28 June 2012

Other investigations are public and published......

The response of South Somerset District Council to my own request for information about the complaints lodged against Cllr Fraser-Hopewell caused me to have a look at complaints against councillors and how they are handled in other councils. Here is a complaint investigation report published by Brent Council and it is quite clear about who was making the complaint, against whom, on what basis and the outcome. Fylde Borough Council also publish their reports and you can download the .pdf documents here. Scarborough Council publish similar documents like this one. Oxford City Council publish investigation reports like this one.

I am quite sure that SSDC have some reason to deny public access to malicious complaints like the raft of complaints against Cllr Fraser-Hopewell and I will be interested to hear what that reason is. Thus far, SSDC's position is that it fears that Muck&Brass will ridicule the complainants. At the same time, SSDC seem completely unconcerned about the damage done to the reputation of the individual in question when subjected to what looks to me to be a co-ordinated and malicious campaign by members of Somerton's 'Old Guard' and their supporters.

Much has been made of the possible benefits of the abolition of 'Standards for England' and the handing back of responsibility for assessing complaints  to local 'standards committees'. How SSDC handle the complaints coming from Somerton's 'Old Guard' will be something of a bell-weather for the future of 'standards' at SSDC. Maybe SSDC are more concerned about the reputation of ex-Councillors and ex-District Councillors than they are about what might be termed 'natural justice'. Time will tell.

Till next time, I'm Niall Connolly

PS I have now heard from SSDC who have disclosed that 12 individuals have complained about Cllr Fraser-Hopewell and SSDC have received 4 telephone 'complaints' from unknown individuals. It will be interesting to see how SSDC deal with what looks to be yet another co-ordinated and malicious abuse of the complaints procedure from Somerton's Old Guard.

PPS Train and 'Drive by'.