There might have been more but I can only remember two Councillors who received a serious sanction
following a complaint by a member of the public. Probably most people know it is a waste of time.
When I was young and naive about the ways of Bexley Council I made a complaint about a Cabinet Member - before webcasts of course - who had gone out of his way to abuse and belittle a member of the public asking a question at Full Council before an audience of 20, nine of whom I tracked down as witnesses.
I received a reply and a set of excuses that was very far from the truth. Fortunately, when the Minutes of the meeting were published, it proved the reply to be a lie. I resubmitted the complaint and was given a different set of lies. I gave up but at least I received a reply.
Late in 2013 (the blog is currently off line but some correspondence is available) I made a complaint about a Council officer who put on record and had it sent to the local newspapers that I had been rampaging around the Council chamber. I hadn’t moved or opened my mouth and had nine witness statements (four from Councillors of both parties) to that effect.
The complaint was dismissed, partly because to accuse a Council officer of lying was considered to be offensive. So there was no proper answer to complaint number 2.
Michael Barnbrook took that complaint to the police who sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service because they considered the lying to be so extreme that it was Misconduct in Public Office. Everyone up to Director level at Bexley Council said no one anywhere had done anything wrong.
After an interval of more than seven years and four weeks ago today I made another complaint. It was that two Councillors appeared to be in clear breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct.
There has not been so much as an acknowledgement. A lying response, a written refusal to look into the complaint and now absolutely nothing.
Looks like Bexley Council is not improving after all.