Redland Council had only become aware late yesterday that the Ombudsman had published his findings in the Redland City Council defamation report.
While Council believes the publication of the final report without consultation was procedurally unfair, Council will be carefully reviewing the report and its findings before determining how it will respond to the formal reply date of 6 February 2017.
Council’s preliminary reading has already raised a number of questions about the report.
This includes findings of facts in the report that Council believes are untrue and the exclusion of the two year history of defamatory comments that preceded Council’s response.
As a procedural matter Council is disappointed the report relies on assumptions from complainants’ Facebook comments and posts and has failed to interview all relevant parties involved in analysing the complaint and their impact.
Council supports the Ombudsman’s role to oversee local government administrative actions. However in this particular case, Council has weighted its action differently to the view of the Ombudsman.
Redland Council has acted to create a safe work place and respond to social media comments that are unfounded and defamatory, targeted at undermining individual officers in their public and professional capacity.
Council welcomes the proposal of the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning to release a Local Government Bulletin that will assist Councils’ to respond to adverse defamatory social media comments.
Read the full submission response to the draft report here.