Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Anglesey's "Schofield-gate": raised in First Minister's Questions

The Ombudsman's decision to drop a controversial case against Cllr Elwyn Schofield, made by the Welsh Government's appointed troubleshooter to Anglesey Council, David Bowles, was raised today in Cardiff by Mark Isherwood AM during First Minister's Questions:

Question By Mark Isherwood AM :
"How do you respond to the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales decision at the end of last week to drop a case against Anglesey Councillor, Elwyn Schofield on grounds that the evidence was contradictory and largely uncorroborated. A case brought by the Welsh Government appointed former Interim Managing Director, who also produced a Terms of Engagement obliging council group leaders to sign which forced them to 'Publicly and Robustly' condemn this Councillor and other named Councillors, which led to, ultimately, the appointment of the Commissioners, the postponement of the local elections and the drastic boundary Changes."

Answer from Carwyn Jones, First Minister:
"Well [splutter, splutter]. I don't wish to comment on something that's been done by the Ombudsman or finding made by the Ombudsman, that's a matter for the Local Authority."

(Watch it for yourself here from about 20 minutes in).

Carwyn Jones sidesteps the question as he wasn't being asked to comment on the Ombudsman's decision, but on the judgement of the then most well paid civil servant in Wales, David Bowles, who had been sent in by the Welsh Government to solve Anglesey County Councils problems but ended up making them far, far worse. 

The issue was raised for a second time later on during Business Questions when Janet-Finch Saunders AM called on Carl Sargeant, the Welsh Minister for Local Government, to make a statement on the matter.

Had what happened on Ynys Môn under the direction of a Welsh Government Viceroy happened in any South Wales council it would have been a major scandal. Because it happened in Anglesey it has been largely ignored. That might be about to change.

Watch this space.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shocking disregard to the people of Anglesey, it's nothing short of a disgrace. The Labour Party should be hanging it's head in shame for failing us all.

Anonymous said...

We have to have a Public Inquiry into this affair, we pay our taxes we want the truth!

kp said...

Sorry guys, the first question that needs asking is why so many other councillors went along with David Bowles and his assertions.

It is this that we need to know first. And only then can we decide how best to proceed to recover our wasted taxpayer sums.

Anonymous said...

KP, that probably had something to do with these sections of the Terms of Engagement:

"10. To support every appropriate effort to ensure that only members of the Alliance, and those unaffiliated members who have demonstrated their commitment to the recovery, shall be nominated to the role of chair or vice-chair of any committee, or to serve on any outside body, or receive any special responsibility allowance.

12. Any member of those Groups comprising the Alliance who fails to publicly support these undertakings, or undermines the Leader of their Group in discharging these undertakings, shall be disciplined collectively by the Group Leaders of the Alliance."

Anonymous said...

If the Assembly's gutless want to continue down the road of not me gov, let them get on with it.

A public Inquiry will open the buggers up.

Paul Williams said...

Tut, tut, KP - I haven't published your last post due to it transgressing Godwin's Law.

In the Know. said...

Quotes from the Draft terms of Engagement.

11. "To support every appropriate effort to ensure that none of the dissidents shall be nominated to the role of Chair or Vice-Chair of any committee, or to serve on any outside body, or receive any special responsibility allowance".

12. "Subject to political party rules, agree to extend the working of the Alliance to the 2012 local elections in order to expressly target the seats of the dissident members".

"The Alliance will seek positive and meaningful support for their proposals from the Minister on the basis that they are intended to secure a stable period of strong political leadership leading up to, and beyond ,the local elections in may 2012"

kp said...

Druid, the choice is yours because the blog is yours.

Edit as you see fit, but the post was surely appropriate, fitting and apposite.

Incidentally, I've just looked up this Godwin's law, it seems it relates to overuse of a certain comparison. Is overuse of relevance here?

Andrew said...

By the time I have finished with Carwyn he's going to wish he was presenting the weather.

The European Anti-Fraud Office are getting a copy a report that may cause the likes of Seargant, Carwyn and Ieaun a serious headache.

Talk about numbskulls, they charged the most expensive auditors in the land to write a report which was disproven in less than a day based on documentary evidence and the most disturbing aspect is that the report failed to identify the source of all the misinformation. The source of all documented financial misrepresentations is no other than IoACC and Pwc sidestepped it like Ronaldo.

Now we know.

Anonymous said...

Is it right then that Carl Sargeant supported the Term of Engagement, and in doing so helped to bring the Council to its Knees, or did he refuse to support them, leaving the council to chose and go its own way in any event.

These are some of the questions that need answering hence, in allaying serious public concern and restoring trust in the state, the need for a Public Inquiry must be paramount.

Anonymous said...

So you Paul Williams support Cllr Elwyn Schofield. I used to work for council many years ago, and still remeber the low morale brought about by some very unpleasent Councillors.

I thought you was different, sadly it seems I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

What we need is a campaign calling for a Public Inquiry. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Andrew,
I think its time for a change of auditors. PWC were fined 1.4 million no so long ago for failing in their duty. Have they done the same again At IOACC?

Anonymous said...

It seems very unlikely that we will have a Public Inquiry, due to the unenviable fact that we live in a place where collusion and hiding the real facts from the people are a day to day event. This is the standard behaviour of this Council. Facts are buried away and hidden, the truth is kept in the dark and we the people are treated as if we were unfit to be trusted with the responsibilities of the day to day running of this Council. This is why we have so many scandals, scandals that break free from the secret society yet manage to be hidden away and buried as soon as they arise.
We must remember that we have lost faith now in the decisions made by Carwyn Jones and Carl Sargeant, as far as we are concernered they have created this mess, now they will be doing everything possible to distance themselves away from it. The blame lies with us, for failing to protect ourselves from incompetence, poor and weak management and lack of resolve. When the first storm hit Anglesey we should had said Stop! but no, we allowed the monkeys to run the zoo, and for what? we are in the same position as we were years ago, we have managed to have no clarity, the scandals continue, the people still suffer, yet the Politicians still treat us all with disdain.

I find it a sad state of affairs, Cardiff promised to sort it out, but have failed us all, miserably.
There must be countless files and documents hidden away proving malice and bad practice, but these are hidden away from public view, and as usual no one cares, but we all failed to listen.

Anonymous said...

Druid.
It is now quite apparent that the intervention by the Assemble was nothing more than a ruse by Labour to cause as much trouble as possible because they had no control since the 2008 elections.

What we saw yesterday was Carwyn Jones, Jane Hunt and Carl Sargeant stone walling to further cover up.

Public Inquiry please.

Anonymous said...

According to the comments in a letter from the former Leader of the council to Carl Sareagent at that time he said: "I can no longer be convinced that the efforts which have taken place to date by the M/D supported by yourself and the recovery board are enough to guarantee a return to normality"

This couldn't make it any clearer that Carl Sargeant supported the Term of Engagement and was quite happy to see the damage it was doing to the council.

PUBLIC INQUIRY.

Anonymous said...

No Communication, whispers and a league of Commissioners who have proven themselves to be worthless, are a shocking reminder to us all, that we have an Administration on Anglesey that has proven to be a failure, we have no Community spirit with this Council, their agenda is devised to work against the wishes of the people. It's a case of them,the failures, and us, the survivors. We will survive, the Commissioners, Carl Sargeant and this mess will ensure that our faith and trust in the Assembly and the way they have tried to rescue us will not.

Have the Commissioners got the balls to have a Public Inquiry? They get paid to do something, then do SOMETHING, ANYTHING IS BETTER THEN NOTHING!

Anonymous said...

IF THIS COUNCIL WANTS TO EARN ANY SORT OF CRED, NOTHING LESS THAN A PUBLIC INQUIRY WILL DO.

The Red Flag said...

anon 13:32 According to the comments in a letter from the former Leader of the council to Carl Sareagent at that time he said: "I can no longer be convinced that the efforts which have taken place to date by the M/D supported by yourself and the recovery board are enough to guarantee a return to normality

If you subscribe to that then you must believe that the Commissioners, Sargent and the MD were nowhere near severe enough nor ruthless enough in the way they have dealt with the councillors.

And I happen to agree with you. The lot should have been removed from office and barred from standing again. If they'd done that we'd be having an election this year.

Anonymous said...

"Watch this space" ?

Careful or you'll be starting to sound like a former blogger of this parish, a blogger and his/her blog now sadly Disappeared. Which is a shame because there was good stuff there. So actually if you are thinking of following along those lines, maybe that would be a Good Thing.

The Red Flag said...

What did happen to Photon?

Insider said...

As the complaint to the Ombudsman against county councillor Elwyn Schofield, was made by David Bowles, on behalf of Anglesey County Council, in the full glare of Publicity and the Undemocratic "Terms Of Engagement" used by the Council in their propaganda campaign on their Web Site. When can we see Cllr Schofield getting a public apology from the Council?

Anonymous said...

When pigs learn to fly and Hell freezes over, however, there is a different rule book for apologising to Councillors and apologising to the public.

Another Insider said...

Public Apology. A Public Inquiry
and Some sackings.

The Council's biggest problems have yet to come, It is believed That Council Barrie Durkin's Adjudication Panel Hearing will start on 14th May and go on for a week or more. God help them called to give evidence tell any more lies.

Andrew said...

Carwyn ducked the real issue brought to his attention by Mr Isherwood.

Reports prepared for the WAG by the Ombudsman and PwC are for Ministers to consider. The auditors only present their observations and it's then up to the Ministers to interpret and thrash out the issues raised in the report.

Anonymous said...

Lots of documents now available for download from IOACC website relating to this matter (Standards committee 14-Mar-2012) ... (http://www.anglesey.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/councillors-democracy-and-elections/council-committees/standards-committee/)
Quite interesting stuff!

Carer said...

How on earth could something like this happen? Is it a matter that those responsible have been getting away with it for so long that they don't know the difference between right and wrong, or are they so self important and arrogant that they just don't care. Which-ever, heads must surely roll.