Monday, 8 September 2014

Governance report - a confidential draft? - Updated

Update 9th September;
With reference to the WLGA response in yesterday's update, another term for 'interim observations and emerging proposals' is a 'draft report'. All 74 councillors should have had a copy, not a 'group of senior members and officers'. 

I understand the Plaid opposition group have at least been given the gist of the report by their leader, and the verdict so far is 'damning'. Which it should be.

Us mere mortals will obviously have to wait until next month to see just how damning it is....after the final draft is sent back to that very same group to pick over....

And don't forget, the monthly meetings of Carmarthenshire Council resume tomorrow at 10am and will be webcast here.

Update 20:36;
I emailed the WLGA with a couple of queries this morning and received the response, below, this evening. I appreciate the clarification although clearly the initial findings, and gist of the contents have already been discussed and are currently circulating.

In fact, although I welcome the appearance of councillors questions on Wednesday's agenda it strongly suggests that a minority are not just discussing the initial findings but implementing them as well in an attempt to avert a more damning final report;

"I can assure you that no draft report has been shared with the authority. Indeed, the peer team is yet to discuss a draft report as it has been collating further evidence, including public submissions, and the peer team completed its last interview last week.

The peer team did however provide interim observations and emerging proposals at the end of July to the same group of senior members and officers who met with the peer team at the initiation of the review. This is a normal part of all peer reviews. It was stressed however that this feedback was subject to further testing, further interviews and collation of evidence, not least that provided by the public.

The intention remains that the report will be presented at the meeting of full Council on the 8th October.

We will however share a final draft report with the council in advance in due course to check for factual accuracy, as is customary with external review reports, including those produced by the Wales Audit Office."


I understand that a draft report from the WLGA Governance Review panel has been issued to the leaders of the political groups of Carmarthenshire council. I assume it has also been issued to senior officials. The two non-aligned councillors have been excluded, one of them being Cllr Caiach.

The aim of the independent investigation, or 'review' was for the council to become the 'most open and transparent' in Wales. This is not a good start and to my mind misses whole point of this exercise, which was required after the two damning Wales Audit Office reports.

Myself and many others made lengthy submissions to the review panel, either in writing or by invitation and the report should have been published, in it's entirety, as soon as it was complete. If it was independent, it should not have gone to a select few, as a confidential document, for their appraisal and digestion first.

For references to the review, there are several posts on this blog, including here and here. The latter refers to the verdict from the lay member of the Audit Committee, Sir David Lewis in his letter to the panel, that Council governance was 'in disarray and not fit for purpose'


Pembrokeshire News

The latest from Pembrokeshire is that the Extraordinary council meeting has been brought forward to Friday (12th).
On the agenda is a Motion to commence formal disciplinary proceedings, including a two month suspension, against the chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones. One of the matters to be investigated will be the pensions scandal.
There will also be two votes of no confidence, one in the leader, Cllr Jamie Adams and one in the chief executive.
The Agenda is here.

Bryn Parry Jones

Update 9th September:
The Pembrokeshire Herald reports that Pembs chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones returned to work yesterday after what was supposed to be, according to the leader, Jamie Adams, a forced 'leave of absence'; it turned out that it happened to coincide with a pre-planned holiday in foreign parts.
Cllr Adams has claimed that he was 'powerless' to stop him returning. According to reports he is now working from home.

His brief departure was understood to have been related to further emerging allegations and another police investigation over the pension scandal.

His return is just in time for Friday's EGM, which will be webcast.

The BBC report is here and has focussed on the pension tax avoidance scandals in which both Mr Parry Jones and Carmarthenshire's Mark James took part.

Mr James also received an unlawful libel indemnity, as readers will be aware. So far, he appears to be getting away with both.

Mark James

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's hope not for much longer - but this is Wales!