Lib Dem group leader Lucy Nethsingha cleared of alleged breach of code of conduct made by Cambridgeshire County Councl leader Steve Count

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha cleared of breach of the code of conduct allegation brought by council leader S

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha cleared of breach of the code of conduct allegation brought by council leader Steve Count. Picture; ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Lib Dem group leader Lucy Nethsingha has been cleared of allegations made by county council leader Steve Count that she broke the councillors’ code of conduct.

Cllr Nethsingha had described as “horrendous” the fact that the council used a Travelodge to house an elderly woman with severe dementia.

The row broke following the disclosed that the elderly woman and her carer had been housed in a Travelodge in response to an acute situation.

Cllr Count claimed that his Lib Dem opponent had used words such as ‘not safe’, ‘not a safe or sensible solution’ and ‘horrendous’ without basis and in direct opposition to information supplied by an officer.

He also alleged that Cllr Nethsingha had falsely implied the conditions arranged for the person in question were below an acceptable standard which the council denied.

The council put the complaint to the independent conduct panel member Gill Holmes who concluded no breach of the code had taken place. Deputy monitoring officer Amy Brown said she agreed and her findings are being reported to this week’s constitution and ethics committee.

Cllr Count said the comments by Cllr Nethsingha were “sufficiently sensationalised as to cause reputational damage to the council”.

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But Cllr Nethsingha said she did consider that a Travelodge is suitable accommodation for an individual suffering from advanced dementia.

“Cllr Nethsingha has explained that her use of the term ‘horrendous’ was intended to apply to the situation and not the hotel itself,” says the report.

“Furthermore it remains her view that for a care-worker to be looking after an active individual with dementia in a hotel would be pretty awful and has great concern for anyone put in that situation.

“Cllr Nethsingha has confirmed that she did not intend to blame individual council employees for the circumstances and she acknowledges being aware that there were difficulties in managing this case.

“Her concern was that the system is not sufficiently well resourced and the financial pressures and staff workload pressures in her view are leading to poor decision making in some cases.”

The report hints at “a fine line” being drawn in ensuring the accuracy of information but the conclusion remained there was no breach of the code of the conduct.