Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Libel indemnity - The Minister responds to Rhodri Glyn Thomas

As you may remember, the meeting of full council earlier this month considered an item on libel indemnities.

The upshot and essence of it all was that the officers' report claimed that a letter from the Welsh Minister for Local Government, Lesley Griffiths, supported the decision to indemnify the chief executive in his counterclaim for libel. The opposition did not agree that it did any such thing, and neither, it seemed, did a fair few others. The word 'misrepresented' was used.

The Minister's letter from May failed to change the mind of the Appointed Auditor either, who had, of course, deemed the decision unlawful in the Public Interest report.

In the end, Councillors did not accept the officers' report, but merely 'noted it' along with the minister's letter. Had the officers' report been accepted, it would of meant, in effect, that full council were rejecting the Appointed Auditor's finding of unlawfulness in regards to the granting of the indemnity.

You may also remember that the day before the council meeting, Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas brought the matter of the officers' 'interpretation' of the minister's letter up in the Senedd. (For the record, Mr Thomas has repeatedly questioned the council's position over all this for a number of years.)

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones' response referred directly to Carmarthenshire and was unambiguous;

"...in terms of the situation in Carmarthenshire, we as a Government have said that it is not right to provide any sort of indemnity in terms of what has happened there. At the end of the day it is something for the council but it is exceptionally important that the council does ensure that they do not place officers in a situation where they do have some sort of indemnity in terms of cases that have gone to court, and that point has been made in the past"

Mr Thomas then asked the Minister for Local Government who promised to seek further advice from her officers and write a letter to Mr Thomas in due course.

I requested a copy of this letter from the Plaid Cymru office and they have kindly obliged, I have copied it below.

The Minister states quite clearly; "I do not believe the letter I sent to Carmarthenshire's Deputy Chief Executive in May supports the decision the Executive of Carmarthenshire Council made in indemnifying its Chief Executive in January 2012"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To have such dishonesty when one works in public office and when the CEO of the council can openly be so deceitful is criminal in my opinion.

These officers should be named and shamed when the Ombudsman investigates and not be allowed to hide behind the words 'the council'. They are a disgrace!

Thank goodness we at least have a very objective Eric Pickles.

Could do with someone like him in Wales.