Full Council Extra Ordinary Meeting 30th June 2020
Minutes of the Extra Ordinary Meeting of the Full Council held on 30th June 2020 at 7.00pm via video conferencing.
Present: Cllr Terry Taylor (Chairman)
Cllr L Day Cllr M Gibson Cllr S Haddock Cllr M Holland Cllr T Kemp
Cllr E Lowe Cllr L Marsh Cllr B Rose Cllr K Wood Cllr A Wright
Also present: Mrs Y Smith (Town Clerk (TC))
Apologies were received and accepted from Cllr Mangion
76. Declaration of Interest under the Localism Act 2011
77.Review of the handling of the response to a complaint made about a Councillor
Cllr Taylor said the reason for the meeting was to look at the how the complaint was handled. He continued that there had been a lot discussed by various media. Cllr Taylor asked if the Complaints Procedure was robust enough to handle complaints.
Cllr Wood said that she had sent her views out to Councillors. Cllr Taylor said that because of what Cllr Wood had said that she obviously has reservations about how the complaints procedure works.
Cllr Wood said that the complainant should be named. Cllr Holland said that this would put off complaining and that if he had made a complaint, he would not want people to know. Cllr Day agreed with Cllr Holland that it should remain anonymous.
Cllr Taylor said that had it been a full breach, the complaint would have gone straight to the Monitoring Officer at ELDC.
TC then explained the sequence of events that lead to the letter being sent to the Councillor concerned and that it had been complied in conjunction with the Chairman. The letter said that there had been a complaint from a resident, the Councillor’s attention was drawn to two points within Town Council policies and also that if a further complaint was made then it would go to the Monitoring Officer.
Cllr Gibson said that the Complaints Policy was a standard version and may be looked at.
Cllr Day said that written complaints will be addressed by the Clerk to the Council. She continued that in March, extra responsibilities were given to the Town Clerk because of the coronavirus and this was set for 4 months.
Cllr Wood said she thought the procedure was not robust. Cllr Holland then asked what needed changing and to give an idea of what needed changing. Cllr Day said that if the complaint is about the Deputy Mayor maybe a different procedure is needed otherwise, she felt that it was ok.
Cllr Wright said that it may not be suitable for all complaints and maybe have a flow chart as not everything can be handled in the same way. Cllr Marsh suggested looking at neighbouring parish complaints procedures.
7.30pm Cllr Kemp arrived
Cllr Rose suggested that the complaints procedure go to a group to review it and then to the Policy Committee and it will decide.
It was RESOLVED to set up a working group to review the Complaints Policy
78.Review of Code of Conduct and Complaints Policy and Procedure
Cllr Kemp said that the Council is currently apolitical and in the light of what has been going on it looks like we have got a politicised Council and asked if the Council thought this was a good idea.
Cllr Taylor said that Towns and Parishes have always been apolitical and asked if Councillors thought that politics is now getting in the way. Cllr Wood said Councillors should conduct themselves whatever the persuasion. Cllr Haddock said that the Council should gauge itself because of what people think about the Council re the Facebook age about the development talking about ‘backhanders.
Cllr Wright felt that the Social Media Policy was not good enough and needed a three-branch approach. He said that the idea of a political Council is not appropriate.
Cllr Taylor felt that the non politicisation needs to be put in the policy. He said that it is the public who are in charge of the Council and not the Council in charge of the public.
It was RESOLVED to review the Code of Conduct and the Complaints Policy.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 7.55pm