Monday, 25 March 2013

Thanet Council - Review of Procedures

We wish to emphasise that Thanet District Council’s policies and procedures are robust. Indeed the Annual Audit Letter of September 2012 stated that in overall terms their assessment was that the Council has a good understanding of its underlying financial position and sound financial systems and that the Council continues to demonstrate effective arrangements for budget and financial management.
TDC’s Whistleblowing Policy was effective and instantaneous in alerting the Senior Management and subsequently the Police to the crime committed by Cllr. Ezekiel who was found guilty of Misconduct in a Public Office.
Thorough investigations by the Police with full co-operation of TDC officers to check if there were any signs of collusion found nothing untoward.
We share the concern that Councillors who are elected to represent and serve the general public must adhere to the highest standards of integrity.
We have therefore decided to take the opportunity this situation presents to revisit our policies and procedures and not to leave any stone unturned.
We have requested a comprehensive report to Cabinet on lessons to be learnt and what actions to follow. This report will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting in April.
It is proposed to write a report to Cabinet to debrief Members on the findings of the court case, and to present the response of the council to learn from this case to improve its systems and processes. 
The cabinet report will state in its opening paragraphs that a crime has been committed and although we are actively reviewing our procedures, a preliminary review has shown that it was a result of the council’s procedures that enabled the crime to be detected and brought to justice. As a learning council we have used this to prompt a thorough review of procedures covering asset disposal, contract procedures, publication of reports and disclosure of member interests.
The report will specifically refer to:-
-          A review of the asset disposal policy and procedure – with revisions to include the addition of an explanation of the methods of disposal; and to improve key controls to prevent advantage to officers and members through inside knowledge, by prohibiting officers from sharing bidding information during commercial negotiations.   Internal audit will be asked to contribute to this review and to provide assurance of the adequacy of key controls.
-          A review of the register of member interests, to strengthen the information requested. This revision would then be taken to Standards, for recommendation to Council.
-          A reminder will be issued to all members alerting them of the need to complete the register of interests.
-          Regular reminders will be issued to all staff and members of the whistleblowing policy.  This has recently been undertaken.
-          Officers will be made aware of risk areas in disposal and contract award decisions and will be reminded of the need for thorough and accurate records of all decisions as well as for the need to log member contact in relation to sale and contract negotiations.
-          To strengthen the detection controls for asset sales, all sales will be reported in the quarterly budget monitoring reports, where the sale values will form part of the capital receipts figures within the capital programme. The report will state which assets have been disposed of, by which sale method, for what price and the details of the purchaser.
-          Members will be reassured that it is appropriate to approach officers with concerns relating to their ward, or portfolio, such as may affect the areas regeneration, but that these contacts will be recorded.
-          Where officers deem it necessary to exclude the press and public due to the content of a report, the report that recommends the exclusion of the press and public will, in future, state what the public interest test is, to explain the rational for the exclusion, and what is meant by commercially sensitive, where applicable.
-          The exclusion report will also state that in the case where the public interest test is finely balanced, that the presumption will be in favour of publishing.
-          The annual review of contract standing orders and the tight controls over tender opening, which already exist.

This course of actions will show the residents of Thanet that, as the new administration at Thanet District Council, we are not complacent about the way decisions are made and implemented and that our guiding principle will always be the public interest. We intend to continue to debate, scrutinise and challenge every aspect of Thanet District Council’s work on behalf of the community it serves.

Councillor Clive Hart – Leader
Councillor Alan Poole – Deputy Leader
Councillor Michelle Fenner – Cabinet Member Business Services and Corporate Regulatory


  1. Why didn't the Tories introduce these measures when they knew what Ezekiel was up to?

  2. That is obvious anon 19:30. It is because they are all at it and wouldn't want the doors closed.

  3. An you think the Labour lot under Clive are any better. Dream on.

  4. Honest Sandy, Sober Shirley and Clever Ken are all Conservatives of the Thanet Kind.
    ALL current Thanet Councillors that have had a brush with the law are Conservative FACT

    Clive and Labour are good honest people, only a THANET Tory would try to pretend that Labour are as bad to get away from how the truth

    1. Thank you, John, you really must learn to control those capitals and the lack of punctuation. Dead give away every time and we all know why you hate the Tories. They actually had the cheek to think you are less capable and important than you think you are.

  5. And do you really think anon 22:23 that Clive and Iris don't lean on officers for their own ends. Get real.

  6. Anon 1903: the press release states these are measures already in existence and claim they played a role in the uncovering of the Ezekiel case.
    Anon 2114: As stated elsewhere the case was referred to the police during the previous conservative administrations time in control.
    Anon 2205 and 2347: like arranging for this press release and its political implications bing published 1 day prior to entering elctoral purdah for the county elections?
    Anon 2223: that does not mean that all Tories are corrupt and all labour members are not. Where I wonder does corruption begin and hypocrisy end? Getting your Dad to fix your nomination for a serious job even though you do not have the life experience to understand what is happening? Demanding equal marriage rights then moving in with your girlfriend because you do not believe in the institution yourself? Protesting about cuts but demanding your own payments should be increased? Interesting slope is it not?

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    1. Solo gays, you seem to be placing a lot of reliance these days on accounts given at the Red Hall meeting. Either you are very politically naive or you are not the voice of moderation you seek to portrait.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. sorry about the deletion 18:47. You are probably right, in that I can now see I have mentioned the Red Hall meeting too many times, and it must seem irritating to those who do not like these organisers of public meetings for whatever reason. I feel better now I have had some time out this evening doing what I have actually been programmed to do.......!

      I am not sure what you mean about being a "portrait" of moderation. But if by inference you mean that by going along to a public meeting and believing the first hand accounts of institutional abuse, then you of course must draw your own conclusions.

  8. Chris Wells claims credit for the Tories for reporting Ezekiel. Iris claims the credit as well. Better take this one to Ian Driver. He'll sort it out.

    1. Has he any record of ever sorting anything out. He cannot even sort out his beer belly.

    2. Some background on Thor mercury contamination from Driver's summary of council costs:

  9. Michael What happened to your latest post about the Red Hall?

  10. Anon of 1928; think about it, both or either is possible. Let us assume that Iris brought a complaint; the administration dealt with it properly. Let us assume someone else mad an allegation. The administration dealt with it properly. I was simply correcting the acccusation that anything other than proper steps were taken.

    1. What a riduculous press release from Clive and comments - hardly a great day from TDC if a crime was committed for over 2 years before being investigated. And as it says above a Police investigation turned up nothing. And nobody seems sur eof who reported it eventually.

      Whitewash just like the Manston monitors and fines from 2006 onwards. A KLM night flight seems to have crept in at 6:35am rather than after the 7am curfew (from 6am was set up to allow KCC USA flights). Which councillors voted on the 6:35am change?


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