I had asked that my 2nd day of hearing on 19 October be held in Dunoon, Inverclyde, Glasgow or Edinburgh, in that order.
This was on the basis that if the intention of a public hearing was to ensure the maximum public attendance, this seemed logical. I had made much the same arguments about the 1st hearing but it was held in Kilmory, Lochgilphead, as far away from public interest as you could imagine. It also, by the way, was probably the most costly venue from the public purse argument.
I have today been told that the 2nd day on 19 October will be in Edinburgh. I note below the email that I got to confirm this. I have agreed to Edinburgh as the venue.
Dear Councillor Breslin
I am writing further to my email of 27 September 2016. Please accept my apologies for the delay in reverting to you.
The Hearing Panel have now considered your request concerning the venue for the second day of the Hearing, being 19 October 2016.
As previously explained, the Standards Commission’s Rules provide that the Hearing will usually be held at a venue in the area where the Headquarters of the Local Authority is located unless, taking into account all of the circumstances, the Standards Commission determine it is appropriate not to hold it in that area. The Panel was of the view that, in this case, any potential public interest in the Hearing (which could include the complainants) would be across the local authority area and would not simply be localised to Dunoon. However, the Panel noted that all submissions on whether there has been a contravention of the Code have already been heard in public. The Panel will only be meeting to determine (in private) and then announce its decision (in public) as to whether a breach has been found. If not, the Hearing will conclude at that stage. If the Panel conclude there has been a breach, it will then hear and consider any submissions you wish to make in respect of mitigation before determining the sanction to be applied. Given, therefore, that the second day will comprise largely of the Panel making its determination(s) in private, the Panel has considered factors other than the public interest, such as cost to the public purse and convenience, in deciding where the second day of the Hearing should be held. In the circumstances, the Panel have concluded the second (and final) day of the Hearing will be held in Edinburgh.
I appreciate you may be disappointed with this decision but hope you understand the reasoning behind it.
The second day of the Hearing will commence at 11:00 at will be held at:
George IV Bridge
It would be helpful if you could provide the names of anyone who you know will be attending, purely so we can advise the Reception at Edinburgh Council so they know who to expect. Edinburgh Council are aware, however, that, it is a public Hearing and there may be other attendees.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.