Gloucestershire council refuses to release names of misbehaving councillors

Shire Hall bosses say councillors are entitled to confidentiality unless and until a complaint progresses to a formal hearing.
-Credit: (Image: Carmelo Garcia)


Gloucestershire County Council is refusing to reveal the names of civic chiefs who have misbehaved over the last year. It was reported in April that names of councillors subject to misconduct complaints are being kept hidden from the public.

Thirteen concerns were raised against County Councillors over the last year in a report presented to the audit and governance committee. But the identities and specific details about complaints where holders of public office have fallen short of the conduct expected of them are not being revealed.

Shire Hall bosses say councillors are entitled to confidentiality unless and until a complaint progresses to a formal hearing. Despite the rise in complaints - none has reached the stage of a public hearing but some of the complaints listed in a report presented to the audit and governance committee suggests councillors have breached the code of conduct.

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One of the cases mentioned in the report involved a complaint from a council officer that a councillor had made offensive comments in a staff meeting. The unnamed councillor apologised according to the report. But no other details about who this is or what they said features in the report.

There is also a case where a member of the public complained about comments a councillor made about them on social media. Council officers say they partially resolved the complaint informally and the councillor agreed to take down the comments.

However, what these comments were and who the councillor responsible is are currently hidden from public scrutiny. The Local Democracy Reporting Service has requested that the names be disclosed under freedom of information legislation.

The council says they have carefully considered but have rejected this request. They claim that because the information is about someone else they cannot release it.

An internal review of this decision has been requested. If councillors have made amends for wrongdoings or errors, the public, who elect them, has a right to know.