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0 votes
It's clear from previous threads that it is almost impossible to remove a Councillor from a Parish Council - short of bankruptcy, imprisonment etc. However where a Councillor has been disloyal over a number of months, criticising the PC in a supposedly private email to a parishioner, as well as in other forums, what action can be taken? Presumably the Chairman could ask them to resign? Alternatively, could the other Councillors move a motion of censure against the Councillor so at least there'd be a public record of his misdeeds?
closed with the note: Discussion is no longer providing new insights.
by (120 points)
closed by

8 Answers

0 votes
The basic question is WHO is to judge disloyalty, acceptable criticism of the PC (may be warranted!). The Chair can ask all they want but resignation is the decision for the elected councillor. Any investigation ( if legal) would need to be in private and the "telling the world" of "misdeeds would not be revealed.
by (27.5k points)
+2 votes

“...where a Councillor has been disloyal (?) over a number of months, criticising (?) the PC in a supposedly private email to a parishioner, as well as in other forums, what action can be taken?

Good question!

What might a PC do.....

Here’s a radical thought:

How about the PC seeks to understand the basis of the criticism and determine if there is actually any basis for it and whether the PC needs to adjust its thinking / behaviour...

Disloyalty? To who? A councillor owes no loyalty to an inefficient or ineffective PC  they absolutely owe a fundamental loyalty to the electorate however. 

Is this a question from a clerk?

If yes, I’d suggest the ‘problems’ in this PC run deeper that a single Cllr expressing an opinion that may differ from the corporate position  

Funny how perspectives differ  The question seems to present the individual as the ‘problem’ whereas it may be that the individual is the SOLUTION and the corporate whole is the problem.

PS - if this is a question from a clerk it is wholly inappropriate for an employee to seek to criticise an employer  

If there are grounds for a employment complaint then the procedures are well established  You’d do well to rely on anonymity in such endeavours or risk finding yourself on a warning for inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour! 

by (6.4k points)
Crikey there must be some bad history between you and a Clerk to make such a bitter observation. You have no idea of the history of this individual but are quick to jump in and make assumptions that are woefully wide of the mark. A Councillor should respect the decision-making process, respect the opposing views of their fellow Councillors, and not go carping about them in a "private" email that they mistakenly shared. Criticisms of the organisation they represent should be confined to an open forum. Then we all know where they stand.
But thanks for your "radical thoughts" letsbehonest.
0 votes
The short answer is that they can ask him to resign  - but cannot under any exisiting legislation make him resign.
by (35.5k points)
Thank-you Graeme_r
0 votes
I think I would be careful what you wish for.

This Councillor may resign, than at the appropriate time collect 10 signatures and force an election, where that Councillor would campaign on the issues he sees as a problem. That should do the trick I would think.
by (5.3k points)
We would welcome that Caroline. Let local democracy work and be seen to work. At least then it's out in the open as opposed to a campaign of criticism in "private" emails. Thanks.
+1 vote
Fortunately Parish Councils can’t select who they have as Councillors apart of course by refusing co option

If there are legitimate complains against a Councillor then LGA 2011 is the route via a complaint to the Monitoring Officer

But be warned as my PC found out you have to have a breech of the Code of  Conduct and evidence
by (11.7k points)
Thanks Jules
+1 vote
Is it not healthy to have different people (Councillors) with different perspectives.  In my PC too much of the same has resulted in no-one questioning how or why things are done and it is very easy to go down a path which is far to narrow especially when a majority hold the same views (not necessarily correctly) .  Perhaps a discussion on or around the areas of criticism could bring about change in a positive way for all
by (780 points)
It is absolutely healthy to have different opinions, backgrounds and perspectives within a Council.  In that way, it can be shown that councils are representing a wider range of their electorate.  The difficulty is when a decision has been voted on and therefore becomes the decision of the council.  Councillors should then respect the democracy and follow the decision made.  The issue comes when the vote goes against them and they refuse to accept the decision and campaign as such, potentially leading the council into disrepute and public criticism...
"...The issue comes when the vote goes against them and they refuse to accept the decision and campaign as such, potentially leading the council into disrepute and public criticism..."

This part  is not correct.

A majority vote 'authorises' or 'endorses' a council action or position.
There is absolutely no 'duty' upon a Cllr to individually support a majority vote nor would it be inappropriate - nor infer any form of disrepute or criticism - if an individual or group that did not support a vote campaigned against such a vote.
That is the very point of having a vote and a democracy.  It is even written into MSOs as a recision vote and a reason why a named vote may be called.
Named votes allow those that DO NOT support a motion to demonstrate and record their lack of support on the public record.
+1 vote

Well there’s 6 straight answers (plus supplementary contributions) telling you what you obviously don’t want to hear.

Let me summarise it for you:

It is NOT for an employee to decide or judge whether or not a Cllr is “errant” - that would be the duty of the Monitoring officer to decide but ONLY in relation to a breach of the code of conduct.

A Chair, a PC or any individual might ask a Cllr to resign but frankly, whether that would be credible, likely or appropriate is highly questionable - possibly even amounting to a code of conduct breach through failure to treat others with respect.

A Cllr CANNOT be made or compelled to resign - especially just because an employee doesn’t ‘like’ them.

Be careful what you wish for. 

PCs cannot select which Cllrs are ‘acceptable’ or otherwise.

It is ‘healthy’ to have differing opinions amongst differing Cllrs.

Most of the responses you have received have been notably sugar coated - but they all follow the same general consensus.

For my part, I find your question illustrates a fundamental disrespect for your employer who happens to be an elected member.  This is unprofessional and objectionable.  Your responses to the input you have received further reenforces and amplifies this. 

Maybe you will take something useful away from this learning experience, but I rather doubt that.

by (6.4k points)
0 votes
For some reason, this question has really riled a member of this forum on the basis that he believes that you, as a Clerk, are instigating a back room sacking of a Councillor. This is not how I've read your question. As a Clerk, I am asked for procedural advice on a regular basis and sometimes I have to research before answering. I would do this by asking colleagues, contacting the SLCC and posting on this forum. Some contributors on this page are very knowledgeable and very helpful.

At no point have you said that your question is based on your own desire to get rid of a councillor... I read it that you were possibly asked by your chair or other councillor for procedural advice.

So I'm sorry to see you receive such a berating when asking a question. I believe every question is valid and an educational opportunity.

In a nutshell, if the councillor has broken the code of conduct, its the monitoring officers responsibility. Otherwise there is not much that can be done as councillors are elected and not employed.

Best wishes.
by (24.6k points)
Question 1:  No, I have been previously, but not currently since resignation in order to be free to speak openly and freely.
I coordinated 5 independents to stand in May in a 13 seat PC where there had been no contested elections in recent memory - 2 were elected.
There were over 2000 votes for NEW candidates in this election, with just over 4000 cast for existing parish councillors in a 44% turnout of the electorate.

I'd consider that a MASSIVE achievement when measured against the previous norm of apathy, incompetence, inadequacy and mismanagement with insufficient and inept candidates being repeatedly returned at uncontested elections and literally dozens of co-options and resignations between election cycles.

This was 1 of only 48 contested (of the possible 281) elections throughout all of Cornwall

50% of the vote share went to new candidates in a 44% turnout.

40% [2 of 5] Candidates for Change were elected.

1 Candidate for Change had an absolutely STONKING vote count which was higher than any other candidate.

Question 2 (part 1):  It's 4 in this 1 parish within the past 3-4 years.
The first 1 'resigned' shortly after my co-option as a consequence of being asked 'awkward' questions that others had been too intimidated to ask.  I say 'resigned' but it was actually a resignation with the threat of Ind Trib (that old chestnut seems to crop up quite frequently) after +/- 20 years employment.  Oddly that threat disappeared when countered with the realisation that a fraud investigation would be initiated but not before the PC IT had been forensically wiped.

The replacement also resigned - funny old thing - not before having blackmailed the PC (proven by a leaked document from within the PC) and threatened Ind trib - yep, that old chestnut.  Thankfully, information had been received from that clerk's previous PC employer and a long discussion with the legal team dealing with the failed Ind trib which arose just after they did a moonlight flit from that employ leaving a right mess was good background.  
Then there have been 2 temporary appointments - each with notable 'problems.'

So that's 4 in the 1 PC in as many years.

Question 2 (part 2):  Professional business requires the interaction with and attendance at a considerable number of regional town and parish councils - that provides a reasonably broad spectrum of regional exposure.

Question 2 (part 3):  Let's take this forum as a benchmark...  Use the tag "Clerk" and you will find 101 entries.  I just did a quick review and found 10 of the first 12 entries relate to 'problems' associated with clerks.  There are many other posts which don't specifically come under the tag 'clerk' but also include pitiful questions / comments / statements.  It doesn't read well which ever view you might take.
Just my opinion of course - but I'd suggest that is a reasonable level of exposure in order to have formed a valid and justifiable personal opinion.
We had that little tussle a while back where you thought I was "tarring all with the same brush" - presumably since you assumed I only had a limited exposure from which to form that opinion.  I wouldn't wish to tar all with the same brush but I will, as you have come to realise, call a spade a spade.

How much exposure to other clerks do YOU have?
Thank you for your response. I have a extensive exposure to other clerks through the additional work that I undertake for the SLCC and our CALC on top of clerking. I know of clerks that are bullied, belittled and unsupported by councillors who have little regard for employment rights. I know of councils that have very poor Clerks who are untrained and unprofessional. I accept there are both in this world.

I'm going to wish you a good day and cut off the oxygen here as conversing with you is not positive or constructive for either party.
1 thing I would ask before you retire, you didn't respond to this:

"...This part  is not correct.

A majority vote 'authorises' or 'endorses' a council action or position.
There is absolutely no 'duty' upon a Cllr to individually support a majority vote nor would it be inappropriate - nor infer any form of disrepute or criticism - if an individual or group that did not support a vote campaigned against such a vote.
That is the very point of having a vote and a democracy.  It is even written into MSOs as a recision vote and a reason why a named vote may be called.
Named votes allow those that DO NOT support a motion to demonstrate and record their lack of support on the public record..."

Which was presented in response to your assertion that:

"...Councillors should then respect the democracy and follow the decision made.  The issue comes when the vote goes against them and they refuse to accept the decision and campaign as such, potentially leading the council into disrepute and public criticism..."

It is (in my experience) a common tactic for clerks to adopt the "...I'm not doing this anymore..." tactic when pressed on a point.  I hope that's not the case here.
Taking this argument to its logical conclusion once the Conservative Government pass legislation then the Opposition parties are morally bound to support it
We adopted a reserve policy that’s 100% higher than suggested by NALC and I mention this every time it comes up as my loyalty is to the electorate
Yeah, the absurdity is clear enough for anyone to see.
The absurdity is exposed and the proponents have gone to ground - the refuge of unaccountable and the inept.

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