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0 votes

Am I allowed to ask a county councillor officer a question for information sent from my parish council email but not referring to myself as cllr or saying it is on behalf of the council. 

For example on a council agenda we had a proposal for a bench to be situated outside the town office on the pavement. The clerk had written on the proposal that this would be subject to permission from highways at county who own the land. I wrote to simply ask "What permission do we need from highways to put a bench there? "

At the council meeting I was told t hat I had breached the code of conduct for asking this question and for not going via the clerk to ask it. My argument was that the clerk should have got that information for us before the meeting so we could have a full debate based on all the facts. I had got all the facts because the officer wrote back to me with the answer which was yes and he helpfully drew out the area on which we could put a bench. 

Any thoughts gratefully received. I am asking a lot of questions because as a former city councillor the rules and processes were completely different it seems! 

Thanks in advance. 

by (560 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
Been there myself all the way to the Monitoring Officer who kicked it out
You shouldn’t have used the Council email and specifically mentioned the site but I doubt even if you were reported much would happen

I’ve mentioned previously as a joke I once made a reversible badge with Councillor on one side and Public on the other

Because of the pettiness of the situation I actually put disclaimers on any request like this stating that although I’m a Councillor I’m asking as a member of the public

As you say you would expect the Clerk to have done this in the first place but sadly it’s all too common to get poorly researched items on the Agenda often because of personal bias or laziness
by (11.5k points)
Thank you for your response. I will probably step down - life is too short for silly parochial game playing by a clerk and an ovine council.
0 votes

Who said this:

…At the council meeting I was told t hat I had breached the code of conduct for asking this question and for not going via the clerk…”

Only the MO can decide if you have breached CoC, if this was stated by a clerk or a chair of your PC they are I’ll informed and acting inappropriately  

Call their bluff  

It is a fundamental right (and duty) of Cllrs to ask questions  

This approach of seeking to subjugate individuals is widespread and exceptionally damaging  

by (19.8k points)
Thank you for your comment - I shall probably step down - life is too short for parochial game playing and an ovine council too subservient to assert themselves to a an over reaching clerk.
Unfortunately this seems to be the response from many new enthusiastic councillors to hitting brick walls in doing the right thing and questioning everything put before them. The PC in its correct form will not survive unless we stand up for limiting those who feel that the unelected should rule the elected
Don’t give in!

Stick with it - just learn the rules and stand by your guns!

YOU are elected, the clerk is EMPLOYED.
The limits already exist.  Its just a case of using them (wisely)!

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