The Welsh Labour Government First Minister Carwyn Jones’s apparent practice of appointing only women to serve on the Case Tribunal panels of the Adjudication Panel for Wales, is being challenged by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Standards Committee – the committee which oversees the conduct of councillors.
The move comes in the wake of the case of former Councillor and Vale ‘cabinet’ member Rob Curtis (Labour Gibbonsdown) who quit the council in August last year after being suspended by the Adjudication Panel for Wales for bringing the council into disrepute.
Ex Cllr Curtis objected to the composition of an all-female panel which sat in judgement on him . [ Cllr Curtis had earlier pleaded guilty at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court to common assault on a 17-year-old-girl with whom he had been on a birdwatching expedition on the island of Skomer, Pembrokeshire. The common assault charge had been substituted for an original charge of sexual assault which had been dropped by the court]
The women found that the conduct of Councillor Curtis was “unacceptable” , concluded that he had “brought his office into disrepute” and suspended him from acting as a member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and of Barry Town Council for a period of three months. Cllr Curtis subsequently quit both councils.
Later the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Standards Committee determined that “ for the perception of fairness, all Case Tribunals should have both male and female members.” and fired off a letter to the Adjudication Council for Wales pointing out that this was their consensus.
Now the Adjudication Panel has undertaken to notify the Vale Standards Committee before the recruitment is completed . The Adjudication Panel’s reply will be considered bny the Vale Standards Committee tomorrow. The recruitment process is carried out by the Judicial Appointments Committee – who come up with a shortlist for the First Minister.
PDN NOTE : The current members of the Adjudication Panel are : –
Mrs Claire Sharp – President
Ms Claire Jones
Miss Susan Hurds
Dr Glenda Jones
Miss Siân Jones
Ms Juliet Morris
The pay of members is as follows
- President £489 a day
- Legal members – £410 a day
- Lay members – £250 a day
Fluent Welsh is required for most posts. There is an upper age limit of 70 and no-one above 70 will be considered for appointment .