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Parish Clerk imposes Habitual and Vexatious Policy.

0 votes
I have been reporting for the last two years with specific  locations and evidential photographs concerns to the parish clerk and a few of their councillors on over grown bushes, trees, bramble leaders and compacted leaf debris that spans halfway across footpaths and cycle paths due to poor maintenance. The hazards reported identify the risk of injury to a persons head, eyes and face of the general public.

This just seems to be being ignored but these parish representatives.

Recently, I received an email out of the blue from the clerk invoking the parishes Habitual and Vexatious policy and having no further communication with me from the date of the email.

I had neither been informed of the intended action or in fact invited to a meeting in which the email refer to and identified the meeting minute reference. Had I been invited I could easily had demonstrated and proved that the various reports were legitimate, provable and not vexatious.

What about “freedom of speech, can they legally do this, and what are my options?

Thanks

PART II - I have served as suggested the Subject Access Request and actually received something back from the Deputy Clerk which is the numeros emails etc that have been sent / received but I did gat a copy of the meeting minutes that the Habitual and Vexatious was discussed at and passed so no real comment their but I was sent the Clerks formal presentation document/form substantiating the need to impose this policy. However, it appears to have been tailored by the Clerk in such a way as to demonstrate that my legitimate claims and photographic evidence as untrue/false. As an example in one of my submissions on the danger of overhanging vegetation/brambles etc I included 26 photographs of varying overhang risks and the Clerk has only included one of the least overhanging bushes and stating that this all that there was which is untrue as I can easily demonstrate. I did send a response email to the Clerk outlining the accuracy of the case and including some of the 26 photos taken which I copied in to the councillors who attended the meeting and voted in favour of the Habitual and Vexatious policy to be applied and welcomed them to respond to me directly for more accurate/additional information. But not one of the 7 councillors has bothered to contact me. The Clerk has responded to my response email and stated that it will still be effective and will not enter in to any further communication. Pretty Poor really.

What next? Should this be sent to the LGO or what else would the council and particularly the Clerk be afraid of my next course action?

Thanks
asked by (120 points)
edited by

4 Answers

0 votes
Ask under the FOI act, all correspondence relating to the decision that was made to invoke this supposed policy on you.  If they say there is no correspondence then it points to the Clerk deciding not to respond.  Are you sure it is not the responsibility of the District Council to maintain the footpaths? Could it be that the Clerk messaged you about it, to that effect. and that you never received that message?
answered by (23.7k points)
Hi

Thanks for you response and will use the FOI tact but I’m pretty sure I won’t get a response, in which case would the next step be the Information Commissioner’s Office?

Yes, I had it clarified by the borough council and it’s within the parishes news letter as their responsibility.

I very much doubt it as I don’t have my emails set to vet any emails. In any case I would have expected that any previous correspondence/notifications would have been referenced in the excommunication email to cover them.

Regards
If they say there is no correspondence, then taken at their word, the clerk has decided to take matters into their own hands. You need to see whall nothing t the policy is. If they refuse to answer the question, then the first step is a reminder after 20 working days. If there is still nothing, then ask for an internal review.  If you aren't satisfied with the review, then go to the ICO
PART II - I have served as suggested the Subject Access Request and actually received something back from the Deputy Clerk which is the numeros emails etc that have been sent / received but I did gat a copy of the meeting minutes that the Habitual and Vexatious was discussed at and passed so no real comment their but I was sent the Clerks formal presentation document/form substantiating the need to impose this policy. However, it appears to have been tailored by the Clerk in such a way as to demonstrate that my legitimate claims and photographic evidence as untrue/false. As an example in one of my submissions on the danger of overhanging vegetation/brambles etc I included 26 photographs of varying overhang risks and the Clerk has only included one of the least overhanging bushes and stating that this all that there was which is untrue as I can easily demonstrate. I did send a response email to the Clerk outlining the accuracy of the case and including some of the 26 photos taken which I copied in to the councillors who attended the meeting and voted in favour of the Habitual and Vexatious policy to be applied and welcomed them to respond to me directly for more accurate/additional information. But not one of the 7 councillors has bothered to contact me. The Clerk has responded to my response email and stated that it will still be effective and will not enter in to any further communication. Pretty Poor really.

What next? Should this be sent to the LGO or what else would the council and particularly the Clerk be afraid of my next course action?

Thanks
+1 vote
Submit a Subject Access Request to discover what personal information relating to you the council hold regarding their decision surrounding your reports and the subsequent implementation of the policy.
answered by (3.3k points)
Ok thanks. Will do
Hi - I have issued the PC with a SAR and to my surprise I received a pretty prompt response, interestingly from the deputy clerk that she will be looking into it. A few conditions she mentioned like that they have to respond promptly within a month, but they could ask for an extension of up to two month depending on the complexity.

Let’s see what happens and will keep you all up to date with outcomes.

Many thanks for all suggestions.
PART II - I have served as suggested the Subject Access Request and actually received something back from the Deputy Clerk which is the numeros emails etc that have been sent / received but I did gat a copy of the meeting minutes that the Habitual and Vexatious was discussed at and passed so no real comment their but I was sent the Clerks formal presentation document/form substantiating the need to impose this policy. However, it appears to have been tailored by the Clerk in such a way as to demonstrate that my legitimate claims and photographic evidence as untrue/false. As an example in one of my submissions on the danger of overhanging vegetation/brambles etc I included 26 photographs of varying overhang risks and the Clerk has only included one of the least overhanging bushes and stating that this all that there was which is untrue as I can easily demonstrate. I did send a response email to the Clerk outlining the accuracy of the case and including some of the 26 photos taken which I copied in to the councillors who attended the meeting and voted in favour of the Habitual and Vexatious policy to be applied and welcomed them to respond to me directly for more accurate/additional information. But not one of the 7 councillors has bothered to contact me. The Clerk has responded to my response email and stated that it will still be effective and will not enter in to any further communication. Pretty Poor really.

What next? Should this be sent to the LGO or what else would the council and particularly the Clerk be afraid of my next course action?

Thanks
The fact that the Councillors ignored you really shows how out of touch they are
It wouldn’t surprise me if they were ordered to ignore you as that happens quite often

I can’t see where you can go from here apart from going public via a letter to the local paper

Or you could write to the Monitoring Officer  just too see their reaction

As I mentioned before when exactly the same thing happened  to me I stood for election

Personally I would be tempted to speak as a member of the public at the next council meeting and suggest that as you are being excluded could you have your precept payments back !
Hi Jules
Yes I totally agree, they appear to be very weak. I have already had two pieces in the local paper which I thought might instill some form of action but nothing really.

I have tried to engage the Borough Councils Monitoring Officer at the initial stages, but as per usual "not in their remit".

Yes, I have already stated that when the council meetings are allowed to happen (not on Zoom or such like) I will be visiting the meeting to look them in the eye.

The Precept suggestion I have already implemented back in early November 2020 by informing the Borough Council of the situation and that I will be deducting the Parish Precept from their Monthly Direct Debit amount on the premise that my contractual/financial  obligation is with the Borough Council and their agent/sub contractor Parish Council has failed in their duties as I have no means of deducting this from the Parish Council and I dont believe for one second that the Parish Council will refund me the monies.
I did eventually get a response from the Borough Council, some seven weeks after the communication but ony after I pointed out that they have failed to respond in the desigated council policy of two weeks, and that to threaten me with legal proceedings, Baliffs, and summons is not in the spirit of good cutomer service given the facts of the case and If that's all they are interested in pursuing then I am not at all intimidated as I believe that I have a justifiable case and would only demonstrate the Borough Councils inability to resolve the issue. So lets go to court.

I'll see what happens whe the two deductions are realised which unfortunately is now 1st  April 2021.

Many Thanks and I'll keep you informed of the outcome. Oh a HNY to you.
0 votes
Declaring Parishioners vexatious is a common ploy by disfunctional Parish Councils, when my PC pulled that stunt on me I stood for election so they couldn’t ignore me

What too many PC’s forget is that the money they have is not theirs and that Parishioners are customers who don’t have the choice to opt out

I’d write to all the Councillors explain your point of view ask why you’ve been treated the way you have and ask their opinion

If they ignore you issue a SAR and hope that they don’t put your request on the public part of the agenda like they did to me
I’ve been involved with problems regarding footpaths and cycleways and if any injury or damage is caused after you’ve reported them then it could prove costly for the PC
answered by (4.3k points)
"Declaring Parishioners vexatious is a common ploy by disfunctional Parish Councils..."- I couldn't agree more Jules.
PART II - I have served as suggested the Subject Access Request and actually received something back from the Deputy Clerk which is the numeros emails etc that have been sent / received but I did gat a copy of the meeting minutes that the Habitual and Vexatious was discussed at and passed so no real comment their but I was sent the Clerks formal presentation document/form substantiating the need to impose this policy. However, it appears to have been tailored by the Clerk in such a way as to demonstrate that my legitimate claims and photographic evidence as untrue/false. As an example in one of my submissions on the danger of overhanging vegetation/brambles etc I included 26 photographs of varying overhang risks and the Clerk has only included one of the least overhanging bushes and stating that this all that there was which is untrue as I can easily demonstrate. I did send a response email to the Clerk outlining the accuracy of the case and including some of the 26 photos taken which I copied in to the councillors who attended the meeting and voted in favour of the Habitual and Vexatious policy to be applied and welcomed them to respond to me directly for more accurate/additional information. But not one of the 7 councillors has bothered to contact me. The Clerk has responded to my response email and stated that it will still be effective and will not enter in to any further communication. Pretty Poor really.

What next? Should this be sent to the LGO or what else would the council and particularly the Clerk be afraid of my next course action?

Thanks
0 votes
Using this process is normally a last resort and after lots of warnings. Unfortunately clerks do not get employed enough hours to continually answer questions day in day out. It does sound that your purpose was not meant to be taken the way it was received. Try asking to meet the council (after lockdown) for a walk and talk meeting around the areas of concern
answered by (5.3k points)
Don't worry I have my own high corresponders policy. Incidentally public footpath maintenance and overhanging foliage are District Councils' responsibility
Not necessarily in my area it’s the County Councils responsibility but there can still be paths cycleways on Parish land that they are responsible for
I think you will fid that the duty to maintain PROWs lies with the Highways Authority. PCs have optional powers to look after their own paths but only to the HAs specification. As regards S154 that's a HA power.

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