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(S)TOP SECRET – Parish Clerks: The Giant Leeches

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(S)TOP_SECRET

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Following the unexpectedly positive response to my recent article about Seamer & Crossgates Parish Council in the Borough of Scarborough (where there are 39 Parish and Town Councils) – I have received a number of requests to report on a largely unpublicised little ‘closed-shop’ just a few miles to the north of the town, where the ‘part-time’ Parish Clerk (and Responsible Financial Officer) has been operating a ‘nice little earner’. Asking around amongst my Councillor confidants over the past week, I was surprised to discover that hardly anyone knows the name of Mrs Jools MARLEY.

I have been corresponding with Jools MARLEY in her capacity as Parish Clerk to Newby & Scalby Parish Council where she works 25 hours a week.

Rather like her counterpart at Seamer & Crossgates Parish Council, Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY still believes that her Council’s Standing Orders came down from the mountain with Moses – and neither Act of Parliament nor public demand shall ever cast them out of the temple. She seems to believe that the Rt. Hon. Eric PICKLES, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, is barking up the wrong tree when he insists that:

“An independent local press and robust public scrutiny is essential for a healthy local democracy. We have given councils more power, but local people need to be able to hold their councils to account. We are taking action against town hall Pravdas which are undermining the independent free press, but I want to do more to help the new cadre of hyper-local journalists and bloggers.

I asked for councils to open their doors, but some have slammed theirs shut, calling in the police to arrest bloggers and clinging to old-fashioned standing orders.

It was Mrs Thatcher who introduced the right to attend council meetings back in 1960. It is right that we now bring her legacy up to date with the digital age. Councillors should not be shy about the good work that they do.

This new right will be the key to helping bloggers and tweeters as well as journalists to unlocking the mysteries of local government and making it more transparent for all. My department is standing up for press freedom.”

Confronted by the reality of members of the public attending meetings of Newby & Scalby Parish Council and recording some extraordinary departures from the Council’s own protocols by County/Borough/Parish Councillor Derek ‘First Class’ BASTIMAN, Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY announced that there would be no use of ‘electronic devices’ to film/video, audio-record, live-stream or Tweet meetings and that, instead, the Council would henceforth be recording meetings itself.

So, on 10th October 2013, I sent her an FOIA request for a copy, in *.wav format, of the Council’s own audio-recording of the meeting held on the preceding evening – 9th October 2013.

Two weeks later, on 24th October 2013, Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY wrote to inform me that:

  • “. . . the council will need to incur a cost of £5.00 on purchasing the necessary equipment to convert the recording from analogue to digital.”

In due course (having raised the five pounds through public subscription), I sent her a cheque for a fiver. Scarcely had I dropped the envelope in the post when I received an email from Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY informing me that:

  • The fee note in the sum of £5 issued to you on 24th October 2013 is hereby withdrawn and cancelled with immediate effect.”

Naturally, I was delighted by this magnanimous gesture, so I responded to her congratulating her on her exemplary service and asking her to destroy my cheque and provide evidence of having done so. (I do not wish to have my bank account number and sorting code bandied around the corridors of power).

On 5th November 2013, I received an email from Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY, informing me that the requested audio-file was being uploaded to a file-sharing website and that I would presently receive an email informing me that the file was ready for download. Furthermore,

  • “The file will be available for download for 7 days. For further information, please see here.”

Being thoroughly conversant with file-sharing websites, I did not follow the link “for further information”.

But on 14th November 2013, having heard nothing further, I emailed Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY asking her for the promised link.

On the 18th November 2013 one week after the expiry of the 20 working-days time-limit on my FOIA request of 10th October 2013, I received the following information from Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY:

  • “Recordings are only kept by Council until the minutes of the meeting have been approved – that being the case, the Council no longer has any recordings for the meeting of 9th October 2013, therefore I am unable to provide you again with this information.”

What Mrs Jools MARLEY could not anticipate was the eventuality of privately-recorded audio being provided by a member of the Council; not every secret stays in the bag.

In the light of this miserly approach to transparency, one wonders if Mrs MARLEY learnt her trade from Ebeneeer SCROOGE . . .

In the greater scheme of public sector skulduggery, this is a trivial enough episode, but whenever I encounter conduct like this on the part of a paid public servant, I am motivated to investigate further. So I have been having a closer look at Mrs Jools MARLEY, Clerk to Newby & Scalby Parish Council, where she works 25 hours per week.

Mrs Jools MARLEY is also Clerk to Burniston Parish Council, were she is contracted to work 6 hours per week. Interestingly, she also designed (and has for the last 10 years maintained) the Council’s website.

Mrs Jools MARLEY is also Clerk to Cloughton Parish Council, were she styles herself ‘Mrs Julia MARLEY’ and is contracted to work 3 hours per week. Interestingly, she also designed (and has for the last 13 years maintained) this Council’s website, too.

And there is more.

Mrs Jools Marley is also Clerk to the Hackness & Harwood Dale Group Parish Council (comprising Broxa cum Troutsdale, Darncombe cum Langdale End, Hackness, Harwood Dale, Silpho and Suffield cum Everley Parish Councils), were she is contracted to work an undisclosed number of hours per week. Interestingly, she also designed (and has for the last 7 years maintained) this Group Council’s website.

And finally, Mrs Jools Marley is also Clerk to Staintondale Parish Council, were she also seems to have been contracted to work an undisclosed number of hours per week. Interestingly, she also designed (and has for the last 14 years maintained) this Group Council’s website.

In total, Mrs Jools MARLEY works at least 36 hours per week – even if she clocks only 1 hour per week at the two last-named Parish Councils on this list.

In 2009, the National Association of Local Councils recommended a sliding-scale remuneration full full- and part-time CiLCA-qualified Clerks of between £22,221 and £31,754. I do not know the hourly rate paid to Mrs Jools MARLEY by her various Councils. But I do know the salary of one local Clerk, based on a 36 hours per week contract – c. £28,000 per annum (plus superannuation).

Following the mandatory Procurement Process, that same Council paid almost £5,000 for its web-design, with a £500 per annum service charge.

The National Minimum Wage is £6.31 per hour, or £227.16 per 36 hour week. That equates to an annual salary of £11,130.84 gross for a 49-week year. We can reasonably conclude that, all in all, Mrs Jools MARLEY is picking up something like three times that amount.

But readers who follow the links provided above will quickly discern that the websites for Mrs Jools MARLEY’s above-named Parish Councils are all built to the same rather simplistic template. I think we might be interested to know how much each of the respective Parish Councils has paid out (from the public purse) to Mrs Jools MARLEY for her web-design and maintenance over the years, in addition to her basic salaries.

One might reasonably conclude that Parish Clerk Mrs Jools MARLEY is on a nice little number – except that the number is not so little.

And what is the public receiving in terms of value for money from our Parish Clerks? Are they, as many suggest, nothing more than leeches on the public purse?

Aside from the less than demanding standard duties of a Parish (or Town) Clerk, we may wish to consider Mrs Jools MARLEY’s attitude to the over-arching principles of openness, transparency and accountability, including of course statutory duties defined under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Localism Act 2011, much-vaunted by the Rt. Hon. Eric PICKLES.

We have already examined Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY’s highly dubious technique with regard to my own FOIA request.

Then there is the curious matter of the many different versions of Auto-Response sent out in response to particularly penetrating questions.

Other members of the public report similar evasion. One man felt compelled to report Mrs Jools MARLEY to SBC Monitoring Officer Lisa DIXON.

And Newby & Scalby Parish Council has already attracted the interest of the Department for Communities & Local Government.

Consequently, I have emailed the Clerk informing her, amongst other points, that:

“I intend to visit your various Parish Councils in due course, on an ad hoc basis, where I shall be exercising my right to film/video, audio-record, ‘live-stream’ and/or ‘Tweet’ the manner in which those Councils conduct there business.”

Let us see how Parish Clerk Jools MARLEY acquits herself in the court of public opinion.

I rather suspect that she is about to become a LEGEND in her own part-time.

JOOLS_MARLEY_WHO'S_NEXT

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Coming soon on Real Whitby

Pursuant to information received, Real Whitby investigative-journalists will be reporting on a historical North Yorkshire Police incident in the Kirby Misperton area, involving a massive waste of public funds.

GIANT_LEECHES

Posted by on November 24, 2013. Filed under 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

32 Responses to (S)TOP SECRET – Parish Clerks: The Giant Leeches


  1. rev phil; Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I think JUGULAR comes in the sentence I am not going to pen.
    :-)

    Namaste, rev phil;

  2. J.Dodds Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Another parish council with a familiar name designing the website.

    http://www.eastfieldparishcouncil.org.uk/index.htm

  3. Brian Dodds Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    So we have another little empire builder among our paid public servants, and like most of the others, no more open and transparent than a lead door, Mrs Jools Marley really has built herself a nice lucrative little business, all at tax payers expense of course. More and more of these parasites are being exposed, it seems another one appears every week or so, the whole system is rotten from the ground up, there needs to be a system in place that allows members of the public to bring these paid public servants into line, I have written to Eric Pickles once but received no reply , I shall try again, and again if necessary, it has to stop.

  4. Steve Old Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    It is nice to see the public scrutinising now and I am sure there are lots more to come. I went to Newby & Scalby, on a planning matter, I did not like what I heard and saw. I put a complaint into the Clerk, Jools Marley, she replied that the complaint was found to be unsubstantiated. I later found out that there were audio recordings, of the meeting, which I got the chance to listen to. These quite clearly proved that my initial complaint was substantial enough to be looked into. I wonder if Real-Whitby would care to publish that recording, with a piece of Jools Marleys reply, to let the general public judge for themselves?

  5. Steve Old Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Brian I did write to the Rt Ron Eric Pickles regarding Newby & Scalby which I did receive a reply things are well in hand for Jools Marley.

  6. Glenn Kilpatrick Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Nigel, are you telling me that a council paid £5000 for this http://www.staintondalepc.org.uk/ . if so I personally can only describe that as daylight robbery. I can’t comment on the £500 update subscription without knowing the amount of hours going into the site but I can tell you from researching update fees, that your looking at £15 to £40 an hour locally for that service.

  7. Steve Old Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Was the work Nigel for all these site tendered what are the rules or laws on councils paying for services?

  8. reeve Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Its Not complicated ,these people are public servants .SIMPLE … and as so are accountable ,like it or not to the public ….or is this too complicated for them to digest ?

  9. sallyh Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Looks very likely that Mrs. jools Marley has contracted ‘ fingers in pies -itis ‘ from Ms Jane Kenyon.

  10. Nigel Reply

    November 24, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    @ Glenn:

    I did not say that. If you read my remarks again you will see that I was referring to another Council – in fact, one much closer to home. I cannot recall the precise amount, but it was in that order – and it is not the only one.

    “But I do know the salary of one local Clerk, based on a 36 hours per week contract – c. £28,000 per annum (plus superannuation).

    Following the mandatory Procurement Process, that same Council paid almost £5,000 for its web-design, with a £500 per annum service charge.”

    Amazingly, it was correctly tendered. Heaven knows what figure the competition put in. Perhaps you should have put in a bid. That would have saved the public purse a significant amount of money – and provided the electorate with a decent website, in one fell swoop.

    So long as the public takes no interest in the actions of Parish Councils, all manner of profligacy will go on unchecked. The first question to be asked when scrutinising these local authorities is, “Where did the money go?”

    Fortunately, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 allows us to find out – or, at least, it would if the Councils responded honestly.

  11. Steve Old Reply

    November 25, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Is there not some kind conflict of interest here, do clerk’s not have to show their interests I have never seen one for Jools Marley who appears to be involved with quite a lot of council business?

  12. Glenn Kilpatrick Reply

    November 25, 2013 at 1:11 am

    OK, sorry. Im confused again

  13. Alan Reply

    November 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

    There are two main driving forces behind many actions, sex and money, money being a power attribute. We’re never going to make sexual activity transparent – I hope – but financial matters, especially where public finances are concerned, should be totally clear and transparent.
    I was surprised to find that financial matters at Newby and Scalby do not appear to be as transparent as one might wish. An example: the Agenda for that council simply state “To approve the Schedule of accounts paid” with no mention as to what has been paid, or to whom. So, unless I have overlooked it, we do not know what Jools is being paid. A similar state of affairs appears to be in order at Burniston, where a quick check under the Finance column does not seem to show any payments made to Jools for the last year, except that she is on SCP 26 which carries a minimum of £8.96/hour – the number of hours claimed seems nowhere to be found.I do note that there is a councillor B. Marley at Burniston – Perhaps Bob, like Elvis, is still around?
    I then tried Cloughton – Alas! As you pointed out this appears to be a clone of the earlier websites, with no mention of how much is paid to the clerk, except the amount per hour. The link to the Agendas for 2012/2013 is, like the link on Burniston’s site to the minute for April of this year, apparently broken.
    The public should know what is being paid out – it is THEIR money.
    A FOI request has been sent to Jools, requesting details of payments made by councils in the financial year 2012/2013

  14. HGW Reply

    November 26, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Parish Clerks require a little knowledge to function. This knowledge is often obtained at a cost to the Parish through training courses. This knowledge, however tenuous, is often enough to confuse and befuddle most Parish Councillors many of whom have been co-opted by friends of family already serving on a Parish Council and have little interest or knowledge of Parish matters and serve only to support their associates and to ensure lineage.

    Superior knowledge of the system and an inflated opinion of their capability however can create an overly dominant figure who has the capacity to distort Parish council proceedings. I have attended PC meetings where the Clerk had more input than Members, indeed it might have been concluded that the Members were superfluous to proceedings and served only to rubber stamp the wishes of the Parish Clerk.

    If Parish Clerks serve on a multitude of PC’s what happens if two Parish Assemblies are called for the same evening I wonder?

  15. James Miller Reply

    November 26, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Quite right HGW.

    I remember when Eastfield PC was first started and the ‘ruling’ clique appointed a Clerk who they thought would reflect their views which were to the right of Mrs. (Lady?) T. There were only 2 applicants for the post and it was so clear that this guy was the better of the two that the vote to appoint him was unanimous. Much to the shock/horror of Grattan Lockley, the Simpson of his time. He was even more dismayed when he discovered that the new Clerk was in fact very good and refused to become political even working well with the then Chair of Finance (Treasurer) who was far more of a centrist than the cabal of Neoconservative/ Trotskyists who had the majority of Councillors. Shortly after this that group collapsed as did the Labour leaning opposition group which left the field open for the Lib-Dems to take control with support from a few ‘mainstream’ Conservatives. The first clerk resigned, presumably partly in disgust at the political shenanigans. Just another piece of useless history which we never seem to learn from.

    Back to Nigel’s article,

    ‘Recordings are only kept by Council until the minutes of the meeting have been approved – that being the case, the Council no longer has any recordings for the meeting of 9th October 2013, therefore I am unable to provide you again with this information.’

    This is indeed strange behaviour from a public body that may want to explain in years to come what happened on a particular topic, and usually shows a desire from those in charge to be able to hide and deny any topic that may become embarrassing for them at a later time so that they never have to explain later. Under the Chairmanship of Brian Simpson this has also become regular behaviour at Eastfield. Presumably he has learned it from Newby and Scalby, and other PCs.

  16. GERALD. Reply

    November 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    There are those in the ‘know’ and those who do not know…. >>

    ” Parish councils were formed in England under the Local Government Act 1894 to take over local oversight of civic duties in rural towns and villages. Before this date a variety of groups based around ecclesiastical parishes had responsibility for these matters, in a system of local government that originated in the feudal system of the 8th century..”
    Dominated for centuries by squires and priests, and the devotees. No wonder that today most people ignor them, parish councils.

    And yet >>

    ” A parish council is a type of local authority found in England which is the lowest, or first, tier of local government. They are elected bodies and have variable tax raising powers.. ”
    ” In 1974, at the same time as the creation of successor parishes, the law was changed so that any parish council could pass a resolution to declare its area a “town”, with the council known as a “town council”. The majority of successor parishes, and a number of other small market towns now have town councils, whose powers are exactly the same as those of parish councils, although their chairmen are entitled to style themselves as “town mayor”. Similarly, a handful of parishes have been granted city status by letters patent: the council of such a parish is known as “city council” and the chairman is entitled to be known as the “city mayor”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parish_councils_in_England

  17. GERALD. Reply

    November 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Humour or just tongue in cheek ?

    The origins of parish councils date back to the Tudor period. With the decline of the feudal institutions and the dissolution of the monasteries, England needed new organisations to carry out local functions, such as looking after the poor and keeping the local roads in good condition.

    ( The birth of capitalism, state capitalism, this included new forms of taxation, the ending of catholic England [ Tony Blair and the 'New Labour Party' thinks otherwise.] )

    So Parliament imposed duties on the parishes. It made them responsible for collecting voluntary monies to look after the poor in 1536; registering baptisms, marriages and burials in 1538 and for maintaining the highways within their boundaries in 1555. In 1601, after several acts about the poor, Parliament made each parish fully responsible for looking after the poor of their parish and allowed parishes to levy a rate to fund this. These duties would remain largely unchanged until the nineteenth century.

    ( Newly expanded duties to include ‘bedroom tax”, and the Harold Shipman [one of the most prolific serial killers in recorded history by proven murders with up to 250 murders being ascribed to him.] ‘Care Pathway’ utilised in all hospitals and by G.P.s in your local area, plus the use of global cooling, which resulted in 31,000 people dying due to winter weather last year. — Independent newspaper >> There was a 29 per cent increase in deaths linked to the cold weather last winter, new figures have revealed. According to a report by the Office for National Statistics, “excess winter deaths” in England and Wales rose by almost a third compared with the previous year, with 31,000 additional deaths. The figures follow a bitterly cold start to the year. This March was the coldest since 1962, with an average monthly temperature of just 2.6C (36.7F). In March, 1,582 people died every single day – 14 per cent higher than average, the report states. — An achievement hopefully to be bettered this winter. )

    The parishes conducted their affairs through vestry meetings. Originally, all the people living in a parish, the parishioners, would meet in the church vestry to discuss parish matters. Chaired by the Priest, they met to vote money for church purposes and elect at least one of the two churchwardens.

    At first decisions were made by everyone, in what was called an ‘Open Vestry’. But some parishes moved to a small group making the decisions – a ‘Closed Vestry’. Closed vestries were initially more common in towns but became more common as the population grew. Whilst more efficient, it allowed a small group to remain in control – exactly the conditions for decisions to be made in self-interest and for corruption to occur.

    ( Interesting that parish council were/are officially the first rank of governance, as the political parties start with city councils as their bases. As such parish councils are negated from real use, by dominance of ‘politico’s’ and often the religious, who seem to think they still live centuries ago. )

    http://www.hertsdirect.org/your-council/work/localgovorg/townparish/history/

  18. sam Reply

    November 26, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    http://www.qsl.net/g0vfv/managers.htm

    Look at this website designed by jools marley looks like the same person to me

  19. sam Reply

    November 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    http://qrz.com/db/G0VFV

    Bob Marley is a radio amateur

  20. Steve Old Reply

    November 27, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Well spotted Sam Bob Marley is married or the partner to Jools Marley if you look at the website were it says http://www.qsl.net/g0vfv/ ” but most of the computing is left to the XYL, Jools” XYL is an abbreviation in Amateur radio for (Wife) http://www.hamuniverse.com/qsignals.html Bob Marley G0VFV in my view will be an interesting person to have a QSO with Radio Amateurs usually have good interests and G0VFV is a Morse man. Scarborough Amateur radio club once got their hands on a German Enigma machine for the general public to see. 73′s M0OLD http://qrz.com/db/M0OLD
    http://www.amateur-radio-wiki.net/index.php?title=Codes_and_Alphabets

  21. Nick Reply

    November 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Steve, it looks like you and the guy before you have great research skills, but how’s this:

    Freemason in the ointment anyone?

    http://www.burnistonparishcouncil.org.uk/docs/ROI_AH-BM-PT140812.PDF

    Perhaps Bob knows if that’s a good thing, or not.

  22. Doc Reply

    November 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    So when you don’t get your own way with one person, you try and dish the dirt on their partner or husband … that’s really the pits. You really do take your self-appointed special remit to a new level of zeal. I had thought that what Real Whitby was doing may be good , but I’m far from convinced now as you seem to think that anyone and everyone is fair game. In my view that shows a definite lack of principles and makes you as bad, if not worse, then the people you do articles about.

  23. Nigel Reply

    November 27, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    @ Doc.

    If you are addressing me, I would make two points to you. Firstly, I am the author of this article. I have made no reference to Mrs MARLEY’s partner. Secondly, I publish in my own name. I do not make a habit of responding to anonymous tirades, but I am making an exception because I find you remarks particularly obnoxious. If you are unable to rebut the points I have made on a factual basis and without resorting to insults, you will achieve nothing but to show yourself in a poor light. Remember that.

  24. HGW Reply

    November 28, 2013 at 9:06 am

    The role of the Parish Clerk is overweening. I have recently become aware that the power they enjoy even extends to deciding which Resident correspondence Members are allowed to see. This element of Democracy therefore is regulated by the Parish Clerk, an unelected employee.

    The notion of a busy life on the part of Residents as an explanation for lack of interest in Parish Councils cannot be avoided but I venture that attending meetings to simply witness Members spraying their territory, or for them to use the forum to support a personal interest are also contributory factors. I dare say there will be those who rightly say this is not allowed, (using public resources that is, to support a personal interest), but they will be overlooking the neat trick that Members are in fact allowed to pursue a personal interest whilst in public service and so avoid any possible accusation that they might have breached the Nolan Principles they have solemnly agreed to abide by. This is no risk politics, contrived for the benefit of Members and not the public they serve.

    My experience of Parish Councils is that they enjoy private club status, are riven with petty parochial score settling and they interpret the rules in a most creative manner. That said, I concede that in principle Parish Councils are the first tier of governance, but a lack of control has allowed them and some Members and Parish Clerks to corrupt this well meaning concept. They prosper because they are virtually untouchable and anyone inclined to complain requires the patience of a python given that Monitoring Authority will inevitably deploy its most potent weapon, indifference.

  25. David Clark Reply

    November 28, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Real Whitby article features in “Private Eye” again Seamer Parish Council and cllr Harry Smith . Rotten Boroughs.

  26. HGW Reply

    November 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I have posted previously about Parish Clerks obtaining knowledge and the difficulty a Member might have in contesting it, “In the land of the blind etc”. I find the CPALC (Communities Parish And Local Councils), website useful for clarifying queries about Parish Councils. Non Members have limited access but it is still a useful source of information and guidance.

    There is currently an article referring to the filming of town and parish council meetings.

  27. Steve Old Reply

    December 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Doc: I attended Newby & Scalby Parish Council on my own on a planning matter, just to observe. I had only ever been to one other meeting in my entire life which was a part of lots of neighbours getting together, due to a disturbance nearby (which was not in the Parish of Newby & Scalby). At this point, I never knew Nick Henderson and did not realize that he was present asking a question in the open forum. The answer to that question by Cllr Derek Bastirman, without the Chairs permission, triggered me putting a formal complaint in to the Clerk Jools Marley, for which I received a reply “As both myself (as Clerk) and Cllr. Bastirman spoke with the Chairman’s permission I therefore find Part 3 of your complaint unsubstantiated.” This is not true. (Cllr Bastirman can be seen here http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/first-class-bastiman). I know what I saw and heard. The answer to this was very wrong and can only be put on the shoulders of the Clerk Jools Marley. Not being happy with the answer to my complaint – yet another cover-up – I spoke to various people and sought witnesses that were there hoping to receive some support. I got better than that and I was made privy to an audio recording that I believe was made by a member of the council themselves. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/20492001/N%26SPC_110913.wav The audio, without a shadow of a doubt, clearly and 100% proves that the response to my complaint from Clerk Jools Marley was yet another cover-up. How many more have there been? I wrote a letter to the Rt Hon Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, explaining my position. We have since corresponded several times regarding different yet similar instances. He gave me his most welcome guidance on these matters. If the complaint had been answered correctly and truthfully, then none of this would have escalated and led to the public looking into Clerk Jools Marley’s affairs scrutinizing her professionalism, so leading to her partner. In my view nothing wrong has been said about this man. I certainly have not made any untoward remarks about Bob Marley (G0VFV). If there is something that I am missing, please let me know. The public have had enough of all the secrecy with complaints just to be brushed under the table.

  28. Alan Reply

    December 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    In a fit of boredom, I emailed Jools. Here’s a list of emails, in chronological order:

    /START OF EMAILS/

    On 25/11/2013 10:17, XXX XXXXX wrote:
    Please forward details of annual payments received from you from all Parish Councils where you are clerk for the financial year 2012/2013 or reasons for refusal of this request.

    Reason for Request:
    These details do not appear to be in the public domain either in the Agendas or the Minutes of the relevant councils.

    BY EMAIL

    Our Ref: FOI/AP/2511131017

    30th November 2013

    Dear

    FOI Request Reference: FOI/AP/2511131017 – Annual Payments

    I write in response to your email of 25th November 2013 regarding annual payments.

    You asked:-
    “Please forward details of annual payments received from you from all Parish Councils where you are clerk for the financial year 2012/2013 or reasons for refusal of this request.”

    I can confirm that Newby and Scalby Parish Council has not made any annual payments to its Clerk, nor has it received any annual payments from its Clerk.

    Newby and Scalby Parish Council only holds details of financial transactions which have taken place between itself and the Clerk to Newby & Scalby Parish Council.

    It is possible that other parish councils may hold some or all of the information you have requested, so you may wish to contact them yourself. The email addresses I hold are
    clerk@burnistonparishcouncil.org.uk
    clerk@cloughtonpc.org.uk
    clerk@hacknessgroupparishcouncil.org.uk
    clerk@staintondalepc.org.uk

    Please ensure that any further communication in relation to this matter is sent by you to the above address quoting the reference (FOI/XX/2511131017).

    Yours faithfully

    J Marley

    On 30/11/2013 13:12, XXX XXXXX wrote:
    Dear Mrs. Marley

    Thank you for your email of today’s date.
    The attached letter gives details of monies received by you and given by you with respect to Newby and Scalby Parish Council, it then states:

    /QUOTE/

    It is possible that other parish councils may hold some or all of the information you have requested, so you may wish to contact them yourself. The email addresses I hold are
    clerk@burnistonparishcouncil.org.uk
    clerk@cloughtonpc.org.uk
    clerk@hacknessgroupparishcouncil.org.uk
    clerk@staintondalepc.org.uk

    /ENDQUOTE/

    And there appears to be a little confusion in this matter.

    My request (appended below) states:

    “Please forward details of annual payments received from you from all Parish Councils where you are clerk for the financial year 2012/2013 or reasons for refusal of this request.”

    As you have forwarded details of only one council, I take it that there is a refusal to forward details concerning all other councils where you are clerk. The request was sent to you personally at just one of your addresses, it would be foolish to send the same request to the same person 5 times via 5 different e-addresses; indeed some might consider such a response to be procrastinatory
    Conversely, if you do indeed require the same message to be sent 5 times to your 5 e-addresses, please confirm this, that I may let others – who may be in a similar position – know of your requirements in such matters.

    2nd December 2013

    Dear Sir

    FOI Request Reference: FOI/AP/2511131017 – Annual Payments

    I write in response to your email of 30th November 2013 time 13:12 regarding my reply to your request for details of annual payments.

    Your email was sent to Newby and Scalby Parish Council, requesting information for “all Parish Councils where you are clerk”.
    The Freedom Of Information Act 2000 applies to recorded information held by a public authority, such as a government department, local council or state school. It does not apply to an individual.

    In its guidance notes to members of the public and organisations, the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office states “Requesters should direct their requests for information to the public authority they think will hold the information.” and “The Act does not cover information that is in someone’s head.”

    Each town/parish council in England is entirely discrete from the other. The fact I clerk more than one council does not mean that I as an individual can answer a request which spans more than one authority. Each organisation has to deal with its own correspondence and requests for information – it also has to ensure it complies with data protection legislation.

    Newby and Scalby Parish Council is unable to provide information which it does not hold. You were apprised of this fact and given the contact details for the councils which may hold the information you seek.

    Should someone wish to ask the same question of more than one organisation ie. essentially make a “round robin” request then each organisation must be asked individually.

    Before finalising Council’s response to your request I took the precaution of ringing the advice line at the Information Commissioner’s Office. They confirmed I was taking the correct approach, namely I could only give information as it related to Newby & Scalby Parish Council, if you needed similar information from other councils then you would need to contact the other councils with the same request. Hence my statement

    It is possible that other parish councils may hold some or all of the information you have requested, so you may wish to contact them yourself. The email addresses I hold are
    clerk@burnistonparishcouncil.org.uk
    clerk@cloughtonpc.org.uk
    clerk@hacknessgroupparishcouncil.org.uk
    clerk@staintondalepc.org.uk

    Please ensure that any further communication in relation to this matter is sent by you to the above address quoting the reference (FOI/AP/2511131017).

    Yours sincerely

    J Marley

    On 2/12/13 08:56, XXX XXXXX wrote to Burniston Parish Council clerk (Jools Marley):

    Please forward details of annual payments received made to the clerk for the financial year 2012/2013 or reasons for refusal of this request.

    Reason for Request:
    These details do not appear to be in the public domain either in the Agendas or the Minutes of the relevant councils.

    6th December 2013
    From Burniston Parish Council

    Dear XXX XXXXX

    FOI Request Reference: FOI/BPC/021220130856 – Annual Payments

    Thank you for your email of 2nd December 2013, time 08:56 (received 6/12/2013, approx. time 09:30).

    You asked for
    “details of annual payments received made to the clerk for the financial year 2012/2013 or reasons for refusal of this request”.

    Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days (7th January 2014).

    If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

    Yours faithfully

    J Marley

    /END OF EMAILS/

    This was followed by a further three emails stating the same as the last one above, from the other councils where Jools is clerk.
    One might be surprised to note that the minutes for none of the councils where Jools is clerk contain full financial details of outgoings, including of course her own remuneration.
    Perhaps that will change, now she realises that there’s some interest.

    • Tim Thorne Reply

      December 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      Very illuminating, Alan. Thanks. There certainly seems to be a reluctance to discuss financial matters.

  29. Jesse Reply

    December 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    What is WRONG with some of the people commenting on this article? Don’t you check your facts before you write your comment? Ever heard of “engage brain before opening mouth”?

    I don’t understand why some of you have such a problem and think this woman is trying to hide everything. I’ve just spent half an hour going back through Burniston Parish Council’s minutes. I started with the minutes of 12th November 2013 and went as far back as the file containing minutes of meeting 1/4/10 to 31/3/11. As far as I can see, Burniston is more open than a lot of other Parish Councils about what they pay their Clerk. You try and find the Clerk’s salary for Eastfield, Seamer or Cayton – you’ll be looking a long time.

    The monthly salary at Burniston is clearly stated (£326-57 from 15/1/11 till further notice ). The website costs (from 1/4/2009 to 31/3/2013) I add up to £90-49. So where’s all this rubbish coming from about £5,000 websites? @Glenn Kilpatrick seems to have got his sums wrong if he thinks there’s a £500 update charge. @Alan seems to have got bored part way through his research – or not bothered to do it properly … maybe that’s because he did “a quick check under the Finance column“ (wherever that is) instead of properly searching the minutes.

    @Alan’s statement on December 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm that “One might be surprised to note that the minutes for none of the councils where Jools is clerk contain full financial details of outgoings, including of course her own remuneration” is clearly an out and out lie.

    No wonder @Doc was clearly less than impressed with some of the comments on this thread. I do wonder how many of the other people commenting on this thread would like their employer’s name and their annual income plastered all over the internet – perhaps @Alan, @Steve Old or @Nigel would care to use this thread in order to share their income details and employer’s name?

    If people commenting on this article want to slag someone off, they could at least ensure they have all done their research properly first. Of course, if all someone is bothered about is bad-mouthing a person or simply jumping on a bandwagon started by someone else, then I suppose it doesn’t suit their purpose to be accurate or check facts first before typing a comment.

  30. Jesse Reply

    December 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Censorship – that’s what the Real Whitby webmaster seems to be doing. I posted the comments below about 5 days ago and it still hasn’t appeared – clearly RW can’t take criticism. If of course it’s simply been a technical oversight, then I’m sure this comment will get onto the thread. Come on Real Whitby – if you’re going to dish criticism out then you have to be able to take it too :)
    Jesse

    Comment originally submitted about 9th December
    What is WRONG with some of the people commenting on this article? Don’t you check your facts before you write your comment? Ever heard of “engage brain before opening mouth”?

    I don’t understand why some of you have such a problem and think this woman is trying to hide everything. I’ve just spent half an hour going back through Burniston Parish Council’s minutes. I started with the minutes of 12th November 2013 and went as far back as the file containing minutes of meeting 1/4/10 to 31/3/11. As far as I can see, Burniston is more open than a lot of other Parish Councils about what they pay their Clerk. You try and find the Clerk’s salary for Eastfield, Seamer or Cayton – you’ll be looking a long time.

    The monthly salary at Burniston is clearly stated (£326-57 from 15/1/11 till further notice ). The website costs (from 1/4/2009 to 31/3/2013) I add up to £90-49. So where’s all this rubbish coming from about £5,000 websites? @Glenn Kilpatrick seems to have got his sums wrong if he thinks there’s a £500 update charge. @Alan seems to have got bored part way through his research – or not bothered to do it properly … maybe that’s because he did “a quick check under the Finance column“ (wherever that is) instead of properly searching the minutes.

    @Alan’s statement on December 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm that “One might be surprised to note that the minutes for none of the councils where Jools is clerk contain full financial details of outgoings, including of course her own remuneration” is clearly an out and out lie.

    No wonder @Doc was clearly less than impressed with some of the comments on this thread. I do wonder how many of the other people commenting on this thread would like their employer’s name and their annual income plastered all over the internet – perhaps @Alan, @Steve Old or @Nigel would care to use this thread in order to share their income details and employer’s name?

    If people commenting on this article want to slag someone off, they could at least ensure they have all done their research properly first. Of course, if all someone is bothered about is bad-mouthing a person or simply jumping on a bandwagon started by someone else, then I suppose it doesn’t suit their purpose to be accurate or check facts first before typing a comment.

  31. Stakesby Legs Reply

    December 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

    @Jesse

    What is WRONG with you? Don’t you check your facts before you write your comments? It took me less than 5 minutes to find the council that spent almost £5K having its web-site set up, plus £500 a year to have it run. And it’s never up to date. Ever. I suppose you never thought of looking at Whitby, even though this article is on Real Whitby? And did you see what they pay their two abd a half clerks? What is WRONG with you? Are you Jools Marley?


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