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COMPLAINTS: 41 complaints made against Leeds City Councillors last year

COMPLAINTS: 41 complaints made against Leeds City Councillors last year

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Leeds City Council received 41 complaints about its councillors in the past seven months, according to a report published this week.

Members of the authority’s Standards and Conduct Committee will discuss a document which shows an increase from just 12 complaints for the same period in 2019/20, with the majority referring to councillors’ conduct on social media.

Despite the number of complaints, Leeds City Council said that, to date, all the complaints have been dealt with at an early stage, with no further disciplinary action taken against members, while the majority were referring to a single issue.

A table of complaints also listed “personal information being inadvertently revealed on-line”, “verbal exchange” and “engagement with parish council”.

The report stated 34 of the complaints related to the same member’s post(s) to social media platforms, it stated: “Political group took steps to address (the) concerns raised, and that no further action would be taken.

While it didn’t reveal what the issue or member the complaints referred to, the report added: “The most notable element is the increase in complaints, which again have demonstrated an increase from the last reporting period.

“However, whilst the number of total complaints has increased, this has largely been due to the number of multiple individuals raising concerns about the same issue/councillor. When the number of incidents of complaint are considered, eight separate issues have generated a complaint when compared to ten reported last year.

“Social Media continues to be a primary source of complaints.”

It added a further six complaints had been made about parish councillors, while another 14 informal contacts were made regarding councillor conduct via email.

On the way complaints are handled the document stated: “Leeds City Council has responsibility for making arrangements to receive and consider complaints against Leeds City Council members and parish and town councillors in Leeds.

“At Stage 2 of the complaints procedure, the Chair of the Standards and Conduct Committee must be consulted by the Monitoring Officer in deciding whether the matters raised by the complainant have been appropriately addressed by the subject Member. If a complaint was to reach Stage 3 of the complaints procedure, the Consideration Sub-Committee of the Standards and Conduct Committee would need to meet to consider the complaint and decide whether the Code of Conduct had been breached and what action to recommend..

“To date, all complaints this year have been resolved either before or at Stage 1 of the complaints procedure. There have been no formal findings of a failure by Leeds City Councillors or Parish and Town Councillors in Leeds to comply with the relevant Code of Conduct.”

The committee will meet to discuss the report on Friday, February 5.

 

Richard Beecham, Local Democracy Reporter

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