Report finds parish councillor breached code of conduct

Published: 7 May 2024

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Work on the bus gate has been paused while councils develop the alternative proposal.

Complaints involving a parish council have resulted in one of its members being recommended for censure.

An independent report has concluded that Cllr Angela Drakakis-Smith had infringed the Members’ Code of Conduct of Betley, Balterley and Wrinehill Parish Council.

Its final finding said the councillor had failed to show respect for others, bullied and harassed the council’s clerk at the time, and had brought the parish council into disrepute.

The report was considered by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Audit and Standards Hearing Panel, which agreed with the findings.

The Panel recommended that the parish council formally censures Cllr Drakakis-Smith, and also removes her from any external appointments or positions of responsibility that she holds in her role as a parish councillor.

The Panel also recommended that its decision be formally reported to the parish council at its next meeting and that letters to the council and to Cllr Drakakis-Smith be made public.

The report said complaints about Cllr Drakakis-Smith had been made by other parish councillors, the council clerk at the time and a member of the public.

The matter was referred to the Monitoring Officer of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, who commissioned specialist employment lawyers Analysis Legal, of Stockport, to consider the complaints.

The report said that Cllr Drakakis-Smith, who joined the parish council in May 2022, submitted lengthy responses to the complaints against her. She also told the report’s author that she too could have submitted similar complaints against other members of the parish council, but had chosen not to.

Because the Parish Council is independent, the Audit and Standards Hearing Panel does not directly impose sanctions, but recommends them to the Parish Council.