Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: COUNCIL CHAMBER. View directions

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Elizabeth Martin-Jones and Councillor A Kitcher


Declarations of Interest

Members of the Standards Committee are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct.



Although Councillor Kitcher had given her apologies, if she had attended the meeting she would have declared her interest in Item 03.


Standards Meeting

10.00 – 11.00 am


The Chair outlined to the Standards Committee the format of the meeting


Report by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales on an investigation into an allegation against a Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Councillor pdf icon PDF 132 KB

  • 10.00 – 11.00am Standards Pre Meeting (Committee Members only)


  • Procedure for dealing with allegations made against Councillors and referred to the Standards Committee


  • Completed questionnaire and Finding of Fact from the Member


  • Agreed facts from the Ombudsman


  • Itinerary

Additional documents:


The Chair formally opened the meeting by giving an overview of the case and introducing the panel to all present.


The representatives from the Ombudsman gave their opening statement to the Committee which included the initial complaint and their findings which were outlined within the report.


Councillor Griffin gave his opening statement.


Questions were raised by the committee and were answered by the appropriate party.


Mr Ian Caleb of the Merthyr Express entered the hearing to give his evidence.


Questions were asked of Mr Caleb by all parties present and were answered by Mr Caleb.


Mr Caleb left the meeting.


The meeting was adjourned for lunch.


Mr Hugh O’Sullivan (former Director of Finance) entered the hearing to give his evidence.


Questions were asked of Mr O’Sullivan by all parties present and were answered by Mr O’Sullivan.


Mr O’Sullivan left the meeting.


Mr Alistair O’Neill (Former Chief Executive of this Authority) was interviewed via a telephone link.


Questions were asked of Mr Neill by all parties present and were answered by Mr Neill.


The meeting was adjourned until Tuesday 17th May 2011.




The Chair reconvened the meeting.


Cathy Crompton summed up on behalf of the Ombudsman


Councillor Griffin also summed up his case


Committee then adjourned for deliberation.


The Committee went through the facts of the case.


Facts not in dispute:


  • Pages 35 – 38 of the Ombudsman Report


  • Points raised by Councillor Griffin and listed in his response at numbers 1 5 6 8 and 11


Facts not in dispute but not considered relevant to this part of the decision making process taking numberings from Councillor Griffins response 2 3 4 8


Finding of Fact made, taking numbering from Councillor Griffin’s response


  • Pt7:     we find that Ian Caleb did not interpret the email as containing allegations of accounting malpractice by Council Officers, but based upon his evidence we find that he did not turn his mind to this possibility.


  • We find as fact that Councillor Griffin did not intentionally make any allegation of accounting malpractice by Council Officers but that the comments that he made in the context in which they were reported could reasonably be interpreted as such an allegation.


  • Paragraph 34 Page 5 Investigation Report:


  • We find that at the time this report was written the Ombudsman was not aware that Councillor Griffin had in fact signed off these requests.  It is now accepted that he had done so.


The deliberation ended at 12.55pm.


Submissions took place where the Committee then ruled that Councillor Griffin had breached the code of conduct.


The committee then deliberated on whether to apply a sanction and if so what sanction.




We have considered at length the precise wordings of the statement made by Councillor Griffin, particularly in light of our findings as to his intentions.  We find that the statement was unfair and that in making it Councillor Griffin breached the Code of Conduct at 6(1)(a) in that he could reasonably be regarded as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1064.


Any other item deemed urgent by the Chair


No other business was discussed


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