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COUNCILLOR BANNED FROM OFFICE FOR 'BULLYING BEHAVIOUR'

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Leslie Wilcox of High Peak BC has been disqualified for two years from being or becoming a councillor at an indepen...
Leslie Wilcox of High Peak BC has been disqualified for two years from being or becoming a councillor at an independent hearing by the Adjudication Panel for England. The ban follows an investigation by the Standards Board for England into alleged breaches of the councillor's Code of Conduct and comes into effect immediately.

The board investigated allegations that Mr Wilcox sent emails containing aggressive and abusive language to council members and officers, between July 2003 and December 2004.

The alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct refer to a failure to treat others with respect, bringing the authority into disrepute and failing to use council resources in accordance with council requirements.

The panel considered evidence from the ethical standards officer who conducted the investigation and found that Mr Wilcox sent emails criticising officers and members, using language that was threatening, intimidatory and bullying. The emails were sent using a council laptop computer, via the council's email system, contrary to the authority's IT policy. The emails were widely circulated within the council and several were sent to external contacts. The panel found that Mr Wilcox failed to treat others with respect, brought his authority into disrepute and failed to use council resources in accordance with the council's requirements.

Anthony Holland, chair of the Standards Board for England, said:

'The Standards Board for England is pleased with this result. The board's decision to refer this matter to the panel, and the outcome of the hearing, sends out a clear message that acts of bullying and harassment will not be tolerated within local government. Such conduct undermines public confidence in local democracy and tarnishes the good work done by the vast majority of members.'

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