Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Allerdale council silent on corruption probe

UPDATED 28th August 2012: Allerdale council is reviewing its procedures after an investigation into alleged corruption. Update below initial post.

Council bosses have received a report into alleged corruption within Allerdale council but have refused to reveal its contents “at this stage”.

An independent investigation was launched last month following a complaint by a local businessman.

The results of the investigation are understood to be with Harry Dyke, the council’s chief executive.

An Allerdale council spokeswoman said: “We have received the report and are considering its contents with a view to determining what, if any, action to take. “We cannot divulge its content at this stage.”

The council has offered no explanation of why this information has not been made available despite several requests from the News & Star.

In March, Councillor Mark Fryer, portfolio holder for economic growth, called for a full and independent investigation into claims which, “if substantiated”, would be “very serious indeed.”

They included “totally inappropriate behaviour towards a local employer by one or more council officers which may amount to abuse of office for personal gain”.

My comment: Looks like a typical council cover up at the moment. Probably looking at damage limitation before the truth gets out.

Read the full story from the source News & Star

UPDATED 28th August 2012: Allerdale council is reviewing its procedures after an investigation into alleged corruption.

Chief executive Harry Dyke has confirmed that the report of an investigation, carried out after a complaint by a local businessman, had recommended a review of procedures and protocols.

The council would not reveal details of the report because it contained personal information.

“The information relates to identifiable individuals who we believe would not expect this information to be made publicly available.”

In March, Councillor Mark Fryer, portfolio holder for economic growth, called for a full and independent investigation into claims which, if substantiated, he said would be “very serious indeed”.

They included inappropriate behaviour towards a local employer by one or more council officers, he said. The claims, which centred on the business and conduct of the council across several departments, were investigated by the county council’s legal department at Allerdale council’s request.

My comment: Look like the investigation has revealed names which the council don't wish to publish. Still trying to minimise the fallout? No doubt if the Police get involved names will be released.

Read the full story from the source News & Star

Leader of Rugby Borough Council fined for driving with no insurance

THE leader of Rugby Borough Council has been fined and given points for driving with no insurance.

Craig Humphrey, 48, of Chaucer Road, Rugby, admitted the charge at Coventry Magistrates Court on August 1 and was sentenced on Thursday.

He was fined £200, given six penalty points and told to pay £80 costs and the £15 victim surcharge.

Driving with no insurance is a non-indictable offence and as such should not affect his position at the council.

My comment: It may be a non-indictable offence but it is a criminal offence and as such he should resign

Read the full story from the source Coventry Telegraph

Friday, 24 August 2012

Town Hall doors unlocked to social media and bloggers

New law changes to introduce greater openness and transparency in executive councils meetings will mean all decisions including those affecting budgets and local services will have to be taken in an open and public forum, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced today.

The changes will result in greater public scrutiny. The existing media definition will be broadened to cover organisations that provide internet news thereby opening up councils to local online news outlets. Individual councillors will also have stronger rights to scrutinise the actions of their council.

Crucially councils will no longer be able to cite political advice as justification for closing a meeting to the public and press. In addition any intentional obstruction or refusal to supply certain documents could result in a fine for the individual concerned.

Eric Pickles said: "Every decision a council takes has a major impact on the lives of local people so it is crucial that whenever it takes a significant decision about local budgets that affect local communities whether it is in a full council meeting or in a unheard of sub-committee it has got to be taken in the full glare of all the press and any of the public.

My comment: Excellent news as long as local authorities don't attempt to circumvent the new laws as they have done with the FOI Act.

Read the full story from the source DCLG or The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 here

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Former North Yorkshire Police officer jailed for cancer lies

A FORMER police officer who lied about her daughter having cancer so she could take her to show jumping events has been jailed.

Rachel Hewitt, 39, who worked for North Yorkshire Police, claimed her teenage daughter was having chemotherapy for a tumour and had been critically ill in intensive care.

The force gave her compassionate leave, special shifts and colleagues even organised whip-rounds to buy the family gifts.

But her daughter was actually taking part in equestrian contests, which Hewitt, of South Elmsall in West Yorkshire, took her to "after telling a pack of lies", Hull Crown Court heard.

Jailing Hewitt for 18 months, the judge said she had shown an extreme breach of trust by spinning lie after lie for around two years before she was arrested last October.

My comment: Words fail me.

Read the full story from the source The Northern Echo

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Council leaks citizen data in hidden Excel sheets

A spreadsheet published by Islington Borough Council in response to an FOI request contained data on over 2,000 individuals in hidden tabs

Personal data on 2,376 citizens of the London Borough of Islington was published online after the council accidentally included it in its reposnse to a Freedom of Information Act request.

WhatDoTheyKnow.com makes FOI responses available to access over the web, so the data passed into the public domain.

It is the second data protection embarassment for the council this year, however. In April, 10 people facing a ban from a council estate for anti-social behaviour were given the names and addresses of the people who complained about them.

My comment: You just can't trust some councils with personal data.

Read the full story from the source Information Age

Read all articles about Islington Council (LB) on this blog

Council removes advertising over story it didn't like

A local authority withdrew advertising from a weekly newspaper because it published a story the council didn't like.

Carmarthenshire county council pulled an advert after the South Wales Guardian carried an article earlier this month in which traders in Ammanford raised concerns about delays caused by a regeneration scheme.

The council's press manager said in an email to the council's marketing department: "Due to the continuing negative publicity by the Guardian... I do not think we should be placing adverts with them until this issue is resolved."

Stanistreet said: "It is wholly unacceptable for a local authority or any other public body to withdraw advertising from a newspaper as a reaction to what it sees as negative publicity about itself.

My comments: This is a well known tactic used by many councils, whilst they like it when local papers publish their spin they hate it when anything negative (usually the truth) about them is published.  More on this subject here.

Read the full story from the source Guardian