Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Cllr Barrie Durkin calls for Assembly to take over Anglesey Council (Updated)

Named-and-shamed councillor, Barrie Durkin, has sent the below letter to Local Government minister, Carl Sargeant, calling for the Welsh Assembly to immediately take over the running of Anglesey County Council:
Barrie Durkin letter to Carl Sargeant

Readers may recall that Plaid Cymru councillor, Rhian Medi, also last week came out against the Terms of Engagement and called for the Assembly to become involved if things deteriorated any further. Incidentally, as I wrote at the time, seeing how Cllr Medi has so publicly criticised the Alliance, according to the Terms of Engagement, Bob Parry now has no choice but to expel her from the Plaid Cymru group - yet I have not heard of any such action being taken. Does anyone know whether Medi has been expelled or not? And if not, why not? After all Cllr Goronwy Parry was expelled from the Original Independents for much less (admittedly this was prior to the Terms of Engagement though...).

UPDATE: A person identifying him/herself as a Plaid Councillor writes the following in comments:

Its my understanding that Cllr Medi has NOT been sacked from the Alliance and that Plaid central office are demanding the terms of engagement must be changed.

If this is true, then it really would put the Alliance in between a rock and hard place. If they refuse to amend the Terms of Engagement then presumably all Plaid members would need to leave the Alliance. If this were to occur then we know from Carl Sargeant's letter to all councillors on June 30 that the Welsh Assembly would almost certainly take over the council. Here is what Sargeant wrote:

"...arrangements can fall apart as fast as they can be put together. Accordingly I have asked my officials and the Recovery Board to prepare contingency plans which we can implement urgently if recovery falters and/or the alliance fails"


The Statutory Limit is 20 Working Days said...

A pity Cllr. Durkin doesn't use a spellchecker. Nevertheless, his points are well-made, and it must be of concern that the legal department is spending so much of the Council's precious and dwindling resources on these matters.

Last week, I had a surprising e-mail from the Corporate Information Officer at the Council. He claimed "personal allegations" had been made against him, when clearly they had not.

He also patronisingly claimed that a request for clarification was only for the satisfaction of having a discussion and a waste of his resources, when in fact he had invited a further enquiry if he had not explained himself clearly!

It all sounded a bit as though the person had recently been accused of something by someone else, and that this was an over-reaction borne of past experiences.

Lord knows what's going on at Llangefni, but it's clearly not good.

Another insider. said...

Anglesey and Holyhead mail today August 11th 2010.
I'm pleased Ombudsman threw out the"Frivolous complaint" By Cllr Hefin Thomas.

He did nothing of the sort Hefin, He refused to investigate the complaints showing the Ombudsman has little or no concern when it comes to Human Rights.

"A spokeswoman for the council said the authority does not comment on complaints made to the Ombudsman yet evidence shows that they do. Indeed they do more that comment. They engage, manipulate and influence the outcome of complaints as they have in this case.
The whole system is rotten to the core.

One saving grace is the Ombudsman has said in his report."Breaches of the Human Rights Act are matters for the court to consider", implying that he does not want to get his hands dirty on this one and would rather leave it to the courts.
So be it.

Anon7 said...

"They engage, manipulate and influence the outcome of complaints as they have in this case.
The whole system is rotten to the core."

They do, but then, the Ombudsman is not a fair system. In fact, the odds are heavily weighed against complainants.

A recent example rejects a complaint about IoACC's complaints policy and its application. The Ombudsman says that the council kept the complainant updated about the reasons for not complying with its own 15-day deadline. They add that the policy is 'being updated'. But the Council has been claiming this for 18 months. Why does a 16-year old Authority still not have a finalised complaints policy? Is it lack of will? This was one of the issues raised by the Auditor General in 2009, but still, it's a policy in progress.

And why, when a senior officer was the subject of complaint, did Mr. Bowles immediately deal with it entirely outside the complaints policy? One rule of some? Why did one of the Council's own solicitors claim that the complaint was being dealt with under their formal policy, when the MD had said it was not? Is misleading the public accepted behaviour at IoACC, or did the solicitor's hand not know what the MD's hand was doing?

Just what is it that the establishment is trying to protect? Is it the fact that they are not in control, and have no idea how to act objectively and fairly, according to the rules of natural justice?

Plaid Councillor. said...

Its my understanding that Cllr Medi has NOT been sacked from the Alliance and that Plaid central office are demanding the terms of engagement must be changed.

Anonymous said...

If you ever put a complaint in, at the end, you get a 'feedback form'.

What are the options generously and fairly given to you by the Council?

"Are you (a) Very satisfied (b) Satisfied (c) Not satisfied?"

You will note that there are two satisfied (positive) outcomes, and only one not satisfied (negative) outcome. That is so blatantly wrong that only an idiot would put it forward as a system, when just about everyone else uses a 1-10 graded system. Trying to skew the statistics? Could it be true?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully we may now see proper qualified external investigators who can not be manipulated by the council brought in to go through the council with a fine tooth comb.

Instead of the sham scratch of the surface with just enough found to cover up quickly. Hope you are you watching and listening Mr Bowles?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully they will look at Councillors Care Allowances first, and the complicity of the Officers involved.

There's a Barge in the Field said...

It is a point of worry that Mr. Bowles has ended-up, by accident or design, stifling complaints against officers. Some complaints will be justified, but if you read Bowles' missives, they invariably strongly imply that no complaint is welcome and seen as vexatious.

That is the point at which the people can legitimately cry 'foul!'

Anonymous said...

A cracking letter. If Sargent doesn't intervene and act on all of this and then subsequently Cllr Durkin is proved right, then in turn his position as a Minister becomes untenable.

Well done Durkin, keep hacking at them. And well done Plaid - if the reports of you demanding a re-write of the ToE are true that effectively means Bowles is a busted flush.

I hope 'Rebecca' is on the phone to these people as we blog.

Anonymous said...

After many weeks of waiting I just received an answer to my questions/concerns to a head of department.

Rather than address my concerns the writer chose to make excuses and seeks to avoid any responsibility by putting the blame on me.

On top of which he couldn't get the information right, - or more worryingly has been given mis-information by other parties.

I maintain that the IOACC should be bound by their (Human Rights) duty of care to their constituents, instead of which their default position is to seek to avoid any accountability or responsibility; nor do they demonstrate any concern or human decency about problems which are of their making, through having inadequate procedures and checks and measures in place.

The legal department is more concerned with avoiding liability for their mistakes and appear to be more concerned about their what their insurers may have to say - even if it ends up costing the taxpayers more in the long run.

I've never had a feedback form for either of my complaints. When did they start to use them?

They really should read the Human Rights Act and the supporting case law most carefully - and then start practicing it.

Insider said...


David Bowles has taken his Malicious war against Councillor Durkin, to the Ombudsman.

The Great Councillini said...

Well, we'll all be very interested to see whether the Ombudsman decides to investigate - which is by no means certain merely by the fact of submitting a complaint.

If there is an investigation, we'll all be interested to learn of the outcome, and the facts leading to that outcome. One can't help feeling that this might all end-up another embarrassing and long-term mess for the Council. Stir at your peril, Mr. Bowles...

Anonymous said...

TGC 12.26
Its not just a complaint.
Its a foot deep file containing a string of complaints.
All substantiated !

A County Councillor. said...

Because Bowles abused and threaten Councillors when he was at Lincolnshire to cover up for the wrong doings of his officer there, if he thinks he can come here and do the same with Durkin he got a big shock coming he'll get eaten alive.

There's one thing I have learned since knowing Barrie Durkin is that if he tells you something you can bank on it being true.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Durkin makes some very serious allegations, which I trust he has the evidence to support.

However I doubt it very much that he has, anyway we shall see when the Ombudsman finishes his investigation.

Sadly this blog is fast becoming the Cllr Durkin PR department, giving him free publicity that his puerile rubbish does not deserve.

Anonymous said...

It does not matter how deep the file is, or how long the strings of complaints are, considering the IOACC have already been caught out interfering and influencing the Ombudsman before these complaints were ever made, plus the breaches of Cllr Durkin's Human Rights the chances of them ever coming to anything is very minimal, even though the council has spent over £75.000 with much more to be spend yet.

Anonymous said...

You don't really think Cllr Durkin will get a fair and honest deal out of the Ombudsman do you?

Anonymous said...

The Durkin file will be referred by the Ombudsman to the higher-level Wales Adjudication Panel, for a full Hearing.
An adversarial arena with lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Not unless the Ombudsman decides to investigate and only then if the Ombudsman finds in favour of the Complainant.

After David Bowles'S media campaign against Cllr Durkin, I would have thought the prejudice he has caused would make the complaints a none starter? However, If it does go ahead no stone will be left unturned. I glad I'm not in Lynn Balls shoes.

Anonymous said...

David Bowles has already instructed the Ombudsman "If, having decided to investigate , you then decide to discontinue the investigation for any reason, please would you consult me first!


Anonymous said...

These complaints are only another attempt at a cover up by Bowles and the County Council.

They are already tainted by prejudice and influence. If the Ombudsman does decide to investigate and find in favour of the complainant a Judicial revive would laugh the council out of court.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

David Bowles has already instructed the Ombudsman "If, having decided to investigate , you then decide to discontinue the investigation for any reason, please would you consult me first!


So he can resign with all his pension rights etc before he's fired for gross misconduct and loses the lot presumably.

Always pays to have a Plan B.

Anonymous said...

Plan B indeed.
Doesn't seem to have much confidence then.
It sounds to me, Bowles made his complains before the news that Cllr Durkin had called in the Assembly got out. TUT TUT .

Anonymous said...

The easiest way to sum the Ombudsman up is to look at his latest decisions.

He referred a complaint by Cllr Chorlton supported by Lynn Ball to the Adjudication Panel for a minor Procedural Error. "That's if there was an error at all). which cost two excellent hard working County Councillor time out, for 4 months and 2 month retrospectively.

Yet we see when it come to Complaints on issues as serious as breaches of the "Human Rights Acts" he makes every spurious excuse not to investigate them.

Double standards, call it what you will, but what is now indisputable, the Ombudsman has lost all credibility and is now of no consequence.

Anonymous said...

Is Anglesey now the new "Village of the Dammed"?
Or is it that they haven't got round to burning Police Offices yet, just those who like to see things dealt with lawfully?

The Great Councillini said...

"Cllr Durkin makes some very serious allegations, which I trust he has the evidence to support."

Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. The tone of some of these posts suggests some criminal trial type investigation. The Ombudsman is a miserable excuse for justice, and there should be no suggestion that it is in any way rigorous, unbiased and able to deliver true justice.

As for the Wales Adjudication Panel, well, that's a few steps away yet. If it is truly adversarial, then it must be a court, but I'm not aware that it is. Will it mean all the evidence - from all sides - is heard out in the open, with cross-examination? Then that may well be something the Council will need to be very careful about. You never know what will come out in the wash, do you?

TGC said...

"I've never had a feedback form for either of my complaints. When did they start to use them?"

They were whisked-in quickly after the Auditor General's criticism, so they've been in about a year; I've been sent two in that period.

It doesn't surprise me that you haven't had one; they don't seem to apply the policy in anything like a consistent or fair manner, and in one case, simply circumvented it (to which the Ombudsman, so far, has simply turned a blind eye.)

Legal said...

TGC 16.30
Yes, it is formal, not unlike a Court. Look at the qualifications of its members ? If it is held as a Hearing, it observes the rules of natural justice, it grants the right to be heard, and to be examined and cross-examined...with and by lawyers, if appropriate.
A daunting and damaging place if you are guilty !

Anonymous said...

This all sounds to me like Cllr Durkin has been playing a very shrewd game and what a game he's played. He's no-longer the accuser having to prove to people who's only interest is to cover up.

Now they are the accusers and they have to prove Cllr Durkin to be wrong with no other way to continue their cover ups. What a bunch of mugs.

TGC said...

"A daunting and damaging place if you are guilty !"

And a daunting but restoring place if you're not, of course...

Anonymous said...

Commenters on this Blog comprise a very small % of the population of Anglesey.
We are right to be agonizing over the shortcomings of our local government in Llangefni. May our scrutiny and debate continue.
But what of the other 99% ?
They are blissfully unaware of the ugly day-to-day details of what goes on.
Yet, ask anyone on any high street in Anglesey what they think of the Council, and you`ll get some very predictable uncomplimentary answers.
And yet, if you press them for detailed justification of their attitude, they often dry up, as in Don`t Know for sure.
Why is this ?

Anonymous said...

Why is this ?

This is a British trait that Marx commented on over 100 years ago and is still true today - political apathy.

Ask most people why they vote for their given party at election times and they don't actually have any idea. Ask them if they voted in the council elections and ask them to name the candidate they voted for and who the winning candidate for their seat was. Again no idea.

Most of them know that there is something wrong with the council and the way ot conducts it's business. Ask them what? No idea.

i used to know an MP in the Greater Manchester area. He openly used to refer to voters as 'sheeple' and used to say that if they actually ever paid attention to what they were voting for there would be hell to pay.

The Great Councillini said...

I think that bandying about figures like '99%', 'small percentage' and so on is very easy to do, but probably very difficult to justify. None of these numbers are based on any real exercise of public opinion.

By its very nature, political comment is a big turn-off to many people, strikes fear of recrimination in others, and in general, has the effect of keeping people's heads down. Apathy - and a lack of understanding - is also another reason why blogs like this will only ever attract a relatively small proportion of people to write.

But you wouldn't say that a newspaper article, written by just one person, is necessarily invalid because 30 million other adults haven't contributed. It's the audience that is important - and it's clear this blog has a wide and varied audience.

What is also important to remember is that, when we all 'knew' there was something wrong at Llangefni, but couldn't quite put our finger on it, or at least not produce the evidence, along came Jeremy Colman and, lo and behold, found there was something very wrong - with evidence.

How many people submitted their concerns when invited by Mr. Colman in 2009? About 70. That's just over 1 person for every one thousand of the Anglesey population. A reason to dismiss their concerns as clearly unjustified? That's how the Council would have liked it. Thankfully, others had more enlightened ideas.

Insider said...

How Barrie Durkin is treated by the MD who just hung himself

"If having decided to investigate, you then decide to discontinue the investigation for any reason, please consult me first"

David Bowles,interim MD letter to "Andrew Walsh" the Ombudsman
Now That's Criminal. Just another example of how Anglesey County Council influence the Ombudsman,

Insider said...

David Bowles has highlighted in his complaint against Cllr Durkin that "In August 2009 Cllr Durkin approached the then Managing Director expressing concern about care allowance claims made by a County Councillor. He express the opinion that it amounted to maladministration by officers or was fraudulent. The Corporate Director of Finance undertook an investigation and concluded that the payment were in order and Cllr Durkin was advised of this".

Contrary to that statement there is documentary evidence showing that The County Councillor was NOT entitled to the payments and that the thousands of pounds per annum he'd received since 2002 were unlawfully paid.
Just another cover up..

Anonymous said...

One rule for Bowles another rule for Durkin, this smells, as well as the Ombudsman who has NEVER EVER EVER investigated complaints properly, Bowles and the Ombudsman are akin to snakes, watch your back Barrie, watch your back justice and democracy, Bowles the cheat is about.

Anonymous said...

2130 I hope your blood pressure pills are not too far away

Anonymous said...

I remember attending a meeting of one of the island's public bodies where support for ethnic minorities was being discussed.

The board decided it wasn't needed as 'there weren't enough of them on the island' (less than 2%)!

This staggering ignorance of what is meant by 'minority', in this particular context, underscores the inherent racism that can found even among those engaged in 'doing good works' - (eg. middle class, white, educated & bourgoise) - after all we all have prejudices, you see?

Anonymous said...

Playing with semantics'
Racism is Racism in any language.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Just deleted a substantial number of comments.

Anonymous said...

Implications, allegations, suggestions etc etc etc.

On Saturday I had a very hot Indian Curry (it was gorgeous) but on Sunday it had the Motezuma effect....a bit like the Implications, allegations, suggestions etc etc Lots of it but no substance!

Anonymous said...

How do you know. No all.

Anonymous said...

Nothing heard from the Assembly yet must be giving Cllr Durkin's request plenty of thought.

Anonymous said...

Now David Bowles has lodged his 22 page complaint containing nothing more than malicious and abusive rubbish against Cllr Durkin. I should think Bowles and the Welsh Assembly have a lot more to worry about than whether they should be taking over the running of Anglesey County Council.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how the Ombudsman is going to try and get out of allowing Anglesey County Council to influence him and destroy his independence in David Bowles's Complaint against Cllr Durkin. Should be very interesting indeed.

Just blatant criminals comes to my mind.

Puck said...

Is the Ombudsman going to have the time?
His/her in-box must be ovelflowing.

Anonymous said...

16th August 11.21 I have been away so hence the late response.

"How do I know" I know because it was me who eat the curry....

I gues where you said "No All" you meant Know All, well yes because it was 'through me' that you got the message!!