Standards Committee 29/9/2011 Part 8

Cllr Pat Williams said she was interested if Bill Norman had talked to the Chief Executive and that [the staffing issue] was really an Employment and Appointments issue, if there were ongoing pressures they should be made aware. Cllr Dave Mitchell said there would be a saving to the authority, if the correct legal services … Continue reading “Standards Committee 29/9/2011 Part 8”

Cllr Pat Williams said she was interested if Bill Norman had talked to the Chief Executive and that [the staffing issue] was really an Employment and Appointments issue, if there were ongoing pressures they should be made aware.

Cllr Dave Mitchell said there would be a saving to the authority, if the correct legal services were there in the first place.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said he would move 1 to 5 and add A, B and C. He would take out the three bullet points. He wanted to “set on record” that he wanted “radical change”.

Ken Harrison (Vice-Chair) said there were five outstanding complaints, from 2009 and the last from this year to fit in.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said how would they sit in the framework?

Ken Harrison (Vice-Chair) said some were over two years old and in urgent need of attention.

Cllr Bob Wilkins asked if he had deleted things after 5?

Cllr Chris Blakeley said he was adding 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 followed by A, B and C.

The Chair, Brian Cummings mentioned the Head of Law.

Cllr Chris Blakeley referred to A, B and C from the recommendation.

The Chair said this had started as an asset management problem, there had been extenuating circumstances and he had been put in charge which meant that something gives. He though the protocol was fine.

Cllr Chris Blakeley referred to 1 to 5 and the protocol asking about D?

Cllr John Salter mentioned 1 to 5 and A, B and C plus D to monitor over twelve months.

Surjit Tour said there would be an update to future meetings on monitoring progress.

Cllr Chris Blakeley referred to 1 to 5, followed by A, B and C from the original recommendation.

It was agreed.

Standards Committee 29/9/2011 Part 5

The Chair, Brian Cummings asked committee if proper timescales and a monitoring regime would be sufficient or not?

Cllr Chris Blakeley said he didn’t believe it would. He thought Bill Norman had been given enough opportunities and it should be “taken out of his hands”.

He passed a resolution around members of the committee for consideration.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said this resolution would remove Bill Norman from standards complaints and was similar to the resolution passed at the Scrutiny Program Board meeting of the 8th September. He said the role of Monitoring Officer was down to Council to decide. If he was to be removed, it would have to be a recommendation to Council.

Bill Norman said he would leave the meeting whilst they discussed his future so his “brooding presence” didn’t affect them. He said he would be advising the Employment and Appointments Committee and wouldn’t return and hoped that nobody present would see this as a discourtesy.

Bill Norman left.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said that this means the recommendation had to be changed. However there had been three years of going nowhere.

Surjit Tour, Deputy Monitoring Officer said they don’t have all the relevant facts and issues. In his view they had to be personally informed of the legalities and ramifications.

Standards Committee 29/9/2011 Part 2

Cllr Chris Blakeley said the summary tells its own story and the “deploring way” in which there’d been delays, costs which he said “absolutely appalls me”. He said they don’t know the date of a complaint. A second complaint had taken twelve months, another had taken ten months, a third had taken sixteen months. He said a complaint submitted on the 4th November had been dealt with at an Initial Assessment Panel on the 25th January, which was 11 weeks! He asked why. Another had taken 12 months with a £6000 cost. He said another complaint made on the 30th March had gone to an IAP on the 29th July taking 4 months, with no final hearing date which he considered “unbelievable”.

He referred to another complaint with an Initial Assessment Panel of the 8th October. Cllr Blakeley said from the date of complaint this was 10 months, followed by another Initial Assessment Panel 12 months later. He said there was an Initial Assessment Panel on the 25th August and that there had been a “litany of failure”, an “absolute litany of failure” by the “Head of Law” [Bill Norman].

The Chair, Brian Cummings said that the figures speak for themselves and the cost and timetable was alarming.

Cllr Gerry Ellis said he was going to say the same thing, it was “staggering”. He wanted an explanation and asked “why”?

The Chair, Brian Cummings pointed out at 3.2 there was a recommendation for proper timescales and a monitoring regime.

Cllr Chris Blakeley said the “time for explanations and excuses was over”.

Standards Committee 29/9/2011 Part 1

Present on the Standards Committee:

Independent Members
Brian Cummings (Chair),
Ken Harrison (Vice-Chair),
Stella Elliott

Conservative councillors

Cllr Chris Blakeley

Deputy Mayor Cllr Gerry Ellis

Cllr Les Rowlands
Labour councillors

Cllr John Salter

Cllr Denise Roberts

Cllr Bill Davies
Liberal Democrat councillors

Cllr Bob Wilkins

Cllr Mrs Pat Williams

Cllr Dave Mitchell deputising for Cllr Ann Bridson

Officers present

Mr. Bill Norman (Monitoring Officer)

Mr. Surjit Tour (Deputy Monitoring Officer, Head of Legal and Member Services)

Mr. Malcolm Flanagan (Head of Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services)

Mrs. Shirley Hudspeth (committee clerk)

The Chair welcomed people to the meeting and thanked them for their attendance. He asked for any declaraions of interest (item 1 on the agenda). None were declared.

He asked those present if they accepted the minutes of the last meeting held on the 4th July 2011. These were accepted.

Surjit Tour, Deputy Monitoring Officer introduced item 3 on the agenda entitled summary of complaints made under Member’s Code of Conduct. He said the code had been in effect since 2008, information had been redacted over confidentiality reasons. There had been problems over delay. In June further details had been requested as to how complaints were progressed. A summary was provided in Appendix 1. The required information had been updated and a draft protocol had been written for approval (Appendix 2).

Wirral Council meeting – 23rd May 2011 – Part 1

A report on the full Council meeting of Wirral Council held on the 23rd May 2011

I notice I get a mention on the former Leader of Wirral Council’s blog about last night’s meeting at the Town Hall.

However here is a report on last night’s meeting (previously adjourned) at Wirral Council which was reconvened from the 16th May.

The meeting started with about 23 members of the public in the public gallery and one at the press table in the Council Chamber. Those in the public gallery ranged from myself, my wife Leonora Brace, Brian Cummings (Chair of the Standards Committee), Kathy Hodson (former Mayoress of Wirral 2009-2010), Denis Knowles (former Labour/Conservative councillor for Seacombe), some Wirral Council employees and others. Those mentioned by Cllr Green were a mixture of press and others.

Prior to the meeting there was a photo shoot. The Mayor started the meeting by welcoming new councillors. She pointed out that councillors were there to serve the electorate and that it can be intimidating. She finished by saying “I’m in charge”.

There were no apologies given (although Cllr Keeley was absent and an apology was given for him later).

The Mayor announced that this would be last Council meeting for Brian Ellis as after thirty-seven years he was retiring. She mentioned the thirty-seven years he had worked for Wirral Council and his employment history prior to joining Wirral Council working for two other local authorities and the private sector. She mentioned his studying for a professional qualification in 1993 and that she would be sad to see him go. He was thanked and given a round of applause. Brian being the humble man he is didn’t make a speech.

There were no declarations of interest declared so the meeting moved onto petitions.
Petitions were submitted by Cllr John Hale, Cllr Adrian Jones, Cllr Geoffrey Watt, Cllr Paul Hayes, Cllr Tony Cox, Cllr ??? , Cllr Tony Smith, Cllr Chris Jones and Cllr Steve Williams.

Cllr J Hale’s petition was objecting to planning application APP/11/00549 from 90 people (62 homes).
Cllr A Jones’s petition was about the quality of road surfacing in Seacombe from 40 people.
Cllr Watt’s petition was of 77 names (38 households) requesting parking restrictions in West Kirby.
Cllr Hayes’ petition was of 114 signatures about alley gates and ASB in the Tower Grounds area of New Brighton.
Cllr Cox’s petition was of 4190 people regarding a planning application APP/11/00508 for a Sainsburys Store at the Red Cat in Greasby
Cllr Taylor’s petition was of 98 people regarding a planning application APP/11/00352
Cllr Salter’s petition was of 37 people regarding boarded up properties in Percy Road, Seacombe
Cllr Tony Smith’s petition was of 37 signatures (20 homes) regarding antisocial behaviour and the derelict condition of some properties
Cllr Chris Jones’ petition was of 824 signatures about security at Central Park, Wallasey
Cllr Steve Williams’s petition I didn’t manage to hear the details of, but was of 30 signatures objecting to planning application APP/10/01316.