Council takes no action in ‘conflict of interest’ complaint about leader
PUBLISHED: 18:22 20 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:22 20 February 2020
A council leader accused of breaching the code of conduct for allegedly failing to disclose an interest will face no further action from the authority.
In September 2016, Broadland District Council leader Shaun Vincent was elected chairman of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) board, which is responsible for delivering a plan for growth in Greater Norwich over the next two decades.
But at a meeting of Broadland's cabinet last month, Mr Vincent declared an interest in "promoting on behalf of the landowner a site for residential development through the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP)", due to his work as a consultant.
And following the declaration, a complaint was made to Broadland council's monitoring officer alleging the Conservative leader had not declared the interest before being elected chairman.
Jan Davis, a parish councillor in Cantley, complained to monitoring officer Emma Hodds on Friday, February 14, and said: "I'm not suggesting that Shaun Vincent has used and abused his position but it's about being transparent."
Mr Davis, an election agent in the Great Yarmouth Green Party, said he submitted the complaint as a resident, and added: "Such a conflict of interest should rule him out of the position of chair."
However, in a written response to his complaint, governance officer Sara Utting said Mr Vincent was advised to declare the interest in promoting the land in Colney ahead of the next GNDP meeting and read out a statement at the meeting in November 2016 and at subsequent meetings.
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She added that Mr Vincent "would not have any involvement in the determination" of planning applications as the site was in the South Norfolk council area.
A council spokesman said: "A code of conduct complaint was received about the leader with regards to a conflict of interest.
"The code deals with declarations of interest not conflicts of interest.
"The GNDP is not a decision making body, and any decisions required are made by each respective planning authority.
"Mr Vincent reads a statement at each GNDP meeting in order to be open and transparent and this was the agreed approach following his election as chairman in 2016."
"No further action is being taken at this point in time."
Mr Vincent was contacted for comment but did not respond.