Code of Conduct for Councillors and Members

Introduction

Complaint about Councillor Wright

On 7th June 2019 Harrow Council’s Standards Working Group considered complaints from a female resident that Councillor Wright had breached the Code of Conduct for Councillors and Members. She alleged that he used information to exaggerate his influence as a powerful decision maker to form an inappropriate personal relationship with her. The Working Group heard from the complainant, the investigating officer, witnesses and the councillor and unanimously concluded that Councillor Wright had breached that Code. The Working Group is made up of a Labour Councillor, a Conservative Councillor and an Independent Person.

It found that Councillor Wright failed to treat others with respect; compromised the impartiality of those working for the Council; brought his office and the Council into disrepute; used his position improperly to secure an advantage; breached the Protocols on Members’ Access to Information and on Councillor/Officer Relations; and inappropriately involved himself in the day to day management of Council services by:

  • Making some inappropriate physical contact with the complainant
  • Seeking a frequency of contact with her that was not justified in the circumstances
  • Exceeding the normal professional boundaries of a councillor-resident relationship in the frequency and timing of his contact with her and the suggested locations of meetings
  • Describing council officers as liars trying to whitewash events, and exceeding his role by attempting to secure the suspension or dismissal of an officer
  • Exceeding his role as ‘emotional support’ by suggesting to the complainant ways to undermine the council’s case in litigation, and drafting documents on her behalf
  • Attempting to secure privileged meetings between the complainant and senior officers
  • Retaining confidential papers on his personal device when asked not to by the court
  • Misrepresenting and/or misunderstanding his role as a councillor in relation to family proceedings and
  • Inappropriately demanding an independent investigation.

 

In view of the above breaches the Working Group unanimously recommended to the Monitoring Officer that Councillor Wright be censured and offered training on the representational role of councillors so that the boundaries in carrying out this role can be clearly understood and respected in future. The Working Group also recommended that this notice be read out at Council, and put on the council’s website and in a local newspaper.

Reasoning of the decision maker

The Monitoring Officer noted the extensive investigation, the evidence and representations, and the unanimous findings of the Working Group and decided to accept both those findings and the recommended sanctions

Sanction applied

Censure
Notice to be read out at Council
Notice in the newspaper
Notice on the website
Training

21st June 2019

Feedback

Was the information on this page helpful or not?

Let us know