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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

To help you find the information you are looking for we have organised our most frequently asked questions and the answers into subject headings.

Please select a link below:

  • About the Adjudication Panel for Wales

    What is the Adjudication Panel?

    The Adjudication Panel for Wales is an independent tribunal which was set up under Part III the Local Government Act 2000.

    The Panel’s role is to form case and interim case tribunals to consider whether elected members or co-opted members of county, county borough and community councils, fire and national park authorities in Wales (“relevant authorities”) have breached their authority’s statutory code of conduct.

    The Panel also hears appeals by members against decisions of their authority’s Standards Committee that they have breach their Authority’s code of conduct.

    Who are the Panel members?

    The Adjudication Panel for Wales consists of a President (a legal member), a further legal member and four lay members, appointed by the First Minister following recommendations made by the Judicial Appointments Commission. The current members are:

    • Mrs Claire Sharp - President
    • Ms Claire Jones
    • Miss Susan Hurds
    • Dr Glenda Jones
    • Miss Siân Jones
    • Ms Juliet Morris

    Who can make an allegation to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales?

    Anyone may make a written allegation to the Ombudsman that an elected or co-opted member has breached an authority’s code of conduct. The Ombudsman will decide whether the allegation warrants investigation.

    The investigation may be undertaken by the Ombudsman, or the Ombudsman may refer the allegation to the Monitoring Officer of the relevant authority concerned to investigate and report to the authority’s Standards Committee.

    How are cases referred to the Adjudication Panel for Wales?

    Cases are received through two routes:

    • The investigation may be undertaken by the Ombudsman, or the Ombudsman may refer the allegation to the Monitoring Officer of the relevant authority concerned to investigate and report to the authority’s Standards Committee.
    • appeals from local councillors against the decision of their relevant authority’s Standards Committee.
  • References from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW)

    What happens once the tribunal receives a Reference from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales?

    The tribunal will write to you to let you know that a reference has been received from the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales. You will be sent the Reply to a Notice of Reference form (APW01) for you to complete in response to the Reference.

    How do I dispute the material facts?

    Section 4 of the Reply to a Notice of Reference form can be used to identify any disputes there may be about the material facts.

  • Appeals against standards committee decisions

    What happens once the tribunal receives an Appeal?

    The tribunal will acknowledge the appeal against the decision of the Standards Committee. If a Notice of Appeal form (APW05) has not been completed, we will send you a copy for you to complete.

    How do I set out the grounds for my appeal?

    Section 4 of the Notice of Appeal form can be used to set out your grounds for appeal. You should aim to give an overview of your reasons for disputing the findings of the standards committee. The subsequent parts of the form enable you to provide more detailed information in support of the grounds that you have set out.

    How do I dispute the material facts?

    Section 5 of the Notice of Appeal form can be used to identify any disputes there may be about the material facts. The tribunal will make up its own mind about the material facts, having taken account of what you, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales or the Monitoring Officer (as appropriate) and the standards committee have to say regarding the alleged breach of the code of conduct.

  • The Tribunals Procedures

    Can I send my form to the tribunal by e-mail?

    The Adjudication Panel for Wales will accept correspondence by e-mail. Contact details can be found in the Contact section of this website. You can also submit information by post.

    What if I have any additional needs?

    Please do tell us about any additional needs you have when you send us your form so that we can make adjustments where needed to ensure the hearing is fully accessible.

    How will documents be sent to me?

    All procedural documents will be sent by Royal Mail Recorded or Special Delivery, unless you have confirmed that you wish to receive correspondence by e-mail.

    Can I make my response in Welsh?

    The tribunal accepts all correspondence in Welsh.

    Can the tribunal provide advice?

    No. The tribunal is an independent Judicial Body and must therefore remain impartial when dealing with cases. The tribunal secretariat can provide advice about tribunal procedures; the tribunal cannot though provide legal advice or guidance about how to present a case.

    Is my response and any supporting evidence kept confidential?

    Information provided to the tribunal in connection with a Reference or Appeal will only be disclosed to those involved in the case. However, hearings take place in public.

    What happens after an allegation has been made?

    The Ombudsman will investigate to conclude that either:

    • No breach of the code, or that no further action need be taken.Or
    • produce a report on the completed investigation and refer it either to the Monitoring Officer of the relevant authority or to the President of the Adjudication Panel for Wales.

    What happens when a case is referred to the Panel?

    Where the Ombudsman sends his report to the President of the Adjudication Panel, a tribunal will be convened from the Panel to consider the report and hear any representations made by the member who is the subject of the complaint and any other witnesses. The member may appear in person, or be represented by another person.

    Can I choose not to attend or be represented at a tribunal hearing?

    Yes. The tribunal will decide whether to proceed with a hearing in the member’s absence, or to make its decision on the basis of written representations, if any, made by or on behalf of the member.

  • Information for witnesses

    How are witnesses called to tribunal hearings?

    Witnesses may be called by the member that has allegedly breached the code of conduct.

    Additionally witnesses can also be called by the tribunal themselves.

    How will a witness be informed of a hearing?

    Where a member has requested attendance of a witness, it will be for the member to advise them of the hearing and to confirm their attendance.

    Where the tribunal wish to call witnesses the Registrar will contact them to advise of the hearing and to confirm their attendance.

    Can the tribunal summons a witness?

    Yes the tribunal also has the power to summons witnesses should it be required. The tribunal can do this of its own volition or on the request of the member. The tribunal will only issue a witness summons where a witness has refused to attend.

    How many witnesses can I call on my behalf?

    The number of witnesses called is dependent on the tribunal. However the tribunal may limit the number of witnesses called by the accused person where it appears to the tribunal that such witnesses will not be presenting significant new evidence of fact or where an excessive number are being called to provide character testimony.

    What is the role of the witness?

    The role of the witness is to provide evidence of fact or evidence to support character of the accused member.

    Witnesses can also provide evidence of action to be taken if the panel finds there has been a breach of the code of conduct.

    Can a witness claim expenses?

    Yes a witness may claim for travel and subsistence expenses and where appropriate compensation for loss of work time at the rates stated in Appendix A of the Witness Guidance booklet (APW09).

    The Adjudication Panel will not pay the expenses of any third party who attends a case tribunal with a witness, such as a friend, family member or legal representative.

    Will the Adjudication Panel pay other expenses incurred?

    The Adjudication Panel, may, in certain circumstances, agree to pay additional expenses incurred by a person required to attend a case tribunal. Any additional expenses must be agreed with the Adjudication Panel prior to any expense being incurred. Any claim must be supported with full documentation.

    Are expenses paid in relation witness summonses?

    Under paragraph 8 of the ‘Adjudications by Case Tribunals or Interim Case Tribunals (Wales) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001 No. 2288)’, a person who is summonsed to appear before a tribunal formed by the Adjudication Panel for Wales is not required to do so unless the necessary expenses of doing so are paid to them.

  • Hearings

    How many members sit on a tribunal hearing?

    Usually three. The tribunal will be Chaired by one of the legal members of the Panel.

    What will the tribunal be like?

    At the beginning of the hearing the Chairperson will explain the order of the proceedings that the tribunal will adopt. The tribunal will, as far as possible, try to avoid formality in its proceedings. The person who is the subject of the complaint will be entitled to give evidence, call witnesses, question any witnesses and address the tribunal. Further guidance on tribunal procedures is available from the Registrar to the Panel and the Guidance and Forms section of this website.

    Are the tribunals open to the public and press?

    Yes, unless the tribunal has received and agreed to a request for the hearing to be held in private or the tribunal decides on the day that there are issues from which the public should be excluded. However, the use of cameras, video or other recording equipment is not permitted during proceedings.

    How can I find out when and where a tribunal is to be held?

    Details of tribunal arrangements will be published on the Upcoming Tribunals section of this website or from the Registrar to the Panel, contact details can be found on the Contact Us page of this website.

    Will the tribunal conduct hearings in Welsh?

    You are asked to choose your language preference in the application forms. The tribunal will also seek to establish the language preference of any others participating in advance of the hearing.

  • Decision

    What happens after the tribunal has considered the evidence?

    After considering any written and oral submissions the tribunal will reach a view as to whether you have failed to follow the provisions of the code of conduct.

    What sanctions can a tribunal impose?

    In cases referred direct by the Ombudsman, there is a range of sanctions available to the tribunal.

    In appeal cases, the tribunal will decide whether to uphold or overturn the determination of a Standards Committee by either endorsing the sanction imposed or referring the matter back to the Committee.

    Full details of sanctions can be found in the following publications available on the Guidance and Forms section of this website.

    References – Sanctions Guidance (APW04)
    Appeals – Sanctions Guidance (APW08)

    Who will be told of the tribunal’s decision?

    A copy of the decision will be sent to the person who is the subject of the complaint, the Standards Committee of the relevant authority, the Ombudsman and the person who made the original allegation (if known).

    When will the parties be told of the decision?

    The parties will normally be informed orally of the decision at the end of the hearing. However, there may be occasions when a tribunal reserves its decision. The decision and the reasons for it will be confirmed in a written statement as soon as possible after the hearing.

    Is the decision of the tribunal publicised?

    The decision will be published in one or more newspapers circulating in the area of the relevant authority. A copy of the decision will also be published on the Decisions section of this website.

    Where a tribunal hears evidence in private, amendments may be made to the text of the written decision report in order to preserve confidentiality.

    Is there a right of appeal against the decision of the tribunal?

    In certain circumstances cases referred direct to the Adjudication Panel by the Ombudsman, the person who is the subject of the complaint may seek the permission of the High Court to appeal against a decision.

    There is no right of appeal against the decision of a tribunal formed to consider an appeal against the decision of a standards committee, but as a public body, the Adjudication Panel and its tribunals may be subject to judicial review where appropriate.

  • Sending and receiving secure emails using Egress Switch

    The tribunal has introduced new software called Egress Switch, which helps us securely send emails and documents to non-secure email addresses. This is beneficial when emailing applicants, service users, solicitors firms and other agencies that are not on a secure network, ensuring the tribunal meets security and data protection requirements.

    Why is the tribunal using Egress Switch?

    Egress Switch allows tribunal staff to securely send confidential information to external email accounts (including Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail). The nature of the work the tribunal carries out means that we often deal with information that is sensitive, which we wouldn’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Measures such as secure postal services have been in place for some time now. However we are increasingly sending information by email, as this is quicker and more convenient for the people we work with. We’ve therefore introduced an easy to use piece of software that will help ensure that any information sent by email is secure.

    Is Egress Switch free to use?

    Yes. All recipients can view and securely reply to emails sent via Egress Switch from the tribunal for free.

    How do recipients view Egress encrypted emails?

    On their first use only, recipients will need to create an Egress account before they can sign in to view the email they’ve received. This is a short and simple process that involves inputting an email address and creating a password. . Once this is done, an activation code will be sent to that email address and recipients will then be able to sign in and read their email. A step-by-step guide for this process is available on the Egress Switch website.

    Can multiple people view the email once it is decrypted?

    In general, emails can only be viewed by the original recipient. However, ‘access settings’ can be amended to allow others read access. This is useful in the case of group mailboxes, or where a solicitor needs to grant read access to colleagues or assistants. Find out how to make these changes.

    Can Criminal Justice Secure eMail (CJSM) accounts still be used?

    Yes. It isn’t mandatory to use Egress Switch. However we would encourage you to reply via Egress because of the various issues experienced with the CJSM accounts (e.g. small mailbox sizes, licensing costs).

    Can Egress Switch be used on a mobile phone or tablet?

    Yes. Egress Switch has a mobile website to enable easy use on a mobile device. There is also an Egress Switch ‘app’ available for BlackBerry devices and iPhones/iPads, and will be available soon for Android devices.

    Can Egress Switch be used on Apple Macs?

    Yes. The Egress Switch client can be installed on Mac OSX 10.6 and above.

    Does Egress store any of my data?

    Egress does not handle or store any information that users share. The information is encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption and written to a secure package which can be transferred to the recipient using CD/DVD, USB stick, local file, FTP, HTTP, or an attachment to email. The only information Egress keeps relates to user management, package management and audit. Egress considers this information to be sensitive too, so they have designed their policy engine to use secure transactions, strong authentication, and a secure encrypted server database.

    Can Egress see my information?

    Egress cannot see your information. The Egress Client software encrypts and decrypts your information on your local machine; therefore Egress does not have access to it.

    Who can external recipients contact if they are having technical issues with Egress Switch?

    They should contact the Egress support team directly using the following methods:

    Email support@egress.com
    Telephone 0871 376 0014

    Further advice and guidance on using Egress Switch can be found on the Egress website.

    For further enquiries about Egress Switch and its use in the tribunal, please email our tribunal mailbox.

     

Related links

Tribunal hearings are usually open to the public to attend.  A list of tribunal hearings, including details of upcoming tribunals, is available to view online.