Number of allegations and complaints about Doncaster councillors revealed

Bullying, aggressive behaviour and failing to declare interests at meetings were just some of the allegations raised to Doncaster Council bosses about elected councillors.

Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 12:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 12:16 pm
Doncaster Council

Figures show local authority bosses received 17 complaints against ward councillors on a wide range of issues over the last four years.

Information provided by Doncaster Council's FOI team show the majority of complaints did not lead to further action.

Reports also mention ongoing 'tensions' between parish councillors in one area of Doncaster where an independent mediator observed meetings and met with members in private to resolve issues. The parish council in question is not named.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In 2013/2014, three complaints were issued surrounding ward councillors' conduct including an allegation a resident had been spoken to 'inappropriately'.

Another complaint involved two councillors who were alleged to have made 'disrespectful remarks' toward former elected mayor Peter Davies. Both matters were investigated and no further action was taken.

A third complaint was submitted by a member of the public against two councillors alleging they 'failed to declare personal and prejudicial/disclosable pecuniary interests' in a specific planning application at a committee meetings held in 2011. The outcome was not disclosed.

During 2014/2015, a resident alleged the two members had shown a 'lack of respect', adopted a 'bullying attitude' and had 'used their position' to attempt to influence council officers over a planning application.

The monitoring officer found no grounds for bullying but said they 'could've handled the complaint better'.

The second complaint alleged a councillor had exceeded her role and became 'too involved' in a private law case with safeguarding implications and, in doing so, had 'used her position inappropriately', accessed confidential court papers.

No breaches were found but the member was 'advised of the dangers' becoming personally involved in a case of this nature.

The following year, a councillor was reported for his 'aggressive, dismissive and arrogant' behaviour at a public meeting. No further action was taken.

Another councillor was spoken to after a complaint from an external company about the behaviour towards their staff.

The monitoring officer and 'independent person' reminded the councillor's obligations under the Member Code of Conduct.

Latest figures from 2016/2017 show the council's monitoring officer received nine complaints involving elected members.

Very few complaints received were the subject of further enquiries but the allegations included 'frequent tweets' about bushes at a school and failing to declare registered interests at meetings.

In a report issued to councillors, Helen Potts, principal legal officer, said: "Having robust ethical governance policies and procedures in place helps to maintain openness, transparency and probity in the way that the council conducts its business.

"This in turn should help increase public confidence in local governance through maintaining high standards of conduct by members."