Questions about town and parish councils
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A really good friend of mine,used to be a parish councillor in Wiltshire,i was surprised to hear that he was a councillor,knowing that he has suffered for a few decades with a mental condition known as DID,Dissociative Identity Disorder plus other mental health issues,his wife & family were very concerned about his choice to be a councillor,this was out of carricter.We have been friends for many years,we both worked together in the fire service back in the 80s,untill we were both invalided out due to a horrific accident whilst on a shout.We lost touch with each other in the last seven years,then last year out of the blue,i was contacted by his wife,telling me that her husband,my good friend,was in a mental hospital after trying to end his life,as she told me things,i could not believe this was my friend she was speaking about,that he had been posing as a armed forces veteran for nine years,both him and i had served way back in the early 80s in the TAs,for about a year and a half.As his wife spoke to me,she told me that an online hunters group had exposed her husband as a fake,and made it known to the public,and the parish council who supported mental health in the community,not only closed ranks to save themselves when a local paper asked for information,not one councillor or its chairman,made any contact with my friend,his wife and family to give any support.The Parish Council led the community into believing that he had been a paid councillor,where in truth he was a co-opted councillor.The more i learnt it became more clear to me that my friend,had been living for sometime with this duel personality in charge,and now he was in a mental hospital,and this duel personality had gone and he was himself,not aware of anything that had happened,confused and frightened.Luckly,he has a great support of family and friends,his family have moved out of the village now,and he is getting help from teams outside,such as psychology,and MIND,but i am very angry at the parish council,they should of done more to support this man and his family,if not because he had been a councillor,but because they support mental health help in the community,i did some checking,and found out that they dont even make checks on anyone wanting to be a councillor,so anyone with a criminal past could easly be a councillor,anyone on the sex offenders register could join their parish council,How many other parish council in the uk are doing the same?,these bodies are in charge of their communities,but they are failing them,just like they are failing their councillors.
by (120 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
James, I understand your frustration at this, and it's good that your friend is receiving the support he needs, but...

Parish councillors are ordinary members of the community and they don't receive any training in how to deal with issues such as this. People just don't know how to react and when you are one member of a larger group, there is sometimes a tendency to withdraw into your shell and assume that somebody else will deal with it. In hindsight, they're probably not proud of their actions.

I'm puzzled by your reference to paid councillors, because there is no such thing in a parish council.

Anybody wishing to stand for election or co-option onto a parish council must sign a declaration to confirm that they are legally entitled to do so. If they lie, they face large fines or possible imprisonment. The council has no role in vetting applicants.

I hope this helps to clarify some of the issues you have raised.
by (53.7k points)
0 votes

I'm Chair of our parish council. I have several questions for you. 

1) What mechanism do you think we as a councilor have to check the medical/criminal records of potential applicants? 

2) Can you explain to me what a paid concillor is? We don't have any, so I'm not clear what you're talking about. 

3) How do I, as Chair, best support someone who has not disclosed a condition to me, nor asked for help? I'd LOVE you to explain that to me. 

4) I'd also like to know how you see that I'm failing the parish, taking the answers to the above into consideration. I know what I think, but I'm not sure you're going to be receptive. 

by (990 points)

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