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Councillors in hot water over trespassing and social media misbehaviour

PUBLISHED: 16:13 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 04 October 2019

Norwich City Hall, Norwich; Lions at the front of City Hall, Norwich.; For:Edp; Copy:Edp; Archant © 2005; (01603) 772434

Norwich City Hall, Norwich; Lions at the front of City Hall, Norwich.; For:Edp; Copy:Edp; Archant © 2005; (01603) 772434

Archant © 2006

Trespassing on private land, misbehaving on social media and leaking confidential information has seen city councillors land in hot water this year.

A report from Norwich City Council's monitoring officer has revealed details of the complaints received about its members since the start of the financial year.

Thirteen complaints have been raised in the past six months on a variety of issues, though one has been withdrawn.

One of the complaints related to an incident in which a councillor was judged to have been trespassing on private land, which saw advice given to the offending member.

Other complaints were around the way members carried themselves on social media, which will as a result see new guidance introduced later in the year.

Two reports were also made about councillors breaching confidentiality, which has seen training given to newly-elected members of the council.

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The report does not include details of the councillors involved in each of the incidents and a city council spokesman was unable to disclose this information.

At the most recent meeting of the committee, which was held in July, it was confirmed that improved guidelines for members and officers on gifts and hospitality and social media were being granted.

Currently, the city council's code of conduct does not make any reference to how councillors should behave on social media, though it does emphasise the importance of treating others with respect.

It adds: "You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute."

Meanwhile, in the same period, six incidents at Norfolk County Council have resulted in complaints being made against members, with one resulting in three separate reports.

This particular incident related to a member breaching confidentiality and saw complaints lodged by two fellow councillors and an officer.

Other cases related to allegations that councillors had failed to show others respect or that they were not championing the needs of residents.

None of these incidents, however, were judged to have been breaches of the council's code of conduct - though one remains under investigation.

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