Councils crack down on nuisance callers labelled as “vexatious complainants”

Bournemouth Echo: CALLS: Bournemouth Town Hall CALLS: Bournemouth Town Hall

UNREASONABLE behavour, adopting a “scattergun” approach when pursuing a complaint and making excessive demands on staff time are among the reasons why some residents have had their access to local councils restricted.

A request made under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that Dorset County Council currently has 11 people who it says have behaved unreasonably in making their complaint and are now required to use a single point of contact.

And Bournemouth Borough Council labelled three people as being vexatious complainants in 2013. One was alleged to have behaved in an abusive or threatening manner towards a member of staff while the other two were said to have pursued numerous complaints with both the council and with officers, a councillor or the Ombudsman at the same time.

Decisions were made by a service director or chief executive and all three residents were given a single point of contact and a single contact method.

Bournemouth council also confirmed it deemed five people as vexatious complainants in 2011 and none in 2012.

The Borough of Poole said it had instigated and applied its unreasonable and unreasonably persistent complainant policy once in the past three years.

Bournemouth Liberal Democrat Cllr Roger West had his email and internet access suspended after he was alleged to have breached the Data Protection Act by forwarding on an email that named a resident as a vexatious complainant.

He said: “I don’t think anybody should be deemed vexatious without really good cause and definitely it should go through the democratic process, in other words the officers should involve members in it. It is a decision that can affect somebody’s livelihood.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said he stopped the practice of labelling people vexatious complainants because he was uncomfortable with restricting people’s access to the police.

He said they now tell people they have been deemed a vexatious complainant in the respect of one particular issue but they are still free to contact the police in respect of any other matter.

Comments (8)

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1:49pm Tue 7 Jan 14

BarrHumbug says...

Hahaha, when I read the headline I thought the council were offering to help local residents who had been receiving nuisance calls! LOL
Hahaha, when I read the headline I thought the council were offering to help local residents who had been receiving nuisance calls! LOL BarrHumbug
  • Score: 3

2:38pm Tue 7 Jan 14

muscliffman says...

Perhaps we residents could reverse this 'nuisance' communications idea and stop the Councils shoving their PR spin magazine through all our doors every so often - the ones we pay for, in which they tell us no holds barred how absolutely wonderful they are!
Perhaps we residents could reverse this 'nuisance' communications idea and stop the Councils shoving their PR spin magazine through all our doors every so often - the ones we pay for, in which they tell us no holds barred how absolutely wonderful they are! muscliffman
  • Score: 6

3:02pm Tue 7 Jan 14

simcal says...

Open to abuse by council and officers. As soon as anybody starts to make their life a bit uncomfortable by asking questions which they don't want to answer, they can put this label on them. Open to misuse.
Open to abuse by council and officers. As soon as anybody starts to make their life a bit uncomfortable by asking questions which they don't want to answer, they can put this label on them. Open to misuse. simcal
  • Score: 3

3:25pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Isosceles says...

Where does one list the vexatious council staff?
Where does one list the vexatious council staff? Isosceles
  • Score: 4

3:28pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Turtlebay says...

When the council start behaving in a civil manner they can expect rate payers to do so. When they behave like mini hilers they deserve it.
When the council start behaving in a civil manner they can expect rate payers to do so. When they behave like mini hilers they deserve it. Turtlebay
  • Score: 0

5:34pm Tue 7 Jan 14

whataboutthat says...

This council gambit vexes me...
This council gambit vexes me... whataboutthat
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Tue 7 Jan 14

politicaltrainspotter says...

I am wondering that if someone is getting close to the truth whether this vexatious complainants comes into being.

As public servants it is the duty of those to prompt and examine your actions and decisions.Admittedly
, without insult or injury.

But there is a danger here that the council can deem anyone a vexacious complainant without justification.
I am wondering that if someone is getting close to the truth whether this vexatious complainants comes into being. As public servants it is the duty of those to prompt and examine your actions and decisions.Admittedly , without insult or injury. But there is a danger here that the council can deem anyone a vexacious complainant without justification. politicaltrainspotter
  • Score: 4

11:58am Wed 8 Jan 14

UrbanCrab says...

How is this managed and controlled, where are the checks and balances. Is there a political motivation behind the labelling of any of these vexatious complainants. We know that somehow Roger West is involved and we know Roger repeatedly gets "punished" by the status quo and powers that be for speaking out against corruption. Maybe a little more digging here please Bournemouth Echo.
How is this managed and controlled, where are the checks and balances. Is there a political motivation behind the labelling of any of these vexatious complainants. We know that somehow Roger West is involved and we know Roger repeatedly gets "punished" by the status quo and powers that be for speaking out against corruption. Maybe a little more digging here please Bournemouth Echo. UrbanCrab
  • Score: 0

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