Tuesday, 6 August 2013


Despite obvious reservations, in the interests of openness and transparency TDC councillors agreed to debate two motions put forward by Independent and UKIP members on Tuesday evening (6th August).
However, following the debate, the council quite rightly decided not to accept either motion and rejected them both, as the measures that were being called for had already been put in place by the council’s administration.
TDC Leader Cllr Clive Hart said “I’m afraid several Independent and UKIP councillors appear to have been duped into supporting the call for an extraordinary meeting of the council on Tuesday evening which was totally unnecessary.
There was nothing new proposed through the Independent / UKIP motions to council and Tuesday evenings extraordinary meeting of the council was a complete waste of ratepayer’s money.
Indeed, had the Independent and UKIP proposers spoken to me before submitting their motions I could have explained to them that the council is already meeting their expectations. This could have been done in just a few minutes over a quiet cup of tea. In any event, there was certainly nothing urgent discussed at Tuesday’s meeting that could not have been left until the next planned meeting of TDC.
Instead, many hours of leading officers, administrative staff and councillors time has been wasted staging what I believe was nothing more than an expensive publicity stunt for a few misinformed Independent and UKIP councillors who really should know better, and all at ratepayers expense.
It really was quite a pathetic and ridiculous state of affairs and although it took all five of the Independent and UKIP councillors to jointly call for the meeting, in the end, even those five failed to give both motions their full support. Worse still, through their intransigence, at one point all five actually voted for a motion which would have considerably weakened, not strengthened, existing financial management at the council." 
Independent & UKIP motion to Council:
"That any debt owed to Thanet Council, including multiple debts owed by a single organisation and/or its subsidiaries, which exceeds £250,000 must be reported to a meeting of the Full Council along with a debt recovery plan at the earliest opportunity. Members of the Council will be entitled to ask questions about and comment on such debts".
Labour administration response: 
This was dealt with in paragraph 5.2 of the Budget Monitoring Report 2013/14 agreed at the last cabinet meeting on 1st August, which stated:
As the level of aged debt is an important indicator of the financial risk being carried by the Council it is proposed that the Financial Procedure Rules be amended to include the requirement to report to Council any debt owed by an organisation, or its subsidiaries, where it exceeds £150,000. The report will also include details of the debt recovery measures in place. Debt will only be reported after it has becomes 'aged', i.e. falls outside of the Council's standard payment terms of 90 days, to the next available ordinary council meeting.

(Note - the Independent / UKIP motion would have reduced existing monitoring procedures by £100,00).
Independent & UKIP motion to Council:
"That all the documents, background papers, and e-mails related to Transeuropa Ferries debt to Thanet District Council be made available for inspection by Councillors within 10 working days of this decision being agreed by Council."
Labour administration response:  
This was dealt with through an email sent to all 56 councillors by the Monitoring Officer on 24th July, which stated:
Dear Councillor,
A request has been made by a Member to access the council’s records that form the 2012-13 accounts and associated items relating to the Transeuropa debt.
The Account and Audit regulations give all Members (and the public) the right to inspect and copy prime documents that are used in the formulation of the statement of accounts, and I am writing to remind you that the inspection period runs until 9 August 2013. If you would like to make an appointment to view any of the books of accounts, deeds, contract bills, vouchers and receipts relevant to the 2012/13 accounts please contact Sarah Martin for an appointment. 
In addition, the Transeuropa debt will be subject of an Overview and Scrutiny Working Party, where, in accordance with the Council’s constitution, requested background documentation will be made available to Members of the working party for review.  
Your sincerely
Harvey Patterson
Corporate & Regulatory Services Manager


  1. This is exactly the stunt that I would expect Hart to pull in an attempt to deflect blame which he shoulders through his own incompetence for allowing the TEF debt to rise to £3.4m. plus all the allied expenditure. It was only a short while ago that the debt was owed by TEF. Now and through the due diligence of Independent Councillors we know about the debt to four companies, all sanctioned by the Council's bean counter chief officer who has no commercial background together with Bayford and who else but Clive Hart. If you are so clever Mr Hart, why did you not ask the same questions yourself when you took responsibility for the debt with the help of the same independent Councillors that you now complain about. The reason you didn't ask, is because you are one of the stupid irresponsible money squandering Councillor's who are now looking for any argument to deflect criticism away from yourself. Mr Hart you are a disgrace as are the majority of your fellow Labour Councillors.

  2. Interesting that this is the same Hart led administration that a while back devoted council time to debating Equal Marriage when such was totally unnecessary for an authority with no responsibility to perform marriages. In fact, it was done as a carrot to Worrow and Driver to get their support for Labour at that time with a minority administration.

    Is Equal Marriage more important to the majority of Thanet tax payers than the loss of £3.4 millions?

  3. And just when would you have pulled the plug on TEF Mr Paul James? risking the wrath of the outraged bloggerati for losing Ramsgate jobs and business not to mention the TEF legal team just waiting to sue the arse of a local authority for bringing down their company?

  4. Hart desperately trying to sling mud. Who agreed the secret deal? Where are the papers and emails?

    The same twit who nodded through 6am flights like the Dremliner today despite a ban until 7pm. He's lost control of TDC and Manston and Macgonigal and Harvey are doing as they like on the rates.

  5. The 250 000 debt recovery was put forward in a motion to council BEFORE the cabinet meeting of 1 August,which in turn panicked cllr Hart into introducing a plan for one of 150 000 therefore upsurping the very valid Independent motion-and as Paul James rightly points out,was just a stunt.
    The papers requested by the Independents that hold the key points to this fiasco have of course been denied us but in the hope of justice for the public interest a request to the information commissioner to release all
    papers will hopefully reveal the extent of colusion between the two main political parties to cover up this gross mis-management of public money.

    Cllr Tom King

    Independent Group

  6. Well said Cllr King: Hart is flailing around and this would all have remained secret if it was down to him. Same as with the £25k Labour bung.

    A vote of no confidence and get the police in on this and Manston fines and overflights? Infratil will walk away without paying the fines and leaving hte airport contaminated.

  7. The failing Hart and Poole the fool! Say no more really.

  8. My colleague Councillor King has summed the situation up well. We as members of the Independent Group submitted a motion to the emergency meeting of the Council back in July. Clive Hart's Cabinet then stole our motion and pretended it was their own in a pathetically cynically manoeuvre and in cahoots with the Bayford Tories. They did this because they are frightened. Frightened by the growing public anger about their gross mismanagement of the SECRET Transeuropa Debt scandal which will ultimately have to be paid by the taxpayers of Thanet. I am amused by the Labour party's hypocritical complaint about the cost of the emergency council meeting when their mis management of the Transeuropa Debt has cost Thanet people £3.4 million

    Today I met the with Councils external auditors to discuss this issue and I will submitting a formal challenge to the Council 2012-13 accounts. I have also complained to the Information Commissioner and have asked him to order Thanet Council to handover to me all the secret documents relating to Transeuropa. If and when I get these documents I will publish them and let the people of Thanet decide whether the Labour Party and Conservative Parties have properly managed the public money in their Trust or whether it is time for a change. Councillor Ian Driver Green Party - read my blog http://thanetgreencouncillor.blogspot.co.uk/

  9. I forgot to mention - The Labour Party press release claims that all the documents related to the TransEuropa debt scandal are available to be inspected under the terms of the Audit Commission Act 1998. This is misleading and simply untrue. I applied under this Act to see all the documents, but Harvey Patterson the Council's Legal officer rejected my request. This is one of the reasons why I am appealing to the Information Commissioner so that these documents will be released to me. This is also why a small group of Councillors tabled a motion to the emergency Council meeting which demanded that these secret documents be made available to Councillors. As The Labour Party press release correctly states Clive Harts Labour Group and Bob Bayford's Tory group all voted against this motion. So much for openness, transparency and accountability and the spurious claim that all the papers are available.

    I have every confidence that this misleading and untruthful press release will seriously damage the credibility of the Thanet Council Labour group. It will expose the Group, and their new best friends the Tories, as double dealing hypocrites who have tried to mislead the public about the deal they both did with Transeuropa which will cost Thanet people £3.3 million they can't afford.

    Cllr Ian Driver read my blogsite - http://thanetgreencouncillor.blogspot.co.uk/

    1. This would all be hilarious if it wasn't for the fact that we Thanet taxpayers are funding this bunch of clowns to score points off each other. Ian Driver talks of the conduct of Labour and Tory groups, but is his and that of the independents any better. Are they not also simply point scoring without any real prospect of making one iota of difference to the losses faced over the demise of TEF. Will the revealing of bits of paper actually help recovery. No, it will simply give Cllr Driver something else to broadcast as though he were doing us a favour. Accept it folks, an attempt was made to keep TEF going, and it failed. Now the best course is to see what can be recovered through usual bankruptcy procedures rather than this childish, who was to blame for what nonsense.

      Perhaps I might have more respect for Driver, and his now condemnation of Hart and all things Labour, if he had not used that very same party to get himself into public office.

  10. Anon 17:29 I couldn't agree with you more, mistakes were made but in good faith hoping to keep the company afloat (please excuse the pun).

    The real problem was the contract drawn up between TDC and TEF which allowed the ferry operater to take absolute liberties without any fear of financial consequences. Hopefully lessons will be learned and any new operator will not be able to rack up large unpaid fees.

    1. We should be so lucky as to get another ferry operator with even the likes of Sea France failing. Add do-gooders trying to get animal exports banned, still further reducing the available cake for the boat operators, prospects are not bright. For that reason I agree with 17:29 that it was worth the attempt to keep TEF going.

      All in all Driver, with his bandwagons and mouth, does not seem to have done too much for Thanet trade and the quicker he and his ilk return to obscurity the better. The sensible councillors at TDC, regardless of party, should really get together to restore good governance and stop the place being hijacked by one trick ponies or sensationalists.

    2. What have Hart and his fools done since TEF requested the secret deal? How many other ferry companies were contacted? We can guess.

      Hart's had more than 2 years and he's as useless as Bayford. Mcgonuigal and Harvey run things for the benefit of their salaries.

      Another Summer wasted.


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