‘No further action’ over behaviour complaint

A COUNCILLOR has been told he will face no further action after being reported to a standards committee for his alleged behaviour at a meeting.

Hartlepool resident Paul Mitchinson lodged a formal complaint with Hartlepool Borough Council’s chief solicitor Peter Devlin last month after attending a Health Scrutiny Forum meeting at the civic centre chaired by Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher.

Mr Mitchinson claimed Coun Akers-Belcher was disrespectful to members of the public at the meeting when it emerged that a discussion over the return of some services to the University Hospital of Hartlepool would not be taking place.

The Fens resident immediately complained to council chiefs, demanding Coun Akers-Belcher should be removed from his role as chairman of the Health Scrutiny Forum.

But an email sent to Coun Akers-Belcher from Mr Devlin yesterday confirmed that no further action would be taken against him.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “I said at the time the complaint was made that I was confident I had done nothing wrong, so I am pleased that has been confirmed by the sub committee.

“This is the second time a complaint has been made against me, and the second time I have been informed there will be no further action.

“I am known as an outspoken councillor who speaks my mind, and if people don’t like me then maybe they will try to silence me.

“But as I have previously said, I am only doing the jobs I have been elected to do and once again the support I have had from the community has been overwhelming.”

Mr Mitchinson said: “As soon as I know why this case has been denied a hearing when other, apparently less significant issues do, I will decide my next course of action.”

Meanwhile, Coun Akers-Belcher was due to chair a Health Scrutiny Forum meeting at Hartlepool College of Further Education this morning where representatives from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust were expected to outline their plans for services at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.