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Complaint against Governor *HELP*

Discussion in 'Governors' started by art200380, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. art200380

    art200380 New commenter

    Advice needed.

    Our GB have received a complaint from a parent regarding the behaviour of one of our governors. The governor in question is a co-opted governor.

    It has been brought to our attention that the governor has been making offensive tweets about certain sections of society (not individuals but for example calling Conservative voters homophobic, racist, uncharitable, morally bankrupt, saying that anyone who voted Leave is gullible, thick, incomptible pillock etc etc - it's a grim read to be honest and you get the picture). This appears to have been going on for a long time and the parent has sent 30-35 screen shots as part of their complaint from a 2 week period in December 2019. The governor uses his real name on twitter and a real photo of himself but does not state where he works, however has been found by the parent because the governor also uses LinkedIn and states he is a governor at our school (which in itself a violation of the schools Social Media policy).

    The parent has highlighted that the governor is in violation of our Code of Conduct (we use the standard NGA one), the school's Social Media policy and the Nolan principles of public office and also questioned how the governor is abiding by several of the schools policies for example the British Values policy etc.

    Our CoG has taken the lead on this and spoken to the governor in question and concluded that these are the governors personal tweets and not representative of the school. The governor in question has now added a line to his twitter bio to state that "all comments are my own" and completely toned down his tweets - in fact since being spoken to he hasn't tweeted anything offensive, which indicates to me that he knows he was in the wrong.

    Anyway the CoG is planning on responding to say that his tweets are his personal views and as it is LinkedIn which states his association with our Primary school and not twitter, that he has done nothing wrong.

    Staff and parents are not yet aware of this complaint.

    Thoughts please?
  2. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Two key questions you need to ask:
    What does your code of conduct for governors say, and what does your complaints procedure say? Then is your governor following the first, and are you following the second?
    bonxie and art200380 like this.
  3. afternoonclerk

    afternoonclerk New commenter

    The NGA model code of conduct says "When communicating in our private capacity (including on social media) we will be mindful of and strive to uphold the reputation of the organisation."

    And one of the possible reasons for removing a governor listed in statutory guidance is "engaging in conduct aimed at undermining fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs".

    So this will be a judgement call for your governing body. It's not the chair's decision - if other governors wish to hold a vote on whether to suspend or remove the governor they can do so.

    I'm not sure it makes sense to say his twitter bio didn't identify him as a governor when his real name was attached and this parent has clearly been able to identify him. Governor names are all public info.
    bonxie, art200380 and Marshall like this.
  4. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Your local authority should have a governor helpline that you could ring.

    Or speak to your school improvement advisor (if you have one).

    I agree that it's not the CoG decision - he could be best friends!
    Sundaytrekker and art200380 like this.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I don't fully agree with all the above advice. What does your complaints policy say about the role of the Chair? Many policies I have seen say that initially the Chair will discuss the matter with the governor concerned and if the outcome of that is acceptable to the complainant then that is the end of the matter. Only if the complainant does not accept it will a formal complaints panel of other governors need to consider it.

    It does seem to me @art200380 that you are siding with the complainant (are you the complainant?) before any formal hearing has taken place and before the governor concerned has put their response to the complaint. From what you say it sounds like yet another social media argument around Brexit. We should be careful, IMO, about preventing governors expressing their political opinions online. Providing of course they don't post in their capacity as a governor.

    It's not at all obvious to me that the governor's opinions breach the Nolan principles or the NGA code and you say that nothing in his post indicated he had any connection with your school. I don't know what your Social Media Policy says but my school's does not apply to governors.

    Why would you adopt a Policy that prevented someone publicly identifying themselves as a governor of your school, as you say your Social Media Policy does? Is being a governor at your school a confidential matter they shouldn't disclose?
    Lattelady likes this.
  6. afternoonclerk

    afternoonclerk New commenter

    Yes, that's true about the usual form of complaints policies but it doesn't take away the board's legal right to suspend or remove a governor - the chair can't just say that is the end of it if the parent is appeased but other governors now feel this person should not be on the board.
  7. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    One could have similar objections to the verbal poison spewing forth from Mr Trump - who should be adhering to far higher standards in public office. I cannot say I approve of bad mouthing a political party but providing it does not cross the line into slander, religious, racist or sexual intolerance etc I am not sure why anyone should care. .
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If the Complaints Policy says the Chair deals with it informally first, and if the Chair in this case does that and the Complainant is satisfied and doesn't want to pursue it to a formal complaints hearing, then that is the end of it as far as the Complaints Policy is concerned. As you say that doesn't stop any governor proposing that another governor is suspended as long as they follow relevant procedure for doing so. But that would be outwith the Complaints Policy.

    I appreciate that's a lot of 'ifs', we don't know everything that's happened.

    I wonder if the complainant is a parent, and if not what their connection to the school is?

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