Danby Group Pantomime Council: Falling Apart
- an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, up-dating readers on the continuing catastrophe that styles itself Danby Group Parish Council.
Readers may recall my 19th June 2015 article “DGPC: Danby Pantomime Council”, reporting on the chaotic state of that Council’s modus operandi.
On 16th June 2015, I lodged a Freedom of information request with DGPC, seeking the following information:
1) Copies of the Registers of Interests of all current members (including dates of declaration)
2) A copy of the Council’s current Standing Orders (including date of adoption),
3) A copy of the Council’s Complaints Procedure (including date of adoption),
4) A copy of the Council’s Data Protection Policy (including date of adoption),
5) A copy of the Council’s Procurement Policy (including date of adoption),
6) A copy of the Council’s Equality & Diversity Policy (including date of adoption),
7) A copy of such documentation (Minutes, contracts, etc) pertaining to the Council’s Grass-Cutting arrangements. You may, of course, wish to redact personal information, in accordance with the terms of the FOIA and the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).
8) A copy of all documentation pertaining to the Council’s enrolment as a Registered Data Controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (including date of enrolment).
On 8th July 2015, I finally received an acknowledgement form DGPC Parish Clerk David BESWICK.
On 9th July 2015, received a response. Of sorts.
Incredibly, Danby Group Parish Council has provided:
1) No Registers of Interests.
3) No Complaints Procedure.
4) No Data Protection Policy.
5) No Procurement Policy.
6) No Equality & Diversity Policy.
7) No documentation to support the Grass-Cutting Procurement – only a Minute of the contract being granted
8) No enrolment as Registered data Controller
Incredibly, my request for eight categories of information has produced only a copy of the Council’s current Standing Orders and the following Minute referring to the granting of the Grass-Cutting Contract – with no supportive documentation (which was what I specifically requested) to show that a proper Procurement Process had ever been conducted.
We do not know, because DGPC Parish Clerk David BESWICK has not provided the documentation that I specifically requested. I suspect that he is unable to locate it – if, indeed, it ever existed. Which I doubt.
It is important to remember, however, that David BESWICK is relatively new to the rôle of Parish Clerk. He replaces the lady who is now Chair of the Parish Council, Pam REEVES, who was for over thirty years the Parish Clerk – over thirty years, it would seem, of cavalier disregard for the statutory requirements.
By the by, I ran into Councillor Pam REEVES at a recent NYCC Committee Meeting at Sneaton Castle. My cheery greeting was met with a vacant stare. The lights were on, but there was no visible sign of anyone being at home. Or perhaps she intended to cut me dead. And I know how that plays out against the first of the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life.
[“Keep it short!” demands Chair Councillor Pam REEVES of a member of the public invited to comment –
as Clerk David BESWICK shares with himself a knowing grin. Retirement beckons, Councillor REEVES.]
It is plainly the case that the utter dereliction of public duty that my FOIA request has elicited is not to be laid at the door of poor David BESWICK, who appears to have ‘inherited’ a mammoth liability.
Small wonder, then, that David BESWICK has since resigned his position, as he informs me in his email of 8th July 2015, adding:
- “This is a decision I have been contemplating for some months and which has not been taken lightly.”
Well left, David!
And Councillor Andrew WOOLF has also resigned from the Council.
Readers of my earlier article will not have forgotten the astonishing sight of Councillor David COX literally deserting the Meeting at the very mention of the fact that the Council was being filmed, with not so much as a parting thrust of his rapier wit.
It would seem that even a very superficial scrutiny of DGPC has already occasioned a certain twitchiness in the corridors of Castleton Village Hall.
But I will constrain this article to the immediate subject – gross incompetence and wide departures from statutory requirement – leaving far more disturbing concerns for another day.
Meanwhile, anyone out there who wishes to rise to the daunting challenge of setting Danby Group Parish Council’s affairs to rights may be interested in the following job opportunity. I am giving the matter serious consideration myself; I believe I meet the specified criteria. Then again, why should they pay me £11.19 per hour when they are already enjoying my advice, assistance and publicity machine assistance free of charge?
. . . and may the best applicant win! The parish certainly needs her/him.