Complaint later withdrawn against Doncaster councillors for ‘bullying and harassment’ of council officer

Several complaints were lodged against Doncaster councillors in a 12 month time period – some with allegations of bullying and harassment.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 2:19 pm

In total, there were eight individual complaints lodged against a number of Doncaster councillors, such as bullying, failure to treat people with respect and breach of confidentiality.

The report also reveals that council officers submitted complaints against three councillors alleging bullying, harassment and failing to treat people with respect.

These incidents were said to have proceeded to the investigation and statements stage but the complainant later withdrew the allegations.

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The majority of allegations were not taken further by DMBC monitoring officer Scott Fawcus but one councillor was given ‘advice on tempering social media language’.

Complaints handled by the monitoring officer also include members of parish and town councils.

High Melton Parish Council had 15 complaints against a number of councillors with allegations ranging from failure to act with integrity and honesty, failure to treat parishioners with respect, failure to secure public confidence in the role of councillor and failure to exercise care and diligence.

A report details the level of complaints is ‘reflective of the fall-out, tensions anddissatisfactions’ regarding a decision which was taken by the parish council which was ‘locally controversial’.

The majority of these complaints were not taken any further as no evidence was given to the monitoring officer.

But two complaints were classed as minor breaches and letters of guidance were issued to councillors but no further action was taken.

Hatfield Town Council received two complaints from members of the public around councillor conduct – one resulting in a minor breach.

Another complaint was submitted relating to a member of Blaxton Parish Council. No further action was taken.

“I would reiterate my annual comments made that the levels of complaints received and most importantly the number of actual breaches remain very low, and most councillors and most Town and Parish Councils in Doncaster do not appear on my radar and that point should be noted.

“To put that in context there are 37 Town & Parish councils across Doncaster and over 350 serving councillors across Doncaster so the amount of complaints received remains proportionately, extremely low.”