REVEALED: 'Sexism', trespassing and bias - the complaints about Norwich councillors
PUBLISHED: 17:26 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:26 04 February 2020
Councillors have been rapped on the knuckles for blunders including sexist remarks and behaviour on social media, and trespassing on private land.
A list of complaints about councillors' conduct - and the way they were dealt with - was published ahead of a meeting of Norwich City Council's standards board, on Tuesday, February 4.
The list, which contained 19 items, included issues from informal complaints to breaches of the code of conduct.
And the council's monitoring officer said the rise of informal complaints was making tackling councillors' poor behaviour more difficult, as the issues could not always be resolved formally.
The complaints received by the council during 2019-20 were:
- Five instances of not treating others with respect
- Three informal complaints
- Two complaints about behaviour on social media
- Two instances of breaching of confidential council information
- Two general complaints
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- A complaint about trespassing on private land
- A breach of the officer and member code of conduct
- A complaint about behaviour on Facebook
- An issue of possible bias.
The report did not give further details about the complaints, but stated that, in 11 cases, the issue was resolved after advice was given. In four instances the councillor involved apologised to the complainant. And in one case training was given, while another complaint was withdrawn.
The report, written by the council's monitoring officer Rachel Crosbie, stated that training was given in 2019, after "conflicts of interests [were identified] in relation to directorships of companies and roles and responsibilities".
The council has also updated its policies on whistle blowing, social media guidance and the gifts and hospitality policy, with the gift limit now capped at £25.
The monitoring officer said six complaints were received during the third quarter, including three formal complaints.
"The first was to do with not treating one another with respect," she said. "This occurred during a committee meeting.
"Someone made a comment which was felt to be very sexist. I spoke to them and they apologised immediately and accepted they should not have said it."
The officer did not identify any of the councillors involved.