Saturday 16th December 2017,
North Yorks Enquirer

ERYC: Robinson’s Coup de Grâce?

ERYC: Robinson’s Coup de Grâce?

  • an “In My View” report by NIGEL WARD, updating readers on the latest epistle published by Mr Peter ROBINSON.

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Cottingham developer Mr Peter ROBINSON has published another chapter in his protracted correspondence with East Riding of Yorkshire Chief Executive Officer Mrs Caroline LACEY, attempting to hold to account ERYC Leader Councillor Stephen PARNABY [Con.].

In what would appear to be an exhaustive demonstration of his case, Mr ROBINSON also refers to statements of fact set out in my own email to Mrs LACEY of 18th & 29th August 2017. I received acknowledgement of my emails from Mrs LACEY’s PA, Joanne BROOKS, on 30th August 2017, as follows:

Dear Nigel

I acknowledge receipt of your email below.  Caroline is away from the office until 6 September.  I can confirm a response will be sent as soon as possible.

Regards

Joanne Brooks

This was of interest because it is known that ERYC Deputy CEO Alan MENZIES (one of eleven Officers named in the Lakeminster Letter of Claim) has been away from his post for quite some time.

My subsequent two emails to Joanne BROOKS, seeking clarification as to exactly who had been at the helm of ERYC during Mrs LACEY’s absence, were ignored.

Then, on 6th September 2017 (on her return to her desk), Mrs LACEY responded herself. Her response side-stepped the issues raised in my emails of 18th and 29th August 2017 by the simple expedient of apparently having failed to grasp the evidence presented confirming Mr ROBINSON’s suspicions, and stating:

  • “I also confirm appropriate management arrangements were in place during my period of leave”.

However, an enquiry from Councillor Andy STRANGEWAY [Ind.] eventually (after three emails) elicited the information, from Mrs LACEY’s office, that, in fact, Mr MENZIES has still not returned to his post (it is rumoured that he may never do so) and that Director of Children, Family and Schools Mr Kevin HALL was Mrs LACEY’s  Deputy CEO during her leave of absence.

I can locate no documentation on the ERYC website that would confirm Mr HALL’s appointment as Mrs LACEY’s Deputy; no reference in Full Council; no reference in Appointments Committee minutes.

On paper, at least, Mr MENZIES – having been appointed (somewhat controversially) earlier in the year – is still the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, or was at the time of this Hull Daily Mail article, published on 5th July 2017 (shortly before he took leave of absence), though he would not appear to be fulfilling that role now.

The ERYC website Search function throws up zero returns from the search criterion “Deputy Chief Executive Kevin Hall”:

At best (though there would appear to be no paper-trail), Kevin HALL could only have been Acting CEO during Mrs LACEY’s absence – never Deputy.

So Mrs LACEY’s  assertion appears to be entirely disingenuous – if not outright false.

  • “I also confirm appropriate management arrangements were in place during my period of leave”.

Whatever arrangements were in place would appear not to have been appropriate at all. I suspect those arrangements were, in fact, unconstitutional.

But why the subterfuge? And, most importantly, with whom (if anyone) rested ultimate legal responsibility for the Council in Mrs LACEY’s absence?

Does anyone know? [Note to self: I really must stop asking rhetorical questions. What’s the point?]

If Mrs LACEY knows, she is certainly not sharing her knowledge with elected Councillors or members of the press. There would appear to be much duplicity and little clarity about who is really in charge at Beverley County Hall. I have an opinion.

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In my view, the case against ERYC Leader Councillor Stephen PARNABY [Con.] for failing to declare his directorship in Arvarto Government Services Ltd is now irrefutable. At the very least, it merits Police investigation. It is, after all, a criminal offence under the terms of the Localism Act 2011.

I await Mrs LACEY’s next move with some cynicism; either she accepts that the case is made and invites Humberside Police to investigate, or she opts for risking great discredit to herself – perhaps irredeemable – in futile defence of her Leader.

Failing that, I could foresee another Misfeasance action; perhaps a private prosecution. Conceivably, the DCLG may wish to commission a corporate governance investigation (remember Doncaster?), the terms of reference of which may yet offer the only remaining refuge.

I reproduce Mr ROBINSON’s latest hand-delivered and subsequently widely-circulated (by email) letter to Mrs LACEY, here below (also, his attached evidential documents), followed by my own emails to Mrs LACEY, as cited by Mr ROBINSON.

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Mr Peter ROBINSON’s letter to Caroline LACEY

Download the PDF file ROBINSON>LACEY_15/09/17.

 

Attachments to Mr ROBINSON’s letter

Download the PDF file PR_ATTACHMENT.

 

Nigel WARD’s emails to Caroline LACEY (as cited in Mr ROBINSON’s letter

Download the PDF file NW>CL_Emails_18&25Aug'17.

 

Cottingham developer Mr Peter ROBINSON

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