Friday, 8 October 2010

Standards Committee Fail

Here is the text of an email that I have just sent to Glen O'Connell, Nottingham City Council's monitoring officer concerning the consistent and ongoing failure of the Standards Committee to deal with complaints against councillors -

"Dear Mr O'Connell,

It is nearly two months since I last heard from you with regard to the complaints I have made against serving City Councillors and yet I have heard nothing further. Both of these go back as far as May yet as far as I can tell absolutely nothing has been done.

In addition I notice that complaints about other councillors appear to be making no progress and yet the Standards Committee appears to be repeatedly canceling meetings. Even if they do manage to get it together the agenda rarely seems packed. I think it is true to say that the Standards Committee have yet to hear any complaint against a serving councillor.

It is hard not to conclude that the internal regulation system for elected members' behaviour is collectively dragging its feet. At best it is utterly failing to do its duty to the citizens of Nottingham. I realise it would be politically embarrassing for the Lord Mayor, Leader and a Portfolio Holder to be investigated at the same time but I hope that this is not playing any part in the delay.

Please will you take this email as a formal complaint under Nottingham City Council's complaints procedure for the unacceptable delays in dealing with all complaints against councillors. As part of dealing with this complaint I would be grateful if you could provide an update to the cases that I have referred at least, however it would be preferable if The Standards Committee were to provide a public update on all cases. Nottingham City Council is quick to name and shame individuals when it sees fit and sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."

The reference to cases that I referred concerns complaints I made in May in May about Cllr Ahmed's role in the decision to cut CEHRNN's funding and against JoCo for, ahem, 'making a mistake' when telling the call-in sub-committee that the sale of Radford Unity Complex would raise twice as much as he had already offered it for sale to a bunch of artists. In addition there is still the Cllr Grocock issue outstanding which is becoming farcical in the extent of its delay.

I can't help wondering if the agenda is to make sure that nothing is heard before the elections next year.

Update - no response by end of play Friday


Anonymous said...

In announcing the abolition of the Standards Board and standards committees under the forthcoming Localism Bill, Eric Pickles said: "...councillors will [still] have to conform to the highest standards of conduct. At present if a councillor abuses their position for personal gain it may result in a complaint to the local authority's standards committee with the councillor simply having to apologise. New legislation will make failing to register an interest, or deliberately seeking to mislead the public about an interest a criminal offence."

Some people in Nottingham should be getting very nervous.

Andy said...

I didn't know they were getting rid of Standards Committees as well.

Can't argue with making it a criminal offence to fail to register etc interests.