Date Published: 03 April 2019
An independent report into the conduct of former Rutland County Councillor Richard Alderman has found that posts published on his Facebook page were not in breach of the Council’s Code of Conduct because he was not an elected member at the time the comments were made.
The investigation, which was carried out by Wilkin Chapman LLP, was commissioned by Rutland County Council’s Conduct Committee after the Council received at least six complaints relating to the posts made by Mr Alderman, and his subsequent conviction under the Malicious Communications Act.
The complaints focused largely on bringing the Council into disrepute through his actions online, subsequent media interviews and eventual conviction.
The report detailed that: “Councillor Alderman was not acting in an official capacity when he posted comments on Facebook and when he was quoted in the Rutland and Stamford Mercury,” as such: “Our conclusion is that there has not been a breach of the Code of Conduct of the authority concerned by Councillor Alderman.”
The report went on to comment that had Mr Alderman been acting in his role as a councillor: “We consider that many of the comments attached by Councillor Alderman to the posts he shared on his Facebook account would have been considered serious breaches of the Code of Conduct.”
Mr Alderman, who was elected as an independent Rutland County Council Councillor representing Oakham South West in July 2018, resigned from his role in February 2019 after being convicted under the Malicious Communications Act 2003.
Rutland County Council’s Conduct Committee condemned anyone making such threatening and abusive comments as those made by Mr Alderman. The findings of the investigation itself mean that no further action will be taken by the Council.
The minutes of Rutland County Council’s Conduct Committee on 2 April 2019 can be found on our Meetings page.