Bill Norman continued saying that the detail was not analysed, but the level of fairness in the delay in the referral and delays organising the IAP meeting (which made its recommendation in March) as well as the earlier report being “topped and tailed” meant the wrong report had been sent when it was referred to the Standards Board for England so that it only referred to three instead of four councillors.
They had “checked the files” and only the original complaint against three councillors had been used which led to no further action by Standards Board for England. When it emerged that Martin Morton asked what the result was of the complaint about Cllr Bridson that had been referred to the Standards Board for England, the thing “unravelled”. They had “appended the wrong complaint”. The wrong one had been sent to the Standards Board for England by Wirral Council. There was then a discussion on how to go ahead.
The recommendation was that there should be the same Initial Assessment Panel. This met on the 8th June and considered the second complaint and decided to refer it to the Standards Board for England. They were awaiting a decision about the full complaint. The timescale was five working days, however Standards Board for England were not compliant with this as they were “hemorrhaging staff” and were having a problem with timescales.
Bill Norman apologised for the Initial Assessment Panel receiving the wrong paperwork and was “happy to repeat it shouldn’t have happened”.
Cllr Blakeley said he accepted the apology but it had shown Wirral Council “in a bad light”.