Author Topic: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report  (Read 6779 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6641
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse


http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/chief_executives_report_on_accid#outgoing-85468

 
Quote
Geoff Reid

19 September 2010

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

Title summary: A copy of the Chief Executive's report into Director of Business Transformation, (Hitesh Patel), 'accidental' directorship of Digital City (UK) Ltd was given to the Chairman of Swindon Borough Council Scrutiny Committee: Cllr Derique Montaut

My freedom of information request is directed to the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Derique Montaut.

The Scrutiny committee of Swindon Borough Council has spent a considerable amount of committee time scrutinising the Public/Private partnership between Swindon Borough Council and Digital City (UK) Limited and hearing and answering representations from members of the public who have expressed serious concerns over many aspects of the partnership, often submitting public record documents to demonstrate that their concerns are supported by facts.

There remains considerable public interest in the Chief Executive's report into Hitesh Patel's, (Swindon Borough Council Director of Business Transformation), supposedly 'accidental' directorship of Digital City (UK)Ltd, which began before the Council lent Digital City (UK) Ltd £450,000 of public funds, but remained undisclosed to the Council for more than 5 months until his Directorship of the company was exposed by members of the public.

I understand that in March 2010 a copy of the Chief executive's report (mentioned above) was given to the Chairman of Swindon Borough Council Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Derique Montaut and it is therefore to him that my questions are directed:

1. On what date did the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), receive the report into Hitesh Patel's 'accidental' directorship of Digital City (UK) Ltd?

2. Did the chairman of the Scrutiny Committee agree to any pre-conditions of confidentiality before he read the report?

2a. If so, what were the terms of confidentiality?

2b. Did Councillor Montaut agree with them?

2c. Did Councillor Montaut comply with them?

2d. Who requested or imposed those terms of confidentiality?

3. Did the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), show or discuss the contents of the report with any other members of the Scrutiny committee?

3a. Did the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), show or discuss the contents of the report with any other elected members or employees of Swindon Borough Council?

3b. Did the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), show or discuss the contents of the report with any members of the general public?

4. Did the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), show or discuss the contents of the report with the political assistant to the Labour Group of Swindon Borough Council?

5. Has the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), been approached by any other elected members, employees of Swindon Borough Council, or members of the general public who wished to discuss the contents of the report with him?

Does the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Derique Montaut), know:

6. How many copies of the report exist?

6a. Who has each copy?

6b. Whether other holders of the report have discussed its contents with other elected members, or employees, of Swindon Borough Council?

7. Does the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Derique Montaut), accept the findings of the report and believe the statements made within are factually correct and honestly presented?

8. Does the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Derique Montaut), believe that, in light of the high level of public interest in, and scrutiny of, the public/private partnership, that the report should be fully examined and discussed by the scrutiny committee in an open and accurately minuted meeting of the committee?

9. Does Councillor Montaut believe the statements made within the report are factually correct and credible?

10. If the chairman of the Scrutiny committee still has a copy of the report would he please supply a copy to me.

11. If the chairman of the Scrutiny committee no longer has a copy of the report will he be requesting another copy?

12. If the Chairman of the scrutiny committee were to acquire another copy of the report, is he confident that he remains sufficiently familiar with the original copy that he would spot any changes made to the newer copy?

Yours Faithfully

Geoff Reid

Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1306
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 08:11:09 am »
Two members me and one other plus twenty four guests looking at this new approach by Geoff.

I wonder who they are and whether or not a reply will be forthcoming?  I note it has already been acknowledged.

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6641
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 08:48:23 am »
It's not a new approach Richard, just another inevitable step on the path towards getting at the truth.

It looks increasingly like some Directors and 'senior' members of Swindon Borough Council have been deliberately and consistently stifling democracy and the proper functions of scrutiny to spare their own blushes and Monty allowed himself, to the delight of his Conservative friends, to become the 'Mr Magoo' of Swindon Borough Council unti he was replaced by Kevin Small as Scrutiny chair.

Can anyone seriously conceive that it is democractically 'acceptable' to hand a report to the chairman of the Scrutiny Committee but attach caveats of confidentiality to it which make it, (in the chairmans limited understanding), impossible for him to discuss, (let alone examine properly), the contents of the report with the scrutiny committee and general public?

Monty is clearly not fit for purpose in my honest opinion and he should seriously consider his position as Chair of Scrutiny* leader of the Labour group.  Instead, though, I imagine that he's already beating a path to Rod Bluh's office to ask him what he should do....

....before trotting urgently along for a chat with the borough solicitor and crying on Peter Mallinsons shoulder by mid-afternoon.

As for the Labour group, they need to realise that Monty is the single biggest reason why they cannot function effectively as the largest party of opposition.  The Liberal Democrats don't appear to do much apart from keep their heads down so the Bluhligan administration is not being held properly to account and can do pretty much whatever it wants within the chamber.

I think we're fast approaching the time when Parliament might need to become involved again.
 

*slip on my part - I meant leader of the labour group.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 11:30:51 am by Geoff Reid »

Offline Bobby Bingo

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 944
  • Gender: Male
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2010, 09:27:52 am »
Chairman of Scrutiny is always offered to the Leader of the Opposition but not this year.
The tories did not want Monty so the Labour Group nominated Kevin Small who was accepted.
Say what you will about Monty the Labour Group were wrong in accepting the Tory request, or should I say dictate.
Bobby

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6641
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 09:39:39 am »
Chairman of Scrutiny is always offered to the Leader of the Opposition but not this year.

Sorry Bobby, this is no longer automatically the case and hasn't been since the conservatives changed the constitution in 2007(?)

I think the Tories absolutely loved having Monty in the scrutiny chair.

Incidentally, did you know that there are only two members of Swindon Borough Council who have studied for, and achieved, a qualification in Scrutiny?

Neither of them is on the committee, let alone chair it.


The chair of scrutiny, if not the whole committee should be independant of the council.  The process of selecting a chairman is absolutely farcical because, in practice, the Tories can have whoever they want on scrutiny because they have enough votes to ensure 'unsuitable' candidates, (in their opinion), do not get the chairmanship.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 12:54:39 pm by Geoff Reid »

Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1306
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 10:40:04 am »
Geoff it is my understanding that Kevin Small has been the latest Chairman of Scrutiny for some time now.  Derique has nothing to do with Scrutiny since the May elections.

Offline Bogomil

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 399
  • Hello !
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 11:07:57 am »
Geoff

Just a couple of points

 
Quote
Geoff Reid
19 September 2010
Dear Swindon Borough Council,
Title summary: A copy of the Chief Executive's report into Director of Business Transformation, (Hitesh Patel), 'accidental' directorship of Digital City (UK) Ltd was given to the Chairman of Swindon Borough Council Scrutiny Committee: Cllr Derique Montaut

My freedom of information request is directed to the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Derique Montaut.

Knowing what pedantic shits they are in the council, I suspect that they will wriggle out of this FOI request because you have quoted the wrong person as the chair of scrutiny.

Chairman of Scrutiny is always offered to the Leader of the Opposition but not this year.
The tories did not want Monty so the Labour Group nominated Kevin Small who was accepted.
Say what you will about Monty the Labour Group were wrong in accepting the Tory request, or should I say dictate.
This is quite correct and the Tories made it quite clear that they would not allow Monty to be chair of scrutiny as I  said on the 15th May

No Bogomil ksmall has had his day and I suspect a Conservative will get the job!!
Council constitution says it must be an opposition councillor (used to be leader of opposition until they changed it in 2007 to allow David Glaholm to take it)
They would have to change it again if they wanted to give it to a Conservative and I don’t think that would sit well with the audit commission.
KSmall  :) looks like the Tories might bring him out of the wilderness as a way to get back at Monty.  :WTF:

I understand that the ultimatum was “Either you pick someone else with the strong suggestion that it should be the now tamed Counc Kevin Small (He hated losing the extra responsibility payments and would bend whatever way the Tories wanted him to to get it back) or we will. Another snippet that didn’t get out was that there was a member amongst the Tory group that had already been primed to resign the Tory whip and become an Independent Conservative so that they could take the Scrutiny Chair Role.

When was the last time some TS’er went to scrutiny?

Things are happening to challenge but as you know it doesn’t always get recorded or reported. Did the adver even cover the last scrutiny committee?

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6641
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2010, 11:25:14 am »
Quote from: Bogomil
Knowing what pedantic shits they are in the council, I suspect that they will wriggle out of this FOI request because you have quoted the wrong person as the chair of scrutiny.

If they are pedantic as you fear I don't think they will miss this at para 5:

Quote
"I understand that in March 2010 a copy of the Chief executive's report (mentioned above) was given to the Chairman of Swindon Borough Council Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Derique Montaut and it is therefore to him that my questions are directed:

Just in case that isn't clear enough for our friends at the civic you will notice I have repeatedly used: " the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut)"


The report was handed to Monty in March 2010. Monty remained chair of Scrutiny until May 2010.


Not worried if pedantry is employed as a delaying tactic. It's all going into the log and will make a bigger fire when the logs are finally lit.

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2860
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2010, 02:07:54 pm »
Firstly if they saw your signature at the bottom, it would have gone heading first into the bin. if you wrote a long letter they would not have reached the end before it went to the bin.  Got to get your message in the first line preferably under a pen name. 
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6641
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2010, 05:27:58 pm »
Firstly if they saw your signature at the bottom, it would have gone heading first into the bin. if you wrote a long letter they would not have reached the end before it went to the bin.  Got to get your message in the first line preferably under a pen name.

Although that's what they might like to do with some FOI's, due to the way the FOI system works, that's not what generally happens in practice.


Offline Geoff Reid

  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6641
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2010, 03:32:23 pm »
Monty Responds, quite promptly as it happens. Thanks Derique


Monty's response is both interesting and useful, see: http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=6242.msg42970#msg42970


Quote


Q1. On what date did the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), receive the report into Hitesh Patel's 'accidental' directorship of Digital City (UK) Ltd?

A: “I was given a copy of the said report as Leader of the Labour Group, not Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, on the 26th of March 2010.”

2. Did the chairman of the Scrutiny Committee agree to any pre-conditions of confidentiality before he read the report?

A: “I was asked by the Chief Executive not to publicly disclose any information that was in the drafted report, if I decided to read it.”

2a. If so, what were the terms of confidentiality?

A: “I believe the above answer also addresses this question.”

2b. Did Councillor Montaut aqree'wlth them?

A: “I did not agree that, if I read this report, I should keep the contents of it secret. Therefore I decided not to read the report.”

2c. Did Councillor Montaut comply with them?

A: “I believe the above answer also addresses this question.”

2d. Who requested or imposed those terms of confidentiality?

A: “I believe the above answers also address this question.”

3. Did the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), show or discuss the contents of the report with any other members of the Scrutiny committee?

A: “I did not discuss the contents of this report with anybody because I personally
did not read the report.”

3a. Did the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), show or discuss the contents of the report with any other elected members or employees of Swindon Borough Council?

A: “I believe the above answer also addresses this question.”

3b. Did the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), show or discuss the contents of the report with any members of the general public?

A: “I believe the above answer also addresses this question.”

4, Did the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), show or discuss the contents of the report with the political assistant to the Labour Group of Swindon Borough Council?

A: “I believe the answer to question 3 also addresses this question,”

5, Has the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), been approached by any other elected members, employees of Swindon Borough Council, or members of the general public who
wished to discuss the contents of the report with him?

A: “Nobody has approached me to discuss the contents of this report.”

6. Does the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Derique Montaut), Know How many copies of the report exist?

A: “I am unsure of how many copies of the report exist”

6a. Who has each copy?

A: “It was my understanding that the all three Group Leaders in Swindon Borough Council were able to read the contents of the report, as well as the Chief Executive. I am unaware of anybody else who had copies of this report.”

6b, Whether other holders of the report have discussed its contents with other elected members, or employees, of Swindon Borough Council?

A: “I do not know the answer to this question.”

7, Does the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Derique Montaut), accept the findings of the report and believe the statements made within are factually correct and honestly presented?

A: “I am unable to answer this question because I did not read the said report,”

8. Does the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Derique Montaut), believe that, in light of the high level of public interest in, and scrutiny of, the pubtic/private partnership, that the report should be fully examined and discussed by the scrutiny committee in an open and accurately minuted meeting of the committee?

A: “It is a matter for the Scrutiny Committee as a whole to decide what it scrutinises and I was disappointed that a majority of scrutiny committee members did not decide to refer this matter to Full Council, owever ( respect the committee's decision.”

9. Does Councillor Montaut believe the statements made within the report are factually correct and credible?

A: “I am unable to answer this question because I did not read the said report.”

10. If the chairman of the scrutiny committee still has a copy of the report would he please supply a copy to me?

A: “I no longer have a copy of the said report.”

11. If the chairman of the scrutiny committee no longer has a copy of the report will he be requesting another copy?

A: “I will not be requesting another copy of the report because I believe the pre-conditions would be laid down, which would be unacceptable to me.”

Q12: If the chairman of the scrutiny committee were to acquire another copy of the report, is he confident that he remains sufficiently familiar with the original copy that he would spot any changes made to the newer copy?

A: “Because I have never read the report I would be unable to tell whether any changes have been made to it since it was made available to me.”


Offline Outoftowner

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 204
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2010, 05:36:21 pm »
I am unsure of the correct formal protocols for these things.

If the Leader of The Labour Group can have a pre-condition put upon him that he cannot disclose the contents of a report, so be it.

But may I 'umbly suggest that, as the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee he could "call in a report", without pre-condition, for scrutiny by that committee and then deal with it his committee see fit?

Offline poemogram

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 172
  • Hello !
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2010, 05:44:44 pm »
I just wonder, whether anyone exists who may not themselves have read the report...but perhaps had it read to them by someone else ?

Just wondering.

Offline Chris Watts

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 605
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2010, 05:44:57 pm »
But may I 'umbly suggest that, as the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee he could "call in a report", without pre-condition, for scrutiny by that committee and then deal with it his committee see fit?
If this was an option, I am sure that he would have been advised this route by the Borough Solicitor. ;)

Offline Bogomil

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 399
  • Hello !
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2010, 07:32:43 pm »
As Monty’s reply in answer 2 could be interpreted two ways I must start my post with the assumption that the report that Monty received was the final report that was drafted and not a draft of a report. Disclosure of a draft report, which is not finalised, is far different to disclosure of a final report which is being deliberately concealed.

Monty's response is both interesting and useful, see: http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=6242.msg42970#msg42970

Quote

Q1. On what date did the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, (Councillor Derique Montaut), receive the report into Hitesh Patel's 'accidental' directorship of Digital City (UK) Ltd?

A: “I was given a copy of the said report as Leader of the Labour Group, not Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, on the 26th of March 2010.”

2. Did the chairman of the Scrutiny Committee agree to any pre-conditions of confidentiality before he read the report?

A: “I was asked by the Chief Executive not to publicly disclose any information that was in the drafted report, if I decided to read it.”

2a. If so, what were the terms of confidentiality?

A: “I believe the above answer also addresses this question.”

2b. Did Councillor Montaut aqree'wlth them?

A: “I did not agree that, if I read this report, I should keep the contents of it secret. Therefore I decided not to read the report.”

And shows what a total load of bo££ocks Monty’s answer is. Either that or just how incompetent that Monty is as the Labour group leader.

Monty is well served by a publicly funded political assistant, has various well experienced colleagues and the legal might of the Association of Labour Councillors  who he can seek advice on such matters from.

It took me less than 1 minute to find the following link using google with the simple words
“councillors right to disclose public interest”

http://www.mpa.gov.uk/downloads/committees/s/061005-08-appendix01.pdf

and a quick look at Swindon Councils own code of conduct  produces this document

http://www.swindon.gov.uk/members__code_of_conduct.pdf

which in 4.a (iv) (aa) and (bb) states
Quote
“the disclosure is
reasonable and in the public interest.
made in good faith and in compliance with the reasonable requirements of the authority.

(please also note the Standard Board for England’s guidance notes on Disclosing Confidential Information)

http://www.standardsforengland.gov.uk/Guidance/TheCodeofConduct/Guidance/Quickguides/DisclosingConfidentialInformation/

IMHO Monty, as leader of the opposition and chair of scrutiny, had an obligation to not only read the report but to consider whether disclosing the report was in the public interest (which I think that most TS’er would agree it was in the public interest). He was therefore not bound by being asked by the Chief Executive not to publicly disclose any information that was in the drafted report, if I decided to read it (to use Monty’s own words)

As we all know, things have often been asked for, especially by the members of talkswindon over the Wifi fiasco, without any commitment to that request being delivered.

Any councilor who had that a copy of that final report IMHO is duty bound to disclose it in the public interest, not least to ensure that public probity of council affairs are not only being done but being visibly seen to be being done.

Sorry rant over but I am fuming by such a flimflam answer by Monty

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6641
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2010, 07:50:49 pm »
Any councilor who had that a copy of that final report IMHO is duty bound to disclose it in the public interest, not least to ensure that public probity of council affairs are not only being done but being visibly seen to be being done.

That's why I haven't harassed Stan Pajak yet. Recipient of anothercopy of the report.

Up you step Stan, and hand it over if you'd be so kind as to save us the trouble of bothering the Information Commissioner.
 

Offline Bogomil

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 399
  • Hello !
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2010, 08:01:09 pm »
Any councilor who had that a copy of that final report IMHO is duty bound to disclose it in the public interest, not least to ensure that public probity of council affairs are not only being done but being visibly seen to be being done.

That's why I haven't harassed Stan Pajak yet. Recipient of anothercopy of the report.

Up you step Stan, and hand it over if you'd be so kind as to save us the trouble of bothering the Information Commissioner.

 if he got a copy I :agreed:

What other elected member got a copy?

Offline Chris Watts

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 605
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2010, 11:03:08 pm »
Any councilor who had that a copy of that final report IMHO is duty bound to disclose it in the public interest, not least to ensure that public probity of council affairs are not only being done but being visibly seen to be being done.

That's why I haven't harassed Stan Pajak yet. Recipient of anothercopy of the report.

Up you step Stan, and hand it over if you'd be so kind as to save us the trouble of bothering the Information Commissioner.

 if he got a copy I :agreed:

What other elected member got a copy?

Steve Wakefield, as the only independent member of the council, did you get to have a look at the report? This would seem unfair to independents if it was not the case.

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6641
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2010, 11:39:59 pm »
Although I received the following communication from Councillor Montaut earlier today I have withheld re-publishing it while I reflected on his comments.

I believe Councillor Montaut has now confirmed, in his own words, just a few of the reasons I have been saying, (for a little while now), that he is no longer a suitable individual to lead the Swindon Labour Group or retain his position as a Borough Councillor.   




Quote from: Councillor Derique Montaut
Dear Geoff

Many thanks for your questions to me regarding my role in the report drafted by Celia Carrington on the directorship of Hitesh Patel to Digital City.

I have been legally advised that there is no legal impediment to me answering most of your questions, however, in the interests of openness, I have decided to
address these questions in a personal capacity. However I do not intend to make any further comments with you on this issue.

In relation to your criticism of my conduct on your blog, because you believe I did not make the contents of the Deputy Chief Executive's report publicly available, I am sorry that you are disappointed with my conduct, however I think if I was put in the same position again I would have done exactly the same. This is because it is especially important that a man with my responsibility is trusted by senior Council officers, fellow Council members and my constituents, not to break any trust we might have, by publicly releasing information they have asked to keep confidential.

I also find it somewhat ironic that you feel that I was "blind" to some of the issues with Wi-Fi. I believed then and still do now, that the Council's second instalment of its loan to Digital City should have been determined by Full Council and voted accordingly as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee. It would also appear that the Leader of the Council and his Cabinet colleagues disagreed with you as they vetoed my nomination as scrutiny chair for a second year.

Finally, although the answers I have provided may not win your respect of me as Leader of the Opposition and former Chair of Scrutiny, I hope they give you a better understanding of the events that transpired earlier in the year on WiFi.

Yours Sincerely,

Councillor Derique Montaut

My Blog post which Councillor Monatut refers to can be viewed here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=769



Large extract:

Quote from: Geoff Reid
To the delight of his friends in the ruling Conservative group, Derique Montaut, the Labour ex-chairman of the scrutiny committee, appears to have allowed himself to become moulded into the ‘Mr Magoo’ of Swindon Borough Council.  Cllr Montaut has become effectively ‘blind’ in his duty to hold to account the council’s Conservative administration.

Derique means well but it must be said that he has  a well defined history of bungling things, usually to the political advantage of  the opposition parties but in March 2010, when he took possession of a ‘confidential’ report into the activities of the Councils Director for Business Transformation – Hitesh Patel – and apparently agreed to restrictive caveats regarding the confidentiality of the report, Deriques bungling had reached a new low point and democracy was dealt another blow in the name of Rod Bluh’s failing  wifi scheme.

Can anyone seriously conceive that it is democractically ‘acceptable’ to hand a report to the chairman of a Scrutiny Committee but attach such caveats of confidentiality to it which made it, (in Deriques limited understanding), impossible for him to discuss the report with the rest of the scrutiny committee, let alone publicly scrutinise it.


Councillor Montaut may not agree with my comments but I think they are accurate, proportionate and fair comment.


Some initial observations and comments:

1. Councillor Montaut seems to be more concerned with my opinion of his past performance as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee than he is with fulfilling his obligations to the public interest.

2. Councillor Montaut appears to think that his primary loyalty is to senior council Officers, to the exclusion of all other considerations.

3. It would appear that, as long as a council officer requests it, there are no circumstances in which Councillor Montaut would disclose information in the public interest, even when he knows that to disclose would be in the public interest.

i.e, (and using his own words: "...not to break any trust we might have, by publicly releasing information they [officers] have asked to keep confidential."

We already know that that SBC's scrutiny of WiFi was woeful, but now we must question how much other information was deliberately slipped behind scrutiny committee  members by officers with Councillor Montaut as a willing accomplice.  The fact is we shall probably never know because Councillor Montaut now appears to be an active member in a conspiracy to conceal information which should have been transparently scrutinised by the whole scrutiny committee.

Re: Question 8 of my FOI:

Quote from: Geoff Reid
8. Does the Chairman of the scrutiny committee, (Derique Montaut), believe that, in light of the high level of public interest in, and scrutiny of, the pubtic/private partnership, that the report should be fully examined and discussed by the scrutiny committee in an open and accurately minuted meeting of the committee?

Councillor Montaut answered:

Quote from: Councillor Montaut
A: “It is a matter for the Scrutiny Committee as a whole to decide what it scrutinises and I was disappointed that a majority of scrutiny committee members did not decide to refer this matter to Full Council, however I respect the committee's decision.”

How could Councillor Montaut be 'dissappointed' when he admits he will not disclose information that officers have asked him to keep confidential?

So, had the Scrutiny committee asked Councillor Montaut to disclose the contents of the report to them, he would have refused, citing his bond of trust with officers as his reason to refuse, although Councillor Montaut does say that “Nobody has approached me to discuss the contents of this report.” so I'm not sure what to assume regarding his assertion that he "...was disappointed that a majority of scrutiny committee members did not decide to refer this matter to Full Council" so did he discuss the existance of the report with the scrutiny committee or not?

I think the Labour group must now realise that Councillor Montaut really isn't fit for purpose.  Labour Councillors, like I, must now be wondering how much information has been denied to them since Councillor Montaut has been 'leading' them in his misguided way.

An effective opposition group is the immune system of a fully functioning democratic body but I am afraid Councillor Montaut is, with his misguided loyalties and warped sense of ethical direction, thoroughly poisonous to the body politic.

Monty must go.
 

Offline ph1lc

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 120
  • Hello !
Re: FOI: Chair of Scrutiny Derique Montaut & Gavin Jone's secret Patel report
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2010, 08:46:37 am »
Monty must go.


Here Here!!

 

Sorry, the copyright must be in the template.
Please notify this forum's administrator that this site is missing the copyright message for SMF so they can rectify the situation. Display of copyright is a legal requirement. For more information on this please visit the Simple Machines website.