Agenda and minutes

Audit and Governance (Hearing) Sub-Committee - Monday, 20th September, 2021 3.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ. View directions

Contact: Susan Dallison  01305 252216 - Email:

No. Item


Election of Chairman

To elect a Chairman for the meeting.


It was proposed by Cllr S Cocking seconded by Cllr B Trite




That Cllr M Hall be elected Chairman


Declarations of Interest

To disclose any pecuniary, other registrable or non-registrable interest as set out in the adopted Code of Conduct.  In making their decision councillors are asked to state the agenda item, the nature of the interest and any action they propose to take as part of their declaration.


If required, further advice should be sought from the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.



There were no declarations of interest.


Hearing Sub-Committee Terms of Reference and Dorset Council Member Complaint Process pdf icon PDF 309 KB

To note the Sub-Committee’s terms of reference:-


Audit and Governance (Hearing) Sub-Committees for the consideration of Code of Conduct Issues


(a)        The Audit and Governance Committee shall arrange that, to the extent it is called upon to determine any allegation relating to a Member Code of Code (including that of a Town Council or a Parish Council), the determination shall be made by a Sub-Committee of the Audit and Governance Committee.  An Audit and Governance Sub-Committee with such responsibility may include non-Members.  An Audit and Governance Sub-Committee that has non-Members forming part of it shall not have any power relating to the regulation and/or control of the finances of the Council.


(b)        Substitutes may only be appointed to an Audit and Governance Sub-Committee from the membership of the Audit and Governance Committee.  There shall be no power to appoint non Member substitutes.


To note the Dorset Council Member Complaint Process (attached).


The terms of reference were noted.


Urgent Items

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972.  The reason for urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.


There were no urgent items.


Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of press and the public for the following items in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 1 of schedule 12A to the Local government act 1972 (as amended).


The Chairman announced that the meeting would be held in public unless there were any valid reasons for holding the meeting under exempt business.


Cllr K Tippins requested that the meeting be held in private as the report by the Investigating Officer contained details of her personal circumstances and mentioned her family members.


The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised the members of the Sub-committee that the balance of public interest would need to be satisfied against the public interest to hold the meeting in private.  It was noted that some of the information contained within the Investigating Officer’s report was already in the public domain.


On balance the sub-committee agreed that the meeting should be held in public.


Code of Conduct Complaint 1


The Sub-committee received an investigation report into a complaint made by Mrs C Commons which alleged bullying and harassment by Cllr K Tippins towards Mrs C Commons and behaviour in contravention of the Shaftesbury Town Council Code of Conduct.  The complaint alleged that Cllr K Tippins had breached parts 2.1a, 2.1b, 2.2b, 2.2c and 2.2g of the Code of Conduct.      


The Investigating Officer, Anna Lake introduced herself to the meeting and highlighted the main points of her report to the Sub-committee.  Anna Lake confirmed that she had no previous involvement with Shaftesbury Town Council or anyone from the town council prior to the Code of Conduct Investigation.  Anna Lake explained that she had approached a selection of potential witnesses, including those who were at relevant meetings, who might be more supportive of Cllr K Tippins or of Mrs Clare Commons.  The witnesses who had given statements were those that were specifically involved with the complaint and all witnesses had signed to confirm that the statements were accurate.  Cllr K Tippins had declined to meet with the Investigating Officer.


Anna Lake reiterated that she had approached the investigation with no prior knowledge of Shaftesbury Town Council, its councillors or officers so there was no bias in the investigation.  As a result of conducting the investigation into the complaint made by Clare Commons, Shaftesbury Town Clerk into Cllr K Tippins, the Investigation Officer concluded that there had been breaches of the Code of Conduct.


The Chairman invited Cllr K Tippins to ask questions of the Investigating Officer.  Cllr K Tippins stated that she hadn’t refused to meet with Mrs Lake, as she had asked Mrs Lake and Jonathan Mair (Monitoring Officer) to tell her what she had done wrong.  Cllr Tippins asked why did Mrs Lake not provide her with the evidence that she had requested?  She had asked for confirmation of what she had said that was deemed to be bullying behaviour.  Cllr K Tippins stated that she had not received an answer to her questions and she had not been provided with a transcript of the meetings.  Cllr Tippins stated that she had taken legal advice and should be have been told exactly what she had done wrong.  Cllr Tippins stated that she had protected rights as a councillor and was able to ask the town clerk questions in public.


The Deputy Monitoring Officer, Grace Evans confirmed that it was a legal requirement to conduct a fair hearing and Cllr K Tippins was entitled to see the allegations made against her.  The Deputy Monitoring Officer confirmed that Cllr K Tippins had been sent a copy of the complaint made against her.

Cllr K Tippins confirmed that she had been sent a copy of the complaint. She had taken legal advice and was advised that she needed to have the precise allegations and transcripts of the meetings referred to in the complaint.  The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised the Sub-committee that the Monitoring Officer was satisfied that the details of the complaint  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.

Appendix - Decision Notice pdf icon PDF 119 KB