Peterhead councillor set to face ethics watchdog

Cllr Anne Allan will face ahearing by Scotland's ethics watchdog.
Cllr Anne Allan will face ahearing by Scotland's ethics watchdog.

A Peterhead councillor accused of failing to register her interests as a member of an influential steering group is to face a hearing by Scotland’s ethics watchdog.

Cllr Anne Allan, who has been a member of Aberdeenshire Council for 15 years, is alleged to have failed to register her non-financial membrership of the Rediscover Peterhead Business Improvement District (BID) steering group.

The streeing group was established to progress a BID proposal for the town.

BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the business sector by means of a compulsory levy. Businesses within the proposed BID area must vote in favour, in a public ballot, of this before the BID can be established. Each business liable to contribute to the BID is able to vote on whether or not the BID goes ahead.

The Scottish Government and Aberdeenshire Council had approved funding in respect of the Peterhead by the time a ballot for the Peterhead BID took place in 2017.

The complaint alleges that Cllr Allan was a member of the Steering Group during 2016 and 2017 prior to, during and after the Peterhead BID ballot and that her membership of the group and support of a ‘yes’ vote had been prominent in the published ballot material.

The complaint alleges that the BID process was a matter of public interest due to the use of public funds and the public ballot of the business community and, as such, Cllr Allan should have declared her membership of the Steering Group.

The Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS) will hold a public hearing in Aberdeen on Tuesday, August 28 to consider the complaint.

If the SCS determines that Cllr Allan breached the Code, it will decide whether to impose a sanction of either censure, suspension or disqualification.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “We note the complaint and await the outcome of the hearing.”