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can a parish councillor communicate using his satutus as a parish councillor without council approval

0 votes
We have a parish councillor who is obvious using the parish councill status in his communications with members of the public  We have no idea as to what is being said in his messages but are aware form the answers give by the public he is using his title as Parish councillor and are being increasingly embarassed by these issues
asked by (140 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
A parish councillor cannot, unless authorised, by a vote of the council, claim to represent the Parish Council on an issue.
However, they are parish councillors and can title themselves as such.

For example, I assist parents with school applications appeals and use my title, but my letters always have a disclaimer that the letter is personal and not the opinion of the Parish Council.

The council may adopt a policy to restrict the use of title if they wish to do so.
answered by (5.8k points)
0 votes
Yes - he or she can identify themselves as "Councillor John Smith" etc in any form of communication..

But their messages must make it clear where there might be ambiguity if they are expressing a personal view or conveying an approved council policy or decision.  They could freely talk about matters such as speed limits which are outside the remit of a Parish Council.
answered by (10.7k points)
edited by
Very relevant question as one of my old bosses used to say "far better to be in a position of influence that power". There is also no doubt some Councillors do use their influence on many things some good and some bad. As regards the PC I was always told that  only  one person could officially communicate with residents on behalf of the Council and that was the Clerk. It is easy to complain about Councillors,  the trick is deciding on what is unacceptable. Then you have the problem of deciding what you can do about. In this respect most Councils do have a code of conduct. In many respects I try and compare PC with Brexit. With the  latter the current debate is about the amount of scrutiny Parliament should exercise over the executive.  The problem with PCs is that there is no Parliament to scrutinise. All good fun.
Food for thought: I know of a Cllr who criticised the way his own Council dealt with an FOI request at a Public meeting. The Chair and Clerk at the time reported him to the Principal Authority Monitoring officer for a breach of the code of conduct as it was suggested they were complicit in breaching the FOI regs..  The MO rejected the complaint and ruled that a Cllr could comment on his own Council. In the end a ruling by the Information Commissioner showed that the Clerk and Chair were wrong after all.

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