43 Complaints About ONE Kirklees Councillor

The parish councillor accounts for over 70% of the district's complaints over the past 6 months.

Legal staff at Kirklees Council are dealing with a whopping 43 complaints against a single councillor in the borough.

But the individual, who remains anonymous, is not even a district councillor with Kirklees.

Instead he or she is a parish councillor.

Over a six-month period from March 6 to September 10 Kirklees Council’s monitoring officer received 60 complaints relating to councillors across the borough, with multiple complaints relating to four councillors.

A report to the council’s Standards Committee revealed that the majority of complaints – 45 – concerned members’ social media posts.

Others related to:

  • Councillors’ behaviour at meetings
  • Member involvement in planning matters
  • Threatening behaviour
  • Failure to respond to queries

The majority of complaints were made by members of the public but four were made by three elected members on Kirklees Council.

Sixteen complaints were directed at 12 Kirklees councillors.

Of these, only one progressed through to a formal consideration and subsequent decision, four were not progressed after the initial assessment process and seven were dealt with informally.

The remaining 48 are relatively recent and two are currently being investigated. The remainder are part way through the formal standards process.

Of the 44 complaints identifying town or parish councillors, 43 concern the same matter and relate to one person. That issue is expected to be dealt with on September 16.

The multiple complaints, which relate to alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct, must be handled by council staff and passed to an assessment panel for consideration.

The issue has led to questions over the cost of such actions along with concerns that valuable time is taken up on investigations that ultimately go nowhere.

Clr Martyn Bolt (Con Mirfield) said town and parish councils across the borough should pay towards the expense of processing complaints.

“Kirklees is bearing the financial burden of handling standards issues at town and parish councils but we have no [financial] support from them.

“Kirklees’ rate-payers are paying for things over which they have no control.

“There should be a conversation about recompense.

“It would be useful to understand the economics. How much is this costing?”

During the period September 6 2018 to March 6 this year the council received 14 complaints about six named Kirklees councillors as well as an unidentified number of town and parish councillors.

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