No action against councillor who broke code of conduct

Date: Saturday 19th June 2004

NO action will be taken against a parish council chairman who was found guilty of breaching Eden’s code of conduct.

There was a lengthy and costly investigation after Brian Scrivens, chairman of Patterdale Parish Council, failed to leave a meeting during the discussion of an item in which he had declared an interest.

The matter arose in 2002 after parish councillors considered the award of a grass-cutting contract for the village recreational ground, used by Patterdale Cricket Club, which eventually won the right to carry out the work.

As a member of the cricket club, Mr. Scrivens took advice prior to the meeting from Cumbria Assocation of Local Councils and Eden District Council as to his appropriate action. When the subject arose, he declared an interest and, because it was both personal and prejudicial to the subject, he should have then left the meeting but did not, departing only when a vote took place.

Inquiries began and the case eventually came before Eden Council’s standards committee, which considered whether Mr. Scrivens was in breach of three elements of the code of conduct. It concluded that he was guilty of only one, not leaving the meeting early enough. However, no action will be taken against him.

There was insufficient evidence to suggest that he had acted improperly to influence the item. The committee heard that Mr. Scrivens had advised the parish councillors on procedural matters and reminded them of previous motions regarding the award of a grass cutting contract. He also abstained from voting on the subject on each occasion when the contract was discussed.

He was unavailable for comment this week.