Another probe launched into councillor's conduct

A maverick councillor's actions are once again being looked into under the council's standards procedures.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 12:10 pm
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 1:15 pm
Councillor Bob Brierley

Hindley Green independent Coun Bob Brierley is the subject of new allegations by public sector staff and has been approached by an independent investigator appointed by the local authority.

She will prepare a report to advise whether the matter should go to the standards committee and what, if any, sanctions are appropriate.

The town hall said standards investigations are confidential and it is limited in what it can say. But Coun Brierley, who was found to have committed two breaches of the code of conduct in 2016, said he believed the accusations were political and raised other issues concerning how the matter had been dealt with, including the complaint being made too late.

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He said: “I welcome a hearing on these new complaints because I came out of the last one with flying colours. In this case I’ve followed the correct procedure.

“The council has not followed the rules because they did not approach me within the time limit after the allegations were made. That does not give me a fair chance to remember the events clearly. There are also references to emails or letters in the correspondence which I can’t recall receiving.

“They are just trying to stop me doing my job representing people as a councillor. They want to get this through so I lose my Brighter Borough funding again because I get it back in May.”

The Post understands one complaint relates to a visit the politician made to a base of the erstwhile Wigan and Leigh Homes.

Coun Brierley said he had been dealing with the independent person who liaises with elected representatives accused of breaches and therefore would not meet the independent investigator.

Brendan Whitworth, council assistant director for legal services, said: “When the council receives a complaint about a council member, alleging breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct, an investigator is appointed if the complaint merits a formal investigation. This can be an internal or external investigator and ensures fairness and transparency.

“Depending on the outcome, the matter may be referred to the standards committee for a local hearing or resolved in another way, such as by informal agreement between the parties or by no finding of failure to comply with the code. As this particular investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time.”