Complaint Number: LA/G/2053
Date case started: 04 Sep 2017
Decision issued: 21 Nov 2017
Allegation against: Councillor Frank Docherty
Complaint Categories: 3.1, 3.2
Nature of allegation
Breach of the provisions in the Councillors’ Code of Conduct set out in section 3 (General Conduct) of the Code.
Decision by Commissioner
Decision that Councillor Frank Docherty had not contravened the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.
NOTE OF DECISION WEB VERSION
Complaint no. LA/G/2053 concerning an alleged contravention of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct by Councillor Frank Docherty of Glasgow City Council
1. Complaint number LA/G/2053 alleged a contravention of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct (“the Code”) by Councillor Frank Docherty (“the respondent”).
2. It was alleged that the respondent hadcontravened the Code, in particular, the provisions on general conduct set out in paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 of the Code.
3. The person complaining (“the complainer”), alleged that, on 17 August 2017, during the course of a meeting with the complainer at his house, the respondent acted in a bullying and disrespectful manner, asked why the complainer was repeatedly phoning the respondent’s office, threatened to block the complainer’s calls, and stated that he had more important matters to deal with.
4. Paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 of the Code require the observance of respect towards members of the public in meeting situations.
5. The complaint arose from the practice of council refuse lorries parking on, and obstructing, the pavement outside the complainer’s house. When informal approaches to the drivers did not resolve the matter, the complainer contacted his ward councillor.
6. There was uncertainty as to the frequency of the complainer’s telephone calls to the respondent’s office, but it was agreed that a number of calls were made over a period of weeks and that the complainer continued to be exercised about the problems caused by the lorries. He considered that the practice was harmful to his health and assurances he had received in response to earlier complaints had not proved effective.
7. The respondent was aware of the issue and the recurring nature of the complainer’s contact with his office. When alerted to another call from the complainer on 17 August 2017, he took it upon himself to visit him as he was in the area. He did so without prior notice but I did not regard that, in itself, to have been disrespectful.
8. There was a conflict of evidence as to the tenor and content of the verbal exchange between the complainer and the respondent. The complainer evidently gained an impression that the respondent was dismissive of the issue and dominated the discussion. He described the respondent’s attitude as abrasive and offhand, and stated that he was left with a feeling that the importance of his complaint had been belittled.
9. By contrast, the respondent pointed to his attendance at the complainer’s home, his request to be shown the location of the problem, and the actions which he had taken in the complainer’s presence to alert council officers with a view to resolving the matter.
10. In these circumstances, I was unable to substantiate evidentially the precise nature of the exchange between the parties. I noted however the appropriate action taken by the respondent at the time and in the complainer’s presence, which was indicative of the respondent giving credence and consideration to the complaint. I found, accordingly, that the respondent had not breached paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 of the Code.
11. Having considered the information that arose from my investigation, I concluded that Councillor Frank Docherty had not contravened the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.
91 Haymarket Terrace
7 December 2017