Claim Welsh councillor launched ‘hate campaign on Facebook’ noted in report
Dale Spridgeon, Local Democracy Reporter
A Welsh councillor was accused of “bragging”, acting in “an undignified manner” on the steps of a polling station steps and ‘launching a hate campaign on Facebook’ – a standards report noted.
The unsubstantiated complaint against the female town councillor was documented at a meeting of the Cyngor Gwynedd’s Standards Committee on November 21.
The grievance was just one of the formal complaints made against Gwynedd town and county council members.
Standards Committee members were recommended “to note” the information detailed in a report written by Siôn Huws, the propriety and elections manager.
The purpose of the report was to inform the committee of Ombudsman’s decisions regarding formal complaints against members.
A decision from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales found in the town councillor’s case there was “no investigation” due to a lack of evidence.
The investigation was triggered by a complaint that the town councillor had allegedly breached the Code of Conduct regulating behaviour expected by councillors carrying out their public duty.
The reported stated that the complainant had alleged that the unnamed councillor “…may have committed electoral fraud,” and had “…bragged about registering her son on the electoral roll when they were also registered in another area”.
It also alleged that the member had been “…undignified in sitting on polling station steps blocking people from entering without having to try and get past”.
The member was also accused of using a Facebook page to “mount a hate campaign against the complainant”.
The report stated that “no investigation” followed, as the complainant had “not provided sufficient evidence to substantiate the complaint.”
The Ombudsman’s decision also concluded that any “concerns about electoral fraud would be a matter for the police to consider”. The report said the alleged breach of the Code [of Conduct] was “not sufficiently serious to warrant investigation in the public interest”.
The complainant had also “… not provided evidence” of the Facebook comments to which had been referred and therefore had “not provided sufficient evidence to substantiate the complaint”.
The report also revealed the number of complaints received, and the report included analysis of this year’s complaints (2022/23) where a decision was received from the Ombudsman. Two members of community councils had been subject of complaints and only one member of Cyngor Gwynedd.
The three complaints had all concerned general conduct and the three complainants had included, a councillor, a member of the public and another officer.
One investigation had been discontinued, one had not been subject to any investigation, and one complaint had resulted in no evidence of breaching the Code of Conduct.
Only one case had been referred to the Standards Committee.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.