Andover Town Council has accepted a report produced in the wake of staff grievances which led to the council being shut down for two weeks.

Following a vigorous debate over whether the report should be heard in public, the council went into closed session to receive the report, deliberating for an hour and a half before accepting it, which will see “improved training” for councillors and staff among other changes.

However, following the process, a group of councillors have announced an intention to launch legal proceedings against the council.

The publication of the statement brings to an end the formal grievance process, whose origins lie at the start of October, when “concerns regarding councillors” were received, leading to the council’s staff being placed on leave.

Subsequently, in November, an extraordinary meeting appointed an interim clerk to oversee the process, while also establishing the grievance panel itself. During the meeting, attempts were made to close the meeting and replace Mayor Richard Rowles as chair, which were both denied.

The report prepared on behalf of the panel was then presented to an extraordinary general meeting of the town council on December 15.

The council subsequently voted in favour of adopting the changes recommended in the report. These will see the staffing committee disbanded, to be replaced by confidential sessions at the end of full council sessions.

The town clerk will also be given “great devolved responsibility” for staffing matters, while councillors and staff are to receive “improved training”.

Richard Rowles, mayor of Andover said: "The Council would like to thank all the professionals who have been involved in the development not only of this report but in the advice given do the Council by its solicitors its internal auditors, its HR consultant, and the Locum Clerk.

“Whilst we have seen various parts of this process played out on social media I hope this marks the beginning of the end of this destructive activity that some have shown and marks a new beginning so that Andover Town Council can be the Council that you so much want it to be.”

However, Councillor Christopher Ecclestone, who said he was “one of the people accused” in the report, has claimed he was “excluded” from the meeting after he was “bumped out” of the meeting, and is yet to receive a copy of the findings.

Fellow Andover Independents Party Councillor David Coole said that the press release from the council was published “before members had seen it, were consulted on, or informed.”

Cllr Coole also said that a group of councillors will launch legal proceedings “against the town council for negligence and other failures,” as well as requesting a judicial review.

In response, Mayor Rowles said that Andover Town Council “don’t sign off press releases by committee. It’s factual and that it all.”

Regarding the threat of legal action, he said: “If individual councillors feel that the council itself has made any mistake then it is their duty and their right to put forward a motion at full council.”

He added that there had been “many instances of accusations in the past,” but none of them had resulted in legal action.

The town council has one meeting left for the year, when the planning committee will meet on December 21.