Breach of code - 'not deliberate'
A BACKWELL parish councillor has been advised to consult national guidance after failing to leave a meeting in which he had a personal and prejudicial interest. In December, the Standards Board for England received complaints about eight members of Backwe
A BACKWELL parish councillor has been advised to consult national guidance after failing to leave a meeting in which he had a personal and prejudicial interest.In December, the Standards Board for England received complaints about eight members of Backwell Parish Council.The national watchdog, which governs the conduct of councillors, dismissed all but two of the allegations, but as a result of them, four parish councillors resigned.Their resignations came in the wake of more than 30 previous complaints to the national body which led to a complaints hearing but no further action being taken against the parish councillor concerned.An ethical standards officer examined the two recent allegations against Cllr Bob Taylor and former parish councillor Rita Mason.His conclusion was that Cllr Taylor had breached Backwell Parish Council's code of conduct by failing to withdraw from a meeting and referred him to guidance on prejudicial interests on the Standards Boards for England's website.He also concluded that former parish councillor Rita Mason breached the code of conduct by failing to declare a personal interest at a meeting.In both cases, he concluded that 'no action needs to be taken'.In relation to the case concerning Cllr Bob Taylor, the Standards Board for England's website, says: "The ethical standards officer considered that Cllr Taylor acted in good faith, did not deliberately breach the code of conduct and was unlikely to breach the code again in similar circumstances."Both cases related to a meeting at which Cllr Taylor proposed that the village's drop-in centre and street project should be closed.Eight parish councillors voted in favour of his proposal, and as a result, the parish council's youth initiatives were closed with immediate effect.The projects were set up to reduce vandalism in Backwell, but almost a decade later, residents claimed they were responsible for causing antisocial behaviour on Friday nights.