East Ayrshire Council
As a lone voice against local government you have no control or say in the running of your local services or in tackling any contentious issues you may have against council departments or personnel.
Your elected members are not able to speak for themselves regarding the important stuff as my case demonstrates.
I recently discovered when I approached all 32 elected members of East Ayrshire Council that the council solicitor David Mitchell sent all of them a letter advising not to respond to me and to go to him if they wanted any information regarding what I was approaching them about.
I was asking them for support about some serious issues I had with the chief executive Fiona Lees and David Mitchell himself. He knew this and sent this letter in what I believe was an attempt (a successful one) to stop them getting in touch with me and finding out what I had to say. Effectively 'gagging' them.
To my dissapointment they all did what he asked and didn't reply to me. I have this evidence through Freedom of Information and Data protection act requests which also show David Mitchell to be the person everyone seems to go through regarding any approach I have made to have him challenged on what I deem unethical and improper behaviour towards me.
What can you do if you have a complaint about a senior council official?
As it stands at the moment there are no organisations in place to keep check of the behaviour of council officials.It is down to the elected members to challenge the individual but as my case shows they are not always proactive when doing this ...perhaps it was who my complaint was about that saw the democratic procedure at East Ayrshire Council break down?
If someone feels that an injustice has been dealt to them by an East Ayrshire Council member and they have the courage to make a complaint it will most likely be dealt with by the councils monitoring officer who just happens to also be David Mitchell, Head of Legal Procurement and Regulatory Services. Unfortunately a large part of my complaint was regarding David Mitchell himself so this is not a suitable situation to allow a fair hearing to take place.
I have been the victim of what I can only describe as aggressive, devious and unethical behaviour from members of East Ayrshire Council. How is it possible to get a fair hearing of a complaint if it is for the accused party to decide whether they deal with your problem or not?
If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint or feel you have been wrongly treated then you will be directed to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). This is when you will realise that you have little if any hope of getting justice. The SPSO cannot investigate the behaviour of individuals, they can only investigate whether the council followed its own internal complaints procedure.
Even if during its investigation the SPSO find that the council acted abhorrently, its most severe sanction it can make is to write a letter to council saying so. It has no remit to take any action against them. If your complaint is of a legal nature the SPSO will not investigate as they say that it is down to you to fund legal action against them.
You may think that perhaps you can go to your councillor, MSP, or MP for help. I have went down this road and found that they were not willing to challenge the people who were involved. My feelings are that this is because these people wield too much power over them. In my case my MSP Willie Coffey is also a fully paid elected member of East Ayrshire Council, this on top of his fully paid MSP role, so I was fighting a losing battle there .
This website has been set up to inform you of my case and assist in dealing with East Ayrshire Council. To give the people of East Ayrshire a place where they can tell their story if they wish with the hope of gathering support in a bid to put pressure on prospective elected members of East Ayrshire Council to challenge council behaviour when it is found to be wanting. Unfortunately I have discovered that there is no other way to correct the wrong doings of council.
There is an Online Forum up and running so please register so that you can have your say and together we may be able to get a system in place that protects your rights to be heard and get democracy back in place at East Ayrshire Council.
Please return often as there will be updates and new stories as they happen.
Together we might just be able to get East Ayrshire Council to behave ethically when dealing with ordinary members of the public.
Council Watch is a site focusing at present on East Ayrshire Council. If enough people support the site and take part in the forum bringing new stories etc. it will expand to other councils and from there who knows? Council watch initial story references local government, Kilmarnock & Loudoun. Council-Watch East Ayrshire, Council-Watch Kilmarnock, council watch London Road, Council Watch Ayrshire, Council-Watch election, .East Ayrshire Council members, East Ayrshire Council voters, East Ayrshire Council elected members, East Ayrshire Council London Road Kilmarnock. East Ayrshire council watch.