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'Heads should role' over Standards Committee claims

Malvern Editorial 4th Jul, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE DISTRICT council’s Standards Committee has been cast into the spotlight after claims councillors not allowed to sit on the panel have been taking part for more than a year.

Resident Les Williamson has officially reported the council to the Local Government Ombudsman and said ‘heads should role’ over the discrepancies.

The committee, which enforces the council’s code of conduct and also handles customer complaints, has been in breach of the authority’s constitution because Executive councillors Paul Swinburn and Paul Cumming had been sitting on the panel, Mr Williamson alleged.

The Leigh Sinton resident appeared in front of the board on June 3 after raising concerns about the lack of information provided to the public regarding a housing application in the village.

Afterwards he said he spent a fortnight delving into the council’s constitution which ‘opened up a whole can of worms’, concluding the committee had been in breach of Article 9-2c which states members of the council’s Executive committee shall not be members of the Standards committee.

“Why did these two councillors not know the constitution forbids them from being members?” Said Mr Williamson.

“I don’t know if this has come about as a result of yet another case of maladministration, a direct result of gross incompetence or – as some people may speculate – this is a deliberate attempt to influence the decisions of the Standards Committee.

“I don’t know but I intend to find out.”

He added: “Any decisions made by Standards in the last 12 months must be regarded as improper, that being the case quite a few people will feel rightly aggrieved.”

Mr Williamson said the situation demanded an independent enquiry and argued council leader David Hughes should be removed.

He said: “He must of known about all of the appointments and resulting infringements. If he didn’t know then he should have done because that is his job.

“This disregard has brought his position into disrepute and he should be immediately censured and asked to step down.”

In response Coun Hughes said it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter until the outcome of the independent inquiry had been reached.

 

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