Message to all senior officers: get with the programme
The Council has today suspended the Director of Highways and Technical Services so that a
full investigation can be carried out into concerns raised by the District Auditor about the handling of a highways maintenance contract.
The council has been involved in a long-running investigation over the handling of the contract.
This investigation has been dragging on to my knowledge since 2008 when I raised a series of concerns from a group of employees to Senior Council Officers and has, so far, involved the District Auditor twice as well as the Council’s own Head of Law, Director of Finance and the mystical ‘Council Corporate Governance Group’. I am reliably informed that this group does exist but when I have asked for minutes and agendas, nothing has been forthcoming.
I am astounded by the level of incompetence shown by the Council’s investigating team. Some councillors have been fed a series of allegations, gossip and tittle tattle throughout this time.
As we have seen in the recent disgraceful treatment of vulnerable adults, the automatic response of senior officers appears to be denial followed by legal advice that clouds the whole issue in the hope it will go away.
It is now time for these senior officers to cease their secretive briefings and quiet whispers and to answer for their actions, in public.
We can start at the special Cabinet meeting I have called for Thursday when the Director of Law and the Director of Finance can tell us what they know.
My message to all senior council officers is to get with the programme – they are public servants and they are, like councillors, there to serve the public. Every single senior officer will be held accountable for their actions, no matter how senior they are.