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Disciplinary Procedure for Parish / Town Councillor

0 votes
One of our Councillors is being unfairly threatened with sanction - in effect, he is being bullied.  It looks as if a formal complaint will shortly be lodged with the Council Monitor, who is located at our local District Council.

Our Council has written to the councillor demanding that he come to a meeting with the Mayor and Clerk, but they have refused his requests for details of the charges prior to the meeting.  He completely denies having infringed either the code of conduct or Standing Orders.

They have now imposed a deadline (3 working days) by which he must meet with them (still no details of the charges), and have said that the matter is likely to go to the Scrutiny Committee of the District Council, where he is likely to be sanctioned, and prevented from sitting on any council committees.

Does anyone have any knowledge in these matters?  What is the MAXIMUM punishment which he faces, for these mysterious charges?  Should he meet, unprepared, with the Clerk and Mayor, if they continue to refuse to outline the charges against him?
by (120 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Quite honestly, from what you say, the parish council is engaged in a lot of nonsense.

First, the parish council (or its chairman or clerk) has no power to instigate an investigation into an alleged breach of the code of conduct or to require a councillor to attend any meeting. Anyone can make a complaint to the Monitoring Officer, but that is all they can do.

Second, if a complaint is made to the Monitoring Officer, what will happen is that the complaint will first be considered as to possible validity. Only if it is regarded as potentially valid will the principal authority's Standards (not Scrutiny) Committee make a decision as to whether it should be investigated.  If it is investigated by someone selected by the Monitoring Officer, it will eventually go back to the Standards Committee for a final decision.

Under the current regime, the Standards Committee has no power to impose the kind of sanctions mentioned in your question. It can take steps such as arranging for the "miscreant" to receive training, for a conciliation process to be instigated, or for a change to the procedures of the parish council. The recommendations are not necessarily limited to the "miscreant". So far as I know, the Standards Committee does not have the power to impose these actions, although it can aim to use the power of publicity to encourage compliance.

Note that all meetings of Standards Committees are open to the public. Consideration of breaches of the standards are never decided behind closed doors.

The only circumstances where sanctions would be more severe would be in a case involving criminal behaviour by a councillor, and that would likewise not be investigated by council members or clerk.
by (29.9k points)
edited by
0 votes
we had a similar thing in our town council the other week, a councillor had continued to use social media to vent out. he had in fact had a personal attack toward our Clark and the council on a whole.

the whole thing on social media was not nice and rather nasty to be honest

it was decided that he had broke standing orders and members code of conduct and was removed from all chairmanships and committees by way of a vote from all councillors in full council. he had offered no defence due to stating he did not know what he had done.

I would have a very close read of all your standing orders as this may be included I only found it due to a diligent read though but was not clear on first seems this kind of thing happens a lot when a councillor speaks out and it is not as a chairman or ward councillor, our council has used this on other occasion before as well some years ago
by (140 points)

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