An update to the grievance report

The Information Commissioner Office (ICO) the people tasked to deal with requests of Freedom of Information, have announced they have received a complaint that Melbourn Parish Council have refused to release the grievance report. The ICO have accepted the complaint and will look at resolving the issue. They will make a decision in due course.

So! Why is the release of this document so important?

In the letter Questions to the Council? published in June (2016) it made one fundamental point. The guiding principles of a Parish Council is they ensure that all its activities are open, transparent and accountable to all residents.

Well this certainly wasn’t transparent!

However, what this document will show is that the full council failed in their ‘duty of care’ to one or more of those working for them and there will be many questions for all those who served on the previous council, once this document is released.

One question in particular, “How many councillors knew there were issues regarding staff, before a formal complaint was made and if they did know, what did they do to try and prevent it?”

Troubled times

Who would have thought, six months after asking a few simple questions we would see such hatred and animosity within the village? Yes! hatred, residents seem willing to openly discuss how ‘those people’, are wicked, malicious, untrustworthy and just plain corrupt, add to that a few defamatory/inflammatory statements and we have a lot of bad feelings in the village.

This situation was recently inflamed by the election leaflet and then with the changes to the co-option of the Casual vacancies. “Just another manipulation of the system to ensure only people they want became councillors”.

Yes, we will hear the words “we have done nothing wrong”. But of course others will judge it as nothing more than an attempt to ensure only ‘friends’ will be allowed to join this new and exclusive club. Rumours circulated in early October about this (see Chinese whispers), guess the rumours proved to be true!

The council have always struggled to fill seats, but they will find it even harder as people are unlikely to put their names forward, especially if they feel they are to be subjected to public ridicule because their ‘face doesn’t fit’ just because one or more on the council have taken a personal dislike to the candidate. What we will end up with, is a situation similar to what came before. Not the best way to show the new council intend to be open, transparent and accountable to all residents.

Back to the grievance document. When the grievance panel finalised their report, copies were given to councillors in order that they familiarise themselves with the panels findings. “How many councillors actually read the document thoroughly?”

An extraordinary meeting was then held ‘in camera’ and the grievance panel were invited to present their report. “At this meeting, did any councillor put questions to the panel about the reports findings. Did they show any concern over the findings or question the way the panel conducted their investigation?”

What of the victims that were subjected to such disgraceful behaviour. “At this meeting, did any councillor consider their views or offer concern towards the two ‘victims’?”

The answer is probably ‘no’ they hadn’t all read the document thoroughly or put questions to the panel or showed any concern for the victims. The chances are they said very little at this meeting. What we do know is that the majority that entered that room had pre-judged the report’s findings. It’s a fact that most councillors had sent testimonials in favour of one or other of those involved in the troubles, so they were unlikely to be dispassionate.

A lot of the hostility has been directed at those who were party to preventing the document being made public, their usual response “I have done nothing wrong”. Giving the nature of what the document stands for, there are many who would like to know why they believe they have done nothing wrong.

The problem with the previous council was the dominating influence one person had over others and that councillors failed to see this. So it’s not surprising that, there has been a great deal of manipulation of the truth before and after this whole charade began. What is clear is that some of these councillors really believe that much in the document is false, full of holes, ‘fundamentally flawed’ as one councillor stated.

So what have these people been told that makes them believe the document is not all it seems and that the person who made the initial complaint is wholly to blame and that the person accused did nothing wrong. In fact, according to one councillor the accused tried to sort out problems that ‘another’ created. This was highlighted at a recent full council meeting.

These people are so convinced the problem is not with them, so why?
Let us hope we get all the answers we are entitled to know.




    • I spoke to the ICO at the beginning of last week. They said it is being investigated, but could not say when a verdict would be available.

      They have a backlog and with Christmas in the way it just adds to their burden.

      Whenever the verdict comes, it WILL appear on the website and I believe in the press.

  • You ask about who said what at the in camera meeting.

    Sad fact is we are nether going to know.

    Even now, in camera meetings have no audio recording.

    All we will ever have are the minimalist minutes of the meeting approved by the same people.

    And anyone who has written minutes knows the power in the hand of the writer.

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