A month or so back I made an FoI enquiry of SSDC with regard to the number of complaints that they have received against elected representatives and officers. Earlier this week the following in formation arrived:
Complaints about Councillors
2009 - 3 complaints about SSDC Cllrs, 7 complaints about parish/town Cllrs
2010 - 0 complaints about SSDC Cllrs, 14 complaints about parish/town Cllrs
2011 - 5 complaints about SSDC Cllrs, 17 complaints about parish/town Cllrs
2012 - 6 complaints about SSDC Cllrs, 7 complaints about parish/town Cllrs
Complaints in the Staff Handling Category
2009 - 34
2010 - 62
2011 - 38
2012 (Jan - Mar) - 7
I don't know if these figures represent any sort of national average but it would seem that, very roughly, complaints against officers and District Councillors run at between 4.5% and 10% where complaints against town/parish councillors are somewhere between 0.58% and 1.4%. Without any national data, these figures are not terribly informative.
But what I do find interesting is that when you have a look at SSDC's website, you can find very little documentary evidence about any of the complaints or the consideration/investigation of the complaints or the outcomes. Under a 'Quarterly return of complaints' dated November 2008, the following information was disclosed:
Strangely, if you do a search for any of the documents noted in this table, you don't find anything. Clearly SSDC like to keep 'complaints' out of the public eye, unless, that is, the complaints come from members of Somerton's 'Old Guard'. When the 'Old Guard' start their paranoid ramblings, SSDC cranks up the PR machine and puts notices in the press (maybe I missed all the others?) and everyone knows about it.
And then, almost as an afterthought, these two extracts turned up, the first from 2011 and the second from 2012. I wonder if these references relate to a complaint against Canvin? Time, and the Freedom of Information Act, will tell.