Council counts cost of soaring complaint total

Central Beds Council
Central Beds Council

The amount of complaints made against town and district councillors in Central Beds has more than quadrupled in the space of two years, the LBO can reveal.

Central Beds Council is set to discuss plans to make changes to the way it deals with complaints, after experiencing a deluge of grievances.

A report by the council’s monitoring officer Melanie Clay states that the average amount of complaints received each month has gone up from 1.3 in 2012/13 to 5.75 in 2014/15.

At last count CBC, which deals with complaints against representatives of town councils in Central Bedfordshire as well as its own councillors, had 30 active cases.

At its worst the council was looking at 42 active complaints in July 2014, a far cry from 2012 when the caseload was in single digits.

In the last two years as many as 84 complaints have been made by members of the public and other councillors.

Since March 2014 half of complaints made to CBC refer to the level of courtesy and respect shown by councillors, while ‘acting in accordance with legal obligations and council policies’ (which includes voting procedures) is the second most frequent theme of complaint.

The spike in complaints has put a strain on council resources, amounting to 915 hours spent in the first eight months of 2014.

This has prevented officers working on projects worth £10k to CBC, the report adds.