Oportunitas update: True & Fair Bulls**t

Updated 28 March @ 11:05am

How, how could this happen? 

How can the directors of Oportunitas be employees of the Council, and be elected Cllrs, when that’s not possible?

Also, how can the leader of the Council – Cllr David Monk – continue to lie and be allowed to get away with it?

Integrity is one of the seven principles of public life, as is honesty, but neither the Monitoring Officer – Amandeep Khroud – or the Chief Executive, Dr Susan Priest, take any action whatsoever about Cllr Monk’s lies. None.

Oportunitas Ltd is a company wholly owned by Folkestone & Hythe District Council. It has four directors. Each of the directors are sitting Cllrs.

According to the last set of accounts 31/03/22, publicly available on Companies Houses, state at page 4:

We raised this in our blog post on the 23 March:

Council company Oportunitas will not generate sufficient profit to meet its operating costs until 2031

The 4 directors of Oportunitas are Cllrs Rolfe (Con); Berry (Con); McConville (Lab) and Mullard (UKIP) and claissfied as employees. No employee may be elected or hold office as a member of the local authority by which they are employed.

So, the question has to be asked, as the Directors are employees of the Council, how can they be Cllrs as well?

Strange indeed how the four directors of Oportunitas can be both, when this is NOT allowed.

[Update] – One also notes that two of the Directors of Oportunitas have not updated there Register of Interests to reflect they are employed by Oportunitas: The two Cllrs are 

Councillor Mrs Ann Berry

Councillor Terence Mullard

It is a requirement by law to notify the Monitoring Officer of a disclosable pecuniary interest for any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain. Funny how neither of them have notified the Monitoring Officer, and even stranger she is not monitoring the disclosable pecuniary interests when she would be aware they are directors. [Update ends]

On 24 July 2019, at full Council, Chris Deane (RIP) (pictured), who was the chair of the local Labour Party, asked the following question of Cllr David Monk (Con):

Do you believe it is right that this council should be wasting it’s time and council tax payers money on a loss making council owned property development company, Oportunitas, when the real need is for a far greater number of council homes for people of this district than currently are being built or planned?

Cllr Monk’s response was:

Oportunitas is a housing and regeneration company set up by the Council in 2014 with the initial aim of providing housing in the private market rental sector to secure a financial benefit to General Fund that in turn supports the Council’s statutory services…

The Company since inception has invested £4.2 million in developing its property portfolio consisting of 37 residential units and 1 commercial unit to date, which is now valued at a total of £4.5 million. In 2018/19, the Company produced a return of about £250,000 to the Council.

Cllr Monk’s statement about it making a return of about £250,000 is utter bulls**t. It made a profit of £118,710 and a operating loss of £52k for the financial year 2018/19. Another lie by Cllr Monk, to a member of the public and the residents of the district. Remember he is a failed business man four times over.

And as for the Monitoring Officer, who is supposed to act when she see’s a public office-holder behave without integrity and honesty, she did what? 

Fast forward to Full Council on the 29 March 2023, and Cllr Nicola Keen (Lab) will ask the following question to Cllr David Monk (Con):

Recently I read on page 4 of the latest set of Oportunitas accounts year end 31st March 2022:

“Directors of Oportunitas and the staff who support the company are the employees of the parent organization, FHDC.”

It is my understanding that no employee of FHDC maybe elected or hold office as a member of the local authority by which they are employed. So, the question has to be asked, as the Directors are employees of the council how they can also be Councillors?

The simple answer is than cannot be both Cllr Keen, so they must relinquish one of the positions they hold, with immediate effect.

We wonder how Cllr Monk will respond to Cllr Keen’s question – with more bullsh*t? 

Tune in on Wednesday and see

The Council’s Corporate Director responsible for Oportunitas Ltd is Andy Blaszkowicz – Director of Housing and Operations. The Director who signed off the accounts was Cllr Patricia Rolfe (Con), on 22 Nov 22.

The Auditor of the accounts, Begbies Chartered Accountants & Registered Auditors have said the accounts, and the information contained therein, is “true and fair.

That aside, it’s time to sell the company’s assets as it has never made an operating profit, and use half the proceeds to lower your Council Tax by £128, and put the rest in the reserves, just as our public face said on the 24 March 2023.

And regarding the monitoring officer (above left) or Chief Exec (above right) taking any action… we’ll leave you to mull that over.

The Shepway Vox Team

The Velvet Voices of Voxatiousness


About shepwayvox (1725 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 Oportunitas update: True & Fair Bulls**t

  1. Graham Wickens // March 27, 2023 at 15:01 // Reply

    Why is it that the council never responds to what are clear breaches of the regulations??

    • @ Graham

      Because they are answerable to no one so they can do whatever they like.
      They all need to go and be replaced by truthful and honest people

      • @Kevin

        These articles only appear in Shepway Vox and Private Eye, they are never reported in local or mainstream media, who prefer to report the renovation of the harbour arm rather than the deprivation of the rest of the area.

  2. I’m not that this is how it all works.
    Oportunitas is a seperate legal entity. Just because the council is the shareholder does not in turn make a director of Oportunitas an employee of the shareholder (council).
    The issue is conflict of interest, between the requirements of being a councillor and a director of the business.

    Here’s a link with additional information:

    In addition page 4 contains no such statement, maybe it’s a typo or maybe it’s intentionally misleading.
    Recently I read on page 4 of the latest set of Oportunitas accounts year end 31st March 2022:
    “Directors of Oportunitas and the staff who support the company are the employees of the parent organization, FHDC.”


    • shepwayvox // March 28, 2023 at 12:22 // Reply

      The accounts for Oportunitas makes it clear they are “employees” of the Council. Employees of the Council cannot be elected Cllrs.

      The guidance you refer to is just guidance. It is NOT statutory so the Council are under NO obligation to follow it.

      The accounts say what is contained within them is TRUE and FAIR. As such it is TRUE employees are elected Cllrs as the accounts say so, so does the auditor.

      Furthermore two of the directors have failed to update their disclosable pecuanairy interests which is a legal requirement.

      One notes in the article you refer to it states

      Duty to promote the success of the company
      Duty to exercise independent judgment

      The company is not a success as it has never made an operating profit in nine years.

      At the last Cabinet meeting Cllr Rolfe (also a director) needed to rely on the shareholder to formulate her responses. This should not be the case. As such that is not independent judgement.

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