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Can a Parish Councillor undertake action within the Community as an Individual / Resident

0 votes
Can a Parish Councillor fight against / object to planning separately from the Parish Council as an Individual Resident.  Our Parish Clerk is now continually stating Code of Conduct, none may act alone,  (directed only at me).   Insinuation and snide comments are now included in almost all emails.
I am very much alone within the Parish Council but have managed to ensure correct procedures are now followed, I feel hence the current action by the Clerk.
asked by (320 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Yes,

How else would you also be involved in the knitting group, the Shakespeare society, the British Legion (or any other group), would they expect you to request the Parish Council's permission?

The "none may act alone", is that you cannot make yourself out to be representing Your Village Parish Council. Your actions cannot bind the council into a contract or attract controversy e.g. telling the local journalist: "The Parish Council support the proposal for a statue of Somebodyelse" when the meeting to agree hasn't happened and no decision has been made.

The Parish Council might submit a planning support, there is nothing to stop you writing in as Cllr Ossy Lass of Your Village Parish Council to say you don't support the application - you might represent 10 constituents who have approached you to object to the application. - it would be a madness to say you can't have an opinion.

Just make sure it is clear that it is your opinion (or constituents) rather than the Parish Council.

To try stop Mx Ossy Lass (in their personal capacity) objecting is even more outside of the Parish powers.
answered by (8.4k points)
It is the Clerk rather than the PC but all have remained silent.  Latest snide bit attached to planning notice "May I remind all that, whilst you may have particular concerns, a reasonable person may consider that you are acting as ...PC, whether you consider that they are correct or not. No Member may act alone: ...PC is a corporate body".
That is utter tosh! You can do / say whatever you like (within accepted norms) as a private individual.
Your clerk is a moron. A councillor ought to ‘consider’ the advice provided by the (so called) proper officer, but it’s perfectly appropriate to dismiss it as utter drivel after you’ve considered it.
I have similar issues as Ossy Lass. Our Clerk would perceive any communication sent by a Parish Councillor , naming themselves as Parish Councillor although clearly expressing that it's not the view of the PC but their own,  as serious breach of the Code of Conduct . Most of us are currently
too afraid to speak, write , comment on the village FB as individuals without it being seen as a breach of conduct  which is  mostly supported by the Chair too .   All communication has to go through the clerk in the first instance, and where a councillor  acts an individual, should the letter be passed to the clerk  for example by a County or Borough Councillor the clerk will not support or  involve the PC in any action.  With all that said , other than approaching a MO  is there anywhere else  ( new ) councillors get help ?
Your clerk is an employee NOT the adjudicator in matters of conduct.
Read and understand the rules & regs, do want you feel is right and either ignore or challenge (via the staffing committee or chair) the clerks behaviour.
Read the various ‘good councillor’ guides available online.
This sort of oppressive, inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour by staff is perpetuated by ‘new’ councillors possibly lacking confidence and being ‘bent’ to the will of the pre-existing systems.
Be confident! Believe in your own moral and professional compass and force change where necessary.
It sounds like you know it’s wrong (based on what you’ve written above) it can only continue if ‘new’ councillors don’t implement change.
0 votes
Being a councillor does not remove your right to an opinion. Professionally it is required that a councillor when offering opinions, statements must ensure that there is no confusion experienced by others that the opinion or statement made is not taken as one made or supported by the Paish Council. It must always be remembered that any such opinions must be reflected by declarations on topics being discussed in council.
answered by (8.9k points)
Thank you, I also state or write "as a resident" to ensure it is clear, however the Clerk continues to try to make mischief and has now stated it no less than 6 times
I hit a similar problem and was reported to the Monitoring Officer where the complaint was rejected
After that to avoid any confusion  I made myself a reversible badge with Councillor written on one side and Public on the other I suppose I need a three sided one now I’m on the Borough !
Even if I’m acting in a private capacity say in an email I emphasise that I’m not acting as a Councillor
If I were you I’d ask the Monitoring Officer for advice and also ask the Clerk to seek advice and include it on the agenda  as a training matter so yourself and your fellow Councillors know the score
A lot of Clerks and Councillors think the law doesn’t apply to them and just make things up
Jules, having now spoken to the MO, I feel a bit deflated.  The MO suggested speaking to our Clerk, who is qualified or the local association of local councils.  What a needed what something in writing to prove one way or the other? Any suggestions
There’s increasing pressure on Councillors to toe the line but no clarity as to where the line is
I’m still waiting for my letter from the Members Panel explaining why I shouldn’t have written to a local paper about my experiences as a local Councillor or written a blog about  public Council

I can’t really advise you personally I’d just plough on and my if you get reported point out you tried to get advice but it’s not for the faint hearted

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