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0 votes
As a town councillor I get no allowances or expenses to cover my time or costs.  I have chosen to create my own website to promote the work I do for the town, using my own IT to carryout case work on behalf of constituents, and to respond to numerous emails from the council about meetings etc.

The IT the council provide its councillors (cheep tablets) is inadequate in my view.  Many councillors chose to use their own it.

Am I allowed to seek and recieve donations to support the costs of running the website and other admin costs, such as wear and tear in my IT, and if so should I?
closed with the note: I have the answer I expected
by (460 points)
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4 Answers

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Best answer
There seems to be some lack of clear thinking here. You are elected as a councillor and as such make and take decisions as part of that council. If you feel that the IT  provided by the council does not meet yours and other councillors needs then you should put the case at council as a whole and have decisions made. It is again a joint decision as the whether councillors seek reimbursement for expenses incurred in their duties and definition of the parameters of payment. As far as I know you were elected on the giving of your time freely on behalf of the electorate, your community.

If you feel that each councillor needs a website then that is again for council decision in a democratic system but I don't think such a mindset could be possible and would have to come under the umbrella of the council's own website. Communication is of course by design channelled through the clerks control for a reason .

There is nothing stopping anyone having a personal website and seeking donations to run it  but in no way can it masquerade or seen as an offshoot or associated with the council's web presence.

In short if you think you have a case, prepare it and get it on the councils agenda for discussion and decision. Work within the system to change it as is your duty as an elected member.
by (26.5k points)
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Thanks for the vote and comparing your website to your council's I can see your point on IT failures. Ever tried getting minutes quickly on your council's site?
0 votes
It is down to your council to agree to give an allowance to councillors so you might want to start the discussion there.
As for donations - from whom?
by (24.3k points)
0 votes
Although this may absolutely not apply to you, I know many councils where an arrangement such as the one you are proposing has eventually caused endless aggravation and heartache.  That is principally because the council and the councillor have failed to resolve a disagreement.  I would venture to suggest that there are also GDPR implications but I'm not an expert in that field.

I applaud what you are trying to do, but try and find a way to do it through your council's it systems rather than your own.  With goodwill, that ought to be possible and it will have the added advantage that the costs (if approved) will be borne by the council (which they should be) rather than yourself.

Well ... that's what I think.  Lets see how others see it.
by (9.8k points)
+1 vote
The payment of an allowance needs to go through your principal authority who will set up a remuneration panel to set the level of the allowance.  It is something your council needs to request from your principal authority rather than award something on an individual or individual council basis.
I am reading that you have set up your own website in connection with your work as a councillor and now you are asking to have the cost covered, is that correct?  Unless this is something requested by your council before incurring costs, however well intentioned, you wouldn't be able to retrospectively recover costs even if sanctioned now.
Receiving donations personally for your work as a councillor is a tricky area and potentially fraught with all sorts of potential for allegations of bias, data protection problems and declaration of financial interests requirements.
There's nothing to stop you claiming legitimate expenses associated with your role such as printing costs (if your council has a policy to reimburse these) provided you have the prior agreement of your council and are able to produce receipts etc.
by (18.5k points)

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