Monday 22nd July 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Vexatious Potto 3 (Pt.3)

June 10, 2024 Potto

Vexatious Potto 3 (Pt.3)

  • – an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, investigating the dénouement of the dilemma facing Cllr Andrew WILDE, unelected Chair of Potto Parish Council, at the Upper Tribunal. Readers may recall that, in Part 2 of this series, he faced the choice of appearing stupid (and likely being humiliated) at an Oral Hearing – or agreeing to a mortifyingly complete Withdrawal from the Upper Tribunal Appeal process.  Each option would mean that Potto Parish Council’s assertions of “vexatious” behaviour by a Potto resident would forever remain recorded as “contrary to law”.
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I have scrutinised most carefully all of the Council’s (selectively published) records for this Court case. 
The August 2022 Minutes (shortly after the 29th July 2022 ICO Decision Notice) state:
Worryingly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, I cannot find any record of the Council’s next steps:
  1. The First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) Judge’s Decision on 7th June 2023, in which the ICO’s Decision Notice was overturned;
  2. Where the ICO informed the Council it was wrong about “vexatiousness” and it would NOT try to appeal the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) Judges’ Decision;
  3. The Council’s Application, on 19th July 2023, to the FTT to seek Permission to Appeal (without the support of the ICO);
  4. The FTT’s refusal, on 2nd November 2023, of the Council’s Application;
  5. The Council’s next Application (the infamous UT13 form, dated 7th December 2023) to the Upper Tribunal seeking Permission to Appeal (PTA) at a Full ‘Paper’ Hearing;
  6. The Upper Tribunal’s refusal of the Council’s Application, on 5th January 2024;
  7. The Council’s Application, on 17th January 2024, for an ‘Oral’ Hearing at the Upper Tribunal.
Each of these decisions (each a defeat) has been censored entirely from Potto Parish Council’s public record. It seems quite obvious that Potto Parish Council only records and publishes details which it thinks are in its favour and show it in a good light; whereas each of its many refusals, failures and defeats are censored entirely.
This corruption of the public record is outrageous and reduces the Council’s records to mere propaganda. Councillors AGAR, GRIFFIN, MACPHERSON, MARCH and WILDE should be ashamed of themselves.
Indeed, the very last time this case was noted in the Council’s public record is in the Minutes back in September 2023; excerpt below:
Readers will note that no decision was recorded about trying to appeal – or anything else.
In April 2024, following this disastrous sequence of failures (itemised above) and with the date (late May 2024) of the ‘Oral’ Hearing looming large, Councillor Andrew WILDE seems to have at last realised that his situation was, and is, utterly untenable. The day after the 16th April Council meeting, 17th April, a concocted excuse about a ‘lack of resources’ was sent to the Upper Tribunal; see excerpt below:
“Lack of resources” – what resources? To write an email?
 
Again, the Agenda and Minutes for this April meeting do not record this discussion or the alleged ‘agreement’ – which means it is ultra vires (outside of the law) and, legally speaking, never took place. 
 
Nevertheless, the Upper Tribunal (UT) then confirmed that Potto Parish Council was withdrawing its Application; see details in excerpt below:
The saga of this near year-long case between the Upper Tribunal and Potto Parish Council has ended in complete defeat and utter ignominy for the Council, and it has yet again exposed Councillor Andrew WILDE’s standards of Leadership and Governance and Accountability as being persistently and reliably appalling
 
The Council’s false assertion that a particular Potto resident is “vexatious” is forever recorded, by the Judge, as being “not in accordance with the law”.
 
Nevertheless, Councillor Andrew WILDE seems to have had another fit of pique; he vented his displeasure and slagged-off the Judges with a one-fingered display of high dudgeon, resentment and umbrage. He re-published his now proven unlawful view of “vexatious abuse” at the top of page 1,107 of the Council’s April 2024 meeting Minutes; see excerpt below:
Just for good measure, the Council’s draft May 2024 Minutes reiterate this unlawful assertion:
How can one account for that? The Judge informs WILDE that his “vexatious” slander is “not in accordance with the law” – so what does WILDE do? He does it again. And again!
 
Nowhere in Potto Parish Council’s public record is there one iota of acknowledgement or accountability regarding WILDE’s disastrous series of Applications for Permission to Appeal.
 
In my view, this tale of woe discloses a paradigmatic example of maladministration. Councillor Andrew WILDE has been persistently proven wrong yet he persistently censors his string of defeats from the public record. Perhaps this is symptomatic of some form of insanity – he repeatedly does the same thing, but expects a different result (definition: Albert Einstein).
 
The very worst small council in the UK, led by arguably the most dysfunctional Councillor in the UK, continues to blunder on, unfazed, to its next disaster.
 
Whilst Upper Tribunal Judge WIKELY stated that this case exposes “some fundamental misunderstandings on the part of the Parish Council of both the FOIA regime and of the FTT process”, I would suggest, with great confidence, that these “fundamental misunderstandings” extend across the entire panoply of Potto Parish Council’s approach to local government administration (remember the 17 Recommendations in the 2022 Public Interest Report).
The Council’s External Auditor has a duty, regardless of any concomitant Audit Investigation Fees (that is to say, cost to the tax-payers of Potto) to consider Objections raised by any Potto elector such as may disclose this (and other) serious weaknesses of Leadership.
I intend to cover current Audit discrepancies at Potto Parish Council (as I write, I note that whilst the 10-month-long External Audit Investigation for 2022/23 was concluded on 30th May 2024, Potto Parish Council is still refusing to publish the Audit Report) in my next Potto article – watch this space.

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