Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Report calls for better behaviour at Ottery council

PUBLISHED: 11:30 03 April 2014

Feuding town councillors have been told to attend team building training to rebuild ‘respectful relationships’ following a long-running dispute over an alleged breach of confidentiality.

District bosses issued the advice after an official investigation into a row which started in December when Councillor Roger Giles was publicly accused of ignoring council rules.

A summary of the investigation was made public this week and reveals that 24 complaints were made against town council practices and the actions of various councillors.

And although much of the report remains classified, a limited conclusion outlining the suggested steps to be taken has been published.

In her findings, East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) monitoring officer Denise Lyon said that she had decided not to refer the complaints for formal investigation.

She instead suggested that the council consider training for its staff and assertiveness training for all councillors in order to set ground rules for behaviour during meetings.

In the report, Mrs Lyon concludes that ‘misjudgements’ had been made by both officers and councillors, and that it would be appropriate for the council to ‘reflect on events and their behaviour’ to ‘consider what they might learn for the future’.

Following a request by the Herald for an elaboration on the limited conclusions, an EDDC spokesman said: “The monitoring officer has made it clear that the only way there can be a positive outcome from this affair is if there is a move to respectful relationships and a focus on well-managed debate.

“In the interests of this objective, she does not consider it would be helpful to make any further comment that might only serve to further exacerbate the situation.”

Speaking on Wednesday, Cllr Giles said he was ‘really disappointed’ that Mrs Lyon’s full report had not been released, despite asking that it be published.

“What I find particularly disappointing is that I was accused in public, and then exonerated in private,” he added. “I don’t think what she [the monitoring officer] has done is sufficient and I don’t think the remedy is sufficient.”

Ten of the complaints that were lodged related to the way the council had operated and 14 were about the actions of various councillors.

Reacting to the report, Ottery Mayor Glyn Dobson said he felt the conclusions showed that nobody involved was blameless.

“Everyone has been told that they should attend training,” he added. “There were mistakes made on all sides.”

“And from my own point of view, I firmly believe it should have been given to an outside investigator and not dealt with by EDDC.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

40 minutes ago

“Police would like to make residents aware of a burglary in Sidbury. Police are also reminding residents to ensure that their property is secure.”

Read more

A chain is looking to invest a six-figure sum to fully refurbish a ‘true locals’ pub’ in Sidmouth – but it needs to find a new publican first.

Read more

A café and deli is set to open on Christmas Day and to youngsters on Friday evenings after new owners took over.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30

Scores of youngsters have had timely training in how to spot dangers on the beach and in the ocean from Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:13

Hundreds of people from all walks of life lined the streets of Sidmouth for a Mardi Gras-style send-off that would have ‘gob-smacked’ a popular town character.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:41

Rugby club photos from 1977 annual dinner found in the Sidmouth Herald’s picture archive.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:23

The television and radio broadcaster posed for a selfie with the 92-year-old from Tipton St John.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:46

Inspectors say school’s hard work is paying off to be rated across the board.

The school previously required improvement in its last report two years ago.

Read more
Tue, 18:36

The Ottery drama group is raising money for Hospiscare during its five night run. Tickets are still on sale.

Read more
Tue, 16:51

Some great pictures of the Sidmouth Rugby Club teams from 1977.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications