EXCLUSIVE: £1,800 “confidential” report clears Councillor Chris Blakeley after allegation of Cllr Foulkes that comments in Liverpool Echo were disrespectful

EXCLUSIVE: £1,800 “confidential” report clears Councillor Chris Blakeley after allegation of Cllr Foulkes that comments in Liverpool Echo were disrespectful

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Aretha Franklin – Respect [1967]

Cheshire West and Chester invoice for £1800 for investigating a standards complaint
Cheshire West and Chester invoice for £1800 for investigating a standards complaint (you can click on the thumbnail for a more high resolution version)

EXCLUSIVE: £1,800 "confidential" report clears Councillor Chris Blakeley after allegation of Cllr Foulkes that comments in Liverpool Echo were disrespectful

                         

It was a long time ago (19th March) when I first made a Freedom of Information Act request for the external investigation report (and the invoice) for the standards complaint that Councillor Steve Foulkes had made about Councillor Chris Blakeley. Not surprisingly with such a politically sensitive request, my Freedom of Information request was ignored, so on the 17th April I requested an internal review.

On the 24th April Wirral Council supplied the report itself, an appendix and the invoice from Chester West and Chester Council (for £1,800) for the investigation. On the same day this was released, solicitors that work in Wirral Council’s legal department and the officers that take the minutes at public meetings had a meeting in Committee Room 1, the subject of which was “values and culture change”. The fact that only two lines are redacted in the investigation report and Wirral Council hasn’t claimed an Freedom of Information Act exemption applies to the report and appendix A is one example of how the culture has changed at Wirral Council.

Due to the redaction of two lines on page nine, the seventeen page report is an image, therefore it can’t be spidered properly by search engines. Therefore I’ll be including the seventeen page report below this so it can be properly spidered. The report itself explains who Councillor Blakeley and Councillor Foulkes are so I won’t repeat what is in the report itself. It does however give an interesting insight into Wirral’s politics. Appendix A to the report can be downloaded from this blog. I’ve used a series of equals signs to show where individual pages start and end in the report.

Where legislation or individual cases are referred to I have tried to provide a link where possible in case you want to find out more about the legislation or judgements referred to. If you wish to read the original report as a pdf file you can. The two witness statements referred to in the report as Appendix B (the witness statement of Councillor Foulkes) and Appendix C (the witness statement of Councillor Blakeley) haven’t been supplied in response to the Freedom of Information Act request, but I’ve requested an internal review regarding these. In the report below I have not corrected any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors but left these as they appear in the report.

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CONFIDENTIAL


Report of an investigation by Trudie Odaka acting as investigating officer, appointed by Surjit Tour Monitoring Officer for Wirral Borough Council into allegations concerning Councillor Chris Blakeley.

This report is submitted to the Monitoring Officer for Wirral Borough Council, Surjit Tour.

FINAL REPORT

10th March 2014


1 | Not for distribution. This report is confidential and must not be disclosed
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CONTENTS




1. Executive Summary
2. The relevant legislation and protocols
3. The Evidence Gathered
4. Nomination for the Office of Mayor
5. The Allegations by the Complainant
6. Account by Councillor Foulkes
7. The Liverpool Echo article dated 13th May 2013
8. Response from Councillor Blakeley
9. Summary of the mater