‘Deal with low-level com­plaints against RCT coun­cil­lors lo­cally’

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - AN­THONY LEWIS an­thony.lewis@waleson­line.co.uk

THERE are calls for “lowlevel” com­plaints against coun­cil­lors in Rhondda Cynon Taff to be re­solved lo­cally rather than re­ferred to the om­buds­man.

A rec­om­men­da­tion from One Voice Wales, a body which rep­re­sents town and com­mu­nity coun­cils in Wales, sug­gests each coun­cil should have a Lo­cal Re­soul­tion Pro­to­col to deal with lowlevel com­plaints, par­tic­u­larly be­tween coun­cil­lors them­selves.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Coun­cil’s stan­dards com­mit­tee heard that the pub­lic ser­vices om­buds­man for Wales has voiced his con­cerns about the num­ber of low-level com­plaints com­ing to him, given the scarce re­sources he has to deal with them.

Chris Jones, the head of demo­cratic and le­gal ser­vices at the coun­cil, said the rec­om­men­da­tion is that “mem­ber-on-mem­ber” com­plaints should be re­solved “lo­cally and quickly”.

How­ever, the recommed­na­tion says that com­plaints from mem­bers of the pub­lic, se­ri­ous com­plaints or com­plaints from the clerk of the coun­cil should still be re­ferred to the om­buds­man.

The om­buds­man’s sum­mary of com­plaints made against coun­cil­lors from April last year to March this year showed there were six made against RCT town or com­mu­nity coun­cil­lors and two against RCT county bor­ough coun­cil­lors.

The com­plaints re­lated to com­ments on so­cial me­dia, bul­ly­ing and fail­ure to show re­spect to oth­ers, but none of them were in­ves­ti­gated by the om­buds­man.

One of the in­de­pen­dent mem­bers said that some com­mu­nity coun­cils, such as Llantwit Fardre, al­ready have a com­plaints pro­ce­dure in place.

Coun­cil­lor Michael Forey said the rec­om­men­da­tions were “com­mon sense”.

“If they can be with lo­cally, then should be,” he added.

Cllr Forey also asked about vex­a­tious com­plaints which may be re­peated and un­jus­ti­fied.

Mr Jones replied that this may be some­thing for the stan­dards com­mit­tee it­self to deal with in terms dealt they of time-wast­ing.

The chair of the stan­dards com­mit­tee, Melvin Jehu, asked what the adop­tion rate had been like for com­plaints pro­to­cols among RCT’s com­mu­nity and town coun­cils.

A coun­cil of­fi­cer said that take-up has been lim­ited but that there is an op­por­tu­nity to make pub­lic the fact that this is avail­able.

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