Independent Report – update

Following public concern regarding delays in the release of this independent report, spennymoor independents have today formally requested to Cllr. D. Taylor, Mayor, that a special extraordinary meeting of council be called on or before Tuesday, 7th June 2016 to provide a realistic date when this report will be published and for members to also formally consider any legal advice received on potential data protection issues (if any) as a result of the publication of the investigation findings.
The independent report was first presented to council on the 12th April 2016 when Spennymoor Independent’s motion recorded in the minutes of this meeting was defeated. This motion was to have the report in its entirety, released by end of April 2016.
It was agreed by majority Labour vote at this meeting in April that Cllr. Geldard be authorised to obtain legal advice on any data protection issues. We have now learnt today that an officer has now had to request this advice, 7 weeks on from the original meeting and the delegated authority. Our group believe that this is yet another example of an unauthorised executive decision giving authority to the leader of the majority group rather than to an officer of the council to seek advice and report back to council.

For background information, when Mr. Wilkinson attended council on the 12th April and presented his report he gave members the opportunity to ask questions. He was informed that no one from Spennymoor Independents had been able to input into his report as Cllr. Geldard wished to keep the report ‘independent’. Another unauthorised executive decision.
Mr. Wilkinson responded that he was unaware of this decision and if anyone wished to meet with him he would make time to speak to them and delay finalisation of the report. Myself and another Labour councillor not previously interviewed, subsequently had a meeting with him on the 19th April 2016. The finalised report with updated information following these meetings was circulated to all councillors and presented to council on the 3rd may 2016. Cllr. Geldard moved receipt; Spennymoor Independents requested that the report be ‘accepted’ and a statement was presented by Spennymoor Independents to appear in the minutes. The minutes missed out parts of this written statement and have been challenged.
Spennymoor independents consider that the delays in releasing the report are unacceptable, however, we have still not been given any assurance on an early release of the report. This is why we have today requested an extraordinary meeting of the council. Our defeated motion requesting a target date of end april 2016 to release the report is long gone and as it stands today, an officer request has just been made to seek appropriate specialist advice. We anticipate, and expect, that we will have an officer report answering our questions in time for next week’s meeting.
The council’s standing orders (rules) have been complied with and appropriate notice given to call this meeting.

Minutes of meetings are normally available on the council’s website for all members of the public to view.
Cllr. Mrs. E. Maddison, Cllr. G. Darkes, Cllr. Mrs. K. Thompson, Cllr. Mr. K. Thompson
Spennymoor Independent Group.

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