An Bord Pleanala 2004 Report:
Public Confidence: "The Boardâ€™s three core [B]principles of independence, impartiality and openness[/B] are embedded in our Mission Statement and objectives and underpinned by legislation. We are always mindful that public confidence depends on the integrity and quality of our decision-making and the professionalism with which we carry out our functions. There is a statutory code of conduct for all Board members, staff and consultants which places stringent obligations on members and employees of the Board to declare interests and conduct themselves generally in a way that reinforces public confidence".
An Bord Pleanala Code of Conduct:
"Section 150 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (Appendix 1) requires that the Board adopt a code of conduct for members and employees. It is the intention that members and employees should adhere not just to the letter of the Code but also to the spirit of the Code in a manner that maintains the highest level of public confidence and trust in the Board and its operations"
The planning consultant involved here has been employed as a "Part Time Consultant" and is currently employed on a Fee-per-case basis by the Bord.
There is no section of the code of conduct that prohibits inspectors operating as private consultants who can lodge third party appeals to the Bord.
However, when an inspector undertakes this type of private work and is prepared to submit an appeal, which is heavily disingenuous, and intentionally misleading, for a fee, does this not directly contravene the code of conduct quoted above.
I accept that the case inspector & Bord members will determine the case in an impartial manner.
The issue here is that an employee of the Bord, while acting in a private capacity, has seriously eroded my client's perception of, and confidence in the "independence, impartiality and openness" of the planning appeals process which is stated to be so important.
Is this acceptable?