The publication came as Cllr Allen was quoted in the Sidmouth/Ottery Herald as “calling on the chair of the standards committee, Peter Halse, for a thorough review of the inspector and two officers’ behaviour, since he believed they contradicted legal opinions of the principal legal officer and the common practises by which chairs in the council control meetings.’

Cllr Allen described his misconduct as ‘minor errors’ and claimed that the all-Conservative EDDC cabinet ‘had already reviewed procedures with considerable concern for their fairness.’

The link to the notice is here but I have also copied and pasted the entire document below:

http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/decision_notice_hearing_allen_250512_v2.pdf

Standards Committee
DECISION NOTICE

Reference: LSB46, 47, 48 and 50
HEARING FINDINGS

On 25 May 2012, the Assessment and Hearings Sub Committee of the Standards Committee of this Council considered the Investigation Officer Report of 27 February 2012 into
complaints from Sandra Semple (LSB 46), Emily McIvor (LSB 48) and Councillor Roger Giles (LSB 47 and 50) concerning the alleged conduct of Councillor Mike Allen of East Devon
District Council.

Investigating Officer Tim Darsley
Chairman of the hearing Ms Alison Willan

Other members of the
Sub-Committee
EDDC Councillor Tim Wood
Town Councillor Simon Pollentine
Legal Advisor to the
Standards Committee
Rachel Pocock
Democratic Services
Manager
Diana Vernon
Monitoring Officer Denise Lyon

Witnesses EDDC Councillor Andrew Moulding (Local Development Framework Panel Vice Chairman)

EDDC Councillor David Key (former Chairman of the Panel)

EDDC Roger Giles
East Devon District Council
Knowle
Sidmouth
Devon
EX10 8HL
DX 48705 Sidmouth
Tel: 01395 516551
http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk1.

The complaints
LSB 46 (Sandra Semple) – that at the Local Development Framework Panel (LDF) meeting of 1 November 2011, the Panel Chairman, Councillor Mike Allen, would not allow Councillor
Giles to speak. Councillor Allen was rude, abusive and arrogant towards Councillors Giles and Wright and he bullied Councillor Wright. He abused his position as Chairman of the
Panel.

LSB 48 (Emily McIvor)  – that at the LDF meeting of 1 November 2011, the Panel Chairman, Councillor Mike Allen, would not allow Councillor Giles to speak.  He insulted,
humiliated and bullied Councillor Giles and warned Councillor Wright.LSB 47 (Councillor Giles) – that Councillor Allen had been partial and inconsistent in his chairing of meetings of the LDF Panel.  He misused his position to support his personal agenda, specifically:
? On 16 August, he bullied and threatened Councillor Wright,
? On 6 September, he cut short the presentation of Councillor Dobson of Ottery St Mary
Town Council,
? On 4 October, he omitted to invite Councillor Giles to speak as a local member and
later restricted his contribution,
? On 1 November, he would not allow Councillor Giles to speak.  He threatened
Councillor Wright with a final warning.

LSB 50 (Councillor Giles) – Councillor Allen made untrue statements about Councillor Giles
in an article in Pulman’s View of 8 November 2011.
2. Declarations of interest
No declarations of interest were made in relation to this Hearing.

3. Hearing in public
Guidance issued by Standards for England recommended a clear presumption that Hearing should be held in public. Following representations from Councillor Mike Allen, the Monitoring
Officer, and the Investigating Officer, and the legal advisor’s advice, the Sub-Committee decided that, on balance, under the Local Government Act 1972, the public interest was in
the hearing being held in public. The agenda and documents that had been withheld from the press and public until this decision was taken were then made available to the press and
public.  Cllr Allen was informed that he could ask for the Hearing to go into private session if confidential or exempt information appeared likely to be disclosed in the course of the
Hearing.

4. Findings of Fact
4.1 Undisputed facts were set out on Pages 14 – 16 of the Investigating Officer’s report
(Paragraphs 5.4-5.32).

4.2 Disputed facts were set out on pages 17 – 29 of the Investigating Officer’s report (Paragraphs 5.33-5.90)Summary of submissions regarding disputed facts

4.2.1 The Monitoring Officer referred to Agenda Pages 68 – 82 which set out Councillor Allen’s reason for challenging the Investigator’s report, his suggested changes and the
Investigating Officer’s comments.

4.2.2   Councillor Allen disputed facts at 5.48 – the issue of whether or not he deliberately ignored Councillor Giles at the 4 October LDF Panel meeting and 5.9 – the issue of
whether he ejected Councillor Giles from meetings of the LDF Panel.

4.2.3 The Investigating Officer outlined Section 6 of his report (Agenda pages 113-115 – summary of material facts). He highlighted Councillor Allen’s challenge of Councillor Wright’s declaration of interest (Local Development Framework Panel meeting on 16 August), consistently failing to call Councillor Giles to speak (4 October meeting), refusing Councillor Giles permission to speak and giving Councillor Wright a ‘last warning’ (1 November meeting), advising the Pulman’s View that Councillor Giles had been ejected 3 times (10 February, 16 August and 4 October meetings).

4.2.4 Councillor Allen was invited to put questions to the Investigating Officer. In response the Investigating Officer confirmed his awareness of the political background and had
taken into account the Communities Before Developers’ pledge.  Councillor Allen also asked the Monitoring Officer when she had given advice to elected members in
respect of their membership of Communities Before Developers. In response to a question about the statement of the Senior Solicitor, the Corporate Legal and
Democratic Services Manager advised that this had been included with the Investigating Officer’s report as a witness statement and not as legal advice on a
possible breach of the Code.

4.3 Investigating Officer Witness – Councillor Giles
4.3.1 The Investigating Officer called Councillor Giles as witness in respect of the findings of fact. Councillor Giles demonstrated how he had tried to attract the Chairman’s
attention (4 October meeting). Councillor Giles advised that the standard order for inviting speakers at the Panel meetings was firstly ‘non-councillors’ present, then ward
members and finally the Panel was invited to comment.

He confirmed that in respect of Ottery St Mary, this order had not been followed – the Panel was invited to comment before the Ward Member. He was only invited to speak when Panel member, Councillor Wright, asked the Chairman to invite comment from the Ward Member. 

Councillor Giles felt that time allocated to discussion about Ottery St Mary was inadequate. He was not given the opportunity to correct officer statements. He
explained the circumstances of leaving the 10 February meeting at which he was entitled to be present, leaving voluntarily after a heated exchange with the Chairman
at the 16 August meeting and why he had left the 4 October meeting. He confirmed that he had never been ejected from a meeting.

4.3.2 Councillor Allen was invited to question the witness in respect of findings of fact.  He asked about Councillor Giles’ disruption of the meeting of 16 August, whether others
were speaking when Councillor Giles was indicating his wish to speak (4 October) and whether the Chairman had ever announced the order of speakers.

4.3.3 The Sub Committee put questions in respect of the role of the Vice Chairman in listing people wishing to speak, the Chairman’s right to choose the order of speakers, the
established order of speakers, the difference between ejecting someone from a meeting and asking them to leave and clarification in respect of why Councillor Giles
left the February meeting. 

4.4 Councillor Allen Witness – Councillor Moulding
4.4.1 In response to questions asked by Councillor Allen, Councillor Moulding (Local Development Framework Panel Vice Chairman) clarified his statement (enclosed with the
agenda papers), his role as Vice Chairman on the Panel and the way speakers were listed at meetings. In reply to a question, Councillor Moulding said that he was not aware of the
incident referred to where Councillor Giles was trying to ‘wildly’ attract attention to speak.

He set out his understanding of prejudicial interests arising from membership of the Communities Before Developers and advice from the Monitoring Officer. He recalled
Councillor Wright’s distress.  He outlined Councillor Giles’ behaviour at the meeting on 16 August.  He said that Councillor Giles had given ‘a barrage of abuse’ and ‘ranted and
raved’ against the Chairman. He had been asked to leave by the Chairman as he was disrupting the meeting.

Councillor Moulding confirmed that Councillor Giles had been given an opportunity to speak at the meeting on 4 October (which was about towns and not the surrounding villages). The Chairman had stopped Councillor Wright from continuing to speak at that meeting when she began to discuss the surrounding villages.

Again his view was that Councillor Giles disturbed the meeting and directed abuse at the Chairman. He confirmed that the Chairman had asked Councillor Giles to leave.

4.4.2 The Sub Committee was invited to put questions to the witness who confirmed that at the towns’ meetings, discussion on surrounding villages was not allowed.

4.4.3 Councillor Allen said that appointment to the Panel was on the basis of impartiality. It was not a place to pursue a campaign.  He believed that those wishing to campaign should not
have continued on the Panel.  The Corporate Legal and Democratic Services Manager reminded the Sub Committee that they were only being asked to consider relevant facts
and that Councillor Wright’s appointment had been confirmed through Council.

Clarification was also given in respect of the difference between pre-disposition and pre-determination (the latter being unacceptable).
4.4.4 The Sub Committee considered fully the report and enclosures before them and the representation made by Cllr Allen, witnesses Councillors Giles and Moulding and by
Mr Darsley, the Investigating Officer.

4.5 Assessment and Hearings Sub Committee’s findings of fact:

The Sub-Committee accepted the findings of fact (and the reasoning for them) set out in the Investigating Officer’s report.
? Undisputed facts Paragraphs 5.4- 5.32
? Disputed facts Paragraphs 5.33 – 5.90 (excluding 5.48 (b))
     
The Sub-Committee did not accept Paragraph 5.48 (b) as a fact – ‘Councillor Allen consciously did not call Councillor Giles to speak’.
4.6   Reason for non acceptance of disputed fact 5.48 (b)

That based on the paperwork, including witness statements, and representations made at the Hearing, the Sub-Committee was not convinced that the Chairman had
deliberately (consciously) not called Councillor Giles to speak.  Councillor Giles had been invited to speak after a short delay.The Sub Committee instead substituted as a finding of fact: ‘Councillor Allen did not call Councillor Giles to speak until requested to do so by Councillor Wright’.

5.  Did the Member Fail to follow the Code?
5.1   Summary of submissions by the Investigating Officer:
5.1.1 Mr Tim Darsley referred to the relevant provisions of the Code and to the conclusions
in his investigation report.

5.1.2 He advised that at the 16 August meeting, it was not the role of the Chairman to challenge Councillor Wright on her membership of the Communities Before
Developers or to police and rule on member declarations. Any concerns should have been discussed with the Monitoring Officer. Challenging Councillor Wright was not
appropriate in public. He said that as a result, Councillor Wright had been upset – felt humiliated and threatened. Mr Darsley described Councillor Allen’s manner as
confrontational, one-sided and belittling, showing lack of respect at a public meeting.

(Contrary to Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of Conduct).
5.1.3 Mr Darsley said that the Chairman had departed from the usual order of speakers at the meeting on 4 October and had not allowed Councillor Giles to speak until
prompted to do so by Councillor Wright. Mr Darsley believed that by preventing Councillor Giles from speaking he was showing a lack of respect. (Contrary to
Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of Conduct).

5.1.4 Mr Darsley said that preventing Councillor Giles from speaking at the November meeting showed similar lack of respect. (Contrary to Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of
Conduct).

5.1.5 Mr Darsley said that it was unfair to publicise a complaint against Councillor Giles through the Pulman’s View.  Advising the press that Councillor Giles had been ejected
from Local Development Framework Panel meetings three times implied that Councillor Giles had been forcibly removed. This was untrue and unjustified with the intention of damaging Councillor Giles’ reputation. (Contrary to Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of Conduct).

5.1.6 He confirmed his view that Councillor Allen did not bully Councillor Wright at the 16 August meeting.

5.1.7 In disallowing Councillor Giles to speak at the November meeting, Mr Darsley said that Councillor Allen had not been fulfilling his proper role as Chairman which was to
facilitate full debate. Denying local views was contrary to the democratic process. As a result Mr Darsley believed that Councillor Allen had brought his office into disrepute.

The statement to the press was seen as a way of justifying his action and was incorrect and misleading. (Contrary to Paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct).

5.1.8 He did not believe that the Chairman had breached the code in respect of using his position improperly. (Code of Conduct Paragraph 6).
5.2 Questions put to Investigating Officer

5.2.1 Councillor Allen asked how his awareness of the issue of membership of Communities Before Developers had influenced the investigation report. He asked (and was given)
clarification on pre-determination and how that differed from pre-disposition.

The Investigating Officer confirmed that he had taken into account Standards guidance in respect of predetermination and bias and the importance of Councillors keeping an
open mind. Mr Darsley said the main point was it was not the role of the Chairman to ‘police’ predetermination issues. In any event, in his opinion, the guidance on
predetermination was principally for members on decision-making committees such as Development Management.

In response to a question from a member of the subcommittee, Mr Darsley said he assumed that Council had weighed up the issues concerning Communities Before Developers before appointing Councillor Wright to the Panel.

5.3 Summary of witness’s submissions:
5.3.1 a)  Councillor Giles In response to a question from the Investigating Officer, Councillor Giles described Councillor Allen’s behaviour at the August meeting as disrespectful, inappropriate and
challenging. He felt that Councillor Allen’s concerns should have been dealt with in a different way. Councillor Giles felt that Councillor Allen had shown him disrespect at
the October meeting as he had not been invited to speak and there was a deliberate attempt to cut him out and not catch his eye. He had been shocked at the November
meeting when Councillor Allen had said that Councillor Giles was not allowed to speak and express the views of local people.

Regarding the article in the Pulman’s View, local people had interpreted ‘ejected’ to mean that he had been thrown out of a meeting; he said that the statement was untrue
and intended to damage his reputation.

5.3.2 Councillor Allen said that Councillor Giles had been opposed to development and had campaigned against the Local Development Framework. Councillor Giles responded
by saying that he felt it was his duty to represent the strong views of the local electorate. He felt no personal antagonism and had included his campaign against proposed levels of growth in his election manifesto.  He added that he was entitled to campaign and make what he regarded as ‘fair comments’.

5.3.3 In response to a question from the Sub Committee, Councillor Giles advised that the order of speakers had been established.
5.4   Summary of submissions by Councillor Mike Allen, namely:

5.4.1 Cllr Mike Allen was invited to say why he disagreed with the Investigating Officer’s report. He advised that throughout the Local Development Framework process, most
of those involved said that it had been done properly.  He agreed with the findings that he had not bullied anyone. He spoke about the Monitoring Officer’s advice about the
Communities Before Developers pledge and his drive for the Local Development Framework process to be impartial.

He didn’t feel that the Investigating Officer had taken the political context sufficiently into account.  He had been given advice on procedures from his Vice Chairmen who had also noted the list of speakers. He hadn’t intended showing any disrespect as he hadn’t seen Councillor Giles indicating that he wished to speak. He hadn’t realised that he should have sought the consensus of the
Panel in respect of asking Councillor Giles to leave. He felt that he was justified in addressing Councillor Giles’ behaviour.  He apologised for his comments to the press which he now saw went too far. He believed that Ottery St Mary’s views had been fully represented.

5.4.2 The Investigating Officer was invited to comment and he covered the following:
? The Senior Solicitor’s comments were as a witness and not as legal advisor,

? The Panel members would have their own views but could not have a closed mind,
? It was not the role of the Chairman to ‘police’ Members’ declarations of interest,
? The role of the Local Development Framework Panel was as a consultative
body and not a decision making committee,
? It was inevitable that through consultation a number of different views would be expressed,
? He gave weight to the impartial witness statements of the Democratic Services Officer.
5.5 Summary of Councillor Allen’s witnesses’ submissions:

(For different reasons, neither Councillor Key nor Councillor Moulding had been able to stay for the whole of the Hearing but were invited to address the Committee before
they left. The Committee took into account their submissions at this point in the proceedings).

5.5.1 (a) Councillor Key
Councillor Key had been Chairman of the Panel at its meeting in February 2011 when Councillor Giles had arrived at the meeting with Claire Wright and two members of the
press.  At this time meetings of the Panel were held in private session. There was some commotion and those not entitled to stay were asked to leave to allow the
meeting to commence.  Councillor Giles was entitled to stay but chose to leave with Claire Wright and the press. It was incorrect to say that Councillor Giles had been
ejected from the meeting (as Councillor Allen was reported to have said to the press).
   
5.5.2 (b) Councillor Moulding
Councillor Moulding advised that when Councillor Wright had been appointed to the Local Plan Panel, it was inevitable that there would be challenges due to her
membership of the Communities Before Developers. Part of her election manifesto had been based on her views in respect of development in East Devon. When
appointed to the Panel she made her views on development very clear – she wanted to limit development. Councillor Moulding thought that she had a clouded view on
housing numbers and was not always able to consider the views of others on the Panel.

Councillor Giles had attended a number of meetings of the Panel and had responded to Councillor Wright’s concerns. Councillor Giles had been very disruptive
and it was appropriate that he was asked to leave.

5.6 Assessment and Hearings Sub-Committee decision on whether or not there had been a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct

5.6.1 Relevant sections of the Code of Conduct:
a) 3(1) You must treat others with respect
b) 3(2)(b) You must not bully any person
c) 5 You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or your authority into disrepute
d) 6(a) You must not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for yourself or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage

5.7   Findings
The Assessment and Hearings Sub-Committee reached their decision after considering the oral and written evidence and all representations. The Sub Committee found that:
5.7.1 Cllr Mike Allen did not fail to comply with paragraphs 3(2)(b) or 6(a) of the Code of Conduct based on evidence presented.

5.7.2 Cllr Mike Allen failed to comply with paragraphs 3(1) and 5 of the Code of Conduct.

5.7.3 Regarding the complaint of Sandra Semple (LSB 46) the decision is as follows:
At the Local Development Framework Panel meeting of 1 November 2011, Councillor
Allen did not treat Councillors Giles or Wright with respect and therefore failed to follow Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of Conduct.

By his treatment of Councillor Giles, Councillor Allen brought his office into disrepute and therefore failed to follow Paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct.

5.7.4 Regarding the complaint of Emily McIvor (LSB 48) the decision is as follows:
At the Local Development Framework Panel meeting of 1 November 2011, Councillor Allen did not treat Councillors Giles or Wright with respect and therefore failed to
follow Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of Conduct.

By his treatment of Councillor Giles, Councillor Allen brought his office into disrepute and therefore failed to follow Paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct.
5.7.5 Regarding the complaint of Councillor Giles (LSB 47) the decision is as follows:

At the Local Development Framework Panel on 16 August 2011, Councillor Allen did not treat Councillor Wright with respect and therefore failed to follow Paragraph 3(1) of
the Code of Conduct.

At the Local Development Framework Panel on 1 November, Councillor Allen did not treat Councillors Giles and Wright with respect and therefore failed to follow Paragraph
3(1) of the Code of Conduct.

By his treatment of Councillor Giles, Councillor Allen brought his office into disrepute and therefore failed to follow Paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct.
(There was a finding of no breach of Paragraph 3(1) in respect of Councillor Giles at the meeting on 4 October because he was eventually given the opportunity to speak after a short delay).

5.7.6 Regarding the complaint of Councillor Giles (LSB 50) the decision is as follows:
By his comments to the Pulman’s View, Councillor Allen did not treat Councillor Giles with respect and therefore failed to follow Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of Conduct.

Councillor Allen brought his office into disrepute and therefore failed to follow
Paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct.
5.8   Reasons for decision

The Sub-Committee’ agreed in the main with the Investigating Officer’s conclusions. 

They took into account the evidence presented to them with the agenda papers and at the Hearing.  They included Councillor Allen’s conduct towards Councillor Wright in
respect of the finding of breach on 1 November due to his warning of her and manner towards her.

However, as the Sub Committee had previously concluded Councillor Allen did not consciously ignore Councillor Giles’ wish to speak on 4 October, they concluded there
was no breach on that point.

5.8   Comment invited from Councillor Allen
Councillor Allen said that he was deeply disappointed with the outcome. He referred to the political context of the meetings and the pressure involved.

6 Sanction
6.1 Before departing to deliberate on appropriate sanctions, the Investigating Officer summed up by reminding the Sub Committee of the multiple serious breaches of the
Code of Conduct, particularly barring Councillor Giles from speaking and his lack of recognition of the roles of fellow councillors – particularly in not seeming to allow them
to have contrary views. 

He recommended a short period of suspension as a sanction to reflect the seriousness of the breaches.

6.2 The Monitoring Officer added that the Sub Committee needed to take into account Councillor Allen’s responsibility within the Council going forward. The Local
Development Framework Panel (later Local Plan Panel) no longer existed and Councillor Allen had not been given a Chairman role at the recent annual council
meeting (23 May 2012).

6.3 In accordance with Regulation 19 (1)(c) of the Standards Committee (England) Regulations 2008 the Sub Committee decided to impose the following sanctions on Cllr Mike Allen

? Censure

? A formal letter of apology to the Council as a whole in which Councillor Allen is to accept responsibility for his behaviour and specifically acknowledging and apologising for his unacceptable treatment of Councillor Giles and Councillor Wright and his failings as a Chairman,  to be in a form specified by the Sub Committee.

? Relevant training – to include media awareness and observation of examples of well-chaired meetings.  The Sub Committee recommended that Councillor Allen is not appointed to a position of responsibility until the Council was satisfied that he had undertaken this training/development.

6.4     Reasons for decision
The Sub Committee recognised the seriousness of the breaches but took into account the hard work carried out by Councillor Allen, the challenges he faced as Chairman of
the Local Development Framework (later Local Plan Panel) meetings, his lack of experience as a Chairman and as a district councillor. The Sub Committee considered
the sanctions to be reasonable and proportionate to the nature of the breaches.

7 Notice of Appeal
Councillor Allen may give notice in writing to the president of the Adjudication Panel seeking permission to appeal within 21 days of receipt of the full written decision of the
Sub Committee.  Such appeal is made to the First Tier Tribunal. Further details are outlined in the letter sent to him. This decision notice is sent to the persons making the
allegation and the member against whom the allegation was made and the Chief Executive.

Signed:    Date:  May 2012
Alison Willan
Chairman of the Assessment and Hearings Sub Committee