the outset, not moved the motion and not taken an active part in the debate, given that his partner was a Council employee.

The report concluded that Councillor Connolly had breached the Code of Conduct and referred to the following paragraphs within the Code of Conduct:

•Paragraph 2 which deals with application of the Code.

•Paragraph 8(1) relating to personal interests.

•Paragraph 8(2) which defines a “relevant person” in terms of someone who could be affected by an interest that a person may have.

•Paragraph 9 which sets out what a Member with a personal interest must do.

•Paragraph 10 which defines a prejudicial interest.

•Paragraph 12 which sets out what a Member must do if he/she has a prejudicial interest.

Under the Hearings Procedure, the Panel drew the following conclusions in relation to findings of fact contained in the Investigator’s report.

1.The Panel accepted that Paragraph 12(2) of the Code of Conduct should be incorporated into Form F as a relevant section of the Code of Conduct.

2.The Panel accepted that in Form C, Paragraph 1, the sentence that starts “He had already been punished….” was not correct as at that time Councillor Connolly had received the report of the Investigator but it had not been considered by the Standards Committee.

3.It was not possible for the Panel to conclude as a matter of fact that Councillor Connolly genuinely believed he had no interest in the Notice of Motion.

4.Points highlighted around comments submitted in evidence and other members declaring interests and withdrawing were substantive issues and not facts.

The panel then considered whether or not Councillor Connolly had failed to follow the Code of Conduct and concluded that he had.