Happy New Year to one and all.
The Standards Commissioner’s office responded well to the subject access requests I made and, while it will take a while to go through the material, one nugget has emerged which I now share with you. Similar requests to the council have produced almost nothing.
I today sent all councillors and the press the following email. The attachment to the email, a letter Mrs Loudon sent to the Commissioner in July 2015, can be read in full here:
I thought you would all like an update on my attempts to draw a line under the issues I have with the 4 officers who substantially failed in their complaint against me.
In my statement issued on 12 December, to counter what Mr Sneddon said at the November council meeting, I concluded it with what I considered to be an olive branch. My words were as follows:
Regrettably, there is no sign that the complainants will do this. They did not respond at all to my statement and when I asked last week, the reply was pretty negative and all they wanted to do was look forward. As I said in reply, wrongs need righted before you look forward and one of the wrongs was the statement read out by Mr Sneddon on their behalves. You will recall they rejected the 4 attempts to settle the matter before the hearing and now they appear to want to maintain their position as set out in Mr Sneddon’s derogatory statement. You can draw your own conclusions.
The subject access request I made of the council back in October last year has not turned up anything as yet. How can this be I wonder? The standards commissioner’s office, though, has produced a pile of material, some of which should have been reflected in the council response to my subject access request.
For example, I now know that Mrs Loudon attempted to accuse 7 other councillors of being in breach of the code of conduct simply because, before the complaint was accepted as such by the Commissioner, they gave me public support. They were perfectly entitled to do this as Mrs Loudon should have known. I note below an extract from Mrs Loudon’s letter to the Commissioner on 27 July 2015. The full letter is attached to this email. As far as I can ascertain, the Commissioner showed the good sense to ignore Mrs Loudon’s letter.
The council is still maintaining its stance that there were no costs involved in producing and responding to the complaint. Apparently, all this work (including the letter attached) was done in their own time and therefore at no cost whatsoever! I now intend to estimate and make public what I consider to have been the costs, because I don’t accept there were no costs.
I will be updating you soon on the “behaviours” I had to put up with in the first year or so of being a councillor.