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0 votes
The below email is in response to me asking questions in relation to why our public streams have been made private the below is from the chairman of the town council (who i believe not to be standing again).

So can a commitee with delgated powers over turn a descion approved by full council by delegation of everything to do with communications to the clerk.

the email i sent

Dear Cllr , you may wish to recheck your facts.
The council made a recommendation and subsequent approved all full council meetings and committee meetings were to be live stream and stored on the official youtube channel for open and transparency to the public.
This was decided by full council and change of this E.g changing from public to private would need the ratification of full council as it would be a change of an approved agenda item.

For information i checked before commenting. The clerk nor any other councillor has the authority to remove or change an agreed and approved recommendation of the council, without the item being discussed and approved by the full council.

As the streaming and storage of all public meetings was lawfully agreed by council then my requests for a response as to on what authorisation and by whose authority has the chanel been made private been made.

It brings to question the openess and transparency of the council.
Reponse from Chairmen

Dear Gary

I had hoped that you might be able to make it through to the elections without further embarrassing yourself, however if past experience is anything to go by, I should have known better. As usual you've done half a job and completely missed the point.

Since the resolution you quote, the decision was taken by the staffing committee to give the clerk responsibility for all external communications of the council, it is in her job description. This is legal as the Staffing Committee have delegated authority from the council for all matters concerning staffing. It was further reinforced by the resolution of full council some months later to disband the Communications Working Group, which also stated that communications were the responsibility of the clerk.

Moving on, you refer to your "commitment to the community", I have to says that in five and a half years of having to work with you on this council, I haven't seen any commitment by you to anything other than furthering the interests and public profile of Gary Blundell.

You have also publicly accused myself and our Clerk of bullying you. In what might be regarded as a significant understatement, I'd say that was a bit rich, given your behaviour both in and out of meetings. You routinely fail to treat officers and councillors with appropriate levels of respect. In meetings you routinely attempt to catch officers and councillors out with questions (occasionally actually relevant to the subject being discussed), when you could have had them addressed in advance of the meeting. You make regular appeals to some sort of higher authority, insinuating that officers or myself don't actually know what we're doing. It is notable that on not one occasion when you claim to have reported any matter to said higher authority (whether the District Council monitoring officer or anyone else) have I ever received any contact from them to discuss the matter. I would suggest that is either because no report actually took place, or that they took the view that we weren't actually doing anything wrong.

Your conduct in council meetings is so bad that it has been cited by potential applicants for jobs at this council, and by people who have been asked to consider standing as councillors, as a reason (indeed the only reason) why they do not wish to work for or be a member of this council. As you will no doubt have seen when you watch the streams of meetings that you do not attend, they generally get a lot more done, a lot more quickly, and the atmosphere is far more what would be expected from a healthy and functioning Town Council. Debate at these meetings is generally polite, reasoned, and relevant to the issues being discussed. The presence or absence of any other member of this council from a meeting does not have this effect, and therefore I believe it is reasonable to infer that in this case the correlation does in fact indicate causation.

Your behaviour to councillors outside of meetings, haranguing them on the telephone for hours, and/or berating them on social media or in the local press, would meeting the definition of bullying and harassment in our Code of Conduct.

It has been brought to my attention that you believe that you will be elected chairman of this council in May. Having spoken to a number of members of that new council, I am confident that a majority of them share my opinion that you are completely unsuitable for the role, as evidenced by the frankly terrible job you did when you were vice chairman. I am equally confident that any of the fifteen other councillors eligible to stand for chairman would do a far better job than you could. Other councillors have expressed the view to me that you might be able to count on the support of other members of the Liberal Democrats in order to become chairman. Having spoken to some of those members, they have similar views to my own, which is that I'm ashamed to have to admit that we are both members of the same political party. Given that you have shown no loyalty to that party over a considerable number of years, it should perhaps be no surprise if other Liberal Democrat members are not willing to show any loyalty to you.

 I think I've said all that I want to at the moment on this subject.
by (330 points)
edited by

4 Answers

0 votes
Post up the email you sent so that it is possible to gauge the reaction in relation to the initiation.
by (21.8k points)
Ive posted it in the above question
It’s your chair that has missed the point.
Even if the day to day posting of tit bits of relevant community information has been delegated to your clerk, it would not be appropriate to delegate the entire strategic output to an employee.
Strategy belongs with the council - delivery may be delegated to a minion.
It is further inappropriate for an employee with a direct personal interest (personal criticism) To be involved in decision making about removing the criticism from public access.
Your clerk and chair have been publicly embarrassed and have then been directly, personally involved in removing the public record.
Stinks…. As does the ad hominem email response from the chair.
I hope you have some public attending the APM so as to hold them to account.
They are taking a well trodden, invariably unsuccessful and self damaging route.
It is so much more positive to actively engage and embrace criticism rather than alienate it.
Unfortunately no one attends are meetings previously when we streamed oir meetings to facebook live we had 60+ viewers watching the streams live. No they swapped to you tube no one wqtchs them live and residents only view them after I post on social media in regards to items approved or refused that the residents supported. Luckily this chair is not standing but unfortunately there is no other councillor with the guts to stand up as they prefer to hide their heads in the sand. Personally the policies need changing to allow councillors to challenge officers who try to control council and councillors who bury their heads in the sand. All councils from town district even county are supposed to be open transparent and open to criticism but unfortunately they are not.
+1 vote
I find it fascinating that this follows the same playbook as my PC even the style of the email is the same

I too was told I didn’t show any “ respect “ and to ask questions prior to meetings

I was also accused of driving Councillors away and putting potential Councillors off standing for election even though we all know the real culprit
We also have motions / decisions moved from one Committee to another depending on what support it’s felt they will get
by (11.6k points)
+1 vote

Under the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, where powers have been delegated to an officer, the officer must (as soon as reasonably practical) record:

(a)the date the decision was taken;

(b)a record of the decision taken along with reasons for the decision;

(c)details of alternative options, if any, considered and rejected; and

(d)where the decision falls under paragraph (2)(a), the names of any member of the relevant local government body who has declared a conflict of interest in relation to the decision.

Maybe ask for that record. Chances are it won't exist. It is a criminal offence to obstruct access to this information.They should have already published it on their website as that act requires:

The written record, together with any background papers, must as soon as reasonably practicable after the record is made, be made available for inspection by members of the public—

(a)at all reasonable hours, at the offices of the relevant local government body;

(b)on the website of the relevant local government body, if it has one; and,

(c)by such other means that the relevant local government body considers appropriate.

by (4.7k points)
edited by
Thats part of the issue, i sent an email on Wednesday requesting information our clerk is full time im still awaiting information. I requested supporting documents from a public meeting months ago you guessed it still not received them.
When you requested the supporting documents did you:
1. Make the request in writing
2. Request specific information
3. Provided your real full name
4. Provide an address for reply to be sent to (email address is ok)

If the answer to all of the above is yes then you had made a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. They must reply within 20 working days. As this timescale appears to have passed you are able to refer the matter to the ICO. The ICO would likely ask them to provide a response. Failure to comply with an order from the ICO is considered a contempt of court.
I did i submitted a complaint to the ICO on the 24th February. Who replied back that the town council was in breach of ICO regulations and gave the town council a further 14 days to comply. This came and went i contacted the ICO again who informed me the town council had technical issues and would be sent on or before the 11th of april this has come and gone and i have contacted the ico again informing them still no information. The original request was made. 12th of december for the information.
The ICO are useless they constantly delay things and make poor decisions
In my case it was alleged all documentation in respect of a very recent contract was lost even though some were presented to Councillors at a public meeting and should have been available on line under the publication scheme
The ICO said there was nothing further it could do as the documentation no longer existed
You couldn’t make it up could you
Agree ICO next door to useless.
However - it sounds like you can now state that there is a “risk” of substantial financial and reputational damage to the council which requires a NO answer at question 3 section 1 of the AGAR:

“…no matters of actual or potential non compliance with laws, regulations, Proper Practices that could have a significant financial effect upon the ability of this authority to conduct its business or manage its finances…”

Well failure to abide by ICO direction can certainly result in a fine and repeated or systemic failures, ignorance or refusal could result in a BIG fine.
Ergo - AGAR question 3 non compliance. It cannot (credibly) be argued against and if ignored should be presented to External Auditor as an intentional falsification of the governance return.
Give us an update after your APM Gazza!
+1 vote
Questions relating to powers of delegation crop up on the forum with a fair degree of regularity and the answer often lies in the detail. Delegation, if used properly, is a powerful tool in the efficient running of a local council, however, it can cause endless confusion, duplication and ultimately, conflict too.

All delegation should be supported by a thoroughly considered and well-written document(s) that identifies the roles and activities covered, the limits, including financial (if any), and the reporting arrangements. Committees need terms of reference encompassing all of the matters included in the appropriate section of the model standing orders. Where more than one committee is established, there should be no potential for overlapping responsibilities (e.g. does the finance committee or the staffing committee control staff pay; are staff other than the Clerk the responsibility of the Clerk or the staffing committee etc?). Delegation to the Clerk or other officers must align with the Council's financial regulations, standing orders, job descriptions and contracts of employment.

With the correct documents in place, shared openly by all concerned, most of the confusion should be avoided and, where issues arise, the solutions should be easy to identify.
by (53.6k points)
Unfortunately derek those documents dont exist ive asked for them and been told at bottom of the agenda for that committee it states the committee has delgated powers relating to all things staffing
In which case, the answer to your main question may be that everybody and nobody has the power to make these decisions.

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