Venue: Committee Room 3, City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA
Contact: Margaret Freeman, Senior Democratic Services Officer, Civic Centre, Dagenham Telephone - 020 8227 2638 / e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Concurrent Hearing to Consider an Allegation of Breach of the Code of Conduct
The Presiding Chair opened the meeting.
It was noted that the subject Member, Richard Barnbrook was present and accompanied by Miss Laura Evans, who was attending as a friend and not as his legal adviser, together with Mrs Gillian Willis, Chartered Educational Psychologist.
Mr Barnbrook advised that his legal adviser, a Mr Lee Barnes, was unable to attend due to ill health.
The Sub-Committees considered whether or not to webcast the proceedings, following a submission from Mr Barnbrook that the proceedings should not be filmed, as this may place undue and unnecessary stress on him.
Following advice from the acting Monitoring Office of the GLA it was agreed that the proceedings should be filmed, as is normal practice for the GLA.
Apologies for Absence
Declaration of Members' Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Members are asked to declare any personal or prejudicial interest they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.
Minutes (21 July 2009) PDF 60 KB
It was confirmed that the meeting was quorate and thereby properly constituted.
Monitoring Officer Report - MC9/08 PDF 51 KB
The Presiding Chair confirmed that all parties had copies of the relevant documents and outlined the procedure to be followed during the hearing.
The subject Member confirmed his agreement to the publication of his bundle of evidence, subject to items 4 and 15 of Form B remaining confidential.
It was agreed that the main issues for consideration were:
1. the subject Member had mis-spoken and that when he referred to the two murders in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham (LBBD) he had meant to say “attempted” murders; and
2. in relation to the third murder, he intended to say that the girl from the college was from LBBD, not murdered in LBBD.
Received and noted the Investigating Officers’ Report, following which the video, the subject of the complaint, was viewed.
It was further noted that:
1. the subject Member advised that he would not be answering questions on his statement; and
2. the tenth paragraph on page 47 of the agenda (page 21 of the Investigating Officers’ report) be amended to read “February 2009” and not “January 2009”.
Following questions from the subject Member and the Sub-Committee Members to the Investigating Officers and witnesses, Councillor Mrs Valerie Rush and Police Inspector Boyle, the Sub-Committee agreed that the evidence before them was sufficient for them to come to a decision.
At 3.40 pm the two Sub-Committees adjourned to separate rooms to consider the matter.
The meeting re-convened at 4.39 pm when the Presiding Chair advised that decisions had been reached by both Sub-Committees. The following is the decision of the Barking and Dagenham Sub-Committee*:
1. That, by virtue of his actions described in the complaint, Councillor Barnbrook failed to comply with the Members’ Code of Conduct in that he brought his office and that of the Council into disrepute.
2. That Councillor Barnbrook breached the Protocol relating to Communications for Council Members (included within the Council’s Constitution) which requires that all elected Members of the Council, whatever political party, have a duty both to the Council and to residents to ensure that in commenting on the policies and work of the Council, they make every effort to ensure that everything they say, whether verbally or written, is factually correct.
The list of sanctions was read out to the meeting, following which the Presiding Chair asked the subject Member to comment on what an appropriate sanction would be.
The subject Member made a statement in mitigation and apologised unreservedly for making the mistakes he had but not for bringing knife crime to light in London and LBBD.
At 4.57 pm the Sub-Committees agreed to adjourn to separate rooms to consider the sanctions.
The meeting re-convened at 5.59 pm.
The Chair reported that the Sub-Committee had agreed to impose the following sanctions:
1. to suspend Councillor Barnbrook for a period of one calendar month during the month of October 2009;
2. to require Councillor Barnbrook to publish an apology on his personal blog with regard to (a) the inaccuracies on the ... view the full minutes text for item 13.