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Access to Council records and correspondence

+1 vote
Funnily enough my question is similar to Newbie2019 but broader

I’ve become increasingly concerned that my Parish Council or rather some Councillors and staff members are making decisions and issuing correspondence without the Parish Councillors being made aware of it let alone voting on it . This is all pre virus

My concerns cover breaches of financial regulations, failure to act on matters raised at Council meetings, failure to follow Council Policy, decisions to change Council services, inspection reports, and so on

So I highlighted my areas of concern and asked to visit the offices and inspect the documents. The Chair has refused claiming I need the full Councils permission to access this information
This is despite the fact that

1 If NALC & ICO guidelines were followed a lot of this information would already be in the public domain
2 Our “ protocol “ makes no mention of me needing permission

3 I could get all the information under the FOI but it would cost the Parishioners a small fortune
Has anyone had an experience in this field especially with NALC?

Surely as an elected public official I have some rights to inspect council documents not covered by GDPR ?
asked by (2.7k points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
The chair can't direct you and you do have a right to inspect but it is  best to arrange a meeting.

You should liase with the Town Clerk / RFO - not the Chair. You do have a right to the financial information as your responsible for the Councils finances - unsure about correspondence - I'd assume so
answered by (4.2k points)
edited by
RuralTCllr I agree with you but has anyone got any third party sources such as NALC advice that support this point of view

The problem with Parish Councils is that no one enforces the rules so who ever controls the Council can do pretty much as they please

In my case I’m banned from having any form of contact with the Clerk oral, written or email because of my bad behaviour

But oddly they won’t report me to the Monitoring Officer because they know I’ve done nothing wrong so I’ve lodged a complaint about myself
Watch this space
Are we on the same Council?

There was a Judicial Review launched due to similar issues though a little different - it's essentially a form of control over you.  You should really go to the MO in my opinion (about your treatment) and you should liase with The Clerk and keep records. It's a horrible situation.
Preventing someone access to information which they have a legal right to is infact a criminal offence. I have that in writting (from the MO I might add)
Just an interesting read.
Ledbury Town Council.

Just for your information.
Of course very different issues, but shocking. Essentially the Cllr was sanctioned by the Cllrs. Not suggesting this is the same however they're not immune to being held to account.
I’m using Ledbury as an example for my complaint

We have a neighbouring Council that’s even worse than ours and even the local MP’s have been ignored

The whole Parish / Town set up needs radical reform but no one has the appetite to do anything
Well I heard there's some movement about this but I haven't been able to locate it? I think it was to bring back the Standards Board? But beyond that, yes there needs to be like a watchdog or independent body that monitors Councils as opposed to Councillors. The tier is not easy to hold to account.
If I can locate the movement about bringing back the Standards Board, I'd happily attempt to motion it for my Council - as I am interested to see the response. I just haven't been able to locate it.
My local association has been contacted but not yet heard back.

I hope you get a good outcome by the way with what's happening but appreciate it will be a difficult process as I'm going through the same process and it's quite nerve-wracking but has to be done

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