MARRIOTT Scandal – SBC Portfolio Holder Quizzed
- an Open Letter from NIGEL WARD to Scarborough Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Human Resources & Performance. Detailed answers, please, Andrew. In the public interest.
Councillor Andrew JENKINSON [Con.] (Newby) – Portfolio Holder for Human Resources & Performance – Scarborough Borough Council (SBC)
Cc: Mrs Lisa DIXON – Director of Legal & Democratic Services and Monitoring Officer – SBC
IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST
Along with the kudos (and the Special Responsibility Allowances) attendant upon your elevation to the Cabinet comes an increased duty of openness and transparency.
In particular, as Portfolio Holder for Human Resources & Performance, you stand inescapably at the very heart of the Ben MARRIOTT “whistleblower” scandal.
I have some questions for you – questions suggested by both elected members (including of your own Party) and members of the public – concerning the non-investigation of Ben MARRIOTT’s “whistleblower” allegations of fraud and corruption in the department in which he worked for the Council for fourteen years.
As an elector of the Borough of Scarborough, as an investigative-journalist and as a human being in a free and democratic society, I have the right to ask these questions as part of my four-year long investigation into prima facie evidence of systemic fraud and corruption within the purview of what is now your Portfolio.
For the purposes of ensuring that it is as easy as possible for you to provide clear answers to each of these questions, I have numbered them. I would appreciate it if you would adhere to my numbering system when you provide your open and transparent responses. Thank you.
- As Portfolio Holder for Human Resources & Performance, did you ever interview Ben MARRIOTT to obtain a first-hand account of his many allegations?
- What steps did you take to address the serious concerns raised by Councillors John NOCK [Con.], Sandra TURNER [Con.] and Martin SMITH [Con.] following Ben Marriott’s Stage-2 appeal hearing?
- What was your reaction to Councillor John NOCK’s persistent efforts to ensure an in-depth investigation to establish the truth behind Ben MARRIOTT’s allegations? Did you engage with Councillor John NOCK – as you should have done – or did you simply criticise him, as is widely held to be the case?
- What steps did you take to ensure that the Council and the taxpayer would not be exposed to the risk of legal action by Ben MARRIOTT?
- Did you genuinely understand the litigation risk to the Council – and taxpayer – or did you docilely accept the assertions provided to you by your Officers? Specifically, did you robustly question Elaine BLADES (HR Manager), Gillian MACKENZIE (HR Officer), Martin PEDLEY (Head of Asset & Risk Management), Alan DARGUE (Property Asset Manager), Adrian HILL (Asset Management Officer), Andrew BOYES (Joiner) and Roy HAREWOOD (PAT Tester)? If your answer is in the affirmative, please provide evidence of any such challenge(s).
- What steps did you take to ensure that Ben MARRIOTT’s identity would remain strictly confidential, in line with the terms of the Council’s Whistleblower Policy and when were you first aware that it had been ‘leaked’ by an Officer or Officers?
- Now that you have had an opportunity to study HHJ FORREST’s Judgment, what steps have you taken, if any, to hold Officers to account through the imposition of sanctions up to and including dismissal?
- Which Councillors, to your own knowledge, benefited in kind from the alleged abuse of Council materials and/or manpower?
- It is my information that Martin PEDLEY (Head of Asset & Risk Management) failed to attend the SBC barrister’s witness briefing prior to the ET Hearing which took place 1st – 5th August 2016 – which would perhaps at least partially explain why his testimony was so disastrously damaging to the Defendant (SBC) as to reverse the Tribunal’s first impression (see HHJ FORREST’s Judgment para.102) – instead of which he attended a briefing with Director and s.151 Officer Nick EDWARDS CPFA (£74.9K p.a.). My tenth question, then, is this; did you attend either/both of these meetings, or did they take place without your foreknowledge?
- Transparency International has published a report entitled ‘Counting the Pennies’ (PDF version provided for your convenience of reference) highlighting many areas in which local authorities have considerable scope for imrovement. Have you read and digested the report and formulated suitable proposals to progress in Cabinet?
Please take care that the answers you provide are answers which you would have no hesitation in repeating, under oath, in a court of law. Thank you.
Please be assured that I intend to continue my investigation into Ben MARRIOT’s allegations and it is my intention, too, to publish my findings into the public domain.
Yours, with very kind regards,