Holbeach Parish Council offices

Parish council’s ‘positive’ move

A council that’s been subject to a number of complaints has adopted a new transparency code and complaints procedure as it looks to bounce back from internal conflict.

There’s been 13 complaints made about Holbeach Parish Council and its councillors to the Standards Panel of South Holland District Council in recent months.

To put that in context only five were made against all parish and district councils and councillors in the district between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019. That number rose to 23 in the corresponding year beginning April 1, 2019, but 19 of those were in relation to the same incident, the district council says.

A spokesman for Holbeach Parish Council said the authority was working with the South Holland District Council on the received complaints.

Infighting at the council was likened to the Northern Ireland peace process by parish council vice chair John Spencer recently.

But moves to make the authority more transparent and accountable were made at an extraordinary meeting of the council last week.

A new complaints procedure that outlines what the council must do with regards a complaint from a member of the public was unanimously voted in.

And following concerns, documents including up to date minutes of meetings had not been uploaded, a new transparency code has also been passed.

Coun Peter Sparkes said: “This is going to be for the benefit of parishioners.
“Agendas and supporting documents are now expected to be published within three days of notification of a meeting. Full council meeting minutes will be on within seven days of the minutes being voted as correct, which will be a month after the meeting.

“This is really positive for the council. It will help us reflect and move forward in a more efficient way.”

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