Visible Democracy – Watch This Weeks Tamworth Borough Council Meeting Here

Friday, 14th December 2018

WE believe that democracy should be seen by all, but we understand that not everyone can get to the public Council meetings and so we were there for you.

After recording a Tamworth Borough Council meeting for the very first time earlier in the year (see this here), we returned on Tuesday night (December 11) to record the meeting again.

Although the meetings usually take place within the chamber at Marmion House, this meeting was conducted at Tamworth’s historic Town Hall on Market Street. This is something that is done each year for the meeting prior to Christmas.

A number of items were on the agenda for the meeting, including a ‘question time’ where questions could be taken from the public and other members of the Council, the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme and the Gambling Act.

One of the less usual subjects discussed at the meeting was a report from the Audit and Governance Standards Sub-Committee in relation to a Referral of Breach of the Members Code of Conduct by Councillor R Bilcliff.

This was in relation to a complaint that was made as a result of the Referendum in 2016 – the ‘Brexit Referendum’ and posts that were made on social media by Councillor R Bilcliff on and around that event.

The first social media post was “Don’t let them change your vote take your own pen with you.” The Solicitor to the Council and Monitoring Officer at the time asked for the post to be removed as Tamworth Borough Council was involved in the running of the election locally and took offence at the implications of the post.

Councillor R Bilcliff refused to remove the post and then on the following day made a second post “What a great day for common sense and the black pen”. As a result, a formal complaint was raised through the Council’s procedure for making a complaint against a Councillor.

A copy of the posts that were placed on to Facebook.
A copy of the posts that were placed on to Facebook.

The final hearing in respect of the complaint took place on 21 November 2018 and made the following findings:

  1. Councillor Bilcliff was acting in his official capacity;
  2. Councillor Bilcliff gave the impression of acting as a Councillor according to the Livingstone test;
  3. Councillor Bilcliff breached a number of principles of the Members Code of Conduct.

Full details can be seen in our video.

Please note that there are 42 seconds within the video (19:13.58 to 19:14.40) where the audio is intentionally muted due to legal reasons.

Timings to the relevant points within the recording can be found below to assist you.  These timings are in GMT and so not the timing of the video. 

18:09 – Start of meeting and announcements from Mayor

18:10 – Minutes silence

18:16 – Apologies for absence

18:18 – Declarations of interest

18:20 – Announcements from Leader, Members of the Cabinet and the Chief Executive

18:21 – Question Time

18:52 – Referral of Breach of the Members Code of Conduct by Councillor R Bilcliff
Please note that there are 42 seconds within the video (19:13.58 to 19:14.40) where the audio is intentionally muted due to legal reasons.  

19:26 – Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy Mid-year Review Report 2018/19

19:33 – Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2019/20 onwards

19:58 – Revised Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles