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0 votes
As a Councillor I have been asked to produce a report for consideration at our next meeting.  Part of my investigations involves me contacting the District Council for advice.

Our newish clerk has now advised that I am not allowed to consult with the District Council unless specifically authorised by the original resolution.   I must confess I am ready for a fight but seek the views of others before I act.  I think this is provided for in standing orders para 25 which advises on the limits of permitted Councillor activities.   Would welcome comments before I respond ,

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by (4.9k points)

2 Answers

0 votes
Para 25 is a clear and concise outline of the restrictions on individual councillors and they're there for a reason, but beyond those vital limitations, you're free to talk to anybody you want, particularly if it's helpful in gathering information to assist the council in its decision-making.

Having said that, you might wish to consider something less confrontational than a fight and simply ask the Clerk to quote the legislation that prevents you from contacting your district council. Save the boxing gloves for round two!

My councils use a portfolio system under which each councillor volunteers to take responsibility for a small part of our work, so the highways councillor monitors and reports faults, as do the street lighting councillor, the grounds maintenance councillor etc etc. As Clerk, I wait for them to report their actions to the next meeting. They can't incur expenditure on behalf of the council, but they are free to instruct the relevant parties where something needs to be done.
by (53.3k points)
As always DTC wise words.  As regards the fight well this is about the 10th "you can't do this" and sometimes it's very hard to bite your tongue. I feel the role of the Councillor is slowly but surely being eroded by overzealous clerks
First or second occasion maybe a quiet word is appropriate.
10th example indicates an entrenched position which will be more challenging to remedy.
The irony is that if you just go ahead and do it, there's absolutely nothing the Clerk can do about it, apart from naming and shaming you. You're not the Messiah, you're a very naughty boy!
Call it semantics but it wouldn’t be the clerk naming and shaming the Cllr - it would be the clerk publicly stating their lack of perspective.
0 votes
All councillors enjoy all of the freedoms and privilege to talk, write, engage and question any organisation just as every private individual does.
It is a complete nonsense for your clerk to have advised that you should / can not do so.
A quiet word should be enough but the provision of inappropriate or inadequate professional advice from an employee paid to advise appropriately is not just damaging to the effective function of the council, it is a waste of public money.
Cllrs shouldn’t be afraid to challenge what they believe to be inappropriate - quite the opposite actually.
If a quiet word isn’t well received, one option is to simply say - I’m afraid you are wrong, I ‘hear’ you, but I disregard your input.
by (21.3k points)

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