Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, Thorpe Road, Weeley, CO16 9AJ. View directions

Contact: Debbie Bunce Email: or Telephone  01255 686573

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Amos and J Henderson (with no substitutions on this occasion) and Clarissa Gosling, one of the Council’s appointed Independent Persons.


Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee, held on Wednesday 21 April 2021.


The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 April 2021 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Councillor Turner commented that, in respect of the report regarding Mandatory Training for Members, he would like to know what had happened with regards to E-learning and he stated that he had also not yet been contacted in respect of his offer to be the Committee’s representative on a cross-party Member Working Group in relation to E-Learning.


Declarations of Interest

Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Personal Interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.



There were none on this occasion.


Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 38

Subject to providing two working days’ notice, a Member of the Committee may ask the Chairman of the Committee a question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the Tendring District and which falls within the terms of reference of the Committee.


There were none on this occasion.



In accordance with the District Council’s Complaints Procedure, the Deputy Monitoring Officer is required to refer the outcome of an investigation to the Standards Committee, where an informal resolution is not appropriate, and the Councillor has failed to engage and to give an apology.

Additional documents:


A report was submitted (A.1) by the Council’s Deputy Monitoring Officer (Linda Trembath) in respect of a complaint received in January 2021 from the Council’s Monitoring Officer, Lisa Hastings regarding the conduct of District Councillor Peter Cawthron under the Members’ Code of Conduct and Complaints Procedure (Appendix 1), which had been adopted by full Council on 26 November 2013.


The complaint related to Councillor P Cawthron’s behaviour at Full Council in November 2020, a formal, recorded and publicly available meeting, when Councillor Cawthron had used a word that was both unacceptable and an obscenity, and in so doing had conducted himself in such a way as to bring his office or the Authority into disrepute, contrary to paragraph 3.4 (a) and (c) of the Member Code of Conduct. 


It was also alleged that Councillor P Cawthron had not had regard for one of the Seven Principles of Public Life, namely:


·         Accountability – Holders of Public Office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this. 


This complaint had been made by the Council’s Monitoring Officer. Following that complaint, and in accordance with the Monitoring Officer Protocol, specifically paragraph 1(k), and to ensure that no conflict of interest might arise, the Deputy Monitoring Officer was authorised to receive and investigate the matter, taking action as appropriate. 


On 9 March 2021, the Deputy Monitoring Officer, having read the papers provided to her and having noted the response from Councillor Cawthron, had decided that it was reasonable and appropriate that the complaint merited further investigation.  The parties had been informed of that decision and an external investigator had been appointed.  Section 5 of the Complaints Procedure (Appendix 1) set out how an investigation was to be conducted and under Section 5.6, that the investigation report must contain a conclusion as to whether the evidence supported a finding of a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct.  Annex E of the Complaints Procedure set out the Investigation Procedure.


The Committee was informed that Mr John Austin had been appointed as the external investigator and, following an investigation he had concluded that there was sufficient evidence to show that Councillor Cawthron had breached Paragraph 3.4(a) of the Council’s Code of Conduct, by conducting himself in a manner that could reasonably be regarded as bringing his office or the Authority into disrepute.


Further, the investigator had also found that Councillor Cawthron had failed to co-operate with the Monitoring Officer in her attempts to resolve the matter informally, and had since failed to co-operate with the Investigator at any stage during the investigation.  As part of Members compliance with the Code of Conduct they were required to co-operate with the investigation process.


As a result of Councillor Cawthron’s failure to contact or respond to the Investigator, the Investigator has found that Councillor Cawthron had failed to comply with the Nolan Principle of Accountability by avoiding and ignoring communications with the Council’s Statutory Officer,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Work Programme for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 72 KB

The Committee is invited to give consideration to its Work Programme for the 2021/22 Municipal Year.


Members had before them a suggested Work Programme which had been submitted by the Monitoring Officer.


It was RESOLVED that the Annual Work Programme for 2021/2022 be approved.