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Posted by: John Brace | 4th July 2011

Standards Committee 4th July 2011 – Item 6 – Exempt Information – Exclusion of Members of the Public, Item 7 Review of a Standards Complaint

Bill Norman said the content of the complaint was considered exempt which was mandatory, however it was already in the public domain so they could expect phone calls from journalists.

Cllr Bill Davies said he was conscious that Cllr Roberts was outside the room. Cllr Chris Blakeley said they should agree to note the report, however it was incumbent for him to put “on record his discomfort and distress at the time taken to resolve standards complaints”. He said this was unfair for complainants, those complained about and he would be seeking every opportunity to express to the Head of Law the extent of his unhappiness. Another complaint had been taking 19 months, a further case that was referred quickly took 15 weeks to appoint an investigating officer. He thought a bog standard complaint should take at most three to four months. He didn’t expect them to take so much time and he wanted to put on record his feeling to the Director of Law.

Brian Cummings said in reference to cases, some had taken two or three years. There were some problems and it was unfair to some complainants and some must just give up. Cllr Les Rowlands mentioned the cost. Brian Cummings said the cost was important.

Bill Norman acknowledged the criticism as valid, fairly made, related to numerous occasions and that they were not satisfied with the position. To vary how they proceed would need resources, complaints were “taking too long” and they needed to do better in the “dying days of the current regime”.

Since the meeting the agenda on Wirral Council’s website has been reordered to remove item 6. Therefore agenda item 7 has become agenda item 6. The report for this item can be read here with the appendices here.

Please note this blog post uses the original numbering of agenda items, not the changed agenda that Wirral Council changed a day after the meeting on their website to remove item 6.

The original agenda distributed at the meeting had the following added as agenda item 6:

EXEMPT INFORMATION: EXCLUSION OF MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

The public may be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information.

The grounds given were paragraph 7c of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, however as you can see here by reading the legislation there isn’t a paragraph 7c.


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