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Ward Councillor and Parish Councillor

0 votes
Oh another day another question...

Our Parish has weight restriction enforcement issues; the weight restriction sign isn't showing on maps hence anysat nav user just ignores the signs. Enforcement is therefore problematic.
I raised this at Council with a view to asking the Clerk to write to Highways but my fellow members refused to support. They did support me in doing it myself.

On another note I requested a safety survey, for the same road, approved by Council at a previous meeting. This was being overseen by the Ward Councillor on behalf of Council.

A few months went by and I hadn't heard about the safety survey so I emailed the Ward Councillor and cc'd Clerk and Chairman to ask on progress.
I receieved a response and there was an email for a highways officer. I reponded back and added on about the weight restriction requesting advice or to signpost me. The officer never responded.
A few weeks later I contacted the officer again to ask for a response. Once again I cc'd ward Councillor, clerk and Chairman.

I have now received an email from the Ward Councillor informing me that I should not be contacting officers directly and did I have the authority from the Chairman? Did I need it?

Any advice welcome? If I'm wrong fair enough I will learn. Thanks
by (1.0k points)
edited by

2 Answers

+1 vote
Just because the Ward Councillor said so, doesn't make it right.  It is shocking how unaware other levels of local government are about parish and town councils.  Its almost comic if it wasn't embarrassing.  It seems from what you said that you had the OK from your council to deal with the safety survey and at no point is there a requirement for you to have permission from the Chair.  The Chair is there to run meetings and that is about the extent of their 'difference' from other the councillors.

I think the email from your Ward Councillors has come from being professionally embarrassed by your determination.  It has put them to shame.  You have every right to contact officers directly and if they have an issue with that, then they need to advise you of the correct procedure themselves.

Keep nipping at their heels, I say.  That said, good luck with getting any Highways Department to do anything - its an almost impossible task....
by (17.2k points)
All true. Chairs and District Councillors have influence rather than authority. A County Councillor or Parish Councillor can influence their Highways Officer - but only if they develop a working relationship with them.
I'm 100%with the ever knowing MrsAbster on this. Your district councillor should be a conduit through which the wishes of the PC and councillors are passed to county level. Unfortunately as many county councillors are politically affiliated there can be conflicts between what the PC wants and how the county councillor presents the case (or not!)
Wow, 'everknowing' Mentorman, thank you! :-)
As a slight aside, I (Parish Clerk) was once referred to by the Leader of the Borough Council as a 'secretary'... he only made that mistake once!  I pity the ignorant.
Sorry, I have to disagree with Mentorman's theory about conduits. If it were true, we would not have County Councillors as well as District Councillors as well as Parish Councillors. It may well be that the Parish Clerk is more likely to know, and get the ear of, the relevant Councillor but they all want votes, sooner or later and need to be seen to do their representative job fairly and properly
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Thankyou Mrs Abster yes Ward Cllr is probably a bit narked and embarrassed....It would appear she sent an email to me but only emailed it to the clerk and Chairman. Roll on our next meeting. Thank you everyone for your comments. I feel so much better.
0 votes
You are entitled to contact any officer in the Principal Authority or relevant authority in a two tier system. The ward cllr for the Principal Authority had no power to dictate which officers you can or cannot contact in your capacity as parish cllr or member of the Public.
by (25.3k points)

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