Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cabinet position held open while guilty councillor appeals - and Standards Board are emasculated

The story in the Liverpool Echo yesterday tells you more or less all you need to know about the latest position with LibDem Councillor Hurst of Wavertree ward, Liverpool.

The Standards Board have elected not to process his case because they say that following the precedent set by the High Court in the case of Ken Livingston, his actions were not made whilst on official duties as a councillor. He was campaigning and electioneering which are apparently unrelated, as is, we must assume, the fact that he was found guilty in a court of law of an offence against the representation of the people act, despite being a representative of the people.

As the Ethical Governance shadow cabinet member I shall be discussing this matter with the Standards Committee and the City Solicitor tomorrow. I shall not discuss the details of this particular case but shall ask what mechanisms are open to us to influence future policy and guidance of the Standards Board so that such precedents are not applied to similar cases in the future. I shall also be asking whether the change of procedure that was introduced a few weeks after Councillor Hurst committed his criminal offence would have achieved a different result if it had been able to be applied.

A much deeper concern to me though is that since Councillor Hurst resigned his position as a Cabinet Member, the remaining 9 members of the Executive have decided to divvy up his work between them and not appoint a successor, pending the outcome of an appeal to Crown Court. They have not been able to furnish me with a list of who will carry out which part of the duties, nor any explanation of why they even have the slack to take on this extra work.

I have not been able to discover how long it might take before a case is heard in Crown Court, but it could easily be months, surely.

Liverpool City Council received 1 star from the Audit Commission - we have not forgotten this, despite the efforts of the Leader and Chief Exec to draw a line under the whole business by failing to mention the star rating ANYWHERE IN THE ENTIRE ANNUAL REPORT (and that is a scandal all on its own) - and yet the post of Cabinet Member for Corporate Performance is held over indefinitely.

So much for Corporate Performance - I see another 1 star on the horizon once the Audit Commission learn that there is no-one actively in charge of

performance management
corporate improvement reviews
business planning
human resources
or health and safety

This is how much this LibDem council really care, they want to hold a place open for a convicted criminal (hoping obviously that he will be cleared by a retrial), rather than appoint someone else to the post.

Unofficially, speaking as a campaigner, and not as a councillor (!) I wonder how much this decision is based on the fact that the 26 people who voted for Warren in the leadership campaign have already been rewarded and there is no appetite to bring anyone else in? Or does he have a dearth of talent to choose from?


Geoffrey Crayon said...

I find it bizarre that giving a mendacious account to the standards board in his defence does not seem to be considered as an offence here.

And being investigated by the standards board is definitely an occasion when he's in the capacity of councillor.

Anonymous said...

Are you the Councillor for Kensington? As you keep such a low profile we think you have movrd to Allerton

Louise Baldock said...

Allerton? Nope I live in Wavertree. I am not sure about this low profile either. Would you like to see my diary?

Louise Baldock said...

Although why I am letting myself bite, responding to remarks from Picton councillors who live in Mossley Hill and have not been to Kensington in years and have no idea what kind of a profile I might or might not have, I dont know.

Slaps own wrist

scouseboy said...

Thank you for answering the concerns I raised on your blog entry "LibDems split as Prime Minister brings cabinet to Liverpool" You have answered fully my concerns. Their lack of commitment to services in Liverpool is appalling.
Just keep on highlighting at every opportunity Lib Dem ineptitude, I am sure very soon more of the electorate of Liverpool will see through them and vote them out at the ballot box.

Anonymous said...

ooh you are naughty. i know of at least one exec person who didnt vote for warren. bradley is the sort of person who doesn't hold thatagainst people.

steve faragher said...

Warren has always been a star in my book, but just the one. though

Louise Baldock said...