Skip to main content

Graham Report - 10th report into public standards

The Graham Report has now been released.

I welcome the publication of the 10th Report into Public Standards. This report recognises that the current procedures where councillors have been sacked for:

- sitting in a meeting with a constituent without saying they are a councillor (Coleen Gill-East Riding-Lib Dem)
- writing to an MP (Coleen Gill-East Riding-Lib Dem)
- taking the wrong route out of a dinner (Blackpool-Labour)
- agreeing to the erection of gates (Tameside-Labour)
- representing a constituent as a solicitor (Tory)
- saying F**k - amongst other things (Peterborough-Tory)
- issuing a leaflet complaining about lack of action on anti social behaviour (Hull-Independent)
- revealing an officer's salary (Yorkshire somewhere - SDP)
- revealing an unlawful payment to a nuclear power company (Lancaster-Green)

are wrong.

It is important, however, that any changes fully recognise that the role of the councillor is to hold the system to account. If people are rude from time to time then they should apologise. We should not have local representatives that are merely clones there to defend the bureaucracy. The Standards Board for England is used frequently as a threat by Council Officers to prevent Councillors from challenging the bureaucracy. This has to stop.

Clearly corruption cannot be allowed. However, the current rules have acted more to prevent democracy from operating than to maintain standards.

What happened with the current system is that it delvered something to protect the bureaucrats from challenge. Hopefully we can move back towards a proper democratic system which is accountable to the voters and where only real corruption is subject to sanction.

There have been a small number of cases through the Standards and Adjudication Process that were entirely valid. One I can think of is one in Walsall where a councillor interfered with the actual tenders for a building. Although the motivation there was good and the councillor obtained no personal gain, that was in fact wrong.

However, a substantial number have been not only wrong, but counter productive and anti-democratic.

Comments

Paul Varjak said…
Coleen Gill has been ejected from the Council because she only considered the mother in a child protection case - not the child!

Popular posts from this blog

Statement re false allegations from Esther Baker

Statement by John Hemming
I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever.
I would like to thank Emily Cox, my children, Ayaz Iqbal (my Solicitor), my local lib dem team and many others who supported me through this dreadful experience. There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.
It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped.
I am normally someone who helps other people fight injustice. …

Statement re Police investigation into Harassment and Perverting the Course of Justice.

It was recently reported that the police were not investigating the allegations of Perverting the Course of Justice that I had made. This came as a surprise to me as I had been told for some time that my allegations were to be considered once the VRR had been rejected. I have now had a very constructive meeting with Staffordshire police on Friday 29th June 2018 and the misunderstandings have been resolved. At that meeting the evidence relating to the perversion of the course of justice and the harassment campaign against my family were discussed. The police have decided to investigate both the perversion of the course of justice and also the harassment campaign. I would like to thank them for changing their decision and I accept their apology for the way in which they did that. I am also in possession of written confirmation a police force would be investigating allegations that a vulnerable witness has been harassed for trying to expose the campaign against me. I hope that the aut…

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

I have only just found this one which I think is accurately reported below (but if it is not please give me an accurate report).

KING’S BENCH DIVISION

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

Here, the magistrates’ clerk retired with the bench when they were considering a charge of dangerous driving. The clerk belonged to a firm of solicitors acting in civil proceedings for the other party to the accident. It was entirely irrelevant that there had been no evidence of actual influence brought to bear on the magistrates, and the conviction was duly quashed.

LORD HEWART CJ:
It is clear that the deputy clerk was a member of the firm of solicitors engaged in the conduct of proceedings for damages against the applicant in respect of the same collision as that which gave rise to the charge that the justices were considering. It is said, and, no doubt, truly, that when that gentleman retired in the usual way with the justices, taking with him the…