Flintshire councillors and staff relationship rules reviewed

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Flintshire council offices in MoldImage source, Google
Image caption,
Councillors on the standards committee are being asked to adopt the changes

Rules on relationships between politicians and staff at Flintshire council could be tightened in the wake of the suspension of its former leader.

A tribunal found Aaron Shotton breached the local authority's code of conduct after encouraging his assistant to send inappropriate messages in office hours.

The council is proposing asking staff and councillors to declare any relationships.

A report to the standards committee recommends the changes are adopted.

Mr Shotton was suspended for three months in January after the Adjudication Panel for Wales also judged he had left questions on his desk for the woman to read before her interview for the role in 2012.

He resigned as council leader in April following a row over the sacking of his deputy.

Image caption,
Aaron Shotton was suspended for three months in January

In the report, Gareth Owens, chief officer for governance, said it was "inevitable" that some employees and councillors would have familial, social or emotional relationships because they work and live in the same geographical area, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

"Provided the relationship is declared by both officer and councillor through the relevant system for recording interests, it is possible for the council to put in place arrangements to ensure that council functions, procedures and safeguards are not affected," he said.

"The recent case tribunal decision showed the potential impact and consequences of covert relationships between councillors and employees.

"Amendments have therefore been suggested to reinforce the requirements on declaring interests for this reason."

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