Training solution in row over councillor

Malvern Gazette: Training solution in row over councillor Training solution in row over councillor

MALVERN Town Council is to offer training in the councillors’ code of conduct to one of its members who became embroiled in a row with a district council officer.

Malvern Hills District Council’s standards committee had threatened the town council with a judicial review unless it offered the training to Coun Mike Charles.

District head of community services Ivor Pumfrey complained about Coun Charles after a meeting about wheelie bins in February. Mr Pumfrey said Coun Charles treated him disrespectfully and made false allegations.

After a hearing of the standards committee in July, Coun Charles was found guilty of breaching the code, and the town council was required to ask for an apology from him, and to offer him specific training. But when it was put to the town council in October, they declined.

The district council then said if the town council could face a judicial review.

At Tuesday’s town council meeting, deputy town clerk Linda Blake said she had sought legal advice which suggested generic training on the code of conduct was sufficient to comply with the recommendation of the standards committee.

It also said the town council cannot challenge the standards committee’s decison – only Coun Charles can do so – and it was outside the town council’s remit to require Coun Charles to apologise.

Members agreed and Coun Peter Smith said: “It was me who dismissed this [at the October meeting] and I apologise to the council for leading them down the garden path.”

Afterwards, Coun Charles said: “I think at long last this issue has been resolved.”

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