Training plan agreed after Portsmouth councillors criticised for bad behaviour

The civic offices in Portsmouth
The civic offices in Portsmouth
12
Have your say

WORK is set to be done to try to improve training for councillors at Portsmouth City Council.

And the authority’s code of conduct could also be refreshed so members know how to behave with the public and other political colleagues.

There needs to be better support for councillors, which involves things like dealing with members of the public and what they can and cannot do.

Cllr Simon Bosher

The issues were debated at a panel meeting chaired by Councillor Simon Bosher.

Cllr Bosher said he has been pushing for changes in the council’s training procedures for the past year – and it has not come in light of a recent report highlighting problems.

Guildford solicitor Richard Lingard produced a dossier saying he finds the behaviour of some councillors to be ‘childish’ – especially in their use of social media.

Mr Lingard also warned how senior bosses have found it ‘impossible’ to tackle poor behaviour.

Cllr Bosher said: ‘There needs to be better support for councillors, which involves things like dealing with members of the public and what they can and cannot do.

‘The code of conduct is also something that could be refreshed.

‘There needs to be a general improvement.’

Cllr Bosher also feels it should be mandatory for councillors to get courses covering planning and licensing laws before being appointed on committees.

He also highlighted how Ukip went from having no members to six on the council at the last local elections – and the expectation was that they would be ‘experts’ in every aspect of the council’s business right away.

‘With new councillors, they’re just a name on a bit of paper on the day of the elections and then come the Friday morning, they’re expected to be experts,’ Cllr Bosher said.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt praised Mr Lingard’s report – but said work needs to be done to tackle problems in the whole organisation and not just sort out elected members.

But she said improvements have been made in recent times.

‘Since the change in administration over the last year, morale is better and things are certainly more transparent,’ she said.