NEARLY 80 complaints against Wiltshire Council were made to the local government watchdog in 2020 and even more were made about specific councillors.

According to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, the pandemic has exacerbated already existing problems for councils.

Data from the watchdog showed that 78 complaints or inquiries were made about Wiltshire Council in the year up to March.

It should also be noted that the ombudsman was closed to new complaints between March and June of the first pandemic year.

This is a decrease in the number of complaints made during 2019 where the same figure was 79.

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This data does not include the number of complaints made against Wiltshire councillors through the local authorities own system.

Between January, 2020 and May this year, the council received 89 complaints against councillors, according to its own data.

Of those the standards sub-committee launched investigations into nine cases, with 26 being deemed as requiring no further action following an assessment.

In eight cases an alternative resolution was reached or the complaint was withdrawn.

Of the 19 complaints received by February this year, eight were against unitary councillors.

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Two were related to electioneering practices, one for non-attendance at parish council meetings, a failure to respond to emails, one for giving misleading information during a meeting and two for behaviour relating to planning matters.

All resulted in no further action or were not pursued.

One complaint in relation to bias over a planning issue is currently being assessed.

Four complaints were raised against town councillors.

Two were in relation for social media posts and resulted in no further action

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One was for a lack of consultation, which was judged to be out of time, and another was on the tone taken in an email, which is being assessed.

Seven complaints were brought against parish councillors.

Those that ended up with no further action included, misspelling someone’s name, a complaint about a councillor’s register of interests, and claims of giving misleading statements during a meeting.

One complaint awaiting assessment at the moment is an accusation of bias and victimisation that is linked to a planning appeal.