Outcome of first standards hearing in decade, held in private, revealed.
By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter
A councillor had their knuckles rapped for breaching Islington council’s code of conduct by revealing confidential information.
A hearing decided the Labour councillor “brought the council into disrepute” because they had “improperly communicated confidential information.”
The councillor was told off by the Islington Labour party and the standards committee also wrote to them about its findings.
Islington council’s standards committee banned the press and public from attending the hearing, held over two days, citing privacy legislation.
They said it could damage the unnamed councillor’s reputation if the allegations were not upheld against them.
The councillor was consulted and said they would like the hearing to be held in private.
Details of the outcome have been revealed in a decision notice.
The standards committee said the councillor brought Islington council and the role of councillors into disrepute.
Committee members ruled the councillor “placed themselves in a situation where their integrity could have been questioned by others in attendance at the time.”
They found they also showed “an absence of accountability” about their responsibility “not to share” confidential information.
They considered the “setting” where the information was revealed and the fact that councillors are subject to greater scrutiny than ordinary members of the public.
The councillor also failed to act in a way “that secures or preserves public confidence,” the hearing ruled.
The standards committee ruled the councillor breached the council’s code of conduct for elected members over confidentiality and disrepute.
Overall they ruled the councillor breached three of the seven Nolan Principles for public life – integrity, leadership and accountability.
The principles were drawn up in 1995 for those involved in public life and are used together with the council’s own code of conduct laying down standards expected of councillors.
The councillor has been reprimanded with a formal letter.
An Islington Labour spokesman said: “The Islington Labour Group takes any breach of the council’s code of conduct incredibly seriously. The Chief Whip took appropriate action once the allegations were raised. We will not be making any further comment as this is a confidential matter.”
This is the first standards hearing in a decade.
Back in 2013 it ruled no action needed to be taken against the councillor complaints had been made about.