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0 votes
We just found out that despite numerous complaints about not answering phones, sending agendas on time, etc our Town Clerk for 4 staff has given them all good appraisals. Can we have access to that? The Town Clerk did them all and we have complaining about this FOR MONTHS
by (1.1k points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Yes, the clerk serves all councillors and all councillors should have access to all council documents as they are collectively responsible for all of its decision and actions. There is no legislation that I know of that says otherwise. If you are being denied, send an E Mail to the clerk demanding that they specify which legislation they believe empowers them to selectively with hold access.
by (34.6k points)
Thank you, so helpful.
Whilst I'm never in favour of withholding information, in the case of a potential disciplinary matter, there could be a requirement further down the line to establish an independent appeals panel comprising three members of the council who have had no involvement in the investigation or pursuit of the disciplinary procedure. It is much easier for these individuals to act in accordance with their mandate if they have had no prior access. The appeal panel is not a standing committee, so there is no way of knowing which members might be required to act.
Where would this requirement come from?  Standing orders, Procedure or Policy?  A truly independent appeals panel would be better if it was made up of people who were not staff or councillors from the Parish/Town Council concerned.  The basis of an appeal is generally is generally to challenge the decision & processes of the staffing committee  and to me it doesn't matter at what point in time you first see the outcome.  If you investigate it, you have to know what it is, and then find out why the appellant has challenged it.  The simple solution is to say that members who respond to staff appeals can't be on the appeals committee.
The ACAS model disciplinary procedure, recommended by NALC, specifies an independent panel of three members of the council. It is a fundamental principle of data protection that personal data is accessed on a "need to know" basis. Where a council has delegated its line management functions, either to a committee or an individual, it should trust those arrangements to deliver or re-consider those arrangements if they fail to do so. The council or its committee has the power to introduce a formal appraisal process and to tailor it to meet their needs. If the current appraisal system isn't working, that's what they should do.
+1 vote
This all depends upon your Council's interpretation of standing orders 19(f) and (g), if using the current model.

(f)  Any persons responsible for all or part of the management of staff shall treat as confidential the written records of all meetings relating to their performance, capabilities, grievance or disciplinary matters.

(g)  In accordance with standing order 11(a), persons with line management responsibilities shall have access to staff records referred to in standing order 19(f).

You would need to follow this back through the job descriptions/contracts of all parties and the Council's resolution to delegate the line management responsibility to see whether any restrictions were imposed. Your Council's policy on the management of information comes into play here and finally, you should look at the unsatisfactory work performance section of your disciplinary policy if you believe you have sufficient evidence.
by (52.8k points)
Thank you, very helpful. You know ur shit
With respect to (f) this could apply to staff whose line manager is the Clerk.   But for (g) since the Clerk serves the whole Council, and the Clerk does not have a single line manager, all cllrs should have access to the Clerk's staff records.
How would you demonstrate that it was necessary for all councillors to have access to the clerk's staff records? It is the chair who conducts the appraisal and writes a report about it for the council. No other councillors are involved or see the paperwork. The responsibility is delegated and members trust the delegation arrangements.
The chair appraisal for the clerk's performance subject to resolution and 19 c stipulates the documents to full council for resolution.  I think that was has to be demonstrated is why any councillors should be prevented from seeing the clerks staff appraisals if they requested them as part of their duty in exercising collective responsibility for the operation and actions of their council.  Confidential information can't be placed in the public domain but there seems to be a clear need to know basis here as the council functionality is being questioned and is causing concern. With respect to GDPR 2018 the councillors are part of the organisation holding the personal data, not a third party seeking access to it. If the councillors weren't aware of what the clerk recorded about the staff and were prevented from seeing it, their lack of awareness would not be seen in a good light if any dismissed staff by virtue of a clerk's appraisal went to an employment tribunal and claimed constructive dismissal.

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