Agenda item


The Monitoring Officer will report on any complaints received since the last meeting.


The Head of Law and Standards gave a general update on the number of complaints and highlighted two specific cases from the previous meeting, one of which had been dealt with, with the other still being investigated. It was further noted two section 69 complaints in the report, neither were investigated by the Ombudsman the report in the agenda gave summaries of the complaints.


The first complaint regarded a former member of the community council, the Ombudsman did not find it in the public interest to investigate the member as he had resigned as well as not finding enough evidence to deal with the complaint.

The second complaint also involved a former community council member and concerned an altercation of a physical assault within the members ward which had been referred to the police. The Ombudsman concurred that the altercation occurred within the members private life and did not bring their office or the council.


·         Councillor Davies asked about a complaint in a previous meeting, of which he highlighted his disappointment that the Ombudsman did not follow through with the complaint as he felt the harm caused to the Clerk who was the complainant was significant. Councillor Davies asked if some action could be taken on this.


The Head of Law and Standards stated the Ombudsman has the final say in what they deem should be investigated and brought to committee, and then referred to the process of how the ombudsman decides what is significant enough to refer.


·         Councillor Davies found it strange that there is no right to appeal the Ombudsman decision.


·         Councillor Cockeram also agreed, and highlighted why there was no process in place to sanction members of a council in reference to disbarment of their ability to be a councillor in the future.


·         The Head of law and Standards referred to the Ombudsman’s processes and how he takes actions, as well as stating that in that particular case the resignation of the member did not play a role in the decision not to investigate the complaint.


·         R.Morgan understood there was no formal appeal but asked if there was an informal feedback that could be provided.


The Head of Law and Standards that the right to correct facts so that they are true and not missing information is permitted but the right to feedback of a decision is something that is not required.


·         R.Morgan highlighted again if any form of feedback could be given.


The Head of Law and Standards noted that a customer satisfaction questionnaire may be provided. It was also noted that the Ombudsman has too much power and not enough action can be done by committees.


The Head of Law and Standards also highlighted one further new complaint involving a city councillor but that the complaint was not being considered by the Ombudsman as the councillor was not acting as a member of the council when the complaint occurred as under article 10 members do have a right to freedom of expression. The complaint  concerned comments posted on a community Facebook page which was managed by the councillor in question.

The Head of Law and Standards noted 4 complaints from Langstone community council, no action was taken on the complaints by the Ombudsman, with 2 members having resigned. It was also noted in 2 of the complaints it was a dispute between members with the Head of Law & Standards highlighting the Ombudsman is unlikely to take up these disputes.


Another allegation was referred to, but that involved the private life of a councillor of which the Ombudsman does not review due to the impact not being on the councillor’s role as a member of the council. Lastly, he did highlight that there are quite a few complaints from certain community councils


The Chair referred to the next meeting on the 10th of November which was also include political group leaders.


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