These are the top complaints made to Harrogate Borough Council and what sparked them

Details of complaints about Harrogate Borough Council and its councillors have been revealed.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 1:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 1:14 pm

Documents show almost 40 complaints were made in 2019/20 - with issues ranging from allegations of bullying and bias, to claims a councillor had deliberately made misleading statements to the media.

Most of the 37 complaints were resolved, with just a handful being escalated by the local government ombudsman.

There were 26 complaints about the council and 11 about councillors.

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Documents show there were 26 complaints about the council and 11 about councillors in 2019/20.

Two complaints to the council warranted action by the ombudsman and £400 in compensation was paid out to disgruntled residents.

In one case, a business received £200 after complaining about the way the council handled a tendering process.

The other £200 was paid out after the council failed to respond to one of its housing tenant's complaints about a weak television signal.

One district councillor is currently being investigated over statements he made in response to a consultation. It is alleged the councillor "treated others with disrespect" in his comments.

The complaint that a councillor had deliberately made misleading statements to the media and to one of the council’s committees was dismissed.

Documents say the councillor was communicating information he had received from officers and it was therefore "difficult to see" how the statements could constitute a code of conduct breach.

Another complaint also alleged bias by one councillor in relation to another councillor’s planning application. An investigation concluded there was no evidence to suggest the councillor had acted improperly and the councillor was given advice.

Allegations that a councillor was disrespectful to council staff are currently being investigated. Documents say a resolution was sought but "did not prove possible" before the inquiry was launched.

Nine complaints have also been made against parish councillors in the district.

One incident was referred to the police over a councillor's alleged failure to declare an interest in a item of discussion. Allegations of bullying were also involved - and the complaint is being investigated.

Another complaint involved an "outburst" from a parish councillor at a meeting. Documents say the councillor apologised and the complainant was happy that the matter was resolved.

Two complaints that planning permission should not have been granted for housing developments are currently awaiting response from the ombudsman.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter