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Clerk is refusing to let a Councillor have sight of a letter giving the Councillors/Council legal advice?

0 votes
What would be the correct way to deal with this please?
asked by (1.9k points)

2 Answers

0 votes
Depends on the circumstances of course. Who requested the legal advice and on who's behalf, the council or the clerk? If it was the clerk's personal seeking of legal advice regarding their employment then it is a personal matter and is their choice to divulge it or not. If the clerk sought the advice on the direction  of the council then as with all councillors they are entitled to request sight and details of the advice as they may need to be aware of it in making decisions.
answered by (11.1k points)
The second case is applicable, but what is the correct procedure to enforce the Councillors' entitlement when it's being ignored? Thank you in advance of advice.
I use the Freedom of Information Act because although our rules show we are entitled to sight of information the Clerk with the Chairs support refuses
Currently the ICO are dealing with my complaint that information I asked for 14 months ago still hasn’t been supplied
It does seem using a sledge hammer to crack a nut but isn't that the way with PCs? I was hoping for a quicker, easier path but that doesn't seem to exist within PC's at times.
The Clerk is an employee of the council and as such must meet the obligations of their office. That means supplying the council with relevant information for them to carry out their elected duties. With holding that information or refusing to provide it without acceptable reason should be treated as a disciplinary matter for your employment group.
Mentorman in  theory you are correct but if their “ managers “ support them you end up in Catch 22 land
Then your only solution is to make a formal complaint regarding refusal of supply of information in writing via the chair to be investigated by the employment group and to require their findings with evidence again, in writing. Check your complaints policy to assess the required reaction times obligation. As already stated, make a Freedom Of Information request which is a legal obligation on their part and failure to provide should be referred to the Monitoring Officer. ( don't forget to word your request on specific matter and avoid ambeguity.  Don't be brow- beaten into submission when you are seeking what is rightfully yours and due to your elected position.
Thank you for the information and encouragement.
0 votes
As its legal advice to council, and the council have not seen it, then the council cannot be aware of it.   If the clerk is interpreting what the advice is and forwarding it to council, that just their opinion, and carries no weight.  If the council is taking decisions (and voting) based on unseen advice, then all those decisions can be challenged.  As noted below, do not be brow beaten, just carry on working the issue, and, if you can, get members of the public to ask about it at every parish council meeting  - minuted as well.
answered by (680 points)
This happens to us all the while and on one occasion I was shocked when I saw both sides of the correspondence
I have a saying “ I know the answer but what was the question “
One recent incident was when extracts from a document were read out and the Councillors were asked to agree it without them or the public being given a full hard copy
It really comes down to the apathy of Councillors who either  don’t appear to understand what their role is or aren’t bothered
Its worth a study by psychologists I suspect.   Off to challenge a few things again this wed.  However the apathy of some councillors is only matched by the apathy of the public, who only turn up to complain about hedges or litter (or never turn up but moan on Facebook, primarily to themselves)  Straining at gnats and swallowing camels in the meantime.
That challenge did not go well.  Chair refused to answer a question as it was not on the agenda, but pointed out it was.  Suspect chair had not read the agenda, nor the supporting documentation (which was not available to the public).  Crazy days.

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