Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Wallasey Town Hall. View directions
Note: Reconvened Extraordinary Meeting from 13 February.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The members of the Council are invited to consider whether they have a personal or prejudicial interest in connection with any matter to be debated or determined at this meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of such interest.
The Mayor referred to a statement that she had made at the opening of the adjourned extraordinary meeting of the Council, held on 13 February 2012 (minute 103 refers). She restated her personal prejudicial interest in agenda item 3 (Anna Klonowski Associates Ltd (AKA) – Independent Review of the Council’s Response to Claims made by Martin Morton (and others)) by virtue of her friendship with an interested party, and proposed to vacate the Chair and leave the chamber for the duration of discussion on this item (see minute 126 post).
Councillor Steve Williams declared his personal interest in this item by virtue of him being a Director of a company that did business with a company named in the AKA Report.
Councillors Pat Williams, Denise Roberts, Chris Meaden and Simon Mountney declared their personal interest by virtue of being mentioned in the AKA Report. Councillors Ian Lewis and Chris Blakeley also declared their personal interest by virtue of their friendship with a person named in the AKA Report.
Councillor Mrs P M Williams commented that although she had previously declared her personal interest in this item (minute 103 (13 February 2012) refers), issues which concerned her had now been resolved. She had taken further advice from the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management who had confirmed that she was now free to speak at this meeting.
To receive the Mayor's announcements and any apologies for absence.
The Mayor sought an explanation from officers as to why there had been a change to the agenda for the reconvened meeting. In response, the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management commented that as the Council had not yet received the Audit Commission HESPE PIDA Follow Up Report from the District Auditor, consideration of it had been deferred to a future meeting (minute 105 refers). As there was no prospect of it being received in time for consideration at the reconvened meeting, it had therefore been omitted from the agenda.
The Mayor, having vacated the Chair for this item and having left the chamber, the Deputy Mayor, Councillor G Ellis, took the Chair.
The Action Plan considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 2 February (minute 272 refers) and at which it was resolved to refer it to this extraordinary meeting, is attached.
Further to minute 104 (13 February 2012), which deferred consideration of this matter in accordance with Standing Order 9 (k), the Council was requested to consider the Action Plan in response to the AKA Report and Martin Smith Report that had been agreed by the Cabinet on 2 February 2012 (minute 272 refers). The Director of Law, HR and Asset Management had provided to Members a partial list of Wirral MBC Employees (Table 1) and Other Individuals and Organisations (Table 2) that were mentioned in the AKA Report and outlined the rationale for the information being designated as exempt and not for publication. In particular, if the AKA Report was shown to contain errors in relation to service providers and their associates, there was a likelihood that the Council would face action for damages, which could be significant. In response to a question from Councillor Steve Foulkes, he confirmed that any liability as a result of disclosure was on the Council as a body corporate, not on individual Members.
On a Motion by Councillor Jeff Green and seconded by Councillor Lesley Rennie, it was –
Resolved (unanimously) –
(1) That Table 1 – Wirral MBC Employees Mentioned in the AKA Report, be placed in the public domain.
(2) That Table 2 – Other Individuals and Organisations Mentioned in the AKA Report, be placed in the public domain.
The Leader of the Council hoped that an un-redacted version of the AKA report would ultimately be made available to Members and expressed the view that public interest would be properly served by the partial information contained within tables 1 and 2 being placed in the public domain.
He thanked Councillor Simon Mountney for initially raising this matter with the Council, and he paid tribute to Martin Morton for his courage in ensuring that the issues were brought into the public domain. He expressed a view that the Action Plan could be further developed and made the following observations for consideration by the Council –
· That any reimbursement to be paid to those persons overcharged for their care should be backdated and that compensation should be paid to the immediate families of the service users affected.
· That an Independent Ombudsman should be appointed, to ensure that any concerns raised by Members or employees of the Council in the future will be dealt with appropriately.
· That the Independent Ombudsman should have the right to attend and be heard at meetings of the Employment and Appointments Committee.
· That Martin Morton be asked to reconsider taking up an offer for his re-employment with the Council.
He commented also that he had requested the Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development to produce a report upon the circumstances in which two senior officers mentioned in the AKA report were allowed to leave the employment of the Council with severance, less than a day before the final report was received. He also sought information as to why no disciplinary action had been taken in this matter.
The Leader ... view the full minutes text for item 126.