Agenda and decisions

Venue: Sedgemoor Room, Bridgwater House, King Square, Bridgwater, TA6 3AR. View directions

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:


There were no apologies.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary or prejudicial or personal interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.

(The personal interests of Councillors of Somerset Council, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes.)

Additional documents:


There were no declarations of interest.


Public Question Time

The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.

For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.

We are now live webcasting most of our committee meetings and you are welcome to view and listen to the discussion. The link to each webcast will be available on the meeting webpage, please see details under ‘click here to join online meeting’.

Additional documents:


Code of Conduct Complaint pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To consider a Code of Conduct complaint.

Additional documents:






Name of Authority

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council

Name of member who the allegation has been made about

Cllr Mike Murphy

Name of the person who made the original allegation

Elaine Dutton

Name of the Hearings Sub-Committee member who will chair the meeting

Cllr John Bailey

Name of other Members of the Hearings Sub-Committee

Cllr Brian Smedley

Cllr Hugh Davies

Name of Independent Person

Philip Knowles

Name of the Monitoring Officer

Scott Wooldridge (represented by Deputy Monitoring Officer Steven Hellard)

Name of the Clerk of the hearing or other administrative Officer

Steve Taylor

Date, time and place of the hearing

10am on Tuesday 2nd May 2023 at


The Sedgemoor Room,

Bridgwater House

King Square





The hearing was held in public.


A summary of the allegation

It is alleged that on the 23rd of June 2022, at the Town Council offices, Councillor Murphy made inappropriate comments to the Complainant when discussing whether a grant application made on behalf of the Cultural Arts Development Society (CADS) could be approved.


It is alleged that Councillor Murphy:

i) questioned whether money for the grant could be taken from elsewhere in the Town Council;

ii) suggested that the Complainant spoke to the Town Clerk to try to persuade him to change his mind by wearing a low-cut top and to push her breasts out so that they sit like a balcony,

iii) during a further conversation on the 23rd of June, made an inappropriate comment to the Complainant by saying that she made him feel calm and he wanted to give her a cuddle,

iv) on a previous occasion when Councillor Murphy attended the Town

Council offices, he made an inappropriate comment by saying to the Complainant she was his crush for the day, and he was falling in love with her.

v) ignored the request for Councillors to make an appointment with officers before attending the Town Council Offices and when he did attend, he stood in such close proximity to the Complainant as to touch her arm.



The relevant section or sections of the code of Conduct

‘Member obligations


When a member of the Council acts, claims to act or gives the impression of acting as a representative of the Council, they have the following obligations.


1.    They shall behave in such a way that a reasonable person would regard as respectful.

2.    They shall not act in a way which a reasonable person would regard as bullying or intimidatory.

3.    They shall not seek to improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person.’





Summary of the evidence considered and the representations made



The Committee heard from Mrs Sinclair, Investigating Officer, who presented her report and explained that there were a number of agreed findings, namely



1. Cllr Murphy attended the Town Council offices on the 23 of June 2022.


2. The Town Council Code of Conduct was engaged for the duration of that visit.


3. During the visit  ...  view the full decision text for item 4.