Council Computers To Get Regular Checks

A south coast council say’s regular checks are going to be done on staff computers, after adult images were found on their former leader's laptop.

It cost Bournemouth council more than £17,000 for an inquiry into councillor Stephen MacLoughlin, who resigned in July.

The images were discovered on his laptop back in 2008.

The decision to check all staff PC’s was made last night (5th October) at a special meeting of the Council’s Audit and Governance Committee.

They reviewed the processes and procedures for dealing with matters relating to the conduct of councillors, including:

-Establishing a formal process for the regular inspection of all IT equipment issued by the Council to elected Members.

-Requesting a further report that clearly sets out the complaints procedures of the Council.

-A review of procedures to ensure that details of complaints are made clear to the councillor that is subject to the complaint, and that complainants are kept informed about the progress of their complaint.

-Developing a process that allows councillors to ‘self-refer’ if they think their own behaviour may represent a breach of the Code of Conduct.

-Developing a standard way by which the Monitoring Officer or Deputy Monitoring Officer can report that external legal advice has been sought, where further clarification of legal issues is required’.

-Active promotion of the Council’s Whistleblowing Policy amongst staff and councillors.

Councillor Ben Grower, Chairman of the Committee, said after the meeting: “I am satisfied that the Committee fully explored all the issues that have been the subject of debate by members of the public and councillors alike.  We have agreed that work will be done to help restore public trust and confidence in the council’s handling of cases of alleged and potential misconduct by Councillors.  I am confident that the decisions we have made will go a long way towards ensuring greater openness, having clarity about responsibilities of officers, and having processes that all concerned, including the public, understand and have confidence in.”

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