Wednesday 9 July 2014

First Minister confirms libel indemnity unlawful

Yesterday in the Senedd, Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas asked the First Minister, Carwyn Jones (Lab) this question (translated);

Rhodri Glyn Thomas;

"...will you join with me to condemn the fact that Carmarthenshire County Council once again has been trying to justify that what happened with the indemnity for the costs of the CEO in the court case, and misrepresenting a letter they received from the Minister for Local Government that the Welsh Government are supporting them in this regard.
Will you make it entirely clear that whatever the system is in terms of local government, that challenging reports from the Wales Audit Office is highly unacceptable?".

First Minister Carwyn Jones replied (my underline);

" 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"

So there you have it, how much clearer does it have to be? The council's claim in today's report for the meeting, and in Mr James' 'newsletter', that the Welsh Government now agrees with the council is complete nonsense; it has not given Carmarthenshire Council the all clear over the indemnity, nor to reject the Wales Audit Office report.

This was what Mr James said in his 'newsletter' to all staff last week;

"The Council has refused to accept the Wales Audit Office report and has subsequently confirmed with Welsh Government that the Council does have the powers to grant such indemnities"

Misleading? It looks that way.

So, with the Welsh Government and the Wales Audit Office condemning their actions, just how much longer does Mark James, Linda Rees Jones and co think they can sustain this?

If the vote goes ahead and this Labour council decide to reject the findings of the Auditor they will surely be opening themselves up to a legal challenge - they will also go down in history as setting a precedent, based on yet another highly misleading report, for Welsh councils to sue members of the public.

It's over to you, Kevin Madge.

Yesterday's post; Libel indemnities - in the Western Mail 


Anonymous said...

In light of this Chief Executive's latest venture into the world of delusion, the councillors would do well to oust him. He's a liability in so many ways.

caebrwyn said...

That would not be for me to say. As Cneifiwr points out today, this is a test of Kevin Madge's leadership and I'm sure his colleagues in Cardiff will be watching with interest.
Apparently, the WLGA governance review panel will also be observing proceedings this morning.

Anonymous said...

Oh no !
Not another 28-24 vote !!

Anonymous said...

Those suffering from delusional versions of reality are best advised not to advertise those delusions to the world. The passage of time and the clean bill of health from the police provided plenty of opportunity for the dust to settle, and you'd have thought that eating a little bit of humble pie would have been a wise course of action.

Instead, they've come up with an inflammatory report, goading the Welsh Government to respond. Carwyn must have been well hacked off to have to slap down Labour colleagues in such a fashion.

So what happens now? Will we see contrite senior officers, or livid Exec members, furious at more cack being heaped on the Council? Or will the meek lemmings follow their glorious leader over the precipice?