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“The Persistence of Mummery” – NYCC Hunkers Down

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“The Persistence of Mummery” – NYCC Hunkers Down

  • an “In My View” article by Nigel Ward – reporting on a rather naïve and futile attempt by the North Yorkshire County Council Standards Committee to hinder the further investigation of wrong-doing within County Hall.

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NYCC_Persistence_of_Mummery

. . . . . after Salvador Dali’s – “The Persistence of Memory”

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

On 16th December 2013, the Standards Committee of North Yorkshire County Council met to hear a complaint against me which, according to Standards Committee Chair, County Councillor Caroline PATMORE, was instigated by NYCC Chief Executive Officer Richard FLINTON, whose interests would be well served by shutting me up. (Should he have declared that personal and prejudicial interest and withdrawn from the case?)

This, in itself, is a curious abuse of the Standards Committee, which is constituted for the sole purpose of considering complaints against elected members. (For clarity, I am not an elected member of North Yorkshire County Council).

Be that as it may; Richard FLINTON is Chief Exec, and what Richard says goes – at least amongst the 24,000 people employed by NYCC.

It has taken over a month for the outcome of this bizarre hearing to be  communicated to me.

Amongst the heinous charges laid at my door were that I have (allegedly):

a) made complaints against the Council, Council Officer and County Councillors (examples included),

b) published articles on the Real Whitby web-site (examples included),

c) used a certain tone in my correspondence (examples included),

d) wasted in excess of £28K of Officer-time (accounting not included; this figure appears to have been pulled out of thin air),

e) made sixty requests for information since 2009 (examples included).

Those examples, incidentally, occupy 391 of the 453 pages of Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN’s Report to the Standards Committee. Do you imagine that the members actually read them all? Did they grasp all that is therein contained? (Committee Member County Council David JEFFELS, remember, was witnessed to nod off at the Northern Area Committee Meeting last Wednesday, no doubt sleeping off his sumptuous free lunch).

Personally, I do not believe that they read them. But I did. I wrote them – having researched them all to the bone.

It is noteworthy that Carole DUNN is reportedly incandescent with personal rage against me for having exposed her cover-up machinations. (Should she have declared that personal and prejudicial interest and withdrawn from the case?)

Of course, it goes without saying that I was not permitted to be present at the hearing. I was not invited to submit a written rebuttal. I was not invited to appoint a representative to attend on my behalf, to safeguard my interests. Effectively, I was ‘tried’ in absentia by members of the Standards Committee who themselves may be subjects of investigation.

Indeed, as mentioned above, one member of the Standards Committee is County Councillor David JEFFELS – who has already been exposed by Real Whitby, both as a ‘double-dipper’ and as a Mileage Expenses ‘masseur’. It takes some chutzpah for a guilty man to take part in trying his accuser, even in absentia. Then again, David JEFFELS has made it known, amongst friends, that he will not be standing again – either at the next SBC elections (next year) or for County in 2017, on account of his bitter resentment of the disclosures published on the Real Whitby Magazine. In cash terms (our cash), his resentment against Real Whitby will add up to £26,166.77 per annum in lost revenue when David JEFFELS no longer holds his present positions at NYCC and SBC. (Should he have declared that personal and prejudicial interest and withdrawn from the case?)

In fairness, though, I did attend a meeting at County Hall on 4th December 2013, in company with Mike WARD (no relation – Mike is an Independent and unilaterally-respected Scarborough Borough Councillor), and Nick HENDERSON (the highly-experienced anti-corruption activist), with County Councillor Caroline PATMORE and the two Independent Persons for Standards, Mrs Hilary Gilbertson MBE and Ms Louise Holroyd.

I was offered an opportunity to summarise my dealings with the Council, but only in general terms – no names, no pack-drill. Mike WARD pointed out that many of the embarrassing disclosures of wrongdoing that have arisen in recent times (some of which I shall return to, presently) had been first made public on Real Whitby, and these disclosure had done the Council a great service. Nick HENDERSON enquired why it was that I had been singled-out for attention, when he also has conducted rigorous examinations of the Council’s documentation (both published and disclosed under FOIA and in copious correspondence), yet was not ‘before the beak’ as I was. The three Council ladies did not contest the view that the distinction between Nick’s dealings with the Council and mine is simply this; I have published mine extensively – Nick has not. It is not Nick whom they are attempting to silence. Yet.

Standards_in_Public_Life

http://www.public-standards.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Annual-report-Final-for-publication-190813.pdf

I concluded the meeting by formally appealing to the Chair and the two Independent Persons to collaborate with the Real Whitby investigations and root out corruption – to the greater good of the Council and the general public. Stony silence.

Recently, two County Councillors have been pressing for a significant reduction in the amount of Allowances paid to elected members. One of them was upbraided at County Hall recently by a senior County Councillor (of another party) with the words, “You bloody fool. Don’t you know we’re all in the same club?”

Yes, Councillor. We do know that. And we are not bloody fools.

Before proceeding to the details of the ‘verdict’ against me (it has been determined that my complaints “could be viewed as being unreasonably persistent”), let me offer a little of my own perspective. But first, note that that all-important caveatcould be viewed as – a clear and significant step short of directly asserting that my complaints actually were “unreasonably persistent”. As ever, much is concealed within the carefully chosen form of words; straight talking is not the forte of Council Legal Departments.

But Council Legal Departments are habitually insistent on availing themselves of their ‘right to reply’ and that their pronunciamenti be published into the public domain. So I know that the members of the Standards Committee will welcome this opportunity to read my opinion (for I, too, have a right to express my opinion; a right conferred upon me under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, to which this country is a co-signatory) on the matter through any medium and regardless of frontiers, in fact, here in today’s edition of the ‘In My View’ column.

Here follow the allegations:

a) made complaints against the Council, Council Officer and County Councillors

Guilty, m’lord. I did that.

I made Formal Complaints, on many occasions, about County Councillors failing to disclose required information on their Registers of Interests.

I made Formal Complaints about County Councillors failing to renounce c.£500 per annum IT/Broadband Allowances when they were already in receipt of IT/Broadband Allowances from the District/Borough Councils on which they simultaneously sat – “double-dipping”. Thirty-seven of them. Over up to eight years. (Incidentally, only one of them has evinced the integrity and decency to re-pay these utterly  immoral superfluous payments – County Councillor John McCARTNEY, from Selby. Salute, John!).

I made Formal Complaints, too, about the mismanagement (and ensuing corruption) associated with the roll-out of the £1.7M Extended Schools “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme, overseen by County Councillor Joe PLANT, from which certain well-informed businesses were able to more or less print money. Vouchers were forged – and vouchers were redeemable for cash at NYCC. One outfit picked up £113K through a ‘negotiated’ pay-out.

I made those Formal Complaints, yes. And in doing so, I complied rigorously with the Council’s adopted procedures.

Did I make those Formal Complaints “unreasonably persistently”?

On the contrary. Perhaps I have not been persistent enough. How persistent must one be to winkle the whole truth out of NYCC? Why is it that, having failed to deter me with obfuscation, prevarication and sheer stonewall non-responsiveness, they now resort to spurious allegations of “unreasonable persistence”?  Richard FLINTON (at least) knows the answer to that question: he does not want to see the results of my investigations featuring prominently on his curriculum vitae. A very personal interest – undeclared. But any black marks on his curriculum vitae are a consequence of his actions and omissions – not mine.

Should the wrong-doers be allowed to continue to exploit their privileged positions with impunity – doubling-up on their IT/Broadband Allowances, exploiting their Stamp Allowances, exaggerating their Travel Expenses, ‘leaking’ invaluable privileged information to family and friends – or the highest bidder?

No. It is in every citizens interests to stop them.

b) published articles on the Real Whitby web-site

Guilty, m’lord. I did. And many of ‘em.

I have published dozens of meticulously documented exposés of several  County Councillors, drawing upon public domain Council records, Freedom of Information responses, Court records (both here and in the United States), recorded witness statements, ‘leaked’ correspondence, informants within the Councils, other news sources and so on and so forth.

This is not the first attempt to silence me. On 28th March 2013, Scarborough Borough Council‘s Head of Legal & Democratic Services Loisa DIXON demanded, under threat of civil and criminal legal action, that all of my articles (and those of Real Whitby contributors  Tim HICKS and Tim THORNE) be removed from the Real Whitby web-site forthwith (and the site closed down), on the entirely spurious grounds that they contain libellous and defamatory statements. They do not. So we called her bluff. And bluff it was. Because every word we publish is backed by hard evidence. When asked to provide examples of any defamatory comments, Lisa DIXON was unable to produce even one – thereby attracting national ridicule by being declared ‘Runner-up’ in the coveted “Legal Bully of the Year” Award from Private Eye – her second appearance the Eye in less than a year.

But that was the Borough Council and here we are discussing the County Council (though several of the Councillors named here sit – or sat – on both).

c) used a certain tone in my correspondence

Guilty, m’lord. I did use a certain tone. Formal, precise, courteous – but leavened with a degree of irony and (I hope) wry humour. My prose is quite deliberately rather old-fashioned (too much Trollope, perhaps); one correspondent described it as ‘Pepysian’.

I try, when I write, to remind Councillors and Officers that they are fellow human beings first, and public servants only second to that. In some cases, they seem to have forgotten both – and certainly the latter. Councillors are elected public servants and Officers are paid public servants. Servants, remember. Should I grovel before them?

I have conducted my correspondence always mindful that others may read it. I have not written flagrantly offensive emails (like Councillor Bill CHATT), nor posted embarrassing outbursts on the web at 4:40am (like Councillor Joe PLANT). So, yes. I have used a certain tone. A measured one. Sharp and firm.

And I have hitherto refrained from making reference to episodes from the private lives of Councillors and Officers, since I am concerned only with the functions that they are duty-bound to perform in their respective positions as public servants. Hitherto.

I am reviewing that constraint at the present moment. Is it in the wider public interest to expose the sexual peccadilloes, substance-abuse issues or domestic-violence incidents of public servants – as do the tabloids?  Perhaps only if legitimate complaints are perpetually stone-walled . . . or perhaps I should keep those secrets to myself.

d) wasted in excess of £28K of Officer-time

Aside from the fact that no break-down of that figure has been evidenced (and, therefore, I can enter no plea – though I would nevertheless dispute the use of the verb “wasted”), I wonder why the Standards Committee did not see fit to off-set it against the money that could have been saved, courtesy of Real Whitby, by stopping payment of the double-dipping, recovering the Mileage over-claims or the forged “Me Too!” Voucher disbursements? A vital purpose of exposing corruption is to prevent (or at least minimise) the plunder of the public purse. Speaking of which, Carmarthen County Council Chief Exec Mark JAMES has just found himself in very hot water for using the public purse to underwrite legal action against his denouncer. According to inside information, Scarborough Bully Council set aside £100,000 of our money to close down Real Whitby and to threaten three local investigative-journalists with civil action and/or arrest.

NYCC, having performed poorly in the courts (remember the ‘Irton Tree’ incident? – and keep an eye on the Tariq Mamood case), is unlikely to repeat Lisa DIXON’s crass stupidity (though some Councillors believe Lisa DIXON is now in line for a career-advance to Carole DUNN’s post as Head of Legal at County; no blunder is necessarily career-terminal in local government – though now and then inadequate or otherwise embarrassing Officers quietly transfer to another ‘authority’).

e) made sixty requests for information since 2009

Guilty. m’lord. I have not counted them, but the record will show that many of those 60 requests (over 5 years – one per month, on average) were requests for clarification of such information as was (grudgingly) provided in response to earlier requests. Extracting information from NYCC (or indeed every Council with whom I have dealt) is like attempting to draw horse-teeth with plastic tweezers. It required, for example, a lengthy thread of correspondence to extract the telling information that there have been a total of 37 (out of a possible 72) County Councillors ‘double-dipping’ their IT/Broadband Allowances in recent years.

Coincidentally, there have been 37 Formal Complaints against County Councillors in the past 5 years – only one of which was fully upheld, with the ‘guilty’ Councillor sentenced to a 15-minute ‘retraining’ session with the Monitoring Officer ["A biscuit with your coffee, Councillor?" - "Thank you, no, Monitoring Officer. My word! Is it that time already?"], no doubt claiming the Mileage to attend. With the prospect of such Draconian sentencing hanging over them, one can only wonder that County Councillors muster the courage even to round-up their Mileage claims to the nearest quid – much less fictionalise a series of ‘impossible journeys’.

Summing up, then, I cannot be surprised by the ‘verdict’: that my complaints could be viewed as being unreasonably persistent”. I am sure they could – by County Councillor David JEFFELS, for example – he with the grudges to bear.

And what of my ‘sentence’?

Apparently, it has been determined that future complaints from me “should be considered, evaluated and dealt with in that light”. And subsequently – one might anticipate – be long-windedly dismissed. No change there, then.

Furthermore, “in all cases the Council’s Policy in relation to the handling of unreasonably persistent complaints should be followed”. No point in reporting anything serious, then. Allegations of a series of serious sexual assaults on three separate victims on 3rd September 1983 and the days shortly thereafter (more to follow soon on this one – it’s a corker!). Reports of that nature, from an “unreasonably persistent complainant” can be dismissed out-of-hand – just as they were in the case of the late Jimmy SAVILE (and former Conservative County Councillor Peter JACONNELLI, for half a century a prolific predatory paedophile).

And, finally, future Freedom of Information requests from me (if any) are to be “evaluated” in order to determine whether or not they are “vexatious”. What if they are? How would that de-legitimise the? And how will they decide? Or have they, perhaps, already decided? How will they know that particular requests come from me? What if they come from others, writing under a pseudonym? What if someone uses my name as a pseudonym? What if someone wishes to lodge an FOIA request and seeks my guidance on the form of words to use? Will it be mistakenly identified, by the writing-style, as being from me – and summarily declared “vexatious”?

How very simple it will be fpr NYCC to deftly evade providing incriminating answers to searching questions in the public interest – simply by declaring the questioner to be me, and me to be “vexatious”. Freedom of Information? Licensed secrecy, more like.

The ‘verdict’ was finally imparted to me this Thursday by Moira BEIGHTON, Senior Lawyer (Governance), on behalf of none other than Assistant Chief Executive (Legal & Democratic Services) and Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN, who (according to several County Councillors) may have already left her position (under something of a cloud; she has been ridiculed in Private Eye, too) without ever facing investigation over my complaints against her (contrary to the terms of the NYCC Constitution).

That these public servants, cloistered within the opaque and impenetrable walls of County Hall, can be so hopelessly out of touch with modern life and evolving technology comes as no surprise. But that these public servants can seriously imagine that they have now expertly and effectively slammed the door in the face of legitimate investigation – in the public interest – is really quite extraordinary. They must be delusional.

All they have achieved is to broaden the beam of scrutiny to include a wider range of subjects and a wider spectrum of conduct who are likely to bring unwelcome attention upon themselves – and irreparable disrepute upon the Council. The tabloids reach a lot of readers with tales of alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual deviance and domestic violence. In the past, when public servants fell prey to temptation (or temper – or lust), they could rely on the Council to smother allegations and bury the truth under a mountain of legalistic documentation – and threats.

No longer.

In my view, it is they who have “wasted in excess of £28K” (if there is any truth in that unsubstantiated figure) of the NYCC Legal Department‘s time – not I. The members of the Standards Committee could keep up to speed simply by reading Real Whitby.

Real Whitby is evolving a ‘real-time’ sub-text to the practices and policies of local government – a historical record, written ‘in the now’. The Whitby Gazette does not do that, nor does the Scarborough News, nor the Northern Echo, nor even the Yorkshire Post. Only Real Whitby. And, of course, Private Eye.

Real Whitby alone provides an emergent archive of detailed analyses of North Yorkshire political events -not buried in the remote Minutes of obscure Committee Meetings, or on the files of the rapidly-collapsing Council auditors, Veritau Ltd, where the general reader seldom ventures – but in an accessible real-time narrative that traces the machinations of some of the most self-serving élitists in the County, who see themselves as masters, not servants – their true position.

They are not supermen and superwomen. They are fellow humans. They are fallible, as we are. They are greedy, as some of us can be greedy. They are egotistical, as some of us can be egotistical – and they are not especially clever. They differ from us fundamentally in that they see themselves as masters, with an “entitlement” to a bigger piece of the action. Goes with the territory. But they are mistaken. They are public servants who have forgotten their duty to their true masters – the public. They have even forgotten already about the double-dippers amongst their ranks who failed to gain re-election last year.

But Google has not forgotten them. Oh, no.

Google has not forgotten County Councillor John BLACKBURN, or County Councillor Joe PLANT. Or County Councillor Derek BASTIMAN, or County Councillor Andy BACKHOUSE (big story breaking soon), or County Councillor Carl LES, or County Councillor David JEFFELS (and member of the Standards Committee), or former County Councillors Bill CHATT, Mike COCKERILL, or Brian SIMPSON. Or former County Councillor Jane KENYON.

Their names stand forever ineradicable in the on-line public-access annals of the Real Whitby Magazine – and on countless other blogs, web-sites and social media pages around the English-speaking world who have shared the Real Whitby articles – in the public interest. That’s the truth.

How persistent is that?

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RICHARD_FLINTON

 

Carole_Dunn

CLLR_DAVID_JEFFELS

Posted by on February 2, 2014. Filed under Featured,News,Nigel Ward - In My View. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

29 Responses to “The Persistence of Mummery” – NYCC Hunkers Down


  1. Steve Reply

    February 2, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Well put together article Nigel, but there again, it’s not rocket science when they make it so simple for you by breaking the codes of conduct time and time again. As for Freedom of Information requests, all I can say is if the information you wish to know was freely given to you then the public would not have to ask in the first place. It is the general public’s right, with results turning up against them time again, so whats the problem? or is it egg on their face? Now as for obtaining those requests lets just talk about me first, I know you have thousands of colleagues on the internet, I alone have more than 2000 of which a 1000 of them I personally know, any one of them would put a request in for me if I asked but I do not need to yet. People are interested in whats happening around them but not all want to pop their heads up above the water (so we use submarines).

    The council issued me a parking ticket and stated it was 60 seconds over, yes 60 seconds, so in return I will pursue them to the hill every wrong doing every scrap of information that I receive that my friends receive will be forwarded on to Real Whitby (two can play that game), we need to meet as we have a lot to talk about.
    Does anyone know who parking attendant 322 is? I would like to meet them to talk about 60 seconds whilst a road has been cut off that has nothing to do with the general public with no warning so you could not get back to your car, this is obviously backed up with photographic evidence (Stealth Tax) one of the easiest ways to turn the general public against you.

    As for Cllr David Jeffels, I attended the Seamer Parish Council on the 14th January 2014 the meeting was closed all business done then Cllr David Jeffels turned up late and the Chairman Harry Smith opened the meeting again to go over all the articles to bring Cllr David Jeffels up to scratch, what do you expect though from a Chairman who as made it into Private Eye magazine!

    Many regards Steve

  2. wendy Reply

    February 2, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I’d love to know the expense bill for that meeting.

    • Richard Ineson Reply

      February 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      All you have to do is ask them for the figure, NYCC is a Conservative controlled Council, the Conservative Party is dedicated to transparency, openness, and accountability, that is the policy of the Coalition government, you will find that NYCC are only too willing to open the books and tell you anything you want to know. Good luck.

  3. Richard Ineson Reply

    February 2, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I am pleased to see that NYCC have decided to commence keeping an eye on our financial expenditure, not before time, in my view, – I see that Mr.Ward has “d) wasted in excess of £28K of Officer-time”. This is just really appalling, Nigel, you must try harder; take a few tips from NYCC or the former NYPA, the true professionals in the art of squandering public money -£890,000 and sixteen years, (how much ‘officer time’ has this involved?) ‘invested’ in the Whitby park and ride, with only a muddy field, with planning permission for the development of a car park, to show for it, £6.5 million invested in the increasingly unlikely to come to fruition, Knaresborough Waste Incinerator Scheme (full story to follow shortly) , £250,00 invested in cutting down the legendary Irton Tree,£75,000 spent on the ‘road to nowhere’,the £3.5 million shortfall on the sale of the Highways Depots, the internationally famous ‘bollard which never rises’ £15,000, plus £3,000 in telephone line rentals, etc. etc. yes, you’ve got a long way to go my boy. As regards these financial disasters,which make £28.000 spent on eliciting the truth from NYCC seem like a good investment, let us remember the words of ex County Councillor Miss Jane Kenyon, (herself no stranger, as the Chair of the now defunct North Yorkshire Police Authority and NYPA Management Board, to the flagrant waste of public money, remember the £28,400 Della Canning Memorial Shower? Or the £500,000 squandered on Range Rovers and Volvo V70s for the use of senior police officers as ‘command posts’) Miss Kenyon said, “Could not this money have been better spent on toys for deprived children or facilities for the elderly to improve their lives?” Or buses, to get the children of North Yorkshire to school? It is time that our Councillors took control of our employees and kept a tighter grip on Council finances, if they, the Councillors, did the job which they have been elected to do, then there would not be the need for any members of the public to make any enquiries at all.Trebles, as usual, all round.

  4. GERALD Reply

    February 2, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    ” they seem to have forgotten both – and certainly the latter. Councillors are elected public servants and Officers are paid public servants. Servants, remember. Should I grovel before them? ”
    Nay, nay sir, they are the feudal lords, thou art only a serf-slave, how dare thou speak thus ?????
    They have ‘titles’, yet your name is bare of address. They sit in offices … you only sit in your ‘umble’ home.

    ” used a certain tone in my correspondence” — change the toner cartridge in your printer.

    ” making reference to episodes from the private lives of Councillors and Officers,” .. God forbid you do that, they’ll have to leave the country.

    ” But that these public servants can seriously imagine that they have now expertly and effectively slammed the door in the face of legitimate investigation – in the public interest – is really quite extraordinary. They must be delusional.” ..
    Not delusional, as feudalists they live in a different century, feudalism didn’t end with the ”Glorious revolution” when ‘James’ was driven out, feudalism became the ‘mother’ of the rising capitalist child, the ‘holy saviour’. Conservatism ( not only the members of the conservative party, but new labour and lib-dems, all those who wallow in conservatism.) still has its feet firmly planted in ‘privilege without responsibility’, except to each other.
    Capitalism, to these type of people, in its most crude and vulgar form as they grasp it, is simply putting money into their bank accounts, starting with allowances and expenses, and then everything else they can grab.
    Hardy any of these councillors could in actual fact, run a business successfully, even if the are all in favour of ‘capitalism’. In Leeds, we have ninety nine councillors, everyone committed to the capitalist system, yet it would be hard to find half a dozen of them who could or have tried to run a business, and then only a small one. Being a councillor, is ‘the business”.
    Under the feudal system, councils were the property and extension of the monarch, via the feudal lords. So all councillors were ‘servants’ of those above them, not those below them, the public.
    One day there will come a ‘democratic revolution’ and these people will be the cause of it, not the working or middle classes. The attitude, which is completely reactionary, of this type of councillor is what’s causing most damage to the existing system, Woe to the monarch, the reaction provoked will remove them.
    It’s not without reason as to why ‘real capitalists’, those who build and run businesses, the practioners, hate them. The most interesting thing about councillors who are in favour of capitalism, is that the larger majority of them, have never spoken to an actual capitalist.

    ” They are fellow humans. They are fallible, as we are. They are greedy, as some of us can be greedy. They are egotistical, as some of us can be egotistical – and they are not especially clever.”
    I agree with your last point regarding ‘clever’ ‘not especially’, which in my own experience of councillors I can fully sympathise with, most are simply there as ‘yes’ voters for their party, the donkeys, the rest I will have to consider carefully.

  5. ken graham Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Sounds like a Kangaroo court to me !

  6. James Miller Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Hi Nigel. Sorry if I have not taken all of this in but it is, for some of us wrinklies, still early in the morning.

    One thing I have absorbed is the overweening arrogance of these people. To consider that an elector of this County (or any other county for that matter) cannot expect answers to questions about his or her ‘elected’ representatives is the most pompous, Colonel Blimp-like, self important attitude I have experienced since my regular dealings with SBC some years ago. But then again, many of them are the same people and have the same disdain for democratic accountability. The views they hold seem to be similar to those held by many politicians in the so called developing nations, that once elected they can use public money as if it were their own and that they are only answerable to their own supporters, who being supporters are not interested in malfeasance on the part of officials, only in whether their own interests are being served. Other groups with differing views do not matter at all.

    Modern democracies, especially those based on the beliefs of the British liberal philosophers since Victorian times, tend to hold to the view that a mandate from the largest group of people who actually vote is not a mandate to ignore other members of society (if indeed society exists). As far as possible other opinions and beliefs must be safeguarded. This view seems to be completely ignored on the Yorkshire Coast’s governmental and quasi governmental bodies. ‘We have a mandate, so we can do what we like and nobody can question us,’ seems to be the prevailing view amongst these appalling people.

    Perhaps they should consider the view of Voltaire, who whilst he was only a Frenchman, so doesn’t count in the fiefdom of North Yorkshire, is still considered by many educated people to be a great thinker and democrat; “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” But perhaps that is too deep for a group which seems to take its collective thinking from Winnie-the-Pooh rather than Winnie the great democrat and war leader.

    Now, the point I seem to not be able to find is, what punishment are they going to inflict? Has the law been changed so that nuisance democrats can be whipped or have their hands chopped off? Are we to take lessons from the Ayatollahs or the Taliban? Their closed session ‘hearing’ seems to be totally against the principles of natural justice or indeed British Common Law. Have they no proper lawyers amongst them? Or maybe just proper Charlies? I have apostrophised ‘hearing’ because it appears nobody was actually heard except the Charlies.

    I myself on one occasion complained about a two hatted councillor when I heard him bragging about how he fiddled a small amount of expenses money. No statement was taken. No interview. No questions. simply a verdict from, I think, Ms. Dunn, that he was not guilty because he ‘wouldn’t do that’. It is vaguely reminiscent of the Red Queen in Alice. ‘ Sentence first, then the verdict.’

    This would be laughable if it were not so sad.

  7. Nigel Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 9:04 am

    @admin:

    I perceive that the FaceBook ‘Like’ button has screwed up again. Phenomenal support on FB (even more than my last article – 3,000 ‘Likes’) is just not registering here on RW. Many people are reporting that the ‘Like’ button does not appear on their screens at all. It is not appearing on mine. If you cannot fix it, perhaps it would be better to scrap it altogether. It is very misleading.

  8. Tom Brown Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Is there a Lubyanka in North Yorkshire?

    • Tim Hicks Reply

      February 5, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Tom,

      Yes. It is called the custody suite at Fulford Road Police Station, York. They send all the toughest political prisoners there.

      Tim

  9. David Clark Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Well done Nigel. This sort of thing has been going on virtually unchecked for years, I cannot speak for all Local Authorities, but it seems that there are several in this part of the country where similar things are going on, and are yet to be properly investigated. I hope you got the papers I sent you OK Nigel.

  10. James Miller Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    @ Tom Brown.

    No but there is plenty of things that rhyme with Lubyanka. I am, of course thinking of a canker. Honest.

  11. Glenn Kilpatrick Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    With regards to Facebook likes, Ive just clicked like myself and it worked instantly. are people coming to the page to click and if so what are they experiencing ?

  12. alan heseltine Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    test

  13. R. Connolly Reply

    February 3, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Well done Nigel. Keep up the great work. There is alot to be done to remove those without scruples from their posts. I believe Common Purpose is a sceptic tank breeding and training todays ´floaters´ to block honesty and ethical behaviour. This is clearly the tip of a systemic iceberg which reaches beyond our shores
    and throught Europe – country by country and within the EU/C and links with the beyond.. The ´elite´ love dirt – any past wrongdoings can be used to blackmail and perpetuate criminal wromgs. I support the common law movement and hope that decent men and women together can turn Our World around and back to healthy and caring ways.

  14. steve broe Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 10:03 am

    well written sir ! It’s hilarious that they think so much of themselves they believe themselves above the law and can act with impunity.. Keep digging. It’ll all come out in the wash.. It may also come out in the National papers.. I do hope they read this ))

  15. Julian Armitage Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 10:31 am

    “Of course, it goes without saying that I was not permitted to be present at the hearing. I was not invited to submit a written rebuttal. I was not invited to appoint a representative to attend on my behalf, to safeguard my interests. Effectively, I was ‘tried’ in absentia ” Obviously THEY are unread and have never turned the pages of ” 1984 ” How many fingers am I holding up?? or ” The Trial ” Your guilty because your guilty

    How dare you throw open the shutters of County Hall and throw the light on those that work there…..carry on Nigel

  16. Nigel Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I was copied into an email last night. I would like to share it with you all:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Tim Thorne
    Sent: 03 February 2014 22:53
    To: Tim Thorne

    Subject: BBC Inside Out TV Show

    Hello,

    You may remember me mentioning that I’d been interviewed by the BBC about some articles I put on the Real Whitby website. Well, they’re airing the show on both BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire and BBC North East & Cumbria next Monday evening at 7.30pm on BBC1. I think we get around 20 minutes air time with the potential for millions of viewers to see the programme.

    The topics I’ve been asked about are SBC’s failed Town Hall move, the FOI requests I made trying to find out what was the real reason the move was called off and SBC’s heavily redacted response telling nothing at all. Just had a response from the ICO on my attempts to get hold of that legal advice and SBC have told the ICO they’re not going to divulge it as the advice is still current, so SBC still has plans to move the Town Hall despite indicating otherwise.

    The BBC also asked about some Potash stories. Specifically, Cllr Tim Lawn’s purchase of land next to the minehead site before the minehead location was officially announced, information missing from his register of interests that was eventually reported to the Police, the theatre tickets likely bought by Jim Dillon on his Council Credit Card, which were then passed onto William Woods of York Potash and then gifted to then SBC Councillor Tim Lawn, who was also chairman of the NYMNPA planning committee at that time.

    They also asked about the Broadband allowance double dipping and the large number of North Yorkshire and Scarborough Borough Councillors who took both allowances from both Councils. There is also footage of the imfamous Seamer Parish Council meeting where the chairman called the Police on people who wanted to film the meeting for posterity. The Police told the chairman the people were doing nothing wrong and no offence had taken place.

    They didn’t interview me on the subject, but there is material about Jimmy Savile, his removal as a freeman of the Borough, Peter Jaconelli’s non-removal as an SBC Alderman and the fact that most people in the Borough knew all about Jaconelli’s activities, yet he remained on the Council for decades and was allowed to abuse with impunity. I rather think this topic might headline the show.

    It also features North Yorkshire Police trying to harass Tim Hicks (Another Tim from the Real Whitby website) for daring to look at Police finances and also SBC Cllr Jane Kenyon’s conduct whilst she was chairman of the Police Authority. It is thought Jane Kenyon asked Police Officers to arrest him for harassment.

    The iPlayer links below:

    BBC North East & Cumbria
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03v37f6

    BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03v37bn

    Obviously these are just my impressions of what will be in the show and might not be accurate. BBC lawyers will have done due diligence on the material. You’re welcome to share the links around as they’re now live on the BBC website. Hopefully they won’t be too hard on we minnow amateur journalists.

    Kind regards,
    Tim Thorne

  17. Steve Reply

    February 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Glenn Kilpatrick, I cannot even see a like button.

  18. Frank Chalmers Reply

    February 5, 2014 at 12:53 am

    It worked on my other machine… I can’t see it on this one (my tablet).

  19. stakesby legs Reply

    February 5, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Havent seen a like-button on here since the page layout changed. Laptop,tower or phone. i thought you had dumped it, Glen.

  20. Joan McTigue Reply

    February 5, 2014 at 10:11 am

    As someone who has been brought before the Standards Committee in Mbro more times than any other cllrs in the history of the town, I think I am something of an expert on these matters. I don’t know what you expect to achieve by all this campaigning but I assure you – it will probably be nothing. I have had 11 years of seeing this type of thing and the ONLY way you can stop it, is to have these cllrs replaced at the next and future elections. In my 11 years of experience, there are many, many people who voice their disgust at what goes on and shout from the rooftops over and over again – but none are willing to come forward and try for a cllr’s position in order to oust the guilty ones. In other words they need to put their money where their mouths are.

    • James Miller Reply

      February 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Many years ago, I did just that. Spent a few years on the parish council. I know that that is the lowest stratum of government but I thought that was one way of being heard. Nope. Your right in a way, it doesn’t work. Nobody attends parish council meetings except a few loonies like Nigel, the Tims and me (and I’ve given up after being promised a full report on something by a certain Br’er Fox and am still waiting many years later). The point is that somebody has to try telling people what really goes on. I know that the politicians won’t listen, I know that the system is so tied up and convoluted that it is virtually impossible to make a break-through. But, you have to keep nibbling at the edges so they don’t think they can have it all their own way.

      Lenin was reputed to have said ‘Liberty is precious, so precious it must be rationed’. I want my fair ration and I don’t want it nibbled away like my pension has been.

      @Glenn. Is it just my imagination or is RW using the old look layout?

  21. Sally H Reply

    February 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

    No ‘ like’ button on my screen.

  22. GERALD. Reply

    February 6, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Via Nigel Ward from T. Thorne. >>> ”You may remember me mentioning that I’d been interviewed by the BBC about some articles I put on the Real Whitby website. Well, they’re airing the show on both BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire and BBC North East & Cumbria next Monday evening at 7.30pm on BBC1.”

    That will be Monday the tenth, hopefully it will be copied and posted onto Youtube, for futher reference.

  23. GERALD. Reply

    February 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    ” On 16th December 2013, the Standards Committee of North Yorkshire County Council met to hear a complaint against me (Nigel Ward.) which, according to Standards Committee Chair, County Councillor Caroline PATMORE, was instigated by NYCC Chief Executive Officer Richard FLINTON, ——
    This, in itself, is a curious abuse of the Standards Committee, which is constituted for the sole purpose of considering complaints against elected members. (For clarity, I am not an elected member of North Yorkshire County Council).” ————–Ahhh co-opted.
    …………………………………………………………..
    North Yorkshire County Council
    We have a standards committee which promotes high standards of conduct in the council.
    The committee assists and advises councillors and the council on ethical issues; monitors the operation of our code of conduct; and, where necessary, determines complaints that councillors may have breached the code.
    …. Members
    The standards committee has five elected council members: County councillor Andrew Goss. County councillor Helen Grant. County councillor David Jeffels. County councillor Caroline Patmore. County councillor Peter Sowray.
    Also invited to meetings of the committee are: Mrs Hilary Gilbertson MBE, independent person for standards; and Ms Louise Holroyd, independent person for standards.

    Responsibilities
    The standards committee is responsible for all functions of the council relating to ethical standards,
    including:
    Exercising all functions in respect of the publication of independent person for standards’ vacancies (sub-delegated to the monitoring officer, in consultation with the chair of the committee);
    Assisting in the recruitment of independent persons for standards to the standards committee (but not approving individual appointments); and
    **** Assisting where requested in the designation and handling of persistent and/or vexatious complaints and complainants. ****

    ————————————————————————

    EAST RIDING COUNTY COUNCIL.
    The Standards Committee operates to guide the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and town and parish councils within the East Riding area, on the promotion of high standards of conduct by members.
    The main functions of the Standards Committee are to:
    consider complaints that the conduct of a councillor* has failed to comply with the code of conduct adopted by their council and to determine whether or not those complaints should be investigated; make arrangements under which members’ conduct can be investigated;
    make arrangements under which decisions on allegations about members’ conduct can be made, following the completion of an investigation.
    * Reference to councillor includes members of town and parish councils.
    The Standards Committee, in conjunction with the Monitoring Officer, will provide advice and training for members of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and town and parish councils within the East Riding area.
    A Hearing Committee will be arranged to determine complaints that have been referred for investigation where it is considered that a breach of the code of conduct has been established.
    ………………………………………..
    WIKIPEDIA. — The Standards Board for England, branded as Standards for England, was a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Established following the Local Government Act 2000, it was responsible for promoting high ethical standards in local democracy. It oversaw the Code of Conduct, which covers elected and co-opted members who serve on a range of authorities. The board maintained an independent national overview of local investigations into allegations that members’ conduct may have fallen short of the required standards.— Standards committees can suspend members for up to six months. The Adjudication Panel can disqualify members for up to five years. The Standards Board for England also provided advice and produced formal guidance to members and officers on the Code of Conduct.
    The board was be abolished under current plans by the British government as part of its 2010 economic and governmental reforms (2010 UK quango reforms). It ceased to function on 31 January 2012 and was formally abolished on 31 March 2012.
    …………………

    As it becomes extremely clear that the standards committees were set up to only deal with misconduct of councillors, not members of the public, then one can only wonder when, where and why this ”sentence” as POLICY **** Assisting where requested in the designation and handling of persistent and/or vexatious complaints and complainants. **** came from.
    As its clearly ANTI ethical it breaches the guidelines, nationally and locally, for such committees.
    Which puts all the councillors who agreed to its inclusion, and it must have been agreed at a full council meeting, into a position of misconduct and fully open to accusations of favouring corrupt practices by councillors.
    Which means also that the council’s Standards Committee should now begin a full investigation into the conduct of the councillors who sat on the committee on the 16th December 2013. … and also into the mis-conduct of the council.
    Which should be of national interest, as ALL the councillors had agreed to this POLICY being included.
    Hopefully a complaint will be lodged with the council.

    The standards committee not only covers elected members, but also ‘co-opted’ individuals, so the question as to why the council has ‘co-opted’ Mr Nigel Ward, without his knowledge or agreement, also needs to be answered. That could result in a civil law case for damages.
    As such a POLICY can by rights ONLY apply to councillors, the electors need to know how many councillors have been indulging in ” persistent and/or vexatious complaints” AS ”complainants.”

  24. Nigel Reply

    February 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I notice that I omitted to include the following link in my article:

    http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/article/23633/The-ethical-framework

    As you will see, it all looks rather splendid on paper. If only the actual practice bore even a passing resemblance to the ‘blurb’.

    It is called ‘The Ethical Framework’ – henceforth to be known as ‘The Mythical Framework’:

    “THE ETHICAL FRAMEWORK”

    “Elected councillors and voting co-opted members on council committees (collectively known as “members”) must comply with our ethical framework in discharging their duties.

    Such members must adhere to a code of conduct for members, which places general conduct obligations upon them, for example, not treating others with disrespect, and which also requires them to:

    Disclose the existence and nature of disclosable financial interests to meetings of the authority and its committees and then to withdraw from the meeting (unless they have a dispensation from the standards committee or monitoring officer); and
    Register certain statutorily prescribed disclosable financial interests in the register of members’ interests, which is open to public inspection during office hours.

    All complaints that a member may have breached the members’ code of conduct must be made, in writing, to the monitoring officer. Please see the standards committee page for more information about making a complaint.
    The role of the leader and chief executive officer in the ethical framework

    The roles of the leader of the council and the chief executive officer are set in protocol in relation to the ethical framework. Both are committed to setting and encouraging high ethical standards and promoting the ethical agenda inside and outside the authority. They will support and facilitate the work of the standards committee and monitoring officer in relation to the ethical framework in the following joint and individual ways:

    Jointly:

    Publicly committing themselves to working together to uphold the ethical wellbeing of the authority and affirming that each fully subscribes to the authority’s ethical agenda and expects all officers and members to do likewise;
    Leading by example, acting at all times with integrity, propriety and impartiality in the discharge of their roles;
    Helping to ensure that members and officers are clear about their respective roles and what is expected of them;
    Seeking the advice of the monitoring officer on declarations of interests and ethical issues where necessary;
    Having due regard to the advice of the monitoring officer and standards committee;
    Being available for consultation on key ethical issues;
    Taking appropriate action, where necessary, on particular ethical issues;
    Receiving and considering the agenda for, and minutes of, the standards committee’s meetings;
    Attending standards committee to discuss relevant issues (at least once per year);
    Promoting the work of the standards committee;
    Where appropriate, including the chair of the standards committee in the authority’s wider corporate governance meetings and activities;
    Proactively supporting a member and officer ethical training and development programme;
    Supporting action taken by the standards committee and monitoring officer in furtherance of the authority’s codes of conduct, the ethical framework generally; and
    Ensuring that support for the authority’s ethical agenda is adequately resourced.

    The chief executive officer:

    Recognising the importance of the ethical and wider corporate governance agenda in the authority’s management board; and
    Regularly meeting and directly supporting the monitoring officer on key issues and individual matters arising out of the ethical and governance agenda.

    The leader:

    Holding regular leader’s meetings where the chief executive officer and/or monitoring officer may raise issues; and
    Supporting the monitoring officer as necessary in reporting to executive, full council and other committees regarding the ethical agenda.”

  25. GERALD. Reply

    February 6, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Ah yes, well, that only covers Elected councillors and voting co-opted members on council committees, nowhere does it cover co-opting innocent members of the electorate, without their knowledge or consent !!!!!!!!!!!!
    To hold a trial of any member of the public, an elector, means the Standards committee first had to co-opt them.

    ”’ The roles of the leader of the council and the chief executive officer are set in protocol in relation to the ethical framework. Both are committed to setting and encouraging high ethical standards and promoting the ethical agenda inside and outside the authority. ”’
    ”’ Taking appropriate action, where necessary, on particular ethical issues; Receiving and considering the agenda for, and minutes of, the standards committee’s meetings; ”’

    ” The role of the leader and chief executive officer in the ethical framework, ‘ Receiving and considering the agenda for, and minutes of, the standards committee’s meetings; ”’ — Which means both are fully aware that all the members present on 16th December 2013, at the Standards Committee of North Yorkshire County Council were FULLY in breach of the councils code of ethics. Blatant misconduct.

    ‘The Ethical Framework’, is a corrupt framework, as it doesn’t cover members being respectful to the public, the electors. In the case of NYCC, this has allowed the members of the committee to slander and libel maliciously a member of the public (how many more ? ). NO member of the Standards committee can plead ignorance that they only cover members and not the public.

    THIS POLICY >> **** Assisting where requested in the designation and handling of persistent and/or vexatious complaints and complainants. **** is of interest, which as it only COVERS members, elected or co-opted, it clarifies and verifies that some members have been involved in ” persistent and/or vexatious complaints ”, otherwise there would be no need for such a policy.
    ” All complaints that a member may have breached the members’ code of conduct must be made, in writing, to the monitoring officer. Please see the standards committee page for more information about making a complaint.”
    It should be checked to see if The leader or chief executive officer made any complaint after reading the minuets of the December meeting.

  26. Steve Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Hi,I still cannot see any like button on all the articles what so ever, is it just me? I am running Windows 8.1


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