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Letter: Council Complaints Policies Need Change to Be Effective

Published on: 22 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 22 Dec, 2021

From: Adam Aaronson

In response to: Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, written before the publication of: I Apologise to Julie Iles

This incident highlights some possible flaws in Surrey County Council’s complaints policy. If these comments had been made in the House of Commons, the speaker would most likely have dealt with them peremptorily at the time.

Why has it taken the SCC monitoring officer so long, (more than eight weeks), to determine what looks like a clear cut breach of the code of conduct and which probably should have taken a five-minute review.

There is not much point in having such policies unless swift and decisive action can be taken.  Are there any applicable sanctions? For example, is a transgressing councillor able to continue to attend council meetings? If so, what is the point of having the investigation?

There have been previous cases over the last few years at GBC, including the notorious “bloody rabble” incident, which suggests that it needs to tighten up its policy too. If the monitoring officer rules that an apology is necessary, it should be given forthwith with good grace. If not, the councillor concerned should be unable to attend council meetings until they have complied with the MO’s ruling.

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