Wednesday, 9 February 2011

An Early Contender for Least Surprising Event of the Year

I mentioned before that Cllr Tony Sutton submitted a motion to full council asking that it support his call for the IPCC to investigate Notts Police for their criminal and likely corrupt decision not to investigate the housing allocations coruption scandal at Nottingham City Homes. Over to the Post to tell us what happened with that one but before you click on the link try guessing the result. Go on give it a go.

Yup you were right. The motion was defeated with the vote split clearly on party lines i.e. apparently every single Labour member voted against.

There's a rather sinister quote from Cllr Chapman -

"Why would we want to cover up? The easiest thing for us would have been to get a few heads rolling, get a few martyrs – guilty or not guilty – prosecuted and we could have got on with it."

In other words, Cllr Chapman thinks it's more honest to cover up corruption using the time honoured method of hiding the matter under the carpet as opposed to the alternative one of fitting somebody up. Notice he doesn't see the third option i.e. of actually catching the real perpetrator and handing them over to the police. That's because the perpetrators are either still in power or working with some of NCC's most favoured 'partners'.

So let's round up what has happened so far -

JoCo called Cllr Sutton a 'prat' fpr mentioning that he himself had contacted Tyrone Brown on behalf of a tenant who was then handed a property outside the normal procedures.

The Standards Committee quietly rejected a key Audit Commission recommendation that councillors should be required to declare any personal relationship with tenants on whose behalf they make representations. Apparently it would be too complicated for them.

Cllr Grocock has been openly named as having dishonestly tried to help someone get a property by saying he was his grandson. Despite there being no apparent dispute over the facts of this the Standards Committee has still not completed its investigations into the matter. I'd bet £1.50 of my own money that they won't do either until after the election. In the meantime he has been severely punished by, er, being appointed as Lord Mayor which just happens to carry with it an extra £25k personal allowance.

One part time temp has been let go. This is the sum total of disciplinary action taken. Similarly, no houses have been repossessed.

The council's internal investigation has cost £100k (or £150k if you believe Cllr Chapman's latest claim). This is apparently as much as can be justified*, although compare with this the £700k spent on the investigation and prosecution of the Ratcliffe environmental activists. Different organisation I know but let's not forget that JoCo is the Chair of Notts Police Authority too.

Furthermore, and if this isn't the clincher on this being a cover up I don't know what is, this £100k was spent on paying external solicitors to do NCC's Legal Services' normal work while they did the investigation themselves. Why? Surely a fresh set of eyes would have been more appropriate for the investigation rather than make them all learn NCC's systems which they would be completely unfamiliar with. Even on an efficiency aregument this was the wrong way round. It's difficult not to conclude that the idea was to make sure no-one looks in the wrong (right?) places. Where this leaves NCC's lawyers' professional standing I don't know.

All this is dodgy as fuck and, in theory should result in Labour being shown the door at the next elections in May. Unfortunately I doubt this will happen, I rather expect postal voting to play a pivotal role in the final result.

*To put this into context I reckon my employment tribunal case cost them over £40k including internal staff time.

No comments: