Cllr David Allen, Surrey Heath Borough Councillor for Frimley Green, appealed to the Local Government Standards Tribunal to the ruling by the Council’s Standards Committee that he had violated the Council’s Code of Conduct in a posting in his blog “Who Let the Yank in”.
The case was about whether, in writing the blog, Cllr Allen was writing in his official capacity as a Councillor. Cllr Allen represented himself at the Tribunal, and reports on the case HERE.
The judge, Judge Sally Lister, found in Cllr. Allen’s favour, and ruled that he was was not acting in any official capacity in his role as councillor by blogging and, that his comments were entirely political in nature, and as such entirely outside of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.
Obviously, as a Councillor who blogs, it’s an important judgement for me. One that helps define what is ‘official capacity. Judge Sally Lister said in her judgement,
“In the Tribunal’s view, merely mentioning the Council and his colleagues does not, of itself constitute council business or business of the office of councillor, or, indeed amount to claiming, referring or giving the impression that he is a representative of the Council acting in a official capacity.”
Well, that’s good to know. Being a Councillor who blogs, I do try to achieve a balanced view in what I write. Although, I imagine, not every reader will agree with what I write.