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Graham Powell has resigned from the Cabinet!

Colin James

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The leader of Herefordshire Council has today (Friday 3 June) confirmed his new Cabinet portfolios.

The main changes see Councillor David Harlow replacing Councillor Graham Powell for economy and corporate services and Councillor Elissa Swinglehurst being appointed as Cabinet support member for health and wellbeing.
Councillor Tony Johnson, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “I am pleased with our new Cabinet team and look forward to working with them as we continue to focus our priorities on protecting the county’s vulnerable residents and strengthening the economy, whilst ensuring that we spend within our means and deliver a balanced budget.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Councillor Graham Powell for his hard work and contribution during his time as a Cabinet member.”
The Cabinet responsibilities are confirmed as:
Councillor Tony Johnson (supported by Councillor Roger Phillips)
Leader of the council / corporate strategy and finance
Councillor Patricia Morgan (supported by Councillor Elissa Swinglehurst)
Deputy leader of the council / health and wellbeing
Councillor Harry Bramer 
Contracts and assets
Councillor David Harlow (supported by Councillor Nigel Shaw)
Economy and corporate services
Councillor Jonathan Lester (supported by Councillor Jenny Hyde)
Young people and children’s wellbeing
Councillor Philip Price 
Councillor Paul Rone 
Transport and roads
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Interesting. Thanks Colin, for posting this.


So.... No mention of why Tony saw fit to sack Graham? And his workload is now shared between two? As is Pats.


And I see Roger is back in the fold. The last I heard of him he was off.... somewhere.


"Cllr Phillips will step down from the cabinet to spend more time and expertise on The Local Enterprise Partnership." Statement issued 31st October 2013.


He was all set to go looking for 'funding'??? Was he successful? Who knows.


Do all of these 'supporting roles' require 'supporting allowances' to go with them?

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Ms Morgan is Ms Morgan and Ms Swinglehurst I would say is a very strong minded young lady which makes for a very interesting twosome. Are they being supported because of their age and fraility? 

More to do with them being bloody useless I'd have thought. Morgan in particular sounds like an I-Speak-Your-Weight machine every time she opens her stupid trap.

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We do appear to be in the middle of a perfect storm here;

• Cllr Bob Mathews forces a review of a report put to Council which is £9.1m light on the accounting (and which we are subsequently told, “it doesn’t matter, the outcome of the meeting would have been the sameâ€)
• Cllr Graham Powell is sacked from the Cabinet, we subsequently learn it is following a leadership challenge
• Roger Phillips is brought back in from the cold to support Johnson (and no doubt to take the fall at some point in the not too distant future)
• Peter Robinson is suspended
• We subsequently learn from HT that 'a senior council officer has left his position', Glenda says its not Robinson
• We understand that the Auditors report delivered to Herefordshire Council a couple of weeks ago last was extremely damning, which may account for suspensions and leavings
• The SLR goes to Planning Committee on Monday - huge amounts of personal and private money to be made - a lot at stake
• As ever, the hapless council tax payers, the voters, are kept in the dark as the cult of secrecy is maintained within Plough Lane.
Come on Bill Tanner, we need you!
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Will the supporters be claiming attendance allowance or carer's allowance?


Is Johnson shoring up his defences?


Cabinet member support team
An allowance is payable for these posts up to 50% of the band 2 allowance (cabinet members allowance £11,750) subject to the total budget currently allocated for individual cabinet members not being exceeded.
Allowance up to £5,875
Information about Herefordshire Council's Constitution
All major councils are required by law to prepare and keep an up to date constitution. The constitution explains and regulates how the council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people.
I see the council have put out information regarding their constitution yesterday and updated various aspects of it. It would be a good job if all councillors and the public made themselves aware of its contents. 
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Massive fail, as young people say - that constitution document is 300 pages long - and on page 2 we have "The Council’s Director of Resources is responsible for the effective application of the Code in matters of financial probity, performance and risk." That's the Director of Resources that is currently suspended, albeit for reasons which we are not allowed to know.

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My theory is they are trying their level best to keep a lid on it until after Monday afternoon when the decision will be made for the SLR.


Please is there a whistle blower wanting to come out and squeal very loudly before Monday afternoon?


The Amey and the Council Farm enquiries are still live alongwith the Inner Link road.


Graham Powell also said in one of his comments in the HT that there are one or two lawsuits already live with the SLR.


I do question the legality of some of these docs with the names of Peter Robinson and Bill Norman still on them

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Whistle blowers get treated very badly at HC.


Don't expect anybody to stick their head above the parapet again in the near future. They aren't supported, their lives are made a misery and they inevitably end up being forced out. All for trying to do the right thing......

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Well according to Linkedin Robinson is no longer with HC. Also a director of one or two other companies


Peter Robinson

Director of Resources and MD Designate Hoople Ltd


  1. PDLB Financial Consultancy Ltd


  1. Herefordshire Council
  2. Bristol City Council
  3. Gloucestershire County Council


  1. University of Warwick



About Mr Peter John Robinson

Mr Peter John Robinson holds 2 appointments at 2 active companies, has resigned from 3 companies and held 0 appointments at 0 dissolved companies. Peter began their first appointment at the age of 47. Their longest current appointment spans 2 years, 9 months and 5 days at PDLB FINANCIAL CONSULTANCY LIMITED

The combined cash at bank value for all businesses where Peter holds a current appointment equals £661.9k, a combined total current assets value of £1.3m with a total current liabilities of £555.3k and a total current net worth of £-8.8m. Roles associated with Mr Peter John Robinson within the recorded businesses include: Director

Director Details Full Name Mr Peter John Robinson Date Of Birth Jul 1964 Nationality British Director ID 916646021
Who says dam  the internet it is such a fountain of information!!!!!!!!!
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Well that's a turn up.


So Herefordshire Council is now considered a 'previous' employment ?


One can only hazard a guess at the events/discussions/agreements  which have occurred to enable such a hasty departure.


Will we ever be given the full facts? Or will it be down to a FOI request ?

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No I will keep digging for a little while.  Especially to confirm the internal auditors for HC. Eventually they will have to confirm deny the info


Yes he is a director of 


South West Audit Partnership Limited

ACTIVE Yeovil Innovation Centre, Barracks Close, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 8RN


who I believe to be HC's internal Auditors.


Did he appoint these Auditors?


What is the connection with Graham Powell and this? 

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Question to those in the know please I am intrigued


How can a man be employed as CFO for HC(which should be a full time job in it's own right for the money paid) also be MD for Hoople also be a director for


South West Audit Partnership and run a business with his wife no employees and show quite a healthy profit?

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Hi Denise, whilst perusing Megilleland's link earlier, I did read that employees who are Band 7 or above, must seek permission from the director before undertaking any other paid employment. So this has obviously been approved, and all is fine and dandy with this scenario.


As you say, I would have thought that job - on that salary - was a full time role, requiring a full time commitment.


But, I know very little about how these things work.....!

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Some things haven't changed regarding Herefordshire Council. Remember this from 2013?


Simon Brown highlighted the twisting and turning to keep matters out of the public gaze.


They are “arm’s length†arrangements designed to get round the Freedom of Information Act and accountability – being companies they are “secretâ€

and so are definitely not transparent or open. They are not public bodies so do not fall within the meaning of the act so we can't ask for information, even though they spend our money.

Apparently, even our county monitoring officer can't, or won’t, get at their documents even though they are available at Companies House. The overview and scrutiny committee can’t overview or scrutinise them. Bonkers and wrong, and, above all, stinking of the same old, same old sleaze.


Misconduct in public office is an offence at common law triable only on indictment. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It is an offence confined to those who are public office holders and is committed when the office holder acts (or fails to act) in a way that constitutes a breach of the duties of that office.
The Court of Appeal has made it clear that the offence should be strictly confined. It can raise complex and sometimes sensitive issues. Prosecutors should therefore consider seeking the advice of the Principal Legal Advisor to resolve any uncertainty as to whether it would be appropriate to bring a prosecution for such an offence.
A matter was raised last year:
Although all local authority employees are officers, are all authority officers necessarily employees, asks Nicholas Dobson in New Law Journal 1st May 2015
All local authority employees are officers. But do all officers have to be employees? The issue is important not least since statute requires relevant authorities (per s 21(1)(a)-(k) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989) to designate “one of their officers†as “monitoring officerâ€. This position has personal responsibility for specified functions designed to secure the authority’s corporate legal propriety.
But nowadays there are many permutations and combinations of local government legal practice. One chief legal officer in a local authority can often be responsible for the legal propriety and well-being of two or more councils. How does this fit into the statutory scheme of things? Fortunately a May 2010 decision of HH Judge Grenfell in the High Court in Leeds brought some clarity to a rather cloudy statutory picture, albeit that the matter concerned a chief finance officer rather than a monitoring officer.
The case was Pinfold North Ltd v. Humberside Fire Authority [2010] EWHC 2944 (QB), [2010] All ER (D) 94 (Nov), which concerned Michael Price, a former chief finance officer (CFO) with Hull City Council who had also provided the CFO function to Humberside Fire Authority (HFA). Following his retirement from Hull, Price continued to act as CFO for HFA, at first personally and subsequently as an employee of his company, Pinfold North Limited. All proceeded without question for some time until in 2007 HFA terminated the arrangement. This was because HFA formed the view that Price’s appointment as CFO had been ultra vires since the time he left Hull. The contractual arrangement was therefore considered to be void.
Court decision
The problem, observed the judge, was that the term “officer†is not defined in relevant legislation. In the instant case this was the Local Government Finance Act 1988 (LGFA 1988) and the Local Government Act 1972 (LGA 1972). Section 112(1) of LGFA 1988 requires a combined fire and rescue authority (like HFA) to “make arrangements for the proper administration of its financial affairs†and to “secure that one of its officers has responsibility for the administration of those affairsâ€. Section 151 of LGA 1972 requires every local authority to “make arrangements for the proper administration of their financial affairs†and “to secure that one of their officers has responsibility for the administration of those affairs†[emphases added].
The assumption behind the authority’s position was that statutory reference to “one of its officers†must mean (as the judge put it) “one of its employed officers, or officers who are also employees of the authorityâ€. But as indicated above, although all local authority employees are officers, the “essential question†is whether all authority officers are necessarily employees.
After considering relevant case law HH Judge Grenfell said that as a matter of interpretation he could find nothing in LGA 1972 or LGFA 1988, or in the authorities cited to him, to restrict the appointment of officers of the HFA to employees. Although its employees are necessarily officers, he found that its officers are not necessarily employees. Nor was there any statutory requirement that that should be so. But while “the 1972 Act refers to the duties and obligations of officers who are employees, there is nothing in the Act which excludes the appointment of an officer who is not an employeeâ€.
Consequently, in the absence of an express provision in LGFA 1988 to require that the CFO be an employee of the relevant authority, the only requirement in s 112 of LGFA 1988 is that the CFO should be an officer of the authority. However, it was clear as a matter of law that the company—Pinfold North Limited—could not have been appointed to the office by means of the contract between HFA and Pinfold.
Monitoring officers
As indicated, Pinfold concerned provisions relating to Chief Finance Officers under LGA 1972 and LGFA 1988. But although the core monitoring officer function appears in another measure, namely ss 5 and 5A of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (LGHA 1989), the requirement for relevant authorities to appoint “one of their officers†to perform the duties in question is similarly expressed and the Pinfold principles therefore readily applicable. LGHA 1989 monitoring officer provisions are also analogous to those concerning chief finance officers in ss 114 to 116 of LGFA 1988. Section 5 of LGHA 1989 applies to decisions taken by or on behalf of councils or other relevant authorities themselves while s 5A enacts similar provisions in relation to decisions of local authorities operating executive arrangements.
The core legal propriety function of monitoring officers is to report as required by the provisions in the event of any breach of law, statutory code of practice or ascertained maladministration. Authorities must provide monitoring officers “with such staff, accommodation and other resources†as the officer considers sufficient for conducting the role.
The report must be sent “as soon as practicable†to each authority member and then considered by the authority in a meeting held “not more than 21 days after copies of the report are first sent to†its members. For elected local policing bodies the timescale is “no later than three months after the body is sent a copy of the reportâ€. Implementation of the proposal or decision in question must then be suspended until the end of the first business day after the day on which consideration of that report has been concluded. Monitoring officer duties must be conducted personally but, where that officer is unable to act because of illness or absence, “ personally by such member of his staff as he has for the time being nominated as his deputy†for the purposes of the statutory provisions [emphases added]. However, despite the formal reporting function, effective monitoring officers will endeavour to ensure effective corporate governance arrangements to prevent the necessity of the “nuclear†reporting duty with the consequent damage to reputation and public confidence.
As Pinfold indicates, it appears that monitoring officer functions are required to be performed by a specified natural person and not a company. So although there is apparently no legal impediment to a monitoring officer acting in that capacity for two or more authorities, the statutory role could not apparently be conducted by a corporate entity such as an alternative business structure (ABS). However, it seems that a suitable individual from within an ABS could be so nominated.
As to qualifications, while s 113 of LGFA 1988 specifies qualification requirements for chief finance officers, there is no requirement that monitoring officer have any legal or other relevant qualification. Although there are different opinions on this issue, my personal view is that the monitoring officer function is most effectively conducted by someone with mature knowledge, instinct and insight into the legal and constitutional base of local and related public authorities.
As public authority budgets continue to shrink, local authority legal practice has become ever leaner, meaner and more creative with many variants, from small one-authority teams to megalithic multi-council shared service arrangements. But although Pinfold clarified that an officer need not be an employee, each authority does need to ensure that its core legal propriety arrangements are sufficiently robust and fit for purpose. For whilst there may not be many votes in funding lawyers, neither will senior members or officers welcome the damage to reputation and public confidence from a disaster or scandal arising from inadequate legal resources.
Dr Nicholas Dobson is a consultant with Freeths LLP specialising in local and public law. He is also communications officer for Lawyers in Local Government



There is a lot of emphasis on an authorities monitoring officer bringing attention to misdemeanors carried out within a council, but who reports a monitoring officer should he or she be the misdemeanor. 

and can the law successfully prosecute the individual as an employee, or as Simon Brown says by creating arms length companies and persons having an interest in them, protects individuals from any prosecution as you can't get information to assist a case.


It all seems a matter of ensuring one covers all tracks when things go pear shape. The public deserve to know who their proper council monitoring officer is, as I believe we expect 100% commitment from those paid out of the public purse.

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Question to those in the know please I am intrigued


How can a man be employed as CFO for HC(which should be a full time job in it's own right for the money paid) also be MD for Hoople also be a director for


South West Audit Partnership and run a business with his wife no employees and show quite a healthy profit?

Ok Denise I'll have a go at this one.


Hoople and SWAP are what's known as “Teckal†companies i.e. ones which perform the bulk of their services for their local authority owners and are controlled by them as if they were a a local authority department. That's the theory anyway. I have my doubts about SWAP, and Hoople were always larging it about how they were going to be the “provider of choice†for back office services to third parties which seemed to be rather at odds with their function as the Council and its health partners (remember them?) administration arm. That aside if if they were legit Teckal companies there would be nothing unusual about a senior council officer being MD as that would be useful in establishing that the company was controlled by its owning local authority.


Herefordshire being Herefordshire I suspect the situation is considerably less clear cut.


No idea what the score is about Peter Robinson and his wife running a business. Might be permissible as long as he declares it on some sort of register of interests.

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I read Megilleland's link earlier - Remember this from 2013. Post 53 above.


I remembered it very well. I looked at the comments underneath. We're all there : Me, Bobby, Megilleland, Two Wheels, Flam, etc..... it's nearly three years ago now.


Three years. And we'd been blogging for quite some time prior to that. 


God I'm so depressed.


Nothing changes.

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How many of the highly paid 'best' have been through those revolving doors at Plough Lane in that three years - too many to keep track of - golden hello's, golden goodbye's, recruitment fees, reorganising, restructuring, new and renamed departments, silly job titles, broken audit trails. Massive inefficiency - does any work ever get done amongst all the politics and back stabbing? The cost to rate payers must be huge, the money desperately needed for real life, squandered on empire building. Councillors appear powerless or too interested in their power struggles to do anything about it. Disgraceful and depressing.

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How many of the highly paid 'best' have been through those revolving doors at Plough Lane in that three years - too many to keep track of - golden hello's, golden goodbye's, recruitment fees, reorganising, restructuring, new and renamed departments, silly job titles, broken audit trails. Massive inefficiency - does any work ever get done amongst all the politics and back stabbing? The cost to rate payers must be huge, the money desperately needed for real life, squandered on empire building. Councillors appear powerless or too interested in their power struggles to do anything about it. Disgraceful and depressing.

Well below the top two or three levels of management yes a lot of work does get done. By generally hard working and committed staff who want the best outcomes for Herefordshire. Not enough if any at all of the Councillors have the nous to challenge what they are told by Neil and his cronies. By all means lets have a go at the time wasters/career builders/money counters at the top but most staff are working hard in an environment that challenges, inhibits and puts a cost on everything they do.

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