Investigations into complaints made against Doncaster councillors including inappropriate use of social media

Bosses at Doncaster Council have investigated a number of complaints made against councillors.

By George Torr
Friday, 26th June 2020, 10:55 am
Updated Friday, 26th June 2020, 10:56 am

Four councillors had formal complaints made against them ranging from inappropriate use of social media to failing to declare interests when attending meetings.

A further nine complaints were made against parish members from Hatfield, Stainforth and Thorne and Moorends councils.

All complaints were recorded from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

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Doncaster Council, based at the Civic Offices.

The monitoring officer (MO) at Doncaster Council is in charge of councillor conduct and investigating and reprimanding those if they deem to have broken any rules.

A member of the public alleged that a DMBC councillor breached the code of conduct through comments on a social media page.

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The MO said the councillor in question had clarified their comments during the Facebook conversation and apologised for any distress. No further action was taken.

Another complaint related to a councillor who had allegedly failed to declare an interest during a council meeting.

The investigation found the councillor was not part of the committee and no further action was required.

Another member of the public complained that a councillor was not responding to their constituency matter in a timely manner. The MO dismissed the complaint and said the code of conduct ‘does not deal with such dissatisfactions’ and that councillors are free to deal with ward issues ‘as they see fit’.

A fourth DMBC councillor who had a complaint lodged against them was alleged to have failed to treat a resident with respect. No further information was given but the MO said no further action was taken on the basis the councillor had apologised for their conduct.

A report seen by councillors also raises concern around the behaviour of some members of Hatfield Town Council.

It outlines ‘tensions’ at Hatfield Town Council ‘remain’ and a number of ‘serious complaints’ about behaviour have been made by both elected members and employees of the council.

A further investigation is said to be in the pipeline once the Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed.

Scott Fawcus, monitoring officer at Doncaster Council, said: “Having robust ethical governance policies and procedures in place helps to maintain openness, transparency and probity in the way in which the council conducts its business.

“This in turn should help increase public confidence in local governance through maintaining high standards of conduct by members and officers.”