DETAILS have been announced of the Standards Committee hearing into complaints made against Cotswold District Councillor Esmond Jenkins.

The hearing will take place from January 17 to 20 and will be conducted by CDC’s Standards Committee.

Various complaints were made against Cllr Jenkins in March 2011 and were reported to officers from Standards for England, who investigated the claims and published their findings today.

Five politically-independent members will sit on the committee, three of whom are completely independent of the council.

The committee will be chaired by Martin Jauch, former Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitian Police, who explained the report had identified several breaches of the members’ code of conduct.

“Cllr Jenkins has the right to challenge the findings of the report and put forward any arguments or mitigations for the Committee’s consideration,” he said.

“He is entitled to a fair hearing and, as such, can question those witnesses who have made statements, and he can also call his own witnesses where they can provide evidence relevant to the complaints.”

He added it was important to recognise that the hearing was not concerned with the Cotswold Water Park scandal, which Cllr Jenkins was a key figure in exposing.

“The issue to be considered by the Standards Committee is whether Cllr Jenkins has undertaken his legitimate role as a local councillor in accordance with the standards of conduct and behaviour that all councillors undertake to abide by when they are elected,” he said.

“Our task as independent committee members will be to focus on the individual complaints made and consider only the findings of the investigator’s report.

“We will not be side tracked into other matters which are not relevant to the complaints before us.”

The Standards Committee has a number of sanctions at its disposal, including suspension for up to six months, restriction of access to privileges and resources or requirement that the member submit a written apology.

CDC chief executive David Neudegg said he felt much of the publicity around the complaints had dismissed them as ‘frivolous and trivial’ and accused officers of participating in a co-ordinated attack on Cllr Jenkins.

“There have also been allegations that the complaints have been politically motivated,” he added.

“I can categorically state that no politicians have influenced the officers‚ complaints or have been involved in any way.

“I can further confirm that there has been no collusion between those making their separate complaints.

“Additionally, anyone viewing the conclusions of the Standards for England report would conclude that the allegations were not ‘frivolous and trivial.’”

He added he hoped the hearing would bring the matter to a close and that all sides would accept the report’s findings.

“I know that the officers are keen to put these matters behind them and move on, to work with all Councillors, improving services to the public,” he added.

The full report can be viewed on the link below.