Taxpayer to foot bill as squabbling Colnbrook Parish Council rejects re-training demand
Colnbrook Views has learned that no less than SEVEN frivolous complaints have been made against Councillor Charles Burke by fellow parish councillors in an unseemly dispute that has caused Slough Borough Council to intervene … and that the taxpayer will meet the cost of any further complaints.
Just when we thought we had avoided the recent unpleasantness associated with in-fighting at Britwell Parish Council, the police presence at Wexham Court, or the confrontations at neighbouring Datchet, it seems that similar battles are being fought at Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council – just a little more subterranean in nature.
Campaigning councillor Charles Burke has been the but of no less than seven complaints in recent months. The complaints were made to the Standards Committee of Slough Borough Council up to January this year and were thrown out after following council guidelines.
No information is available on the nature of the complaints, or which councillors made them, and it is understood that Councillor Burke himself has not been informed.
In a letter seen by Colnbrook Views sent to all parish councillors in February, Slough Borough Council’s Kevin Gordon asked all Parish Councillors to undertake re-training on the the Code of Conduct, with a particular focus on relationships and respect for others.
“I feel this would allow the Parish Council to continue moving forward, maintaining their excellent work, unencumbered by the distraction of individual disagreements”.
It is understood that the training request was rejected by the Parish Council.
Mr Gordon, Assistant Director of Professional Services & Monitoring Officer at Slough also warned that the cost of investigating any future complaints would have to be met by taxpayers:
“…my proposal would be that any future complaints relating to the Code of Conduct are immediately put forward for a full Standards Committee Investigation. Please note costs relating to the appointment of an Investigating Office will need to be met from Parish Council funds”.
Councillor Burke refused to confirm or deny the existence of Mr Gordon’s letter but speculated that the cause of complaint may be related to his poor attendance due to a series of major operations, and loss of mobility.
The Parish Council clerk, Roland Hewson responded:
“There have been a number of complaints as I understand it from Kevin – none have been made by the parish council so they would not appear in any minute.
Every single councillor serving on the parish council has undergone training at some stage with the exception of our newest – although she may well have had training elsewhere. She is and has been in India most of the time. I do not know the details of complaints as they have been made by individuals not by the parish council.”
Mr Hewson added that the “offer” of re-training was put to the council and referred to the ‘Part 2’, or public-excluded, session.
Colnbrook Views has also been told that an offer of “mediation” between the Parish Council and the Colnbrook Community Association had also been turned down.
Mr Hewson added:
“It is my understanding that there have been some dichotomies between individuals of the two organisations, but I reiterate that there are no complaints made by the Parish Council. Kevin in my opinion has mistakenly decided that ‘mediation’ is required to solve non-existant problems between the CCA and the Parish Council rather than deal with each complaint on its own merit.”
The Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on the 8th May.