Are 16 Folkestone & Hythe District Councillors abusing their position?

Could you be persuaded there is a legitimate interest, and it is in the public interest, or any value to the public or any section of the public, for Folkestone & Hythe District Council (F&HDC) to disclose the names and training courses which sixteen Cllrs may or may not have attended, since becoming a Councillor in the May elections.

The F&HDC 16 have refused to give their consent, to allow you to know what course they may or may not have attended.

  • Is there a legitimate interest that could override the Cllrs consent ?

  • Would the public interest be served by the release of the information?

  • Is there any value to the public or any section of the public to know the courses the F&HDC 16 may or may not have attended?

These courses have been paid for by public money. External consultants have been procured using public money to undertake some of the training courses. Other courses have been procured internally, as such, a cost would be apportioned to that departments budget costs who gave the course, which is also public money.

The F&HDC 16 include 11 Tories, 2 Labour 1 Green, 1 UKIP and 1 independent Councillors. We believe it is in the public interest to know if they have undertaken such courses as:

Cllrs do not have to undertake any DBS check (criminal record check), yet deal with vulnerable adults in the course of their work from time to time. They also meet constituents on a one-to-one basis.

Under former Council Leader, Robert Bliss, he tried and failed to make DBS checks mandatory for Cllrs. He received stern opposition from elected Cllrs and the Council. One does wonder why Cllrs and the Council were so reticent, are still reticent.

Surely, the F&HDC 16 who have elected not to give their consent to disclose what training they may or may not have undertaken don’t have anything to hide. Or do they?

Below are the F&HDC 16 who have elected not to disclose what Council courses they may or may not have undertaken. Eleven are Conservatives, two are Labour, One is UKIP, One is Green and One is Independent.

AnnBerry DannyBrook Carey Coolier

cLLR rAY fIELD 3 Gane Goddard Godfrey

Hill Hollingsbee Keen Meyers

Monk Peall Wade Wimble

The fourteen Cllrs who have elected to disclose what courses they have attended are set out in the chart below. All fourteen Cllrs gave their consent to disclose what course they have attended, since becoming a Cllr in the May elections. Four are Labour Cllrs, two Lib Dems, two Tories and five Green.

Screenshot from 2019-10-24 11-19-33

The two red dots in the chart in the second row down, denote data protection and access induction. The red dot in the first column, total attendees box, denotes Cllrs who have attended at least one course.

The F&HDC 16 who have refused to give their consent have used their right under Article 4(1) of the General Data Protection Regulations (personal data).  The Council have also stated:

  • We consider that to release the withheld information would be in breach of GDPR’s Article 5(1)(a), “processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the data subject (‘lawfulness, fairness and transparency’). The withheld data is considered to be the personal data of a 3rd party (The Cllrs)

The Council go onto say:

  • the Council has determined that it would be in breach of GDPR’s Article 6(1)(a) (consent) to disclose the withheld data, …

Do you think there is a legitimate interest which could override the F&HDC 16 consent?

Do you think it would be in the public interest to release the courses which the F&HDC 16 may or may not have attended?

Would there be any value to the public or any section of the public to know the courses the F&HDC 16 may or may not have attended?

We firmly believe that in a democracy all elected officials should be held to account for their actions and behaviour. To know which courses the F&HDC 16 may or may not have undertaken could we suggest have a significant impact when leading and scrutinising the work of the council in the chamber. Lack of training could so easily lead to poor decision making by the F&HDC 16. Some might suggest this has already happened.

We believe the actions of the F&HDC 16 and the Council to refuse to release this information is an abuse of accountability, transparency and scrutiny and puts our council at significant risk. You can make up your own mind.

The Shepwayvox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

About shepwayvox (906 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

5 Comments on Are 16 Folkestone & Hythe District Councillors abusing their position?

  1. Of course councillors are abusing their position, always have, always will.

  2. Given the tragedy that is East Kent Housing and the serious breaches of Health & Safety by Folkestone and Hythe District Council, and its Cllrs, I believe it most certainly would be in the public interest to disclose the information.

    I am quite shocked that Councillors do not have to be DBS checked, in this day and age, one might have thought it should be obligatory. I fail to see why Councillors are an exception to the rule.

  3. The question for me is how is it the council can say that it would be a breach of the data act to release information on any given councillor when that information is already in the public domain and has been put there by that councillor, for instance if you or anyone looked up Cllr Field on LinkedIn his profile proudly states he holds a Tec IOSH ( institute of occupational safety and health) , now IOSH is I understand THE QUALIFICATION required for a professional health and safety advisor to give advice so in holding that qualification I’m lead to believe the first duty of a holder is to employees and members of the public , Not the organisation they represent , so I have to ask because I don’t know , when AND IF Cllr Field became aware of breaches in health and safety what actions did he take as both a Cllr and a person with a formal qualification in health and safety ?

  4. Because we know the 14 Cllrs who have consented, we can therefore deduce the names of the 16 who have not consented. The whole cabinet the portfolio holders for Housing, Finance, District Economy, Environment for example once again demonstrate there arrogance and disdain for transparency, shame on them.

    Keen & Field as current or former union members doesn’t personally surprise me. What does surprise me is Cllr Douglas Wade, also Mayor of Hythe hiding what courses he may or may not have done. And Wimble! Need I say anymore.

  5. doggerbank56 // October 28, 2019 at 14:55 // Reply

    Having based their refusal to disclose this information citing Articles 4(1) and 5(1)(a) of the General Data Protection Regulation I would suggest that Shepway Vox requests the Oouncil to reconsider their decision and release the information.

    If they refuse to do so the next step will be to make a complaint to the Information Commissioners’s Office. After all what to do the Councillors concerned have to hide?

    https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/official-information-concerns-report/official-information-concern/official-information-concerns-report/

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: