Misconduct allegations against two Wakefield councillors to be heard this week

Wakefield Town Hall
Wakefield Town Hall

Misconduct allegations against two Wakefield councillors will be discussed this week.

The claims will be heard at a standards sub-committee on Thursday May 16, but the public and press will not be allowed to attend.

The identities of the elected members have been kept secret, and the nature of the allegations is not known.

On the agenda for the meeting, which is published on the council's website, it says: "Information is exempt to the extent that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information."

It emerged earlier this year that six Wakefield councillors were subject to misconduct allegations between January 2017 and December 2018.

Although in half of those cases it was decided there was no case to answer, one Labour member was advised to attend equality and diversity training.

It was decided that no further action would be taken against the councillor, as they had already been disciplined by group leader Peter Box.

The identities of that councillor and all others accused were also withheld, however.

The practice of giving minimal details about misconduct claims is commonplace across UK councils, though the Local Government Association (LGA) says individual authorities can choose how they approach such issues.

The situation was criticised by the campaign group, Transparency International, who said details of investigations should be provided once they are concluded.

"Strong institutions that are transparent and accountable are bulwarks against corruption," they added.

In response to January's report about the previous misconduct allegations, Wakefield Council's chief legal officer Gillian Marshall, said: "We take all complaints very seriously and all are fully reviewed by an independent person and then considered by our Standards Committee.

"We would not share personal information in relation to any allegations until there is found to be a breach of the code of conduct."

Local Democracy Reporting Service