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Disciplining a Councillor - what powers are available to a Parish Council?

+1 vote
I think the question of disciplining a Councillor has been aired recently but I wanted to return to it in search of clarification. We have a Councillor who we strongly suspect has divulged confidential information to the losing party in the contest to purchase a small parcel of Parish Council land, a highly contentious issue in the parish. This was information that was said under a confidential item during a Parish Council meeting. In addition this Councillor has consistently rubbished the PC in emails to outside people/bodies. Is there no censure that can be taken against the Councillor by his fellow Councillors? This Councillor also sits on two outside bodies as a representative of the PC and he has also criticised the PC in those forums. Is the PC able to rescind his nomination to sit on these bodies as a PC representative?
asked by (230 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
The only recourse at this time is for a complaint to be made by the Clerk, Councillors or a member of the public to your Monitoring Officer.  But that will not get you very far as the majority of MOs are toothless in these matters.

I believe that the membership to external bodies is agreed at your annual parish council meeting, which is normally held in May.  So you might have to wait to remove him from his representations. The only possibility is that you haven't had this meeting yet due to Covid and so you could hold it next month...?  Legislation has allowed for the May 2019 meeting decisions to be carried over the May 2021 but it is unclear if allowance is made to have this meeting at another time in between these dates.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...
answered by (11.3k points)
Thank-you for your comments MrsAbster.
0 votes
Hi there,

So the first instance would be to speak to your Monitoring Officer but the reality I'm afraid is they won't do very much at all.

You could send a formal letter to the Councillor detailing the concerns and ask them to stop. Explain that unless they stop immediately the council will look to take legal action. If they do not stop then you could instruct a Solicitor to issue a cease and desist letter to the Councillor in question.
However, be extremely careful not to take hearsay in to account as any action you take on this basis could infringe slander/libel action.

Sorry that there isn't an easy fix.
answered by (3.7k points)
Thank-you for your comments ChloeWright.

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