Ashfield District Council bosses vow to deal with misconduct complaints quicker
COUNCIL bosses have reassured members that complaints of alleged misconduct will be dealt with more swiftly after two long outstanding complaints came to light.
A quarterly monitoring report to Ashfield District Council’s audit and standards committee last Monday, revealed that six complaints against councillors are being investigated or are due to be investigated.
But members were shocked to see that two of these complaints have been outstanding for an ‘unreasonable amount of time’ - having been made in 2009 and 2010.
Ruth Dennis, monitoring officer, told the meeting that progress in the cases was waiting on an independent person being appointed to consider allegations, with interviews due to have been held last week.
Coun David Kirkham said: “Can we have reassurances that these cases are heard as a matter of urgency as soon as an independent person is appointed?”
He said that the delay is not fair on either party.
“I just think it’s absolutely ridiculous. These things should be sorted out in months, not years,” he added.
Mrs Dennis told the meeting that there were specific reasons why the 2009 and 2010 complaints had not yet been resolved, but it is the council’s aim to bring all outstanding complaints to ‘a very swift conclusion’ once the independent member has been appointed.
She said that under new arrangements recently adopted by the council for dealing with complaints, the process will be completed much more quickly than in the past from now on.
The 2009 complaint was by a member of the public against a district councillor and the investigation has been outsourced. An in-house investigation is ongoing into the 2010 complaint and also a complaint made in May this year.
Two of the new complaints are by members of the public against parish councillors and one is by a council employee against a district councillor.
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Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
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