End of the line for Anston Parish Council?

There is a report in the ‘Advertiser’ and ‘Worksop Guardian’ editions of Friday 27th March which mentions the 35 complaints to RMBC’s Monitoring Officer about the council and why APC could be scrapped.                                                                                                                 http://www.worksopguardian.co.uk/news/local/end-of-the-line-for-anston-parish-council-talks-of-disbandment-after-dozens-of-complaints-receieved-and-councillor-slaps-member-of-public-1-7172643.                                                                                       *ADDENDUM* A list of the complaints can be found at the bottom of the page.*

Unfortunately both newspaper reports are guilty of serious omissions; In the case of Cllr.Thornton reporter Laura Drysdale does not mention that Mr.Bill Brindley-the other person involved in the fracas with Cllr.Thornton-and husband of sham Independent Joyce Brindley was also bound over on TWO counts; Assault and Threatening behaviour. (Joyce wants everyone to keep schtum  about this because it ruins her act of false superiority) Secondly, Chairman John Ireland is quoted as saying “he is not aware of complaints relating to the parish council as a whole”. That statement is untrue. As chairman of APC he must be aware there is more than one complaint. How else does he explain the repeated visits and attempts at so-called ‘training’ offered to APC councillors by Phil Beavers the Independent Person?             The Standards Committee (aka Monitoring Officer) made their recommendations to Anston Parish Council about the sanctions to be imposed on Cllr.Thornton and it is at this point evidence of perjury and/or concealing evidence can be laid at Ms.Collins’ door. Sgt.Mark Worrall took three witness statements after the Thornton-Brindley bust up, the same three witnesses also gave statements to Jacqui Collins (RMBC Monitoring Officer) and this is where the whole affair goes down the plughole; The statements made to Ms.Collins are contradictory to the statements given to Sgt.Worrall.                    Did Jacqui Collins ask to see the statements made to the police officer when considering the ‘evidence’ against Cllr.Thornton? No.                                                                                      (From the Code of Conduct: the code of conduct applies only when a member is acting in his/her official capacity) On the night in question Stuart Thornton attended the meeting as a resident-It was not a Parish Council meeting.                                          Does Jacqui Collins (A Solicitor) know the difference between a Court of Law and a kangaroo court? On this evidence the answer is No.                                                                   Is it any surprise APC is in danger of being scrapped when so many complaints have also been made against the the controlling Labour clique and the slipshod ways they conduct themselves at parish council meetings?                                                                        The (allegedly non political) Monitoring Officer fails to do her job, fails to thoroughly investigate every complaint, ignores written evidence of Labour councillors wrongdoings, has attended only one or two APC meeting and sends an Independent Person to speak at APC meetings about the number of complaints and ‘the way forward’.                             Jacqui Collins’ “solution” to all this is to threaten APC with A) Extra costs; B) A merger (which council will be brave enough to accept responsibility for this rabble?) and C) the ultimate sanction of closing APC down  because she cannot cope.

The report by Laura Drysdale is intended to sell newspapers and is not a full representation of all the facts.

Something else for Ms.Collins, APC Labour and sham Independent councillors to consider:                                                                                                     Heat. Kitchen. Exit.

** Update from the Monitoring Officer on the Handling of Complaints PDF 45 KB                                                                                                                         Thursday 12th March 2015. 2pm.Minutes:Consideration was given to a report presented by Jacqueline Collins, Monitoring Officer, which provided the Committee with an update with regard to the handling of complaints of breaches of the Code of Conduct and the steps taken to consider and respond to allegations that the Code of Conduct for Elected Member has been breached.  Specific cases referred to were:-1.    A complaint that a member of the public had been assaulted by a Parish Councillor following the conclusion of an Annual Parish Meeting.2.         A complaint that a Borough Councillor had breached the Code of Conduct in a number of ways, including having committed misconduct in public office.

3.         A complaint from a member of the public that a Parish Councillor had incorrectly taken the chair at a meeting.

4.         A complaint that a Parish Councillor had manipulated the start time of a meeting and used the Member’s position to confer an advantage.

5.         A complaint that a Parish Councillor had behaved offensively.

6.         A complaint that a Borough Councillor inappropriately failed to exercise his discretion at a meeting.

7.         A complaint that a Borough Councillor had acted inappropriately with regard to a commercial concern.

8.         A complaint that Borough Councillors failed to disclose pecuniary interests, in breach of the Code of Conduct.

9.         A complaint that a Borough Councillor acted inappropriately in a Council meeting.

10.      A complaint that a Borough Councillor had abused his position in respect of a licensing application.

11.      A complaint from a member of the public that a Borough Councillor had failed to disclose an interest in respect of a regulatory matter.

12.      A complaint from a member of the public about inappropriate use of Council resources.

13.      A complaint from a member of the public about a disclosure of confidential information by a Councillor.

14.      A complaint by officers that a Borough Councillor demonstrated inappropriate behaviour to officers.

15.      A complaint that a Parish Councillor refused to step down from a position within the Parish Council.

16.      A complaint by a Parish Councillor that another Parish Councillor disclosed confidential information.

17.      A complaint by a Parish Councillor that another Parish Councillor had used her position to confer an advantage.

18.      A complaint by a Parish Councillor that another Parish Councillor had acted in breach of the Code of Conduct in that he did not treat fellow Councillors with respect.

19.      A complaint by a Parish Councillor that a fellow Parish Councillor abused their position.

20.      A complaint by a Parish Councillor that a fellow Parish Councillor breached the Code of Conduct by accusing her of lying in a statement to  the Considerations and Hearing Panel.

21.      Several complaints were received from Parish Councillors about the behaviour of a fellow Councillor in Council Meetings.

The Standards Committee considered the complaints as submitted.

Clarification was sought on the closure of case files when further information requested was not received and whether an alternative approach had been considered.

It was also noted that some of the  …  view the full minutes text for item 21. .

Report of the Monitoring Officer in Respect of Issues Arising at Anston Parish Council PDF 38 KB Minutes:Consideration was given to a report presented by Jacqueline Collins, Monitoring Officer, which provided an update about issues arising at Anston Parish Council.                                  Over the last few years concerns have been increasing regarding the behaviour of Anston Parish Council Councillors.  The Monitoring Officer had, in the last two and a half years, received over thirty five complaints in relation to alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct.                                             A huge amount of work has been undertaken by the Independent Members, the Monitoring Officer and Councillors in order to resolve the situation, but all efforts have had little effect.There has been one formal investigation which the led to a meeting of the Considerations and Hearing Panel.  The Panel concluded that the behaviour in that case amounted to breaches of the Code Conduct. The Monitoring Officer expressed concern that relationships were not improving with the Parish Council being hindered in considering its proper business.  It was, therefore, suggested that the Committee considered two options to deal with the problem:-·                Offer dispute resolution “intervention”                                                Use of a consultancy firm led by a former senior officer at the Standards Board for England working on five phased areas of work.                                  The indicative cost of this intervention was £8,000 and this cost would be covered by the Parish Council.

The Monitoring Officer recommended that this intervention be offered to the Parish Council.                                                                            ·                Abolish or merge the Parish Council with another Parish Council                     In order to abolish or merge a Parish Council the Borough Council must undertake a community governance review and in order to abolish an existing Parish the Borough Council must show that community governance review was in response to “justified, clear and sustained local support” from the area inhabitants.                                                                                                      This would be an option of last resort.

In addition, it was noted that Phil Beavers, Independent Person, who had been working with Anston Parish Council had agreed to attend the next meeting.  He outlined the current situation and the problems that were continuing.  Whilst the option to offer dispute resolution intervention would be welcomed by some the problems were caused by a small minority.  Despite all the work that had been done so far the complaints against certain members of the Parish Council continued.  It was now up to the electorate of Anston to make any changes to the Parish Council membership at the forthcoming elections in May.  It was, therefore, suggested that Phil Beavers, Independent Person, attend the first meeting of the Parish Council after the election and report back to the Standards Committee on the outcome.                                                                                                                                                * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 




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3 Responses to End of the line for Anston Parish Council?

  1. Pingback: Anston Parish Council, the end? | Rotherham Politics

  2. Jeannie A says:

    I have attended five parish council meetings since August 2014 and on every occasion the meetings have descended into open warfare between councillors and the public.Why is it so difficult for the chairman/woman and councillors to answer questions in a polite and reasonable manner? No wonder members of the public get upset and complain!
    I cannot comment on what happened between Cllr.Thornton and Mr.Brindley because I did not see what happened but watching and listening to Cllr.Thornton at the table at APC meetings he is the only councillor I have seen who is not afraid to ask questions about procedures and finances and this is probably why the Labour councillors are uncomfortable in his presence. I also think Judy Dalton should think again about standing as a parish councillor because she clearly has no idea what a parish councillor is elected to do and in her role as vice chair her manner and attitude is the prime reason why the public gets upset.
    I am not surprised either that RMBC is thinking of scrapping our local council, it couldn’t get any worse.


  3. Insider says:

    Jacqui Collins has continually ignored complaints against APC. Last year I sent her an email telling her Anston Parish Council was becoming a cauldron of dissent and unless she took robust action it would spiral out of control. She refused to take any further actions nor would she investigate my allegations of impropriety and misfeasance by Labour councillors.
    Anston Parish Council is in chaos, it is poorly led, meetings are not chaired nor controlled properly and agenda items are either not discussed in depth or missed off completely.
    I am not surprised APC faces the ultimate sanction of being disbanded and most of the blame for this state of affairs is the fault of Labour councillors to be Open,Honest and Transparent.


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