Swansea councillors top list of conduct complaints
STANDARDS watchdogs dealt with more allegations of breaches of the code of conduct by Swansea councillors than for any other local authority.
The annual report from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales shows he closed 43 complaints against Swansea members in the last year — three times more than for members of any other council in the country.
However, 34 of those complaints were effectively thrown out after what is known as the "initial consideration" stage, because there was no prima facie evidence of a breach of the code, the alleged breach was insufficiently serious to warrant an investigation or the incident happened before the member was elected.
Of the complaints that were further investigated, one case was discontinued, in six no evidence of a breach was found, and two were later withdrawn. In his report the ombudsman, Peter Tyndall, said: "I will continue to consider each case on its merits.
"I should also say that what is legally permissible, and what is desirable, are not necessarily the same and would urge all members to conduct themselves in a way that continues to promote standards of behaviour, characterised by respect, and which reflect positively on local government."
The ombudsman also refers to a 2012 High Court case involving Pembrokeshire councillor Malcolm Calver and sarcastic comments he made in his blog about the authority chairman, where the judge, Mr Justice Beatson, said that elected members should "possess a thicker skin and greater tolerance than ordinary members of the public".
The ombudsman's report is due to be discussed by Swansea Council's standards committee on Friday.
The same report shows that the ombudsman dealt with three complaints of breaches of conduct against Neath Port Talbot councillors, five from Powys members and 10 from Carmarthenshire.