Complaint of Member Misconduct

June 21st, 2018 by James Goudie KC

In Bennis v Stratford-on-Avon District Council, EA/2017/0220, the FTT said (para 29) that details of unsubstantiated complaints against Councillors ought not generally to be disclosed to the world at large under the provisions of FOIA.  The proper approach to such information is to consider the rights of the councillor concerned as a data subject.

The FTT however did not consider exemptions under Section 36 of FOIA to prevail. The request for disclosure was of advice that the Council had received when considering the complaint that was not upheld. The advice had been provided to the MO by an Independent Person (“the IP”) under the Localism Act 2011.  Given that the IP’s views would in any event have become public if a hearing had been directed, transparency prevailed over the risk of disclosure inhibiting the IP’s views.

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