Holidays & Hypocrisy

On the 1 August 2022, the public were supposed to have been allowed to inspect Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s accounts, as per s26 of the Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014.

However, to date, 4.10.22, the Council’s accounts are still not open to inspection two months and four days after the deadline of the 01.08.22, came and went.

It’s not just the accounts which are an issue.

On 25 July 2022, the Council released twenty three months worth of their Procurement Card Transactions. This twenty three months covered April 1 2020 through to 28 February 2022. Two months and ten days since they published the first tranche of data, the other six years and one month of Council Procurement Card Transactions is yet to be published.

On the Council’s website it states, as of today:

We are currently working to collate our historic data and this will be published as soon as possible.

The Corporate Director responsible for the publication of the accounts and the Council’s Procurement Card Transactions is the s151 Officer, Charlotte Spendley.

On the 22.09.22 we announced we’d be seeking legal advice about a possible Tort of Negligence by the s151 Officer. Yesterday we received a legal opinion from two senior barristers that there is sufficient evidence to bring a claim of negligence against the s151 Officer.

Given what Cllr Whybrow stated just last Wednesday – 28.09.22 at Full Council, regarding the unlawful expenditure of £164,000 of taxpayers money, adds further weight to our claim of negligence by the s151 Officer.

On another note, council whistleblowers are now claiming that Council Officers have received holidays for the awarding of contracts. They have also named the companies who have facilitated these holidays. They have not just rocked up and made these claims without supplying the names of the companies, the council officers and the destinations of these claimed holidays. They have provided substantial and reasonable fact based evidence to support their claims as well.

We are currently investigating the evidence they’ve provided. We will publish the results when we have completed our investigations.

The whistleblowers are loathe to approach senior management with their claims as they honestly believe they’ll be made scapegoats. That claim is a reasonable one given the council paid for, and instructed East Kent Audit Partnership (EKAP) to conduct a “Corporate leak investigation” to see if they could discover the whistleblowers within the Council.  The report provided no comfort to senior management, as EKAP did not find them.

Finally, given the s151 Officer has admitted that £164,000 of council money was spent unlawfully – she claimed it was an “oversight“. According to Part 10 of the Council’s constitution relating to the Financial Procedure Rules it states:

It is a disciplinary offence for an officer to breach these rules or the financial regulations…

Now we know four officers were suspended, investigated, and all left the building – like Elvis. How is it the officer/s responsible for the spending of the £164,000, has/have not been suspended, which is what the Whistleblowers claim.

This would appear to be hypocrisy of a seismic scale given what happened to the four who recently were forced out of the building for breaching the financial procedure rules and contract standing orders. It would appear that there are different rules for different members of staff. Make of that what you will.

The Shepway Vox Team

Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful

About shepwayvox (1611 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

2 Comments on Holidays & Hypocrisy

  1. I wonder if there might be some sudden resignations very soon ?

  2. A Council Employee // October 4, 2022 at 09:54 // Reply

    Why stop at holidays! It’s a known fact that cars were purchased for persons awarding contracts to certain contractors. FACT.

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