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

Report calls for better behaviour at Ottery council

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.”


Other News Stories

Eastleigh shed, 8 May 1959 (c) C Boocock

Enthusiasts have a unique opportunity to invest in part of Sidmouth’s rail heritage as a £300,000 locomotive restoration project has been put back on track.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30
New Kennaway House manager, Nikki Dawkins, with Michael James, David Leach, Bryan Dawkins and Michael Gordon-Lee. Ref shs 4446-47-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A new manager and chairman have taken the helm at a charity-run arts centre with a growing reputation in and beyond the Sid Valley.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:59
Betty Williams with Lamb and Flag landlord, Ron Miles, and Ottery mayor, Glyn Dobson. Ref sho 4475-52-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A widow, whose generous gesture to people facing Christmas alone last year touched hearts around the world, has spoken of her delight that preparations are under way for another festive feast.

Read more
Fri, 19:37
An ariel view of the PegasusLife plans for Knowle.

A developer lined up to buy the East Devon District Council (EDDC) offices at Knowle has unveiled its vision for a retirement community on the site.

Read more
Fri, 16:59
The Sidmouth Friends of the Samaritans held their AGM this week. Pictured are chairman Sue Kensdale with from left Ron Harbour (treasurer), vice chairman Gerald Hayne and Denis Jones (sec). Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 3446-08-14SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to

The loss of Sidmouth’s Samaritans support group will have a ‘major impact’ on the running of the service, says the leader of the charity’s Exeter, Mid and East Devon branch.

Read more
Fri, 12:59
MP Hugo Swire visit the King's School this week where he is pictured meeting students in the Teen Health Group. Ref sho 7123-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Hugo Swire praised students for their ‘passionate determination’ to address important issues

Read more
Fri, 06:30
Sally Neal has become Sidmouth's first female Crew Manager. Ref shs 7512-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A firefighter has made history after becoming the first woman in Sidmouth to reach the rank of crew manager.

Read more
Thu, 19:30
Plans have been lodged for Hillside House

A former hotel and restaurant in Newton Poppleford could be converted into a 13-bed care home.

Read more
Thu, 14:30

A temporary tariff of £2 per day will be introduced at Sidmouth’s town centre car parks next week.

Read more
Wed, 18:30
Natasha Koshti.

The Budleigh Salterton Committee for Cancer Research UK is holding an Evening In India on Saturday, November 28, at 7pm in the Public Hall.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

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

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Find a job in Sidmouth

Find planning applications