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Monday, October 31, 2011

Fountain, Leicester City Hall, Leicester, Photographs


Fountain, Leicester City Hall, Leicester, Photographs
 
 

Busking at the Clock Tower Leicester Photographs



Busking at the Clock Tower Leicester Photographs

Photographs of Leicester

One Leicester
Leicester City Council, City Hall, Clock Tower

Yummy Restaurant













Leicester Photographs

Leicester Photographs











McDonalds Thirsty Fun



singing for Jesus at the clock tower Leicester City Centre



Special Olympics GB Leicester 2009 national grid

Leicester Mercury Reporter Stoops For Scoop at City Hall

Leicester Mercury Reporter Stoops For Scoop at City Hall

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Gaffiti HSBC Bank, Oakham, High Street, Oakham, Rutland


Looking up passing the HSBC Bank in Oakham High Street 
and I spotted this new addition to the Oakham skyline

Residents of Dean Street Oakham Clean Up After Another Weekend


Residents of Dean Street Oakham Clean Up After Another Weekend of fun for late night revellers.
More plant pots were destroyed through out the street.

Only this week Oakham Town Councils Mayor Councillor Lucas said if you chose to live in the town you have to put up with late night noise and anti social behaviour.

I don't agree and neither do the residents, why should residents have to put up with this week after week?

Autumn Colours, Photographs

Autumn Colours, Photographs







Stamford Artisans Guild monthly craft fairs, Fineshade Woods,

Stamford Artisans Guild monthly craft fairs 

Sunday, 6 November, 10:00 – 16:00
 
Fineshade Woods, just off the A43 - if you're going from Stamford to Corby it's on the left just after the Duddington Roundabout (map)
 
Come along and meet local craftspeople with a selection including jewellery, woodturning, cards, cakes, walking sticks, hand knit and crochet toys, and small garments - amongst others.

Charity Show Time for the Sue Ryder Hospice, Victoria Hall, High Street, Oakham

Charity Show Time for the Sue Ryder Hospice

Saturday, 5 November, 18:00 – Sun, 6 November, 00:00

Victoria Hall, High Street, Oakham (map)
 
Dancers, Singers, Band, DJ, Tea/Coffee, Bar, Sweets, Paintings, Cake sale, Raffle. Tickets at the door, or from Oakham Wines, Berridges newsagents or by calling 07938 807524.

The Rutland Roadshow, Antiques Valuations to raise money for Rutland Sailability, Tennants Auctioneers

The Rutland Roadshow - Antiques Valuations to raise money for Rutland Sailability
 
Thursday, 3 November, 10:00 – 15:00
 
Rutland Sailing Club, Gibbet Lane, Edith Weston LE15 8HJ (map)
 
Pay £5 to get 2 items valued by Tennants Auctioneers. 
All sorts of antiques and collectables are welcome 
Ceramics, Silver, Furniture, Pictures & Prints, Toys, Models and more

Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving, St Mary’s Church , Ketton.

Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving (All Souls Day)

Sunday 30 October, 16:00 – 18:00
 
St Mary’s Church Ketton (map)
 
On Sunday October 30th at 4pm, there will be a service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving at St Mary’s Church , Ketton. In this service the names of people who have died during the last few years will be read out and there will be an opportunity for friends and relatives to light candles in remembrance and gratitude. 
 
There will be hymns, a time of silence, prayers will be said and afterwards there will be some refreshments. Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one, at any time, is most welcome to join us at this service on 30th October.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Clocks go back tonight as British Summer Time ends

Clocks go back tonight as British Summer Time ends



Clocks go back at hour at 2am on Sunday, October 30

British Summer Time (BST) officially ends at 2am on Sunday.

Clocks should be put back an hour to 1am as the UK moves to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

This means an extra 60 minutes in bed on Sunday.

The start of BST, when clocks will go forward again, is Sunday, March 25, 2012.

Derbyshire Leicestershire Rutland Air Ambulance, Charity, John Nowell


Oakham Town Councillor John Nowell, Chairman of Planning and Parks Committee was out fund raising for his favourite charity today. Derbyshire Leicestershire Rutland Air Ambulance.

There was also a sale in in the Congregational Hall.

Another sale is to be held in the Congregational Hall at 10.00am until 4.00pm
Saturday 10th December 2010.

if you want to support the work of the Rutland Air Ambulance pop along .

It's good to be able to promote the Councillors favourite charity.

 www.dlraa.org.uk/donate
 

The Town Councils Charity this year is for The Oakham Branch of the Royal British Legion which I cant promote because the Mayor Councillor Joyce Lucas refuses to provide details of any of her fund raising.

Cuckoo's Nest Fairs, Christmas Art and Craft, Oakham and Market Harborough, Photos

Cuckoo's Nest Fairs,
Christmas Art and Craft,
Oakham and Market Harborough,

Photographs of  today's event at Victoria Hall Oakham.

Next event at Best Western, The Three Swans, High Street,
Market Harborough, LE16 7NJ

Saturday and Sunday 12th - 13th November
10.30am - 4.30pm

















Lalique Beauty Ltd, South Street, Oakham, Rutland, New


Renovation of a former South Street Home is almost complete
Lalique Beauty Ltd, South Street, Oakham, Rutland

Friday, October 28, 2011

Uppingham Theatre Company, The Princess and The Pea, Uppingham Theatre, Stockerston Road, Uppingham

Uppingham Theatre Company,
The Princess and The Pea,
Uppingham Theatre,
Stockerston Road,
Uppingham
LE15 9UD

Friday 30th December at 7.30pm

Saturday 31st December at 2.30pm

Sunday 1st January at 2.00pm and 6.30pm

Tickets available from Uppingham Sports and Books
9 High Street East, Uppingham, LE15 9PY

Tel. 01572 822211

www.wegottickets.co.uk


Special Offer Family Tickets available from
07736 318662 or
pauladonaldson2008@googlemail.com

or send a SAE with Cheque made payable to UTC

Family Tickets are available until 12th December 2011

Oakham Late-night Christmas shopping, Leicester Tigers, Nottingham Forest

Oakham Late-night Christmas shopping,
Monday December 12th 2011

from 5pm to 9pm
with a craft fair, funfair,
Santa's grotto, music, carol-singing
and farmers market
plus sporting activity with
Leicester Tigers, Nottingham Forest

Late Night Christmas Shopping, Uppingham Town Partnership, Uppingham First, Uppingham, Rutland

Late Night Christmas Shopping, Uppingham Town Partnership, Uppingham First, Uppingham, Rutland

Thursday 8th December 2011
from 5pm to 9pm

Craft stalls

Bourne Christmas Lights Switch On, Craft Fair, Bourne, Lincolnshire, UK

Bourne Christmas Lights Switch On, Craft Fair, Bourne, Lincolnshire, UK

The Corn Exchange car park on Friday 25th November 2011
from about 5pm

School Choirs and bands will entertain with carols and Santa's Grotto
and his sleigh.

Saturday 3rd December from 1pm to 9pm with a Continental Market,
fair rides and stalls.

North Street and Abbey Road will be closed for the event

Stamford Christmas Festival, High Street, Red Lion Square, Sheep Market, Bath Row, Stamford, Lincolnshire, Rutland Radio

Stamford Christmas Festival, High Street, Red Lion Square, Sheep Market, Bath Row, Stamford, Lincolnshire

Sunday December 11th 2011

150 Stalls, festive food and drink
fairs, arts and crafts markets.

Live street entertainment from
dancers, actors and choirs, a
funfair, Santa's grotto.

Rutland Radio, Best Children's Hat Competition
with some exciting prizes for the winners


The will be Farmers markets in Stamford on 9th and 23rd December

Market Deeping, Christmas Light Switch On, Christmas Market, Market Deeping, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE6 8EA, UK

Market Deeping, Christmas Light Switch On, Christmas Market

Annual Christmas Market, the Market Place.

Sunday November 27th

from 10.00am to 4pm

Christmas lights will be switched on at 3.30pm

30 stalls, singing and dancing and Santa's and his sleigh

Burghley House, Four Day, Crafts For Christmas event, Burghley Park

Burghley House, Four Day Crafts For Christmas event, Burghley Park

from December 1st - 4th

ring 01428 682292 for ticket details

Oundle Christmas Light Switch On, Christmas Market, Market Place, Oundle, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE8, UK

Oundle Christmas Light Switch On,
Christmas Market,
Market Place,
Oundle, Peterborough,
Cambridgeshire, PE8, UK

December 2nd 2011

9.00am - 9.30pm

The lights will be switched on at 6.30pm

For more information please call 01832 272055

A Victorian Christmas, Rockingham Castle

A Victorian Christmas, Rockingham Castle

A Victorian Christmas will be held at
Rockingham Castle from November 21st
to 25th November 2011

The Castle courtyard will be decorated
with illuminated trees and there will be
guided tours of the castle by staff dressed
in Victorian Costume.

For more information call 01536 770240

Oakham Town Council Mayor, Cllr Joyce Lucas Said Councillors were wrong not to increase council tax

Oakham Town Council Mayor, Cllr Joyce Lucas Said Councillors were wrong not to increase council  tax.

Cllr Lucas was absent from the full council meeting at which all members, accept her deputy Cllr Charles Haworth decided to reject a proposed budget that would require the council to increase the precept paid by the public by 2.9%

At this weeks planning meeting she expressed her disappointment, she said this would leave the council with no money to spend next year. She appeared not to have a clue about how much the proposed increase was. Something you might expect the chairman of a small council to know.

I reminded her, we were told it is expected the council will underspend again this year therefore increasing the councils reserves to around £60,000 so we did have some money to spend.

Next year we will be spending around a quarter of the budget on new play equipment for Royce Recreation Ground. The Council agreed this spend recently before setting the budget and a detailed presentation was given by the Clerk as to how this would be funded. Strangely the assistant Clerk said at the same meeting the Clerk is now considering recommending taking out a loan to pay for this equipment.

It is clear to me the Council does not have a clear understanding of it financial position and is constantly approving spending on future projects before any sensible budget has been set.

We were asked to approve a budget for parks and planning nothing had changed since it was deferred from the last meeting.

A sum had been budgeted to for the Mayors Chain, I am not sure what this has to do with parks and planning?

The matter of the budget was deferred again. I suggested the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of parks sat down with the few lucky councillors who decide most of what goes on at the council and actually plan what they want to do next year and then present that request to the small group who are working on a strategic plan for the full council so it can form part of the full councils overall budget.

Oakham Mayor says if you decide to live in town centre put up with late night noise

Oakham Mayor says if you decide to live in town centre put up with late night noise.

At this week planning meeting Oakham Mayor Councillor Lucas said if you chose to live in Oakham Town Centre you must put up with the noise from late night drinkers and there anti social behaviour. Whilst we were discussing an application from a new bar owner to change Friday opening to 1.00am I raised concern for resident who live next door. Cllr Locket said is does not really matter because residents were most likely to be woken early Saturday morning by the market traders setting up.

I find it shocking the Mayor and  Councillor find it acceptable that residents maybe deprived of their sleep and its their fault for living in the town centre.

And please Rutland Times how much longer do we have to suffer her patronising preaching you allow to be published each week in your paper? 

Oakham Town Council Clerk Signed Postage Machine Lease Agreement without consent

Oakham Town Council Clerk Signed Postage Machine Lease Agreement without consent

A Oakham Town Councillor revealed this week one of the many things the council attempts to hide from the public.
The Clerk signed a lease agreement for a postage franking machine, tying the council into a long term costly contract the council is obliged to pay.

The Clerk did not seek consent from the council.

I was also told the previous clerk shredded important council documents.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cllr Martin Brookes, IN THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL, Local Government Standards in England, DECISION OF THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL

The tribunal findings

Rutland County Council Standard passed many more complaint than those shown
a lot of them were removed. Its clear to me they were happy to send anything
to the Ethical Standards officer. It is a pity they don't take the same robust
approach when I complain about the Conservative Leaders Roger Begy and
Deputy Leader Terry kings Lack of respect towards me.

The tribunal chucked out another 3 at the start and a few more as the hearing.

I have been found guilty of breaches of some codes of conduct. 
I am pleased they have said I have not bullied the Clerk.

I have previously said sorry to the Clerk he later chucked that back at me. 

I have apologised to Cllr Dewis for the publication of the email sent to me by
Gordon Sheasby and removed shortly after.

I will not be apologising to any other people, I have learnt if you are a town
councillor you have to respect even the most foul people.

I have responded as required to the Tribunal and will accept whatever action
they may or not take.

The Ethical Standards officer has replied and has made no recommendations and
and refers to the experience of the tribunal.

I have added some comments in red further now this page against the findings.

All the complaints relate to 2010


IN THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL CASE NO: LGS/2011/0537
GENERAL REGULATORY CHAMBER
(Local Government Standards in England)

ON APPLICATION FROM:

Ethical Standards Officer (ESO) of Standards for England
Application reference No: SBE-10830, 10831, 10862, 10863, 10864, 10897, 10898, 10899 and 10900 and SFE-000009, 000014, 000023, 000026 and 000027
Dated: 21 December 2010


APPLICANT: Jennifer Rogers, ESO, Standards for England

RESPONDENT: Councillor Martin Brookes
of Oakham Town Council

DATE OF HEARING: 15 August & 30 September 2011

Venue: Leicester Crown Court

Date of Decision: 24 October 2011

BEFORE:

Judge: David Laverick
Member: David Ritchie
Member: Peter Norris
Attendances:
For the Applicant (ESO): Miss Janet Kentridge of Counsel
For the Respondent: Represented himself

Subject matter: Reference about possible failure to follow the Code of Conduct
Cases Cited:
Sanders v Kingston [2005] EWHC 1145
Livingstone v Adjudication Panel for England [2006] EWHC 2533
Mullaney v The Adjudication Panel for England [2009] EWHC 72 (Admin)
MC v Standards Committee of the London Borough of Richmond [2011] UKHT 232 (AAC)


IN THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL CASE NO: LGS/2010/0537
GENERAL REGULATORY CHAMBER
(Local Government Standards in England)


DECISION OF THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL

The Tribunal determined that on some occasions the Respondent acted in breach of the Code of Conduct.

REASONS FOR DECISION


  1. The hearing resumed on 30 September 2011.
  2. The Respondent had indicated that he had a commitment to attend a meeting to discuss Lottery funding for a Town Council project and had been warned that if he chose to absent himself from the hearing on that account then the Tribunal would proceed in his absence.
  3. Also absent was Mr Norris, a member of the Tribunal who had been taken ill. The Tribunal indicated it had been re-constituted as a two-man Tribunal and would determine the issues on that basis.
  4. The Tribunal reminded itself that it had already received submissions from the parties in relations to allegations 1-7 and 11. The Tribunal proceeded to hear further submissions from Miss Kentridge on the remaining allegations, reminding itself by reference to the papers of what the Respondent had said about each of those allegations.
  5. The Tribunal then adjourned to reach its decision in relation to each of the allegations as to whether there had been a breach of the Code of Conduct.
  6. Miss Kentridge submitted that a wide interpretation should be given as to when a councillor was acting in his official capacity, arguing that a more restrictive interpretation would not be consistent with the principles specified by the Secretary of State in accordance with Section 49(1) of the Local Government Act 2000, in The Relevant Authorities (General Principles) Order 2001 (SI1401).
  7. Paragraph 2 of the Schedule to that Order provides:
Members should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned, should not behave improperly and on all occasions should avoid the appearance of such behaviour”.
  1. Paragraph 3(3) of the General Principles Order provides:
Only paragraphs (2) and 9 of the Schedule to this Order shall have effect in relation to the activities of a member that are undertaken other than in an official capacity”.
Paragraph 9 of the Schedule to the Principles Order provides:
Members should uphold the law and on all occasions act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in them”.
  1. In relation to several of the allegations against the Respondent, Miss Kentridge submits that even if true (and the Tribunal understood that those on the receiving end of the Respondent’s remarks say they were not true) the remarks and the publication of them were defamatory. In making the reference to the Tribunal the ESO had not sought to determine whether there was truth in the Respondent’s defamatory remarks and on her behalf Miss Kentridge submits that it was not necessary to do so because the publication of defamatory material was itself improper conduct on behalf of the Respondent.
  2. The Tribunal had at the outset expressed concern that there was a possible conflict between the application of the Code of Conduct and the Respondent’s right of freedom of expression set out in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Miss Kentridge accepts that the Article is engaged but submits that it is the whole article which is engaged, including paragraph 2 which states:
The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law, and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary”.
  1. Miss Kentridge drew attention to Sanders v Kingston [2005]EWHC 1145 (Admin). Wilkie J reached the conclusion that the Code met the requirements of Article 10(2) as being prescribed by law and for a legitimate purpose although he also accepted that there might be cases where the enforcement of the Code against a councillor who expressed political views in unnecessarily offensive terms could give rise to an infringement of Article 10 rights.
  2. Miss Kentridge submits that when the Code is properly interpreted and applied its enforcement can never give rise to an infringement of Article 10 rights. She sees a distinction between what an ordinary citizen (who may be free to express views as rudely as he or she chooses) can do and what she describes as “an elected official acting under the title of his office.”
  3. The Tribunal is very doubtful of that submission, particularly when account is taken of the higher level of protection which Wilkie J noted applies to the expression of political views. Miss Kentridge herself helpfully drew attention to dicta in the Livingstone case where Collins J stated:
There can be no doubt that restraints imposed by a code of conduct designed to uphold proper standards of public life are in principle likely to be within Article 10(2). But it is important that the restraints should not extend beyond what is necessary to maintain those standards”.
  1. In Mullaney v The Adjudication Panel for England [2009] EWHC 72 (Admin), Charles J approved the dicta in Wilkie and Livingstone that in principle the Code satisfies Article 10(2) but added that the restraints imposed by the Code should not extend beyond what is necessary to maintain proper standards in public life and again commented that political expression attracts a higher level of protection.
  2. Bearing in mind that English Law does provide remedies where people claim to have been defamed, and may also provide injunctions to prevent the publication of defamatory material, the Tribunal is doubtful whether it is ­necessary for the Code to be applied for that particular purpose.
  3. The Tribunal notes that as shown in some of the cited cases, remarks emanating from politicians should not necessarily be regarded as the expression of political views – they may sometimes be vulgar abuse.
  4. Miss Kentridge draws attention to paragraph 1 of the Code of Conduct which enjoins that the Code should be read together with the general principles prescribed by the Secretary of the State.
  5. The Tribunal has reminded itself that its task is to determine whether there has been a breach of the relevant Code of Conduct. The Tribunal can envisage circumstances whereby it finds that a councillor who in the words of the General Principles Order has behaved improperly is found not to be in breach of the Code of Conduct because his behaviour, however reprehensible, is not undertaken in his official capacity, as defined in the Code of Conduct.
  6. The distinction between what a councillor did in his official capacity and the councillor’s other activities was recognised by the then Secretary of State in issuing the General Principles Order. The Tribunal needs to determine on which side of the line each of the Respondent’s activities fell. Only if in each case the Respondent was acting in his official capacity can the Tribunal go on to consider the propriety of his actions.
  7. Miss Kentridge has helpfully drawn attention to Mullaney where Charles J considered a provision in an earlier Code that it applied where a “Councillor conducts the business of the office to which he is elected.” He said those were:
ordinary descriptive English words. Their application is inevitably fact- sensitive and so whether or not a person is so acting calls for informed judgment by reference to the facts of a given case”.
  1. The Tribunal accepts Miss Kentridge’s submission, based on the judgment in Mullaney that important factors would be the reasons why, the circumstances in which and the reasons for which the communication was made.
  2. Charles J in Mullaney quoted dicta in Livingstone v Adjudication Panel for England [2006] EWHC 2533 where Collins J said that:
official capacity will include anything done in dealing with staff, when representing the Council, in dealing with constituency problems and so on”
  1. In MC v Standards Committee of the London Borough of Richmond [2011] UKHT 232 (AAC) Judge Ward commented that the dicta in Livingstone were not binding authority to the effect that any time a member deals with staff he is acting in his official capacity. Judge Ward also stated that the fact that the example from Livingstone was cited and applied in Mullaney did not amount to approving the dictum in Livingstone.
  2. The Tribunal regards itself as bound by the view of Judge Ward that not all dealings between a councillor and staff result in a finding that the councillor is acting in his official capacity. The Tribunal need not concern itself with Miss Kentridge’s own view that the councillor in the MC case was so acting.
  3. Miss Kentridge submits that any suggestion (that she implies is made by Judge Ward) that misuse of a member’s position as a member is no longer covered by the Code is clearly mistaken. The Tribunal sees her submission as being based on a mistaken approach of equating a Member’s office as a councillor with being a representative of the Council. The Tribunal rejected that view in its Notice of Adjournment reached after the hearing on 15 August 2011. None of the particular actions of the Respondent under consideration by the Tribunal involve his acting or claiming to act as a representative of the Council.
  4. Miss Kentridge submitted, as recorded in the Notice of Adjournment that although signing himself as “Councillor” is not itself sufficient to establish that the Respondent’s action is undertaken in an official capacity it is highly indicative of this, although if the particular entry is entirely extraneous to Council business this might offset that initial assumption.
  5. The Tribunal takes a more cautious approach. If the particular entry is entirely extraneous to the Council’s business it is hard to see how the writer can be said to be acting in his official capacity. But the Tribunal does not go so far as to say that even where he is writing about the Council he is necessarily acting in his official capacity in so doing. The particular circumstances need to be carefully examined.
  6. Having dealt with those general submissions from Miss Kentridge the Tribunal has looked at each of the allegations (other than 1 to 3) which have already been dismissed and has reached the following conclusions both about whether the actions were those taken in an official capacity and whether they involved a breach of the Code of Conduct. 


     
  7. Allegation 4 was about emails which the Respondent sent to another councillor on 10 March 2010. Although he used the title of councillor in “signing” these emails, and copied them to other members of the Council, they were not in fact about Council business – they were about what the Respondent saw as personal attacks upon him in a blog for which he believed, rightly or wrongly, the recipient councillor to be responsible. In the Tribunal’s view, these were not emails sent in the Respondent’s official capacity.



  8. Allegation 5 was a blog written by the Respondent containing his account of what had happened at a meeting of the Council and including a statement that the Respondent would call the Police to ask them to remove a particular member of the public should that person attend a future meeting. Whether or not made in an official capacity, the Tribunal simply does not share the ESO’s view that such a comment, constituted a lack of respect toward the person concerned and thus a breach of the Code. It is hard to see it as anything other than an empty threat. The complaint about this matter should not, in the Tribunal’s view have been accepted for investigation. 

    To be fair to the ESO she had a difficult job, because Oakham Town Councillors ex Councillors so many complaints and Rutland County Council were happy to entertain them they did not bother to check if they were valid. Complaint from a Melton Borough Council member of staff were sent in before I had signed my acceptance papers.
     
  9. Allegation 6 relates to an email sent by the Respondent to various people about another councillor, Councillor D in sending this email, the Respondent did not style himself Councillor. The Tribunal cannot see how that email can be said to have been sent in his official capacity. It was certainly about the fitness of Councillor D to be a councillor but that does not mean that it was written in an official capacity. Nor is the Tribunal persuaded that a different view should be reached when account is taken of the fact that the Respondent had previously made a complaint to a Standards Committee about Councillor D’s alleged homophobic behaviour. 

     
  10. Allegation 7 relates to an entry on a blog dated 14 May 2010 which began by setting out a letter from the Assistant Clerk to the Council recording that a former member of the Town Council had apologised for his behaviour at the recent annual meeting of the Council. The letter began “Dear Members” and had clearly been written to the Respondent and others in their capacity as councillors. The Respondent indicted in his blog that he would not accept the apology and accused the former councillor of partaking in “online cowardly bullying.”
  11. On 13 May, the day after the Town Council’s Annual Meeting, the Respondent had written his own detailed account of the meeting. The Tribunal sees that as being action undertaken in his official capacity – he was using his blog to communicate, as a councillor, with the electorate in the Parish. The Blog of 14 May can be seen as an extension of that process and does of course begin with the publication of a letter he had received in his official capacity. The Tribunal takes the view that these actions of the Respondent do lie within the scope of the Code of Conduct. 
      
  12. The Respondent has not resiled from his belief that the particular former member was responsible for what he regards as bullying. He told the Tribunal that his remark had been made in anger. Whether the former councillor has indeed bullied the Respondent is not for the Tribunal to determine. The ESO has accepted that the Respondent had been put under a lot of pressure by comments about him.
  13. Bearing in mind that the 14 May entry followed an apology from the former councillor, the Tribunal shares the ESO’s view that the Respondent’s comments were inflammatory and could find no justification for them. The Tribunal considers that there was a lack of respect shown toward the former councillor and that thus the Respondent was in breach of the Code of Conduct.
  14. That same former councillor was also concerned with Allegation 9 where along with another former councillor he was accused by the Respondent of being a bully and a thug. This was in the context of a blog entry in which the Respondent published a letter by which the Town Clerk had set out a grievance against his employer, the Town Council, the grievance being based on the Respondent’s conduct toward him. On his blog publication the Respondent interspersed extracts from the grievance with comments of his own including the ‘bully’ and ‘thug’ reference. The Respondent was using his blog to explain his conduct as a councillor and the Tribunal regards such actions as being within the scope of the Code of Conduct. The particular reference appears as a gratuitous side-track to the Respondent’s refutation of the grievance and can by no means be seen as an expression of a political view. It was simply vulgar abuse, again evidencing a lack of respect toward the recipients of that abuse. 
     
  15. Allegation 8 refers to criticisms made by the Respondent of the Town Clerk whose competence the Respondent had called into question and of whom the Respondent had made thinly veiled allegations of financial impropriety.
  16. It was not for the Tribunal to determine the validity or otherwise of the Respondent’s criticisms but the Tribunal observe that the facts which seem to lie behind allegations that the Council had incurred unnecessary expenditure and had received a lesser number of tenders than expected did not inexorably lead to the conclusion, as asserted by the Respondent, that the Town Clerk was thereby at fault.
  17. Although the Respondent could have made these allegations even if he had not been a councillor, the Tribunal had no doubt that he did see himself as acting in an official capacity in making them when writing a letter to the Audit Commission and then publishing that letter on 20 April 2010 as part of his Blog. The letter is stated to be from “Councillor Martin Brookes” and begins by referring to his having been elected to the Council to serve the people of Oakham. The letter is signed as “Cllr Martin Brookes” and it is difficult to read the whole content as being written in anything other than the Respondent’s official capacity.
  18. The ESO had noted that the issue of whether public money was being properly spent was a matter of genuine public interest and submits that the Respondent’s comments on the matter “attracted the higher level of protection afforded by the Human Rights legislation.” She qualifies that by excluding from such protection occasions where the Respondent expressed his criticism in a manner which was rude and offensive. Miss Kentridge, in her submissions, sought to draw a distinction between comments made in what she described as an appropriate forum, and those made in an inappropriate forum such as a public blog.
  19. The Tribunal does not share Miss Kentridge’s view – the Right to Freedom of Expression is, in the Tribunal’s view applicable in either forum. But the Tribunal is mindful that Article 10 of the Code of Conduct does allow for restrictions on the right to freedom of expression which are imposed to protect the rights and reputations of others and draws a distinction between political comments on matters of public interest (which should not be subject to interference of expression from the Code of Conduct) and personal attacks upon an officer of the Council.
  20. The Tribunal is particularly concerned that while the Town Clerk was absent on sick leave, the Respondent’s blog contained a series of comments about the way the Town Clerk acted and the terms of his engagement by the Council. The entries include specific reference to the failed relationship between the Town Clerk and the Respondent as a councillor, confirming the view that in making these comments the councillor was acting, albeit improperly, in his role as a councillor.
  21. By acting in that way, the Respondent did fail to treat the Town Clerk with respect. It is difficult to see how this kind of public spat can do other than bring the Town Council, and the Respondent’s own office as councillor, into disrepute.
  22. The Code of Conduct provides that a member must not bully anyone. The Tribunal has noted the description of bullying set out in paragraph 7.49 of the ESO’s report of her investigation. The Tribunal understands that this paragraph or something similar appears in guidance issued by Standards for England. However, bully is defined in the Shorter Oxford dictionary as “to act the bully towards; to intimidate, overawe.” That is a much narrower definition than the guidance used by the ESO. The Tribunal takes the view that if the Secretary of State wishes the Code of Conduct to apply to conduct which falls outside the dictionary definition then he needs to draft the Code in a way which achieves that aim. As presently drafted, the Code does not. There is no evidence that the Town Clerk was overawed or that he was intimidated. Undoubtedly he was criticised and in a more public way than was appropriate. It may well be the case that the criticism was itself unfair and a reflection of the Respondent’s difficulty in taking a more balanced view. However, the Tribunal is also mindful that the Town Clerk was occupying the most senior post in the Council and, notwithstanding the ESO’s observations on this matter at paragraph 7.52 of her report, in the Tribunal’s view the threshold for a bullying relationship to be proven must be a high one. The Tribunal’s conclusion is that the Respondent’s conduct, though disrespectful, fell short of bullying. 

    I am pleased the tribunal has decided I am not a bully, I am not sure how this will effect the continued complaints from Cllr Alf Dewis who constantly says I am bullying the Clerk.
    I am told Rutland County Council have received a further seven complaints this month.

    A Councillor told me today the Town Council is failing because a small group of Councillors spend all their time trying to exclude me.

    I can only assume this is because they have something to hide and to me their behaviour is bullying.
      
  23. Allegation 10 also refers to the Respondent’s publication of the Town Clerk’s employment grievance and the Respondent’s commentary upon that letter. The Tribunal has already set out its decision that this improper publication did come within the scope of the Code of Conduct.
  24. The Respondent made a reference to it being surprising that a councillor was homophobic considering that the councillor’s own daughter was lesbian. The Respondent was later told that words he used to describe lesbian activity were considered offensive by lesbians and then replaced them on his Blog that the daughter “bats first on the LGBT wicket.”
  25. The Respondent had no first hand knowledge of the sexuality of the councillor’s daughter. He has said that he was passing on information he had been given from another source. He made no attempt to verify that information or whether, even if true, it was a matter the person concerned was prepared to have discussed publicly. The Respondent has indeed said he did not even know or care whether the councillor had a daughter.
  26. The Tribunal has reminded itself that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life. The Tribunal has already found that in making this publication the Respondent was acting in his official capacity. The Tribunal further finds that in so doing the Respondent failed to respect the human rights of the councillor’s daughter and thus failed to treat her with respect in contravention of the Code of Conduct. There was also a lack of respect for the family life of the councillor concerned. 

    I have apologised to Councillor Dewis for publishing the email sent to me by Gordon Sheasby.
       
  27. Allegation 11 relates to 8 May 2010 when the Respondent displayed an offensive poster, which he says had been sent to him, on the Town Council’s Notice Board. He did so at the same time as putting up other official notices. In the course of so doing he caused some damage to the notice board. On 25 May 2010 the Respondent was officially cautioned by the Police for displaying an obscene photograph and for criminal damage.
  28. Before the Tribunal, the Respondent accepted that in putting the material onto the Notice Board he was acting in his official capacity. By putting such material onto the Council’s notice Board the Respondent did bring the Council into disrepute and also by using his office as a councillor for that purpose also brought his office as a councillor into disrepute.
      
    This was a act of frustration, as regular readers know I have received some very offensive things through the post and Leicestershire Constabulary until now have taken little or no action to find the person (s) responsible

  29. Allegation 12 relates to a meeting of the Council’s Staffing Committee on 3 June. Although not a member of the Committee, the Respondent sought to attend the meeting. The Tribunal were told that the Council’s practice was to allow such attendance. As the particular meeting was going to discuss the grievance from the Town Clerk to which earlier reference has been made the Committee voted that not only should the press and public be excluded but also councillors who were not members of the Committee. The Respondent refused to leave, doing so only after Police attended. No further action was taken against him although according to the Respondent’s own Blog, he was warned that he would be arrested if he sought to return to the meeting. 
     
  30. Although the Blog entry contains some personal criticisms of various councillors it can be seen as falling broadly within the boundaries of acceptable expression of views, particularly in the context of local politics.
  31. But the Respondent’s actions in defying the Committee’s decision to exclude him (and for that matter any other person who was not a member of the Committee) was wrong. He was there in his official capacity. Defying the Committee in that way, and requiring the attendance of the Police to ensure his removal, brought the reputation of the Town Council into disrepute as well as that of his own office as a councillor. 
     
  32. Allegation 13 relates to emails which the Respondent (who is a photographer) sent to various recipients including the local press about another local photographer.
  33. The material before the Tribunal included criticisms which that photographer had made about the Respondent’s fitness to be a councillor.
  34. Although the emails included the statement “from Councillor Martin Brookes” there was nothing in the content that referred to the actions or responsibilities of either the Council or his office as councillor. The Respondent had previously told the Tribunal that he sometimes used the title councillor to lend greater weight to his communications. Whilst that is not a use the Tribunal would condone, it does not have the effect of bringing the particular action within the scope of the Code of Conduct. In writing these emails the Respondent was not acting in his official capacity and that is the end of the matter so far as the Tribunal is concerned. 

    Remembering I must respect all Yes the very nice Photographer and charming ex Councillor Mr Harrison's Blog still has a post falsely suggesting I am a risk to children. For this he receives all my respect!
     
  35. Allegation 14 relates to alleged disrespect shown to another member of the Town Council. The Respondent made a complaint to the Local Standards Committee about that councillor. That complaint was made over his signature as Councillor Martin Brookes and alleged that the other councillor had called him a paedophile. That complaint had been investigated by an ESO who found that there was not sufficient evidence that the other councillor had acted in the manner alleged. But the ESO also found that the Respondent had a genuine belief (based on what he said he had been told by another person) that she had made such a remark. The Tribunal doubts whether, despite his use of the councillor title, the Respondent was acting in his official capacity in making that complaint but in any event does not see any lack of respect in making an honestly held complaint even if such a complaint is not upheld.
  36. On 23 June 2010 the Respondent wrote an email accusing the councillor of being evil. The Tribunal has seen nothing whatsoever to suggest that this email was sent in the Respondent’s official capacity as a councillor. That the subject matter related to another councillor is not of itself sufficient to bring the writing of that document within the scope of the Code of Conduct
  37. The Tribunal takes a similar view of a further email sent, on 28 June 2010 by the Respondent to the various councillors and possibly others – the addresses on document before the Tribunal cannot easily be deciphered. The councillor did not use that title in sending the email although it does begin:
It is Council business most of the nasty vile gossip comes from one old bag on the council.”
  1. The Tribunal cannot make much sense of that sentence or its relevance to the rest of the letter which sets out his concern that the other councillor, and people who were not members of the Council, had labelled him as a paedophile. The Tribunal take the view that this email was not written in the Respondent’s official capacity and thus did not come within the Scope of the Code of Conduct.


  2. The Tribunal has adjourned so that the Parties and particularly the Respondent may have an opportunity to make submissions about what action if any the Tribunal should take in the light of its findings set out above that in some instances the Respondent has failed to abide by the provisions of paragraphs 3 and 5 of the Code of Conduct. Such submissions should be sent within 14 days of receipt of this document.


DAVID LAVERICK
Judge
24 October 2011 

It is disappointing that a small number of Oakham Town Councillor still feel they have to do all they can to remove me from the council. I wonder how much all these complaints are costing the tax payer. 

I was pleased to read the ESO had decided not to appoint a barrister to make their response and only used the services of a cheaper solicitor.



I have been asked by the Ethical Standards Officer to make comments in response to the direction in paragraph 61 of the decision made on the 24-10-11 rather than employ the services of our barrister to do so. I assume you are familiar with our address (recently changed and set out below) so that we can all regard the requirements of paragraph 11(2) of the Tribunal Procedure (First Tier Tribunal)(General Regulatory Chamber) Rules 2009 as complied with.

In view of the considerable experience of the tribunal panel members dealing with this case it is not felt necessary to make any additional submissions about the appropriate sanction in this case. Paragraphs 8.1 – 8.4 of the Ethical Standards Officer’s report remain relevant to the breaches that have been found to have taken place. To up-date paragraph 8.4, Mr Brookes is a councillor again having been returned unopposed to the town council at the local elections in May 2011. He is not a county councillor.

Mark Jones
Principal Lawyer
Tel - 0161 212 7042
Fax - 0161 212 7001
Standards for England
11th Floor, Portland Tower, 53 Portland Street, Manchester M1 3LF
www.standardsforengland.gov.uk 

From: Finnigan, James [mailto:james.finnigan@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk]
Sent: 26 October 2011 14:37
To: Mark Jones
Subject: LGS\2011\0537 - Brookes - Decision

Dear Mark

Please find attached the Panel’s decision on Brookes

Regards

James Finnigan
Caseworker
T: 0113 389 6013
F: 0113 389 6002
Local Government Standards in England
York House
31-36 York Place, Leeds, LS1 2ED
 




Rutland County Council Planning Department still failing

Rutland County Council Planning Department still failing

The Chief Executive Helen Briggs has produced this quarters performance report.

The Planning department is getting worse.



Staff Sickness is slightly improving

Oakham Parking Issues, Stamford Road, Rutland County Council

Rutland County Councils Scrutiny Panel met tonight members approved a draft document

Strategic Parking Review

Conservative Council Leader Roger Begy highlighted some of his concerns and important issues.

He expressed his serious concerns about parent who forget their children safety when they take to the wheel of their cars and drop children of during school runs to drop of their children.

He also said parking in Uppingham had become French Style Parking, abandonment!

New housing developments are failing to provide enough parking spaces.

They will need to consider improving bus services and possible include park and ride.

Town Parking charge will be reviewed annually and help with cost to reduce the parking charge would be gratefully received from the Town Councils.

Consider dual use of Oakham of Oakham resident bays, he said this has worked well in Uppingham.

At the moment Rutland County Council can not take enforcement action against Verge and Footway parking throughout Rutland, this is to a police responsibility to be dealt with if there is an obstruction. The Council will be looking into this issue.

Obstructing any dropped curb can be dealt with and enforcement should be carried out by Council enforcement officers.

The Council is  proposing some immediate action:

Yellow Lines to be painted and enforced on the bend in Stamford Road, Residents would like to see the lines extended further than the bend.

Considering Kings Road change to one way

He mentioned some long term solutions this included the consideration of building a multi-story car park.

The Chairman said as the public departed it was good to see them leaving smiling.
Fortunately he did not hear one of the residents less than complimentary description of them. "Bunch of W#####"


Outside the meeting some Stamford Road residents thought it might be good if they contacted the star of Rutland Radio Breakfast Show, Rob Persani and set him a new Friday challenge, to drive a car out of their drives. Something tells me Lincs FM might refuse the challenge on Health and Safety grounds.

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