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Standards (Assessment) Sub Committee
Reference Number: KCC/3/2009
Date: 28 May 2009
Details of the complaint:
It was alleged by Mr Bourlet (the complainant) and others that the conduct of Mr
Wells had fallen below acceptable standards in that he failed to declare a
prejudicial interest in the determination of a traffic order at the Thanet Joint
Transportation Board (JTB). At its meeting on 12 March 2009, the JTB was
being asked to decide whether it wished for an experimental traffic order in St
Peter's Road, Margate, to be made permanent or revoked. The officer
recommendation in the report was that the order should be revoked, but the
JTB agreed to an amendment proposed by Mr Wells that the traffic order should
be made permanent. The complainant and other residents/iving in St Peter's
Road were of the opinion that Mr Wells should not have been able to take part
in the discussion and vote on this matter because he had a prejudicial interest,
in that he was a personal friend of the owner of a nursing home (Mr Gillies),
who was in favour of the experimental traffic order being made permanent.
In the opinion of the complainant, the alleged actions of Mr Wells contravened
paragraph 10 of the Code, in that he should not have participated in the
determination of the matter because he had both a personal and prejudicial
In accordance with Section 57A(2) of the Local Government Act 2000 (as
amended), the Assessment Sub Committee of the Standards Committee has
decided to refer the matter to the Monitoring Officer for investigation.
The Assessment Sub Committee's reasons for deciding to refer the complaint to
the Monitoring Officer for an investigation were as follows:
Reasons for decision
• There appears to be a clear connection between Mr Wells and
the owner of the nursing home (Mr Gillies), in that Mr Wells
had represented the views of Mr Gillies when the extension to
the nursing home was considered at Thanet District Council's
Planning Committee. Mr Wells was also pictured in the local
newspaper at the formal opening ceremony for the extension
to the nursing home on 17 September 2008, a few days before
the JTB agreed to approve the experimental traffic order.
• Mr Wells spoke strongly in favour of the experimental traffic
order at the meetings of the JTB on 25 September 2008 and
12 March 2009. In particular, it is noted that Mr Wells spoke
strongly against the recommendation of officers that the
experimental traffic order should be revoked, particularly
bearing in mind that the officers had stated in their report that
no additional information had come to light to suggest that the
traffic order was providing a benefit to the local bus service.
The proposal to make the traffic order permanent also
appeared to run contrary to the consensus of opinion of local
• Taking all of these considerations into account, the
Assessment Sub Committee was of the view that there was a
case to answer and that the matter should be investigated
This decision notice is sent to the person making the allegation and the Member
against whom the allegation was made.
The Monitoring Officer of Kent County Council will now appoint an investigating
officer to undertake a formal investigation into the allegation and prepare a
report for a local hearing. Both Mr Wells and the complainant will be entitled to
speak at the hearing, present evidence and invite witnesses to speak in support
of their position.
Terms of Reference
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 amends the
Local Government Act 2000, which now provides for the local assessment of
new complaints that members of relevant authorities may have breached the
Code of Conduct. The Standards Committee (England) Regulations 2008 relate
to the conduct of authority members and the requirements for dealing with this.
The regulations set out the framework for the operation of a locally based
system for the assessment, referral and investigation of complaints of
misconduct by members of authorities. They amend and re-enact existing
provisions in both the Relevant Authorities ( Standards Committees )
Regulations 2001, as amended, and the Local Authorities (Code of Conduct)
(Local Determination) Regulations 2003, as amended.
The Standards (Assessment) Sub Committee of Kent County Council has been
set up by the Standards Committee and has the following Terms of Reference:
"To consider initial complaints that a Member or co-opted Member is
alleged to have breached the Code of Conduct and decide whether,
(a) the complaint appears to show a breach of the Code and (b)
whether the complaint merits investigation."
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If any such assistance is required, please contact Mr Peter Sass, Head of
Democratic Services and Local Leadership on (01622) 694002
Independent Chairman of the Standards (Assessment)
Sub Committee: Mr Peter Gam