Agenda and minutes

Audit and Governance Hearings Sub-Committee - Thursday 18th September, 2014 3.00 pm

Venue: Town Hall, Bootle

Contact: Paul Fraser 

No. Item


Appointment of Chair




That Councillor Mark Dowd be appointed Chair for this meeting of the Sub-Committee.


Apologies for Absence


No apologies for absence were received.


Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were received.


Exclusion of Press and Public

That it be noted that the following report is not for publication and the meeting is being held in closed session and not subject to the notice or publicity requirements of Part 5 of the Local Government Act 1972.





That it be noted that this meeting is being held in closed session and is not subject to the notice or publicity requirements of Part 5 of the Local Government Act 1972.



Code of Conduct - Determination of a Complaint Against Councillor Peter Papworth

Report of the Head of Corporate Legal Services and Monitoring Officer.


The Sub-Committee considered a report of the Head of Corporate Legal Services and Monitoring Officer on an investigation into the alleged conduct of Councillor Peter Papworth, a Member of Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council.


The Chair, Councillor Mark Dowd, introduced the Members of the Sub-Committee, Mr. John Fraser, Independent Person; Mr. Peter Cowley, Investigating Officer; Ms. Andrea Watts, Deputy Monitoring Officer; the subject Member, Councillor Peter Papworth; and Paul Fraser, Senior Democratic Services Officer. 


Mr. Cowley, Investigating Officer outlined the complaint (made by Mr. Graham Bayliss, Director of Corporate Services) as detailed in (1) to (3) below and referred to documentary evidence contained in the report before the Sub-Committee. Mr. Cowley did not call any witnesses.


(1)  In my capacity as Director of Corporate Services I was informed that on Friday, 28 March 2014 Councillor Peter Papworth handed in his Council laptop to arvato (the Council’s contracted IT partner) and informed them that it was running very slow and asked if they could fix it.


(2)  As part of the analysis, a technician from arvato looked at the internet browser history and noticed a number of websites had been accessed which appeared inappropriate. The technician informed a senior manager and he downloaded the browser history. The document produced runs to 769 pages showing approximately 5 websites on each page. It is clear from reading the document that many sites are of a pornographic nature and had been accessed on the Council owned laptop.


(3)  I believe this shows that Councillor Papworth has contravened Sefton’s Code of Conduct for Members and therefore, it is appropriate for the matter to be considered by the Council’s Audit and Governance Committee.


Councillor Papworth presented his case and did not call any witnesses.


Mr. Cowley then summed up the complaint and Councillor Papworth summed up his case.


Mr. J. Fraser, Independent Person, had been consulted prior to the meeting and his views could be summarised as follows:-


(1)    I have read all the documentation relating to the complaint and I can confirm that any points I had in mind in relation to the complaint have been covered and cleared in such documentation, to my satisfaction. In consequence, I do not wish to submit any comments in respect of this matter.


(2)    I will be attending the Hearing at Bootle Town Hall at 3pm on Thursday, 18 September 2014.

Mr. J. Fraser confirmed that in his opinion, on the facts presented, that Councillor Papworth had breached the Code of Conduct and policies of the Council.


The Sub-Committee then adjourned the hearing and deliberated in private on whether or not it considered, on the facts presented, there had been a breach  by Councillor Papworth of the Code of Conduct/policies of the Council; and if so, what sanctions should be imposed. 


The Sub-Committee then re-convened and Mr. P. Cowley, Councillor Papworth and Mr. J. Fraser were invited back into the room. Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair, announced that the Sub-Committee had reached the following decisions:


(1)            The Members Code of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.