Inquiry into the behaviour of Cllr Esmond Jenkins.

Terry Whelan made this Freedom of Information request to Cotswold District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Cotswold District Council,

During the last year, Standards for England have been carrying out an inquiry into the behaviour of Cllr Esmond Jenkins of Cotswold District Council. This process culminated in a hearing at Cotswold District Council offices from the 17th to the 20th of January 2012.

Would Cotswold District Council please detail what the Council's full costs of their part of this inquiry and the subsequent hearing is to the taxpayers.

Yours faithfully,

Terry Whelan

Nigel Adams, Cotswold District Council

Dear Mr Whelan

I apologise for the delay in responding to your information request. It
has unfortunately taken longer than had been hoped to assemble the full
information, particularly as this has entailed working out officer time
spent on all activities associated with the hearing (some of which
occurred almost a year ago). Details of some other expenses have only
recently been clarified, and some costs have yet to be quantified. I
would hope that a formal response will be provided at some stage
tomorrow.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Adams
Head of Democratic Services

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Dear Nigel Adams,

Many thanks for the update. I appreciate that collecting all the cost data is not straight forward.

Yours sincerely,

Terry Whelan

Nigel Adams, Cotswold District Council

Dear Mr Whelan

I refer to our recent e-mail exchange and, in particular, to your request for information regarding the Council's full costs in respect of the Code of Conduct complaints made against Councillor Jenkins, including those costs relating to the Standards Committee hearing held on 17th-20th January 2012.

I set out below a breakdown of the costs incurred to date, and I have also identified any outstanding issues.

1. The Hearing (excluding Officer costs)

The only costs incurred to date relate to food/refreshments for the Standards Committee and Independent Monitoring Officer - in a sum of £151.05.

The Council has not, as yet, received any claim from any of the non-Councillor representatives of the Committee in respect of attendance or travel; nor from the one Councillor representative in respect of travel (the Councillor representative cannot claim an attendance allowance). It is up to the individual to claim relevant sums if s/he so wishes - not everyone does claim.

2. Independent Monitoring Officer

The Council has yet to receive the fee invoice from the Independent Monitoring Officer.

3. Other Formal Meetings

As part of the process relating to the consideration of the complaints, two Sub-Committee Meetings were required, as follows:-

(i) Assessment Sub-Committee (18th March 2011)

* Sub-Committee Members - Travel Costs £24.65

* Officer Time (Monitoring Officer & Committee Administrator) £231.00

TOTAL £255.65

(ii) Consideration and Hearing Sub-Committee (6th December 2011)
* Sub-Committee Members - Travel Costs £24.65

* Officer Time (Committee Administrator/Adviser) £87.00

TOTAL £111.65

OVERALL TOTAL £367.30

4. Officer Time

Formal time records are not kept. As such, each Officer who has been involved in this matter has provided estimates of time spent.

For costing purposes, the hourly rates applied have been calculated on an officer by officer basis (rather than an average) and on figures which are inclusive of salary plus employer's National Insurance and superannuation contributions. The costs have been broken down into the four main components of the standards process, and an 'other' figure which includes an estimate of time spent by the various officers on things such as statement checking, media matters, meeting administration, Committee/administrative support, etc. Details are as follows:-

(i) Preparing/Submitting Complaint £257.00

(ii) Interviews by Standards for England representatives £450.50

(iii) Hearing Preparation £986.00

(iv) Witness Evidence at Hearing £259.50
(v) Other £3,618.00

TOTAL £5,571.00

In summary, therefore, the amounts paid to date, together with a cost estimate in respect of officer time, are as follows:-

1. The Hearing £151.05

2. Independent Monitoring Officer Nil

3. Other Formal Meetings £367.30

4. Officer Time £5,571.00

TOTAL £6,089.35

In addition to the above, the Council is required to advertise the outcome of the hearing in the local Press (given that the Standards Committee decided that Councillor Jenkins had breached a number of aspects of the Code of Conduct). This will happen in the near future, but the cost of advertising is not known at this stage.

I will write to you again as soon as any outstanding costs have been notified/identified.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Adams.

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Dear Nigel Adams,

It is now two months since I made the Freedom of Information Request about CDC's costs associated with the Inquiry into the behaviour of Cllr Esmond Jenkins.

Although some information has been provided, there are still outstanding details. Could you please provide those outstanding details or an estimate of when that information will be available.

Yours sincerely,

Terry Whelan

Dear Nigel Adams,

It is now three months since I made the Freedom of Information Request about CDC's costs associated with the Inquiry into the behaviour of Cllr Esmond Jenkins.

Although some information has been provided, there are still outstanding details. Could you please provide those outstanding details or an estimate of when that information will be available.

Yours sincerely,

Terry Whelan

Nigel Adams, Cotswold District Council

Dear Mr Whelan

 

Further to our e-mail exchange, I set out below details of further
confirmed costs relating to this matter:-

 

1.    The Hearing (excluding Officer costs)

 

The Chairman of the Hearing has submitted a claim in respect of mileage
incurred in attending the four days of the Hearing, two pre-Hearing
meetings and one post-Hearing meeting.  The claim amounts to £158.75.  The
Chairman has confirmed that he will not be claiming any attendance
allowance.

 

The other two non-Councillor representatives of the Committee at the
Hearing have confirmed that they will not be claiming either attendance or
mileage allowances.

 

The one Councillor representative (who is unable to claim attendance
allowance) has confirmed that he will not be claiming any mileage
allowance.

 

2.   Independent Monitoring Officer

 

The fee invoice has now been received, and paid, in a gross sum of
£11,286.00 (£9,405.00 net of VAT).

 

The only outstanding cost relates to the formal advertising of the outcome
of the Hearing in the local Press.  This was not undertaken until the time
limit for any potential appeal had passed, but will now be pursued.  I
will let you know the cost of this within the next few weeks.

 

If you require any clarification in respect of the above information,
please let me know.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Nigel Adams

 

Head of Democratic Services

 

(01285 623202)

 

 

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