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Plaid leader appeals for special audit of Caerphilly County Borough Council

Published in News at 09:19, Friday December 27th, 2013.

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The opposition Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly County Borough Council has called on watchdogs to carry out a special audit to ensure no other decisions were taken by the authority’s officers without the knowledge of councillors.

The appeal was made to Anthony Barrett of the Wales Audit Office, whose Public Interest report last week revealed that some council officers pushed through an essential car and annual allowances deal without it ever being presented to councillors. It followed a previous report on the senior officers’ pay scandal.

In a letter to Mr Barrett this week, Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “The thing that particularly concerns me about the latter report is the extreme length to which certain officers went to exclude elected members and other staff from the truth of what was happening, even to the holding of at least one secret meeting at which no notes or minutes were taken. I also have in mind the non-declarations of interest and the other matters mentioned in your reports.

“The decision on allowances was then pushed through the system literally just before the council elections last year when elected members were possibly distracted campaigning for the election. A cynic may feel that the timing was to make sure that this escaped the attention of all elected councillors.

“Due to the series of issues that have now been exposed I feel that I have a great lack of confidence in the way that certain senior officers have conducted the affairs of this authority. This feeling is shared by many of my colleagues.”

Councillor Mann added: “I am therefore asking you to consider conducting a special audit of the affairs of CCBC in an attempt to ensure that there are no other matters that have been hidden away from the elected members, the vast majority of staff and also the public, considering their interest as council tax payers.

“In making this request I am bearing in mind my understanding that the buyout of allowances for senior officers only came to public attention after a Freedom of Information request from a member of the public. What else is there that we know nothing about?”

A Caerphilly Labour party spokesman said: “We have already called for a review so we are glad Plaid Cymru is finally catching up.

“From our point of view, we too were unhappy with the decisions made, but we think those unlawful acts in making those allowances only happened as a result of the lackadaisical approach of the Plaid Cymru administration prior to May 2012.”

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  • Tax payer

    " but we think those unlawful acts in making those allowances only happened as a result of the lackadaisical approach of the Plaid Cymru administration prior to May 2012.”

    Who is this mystery Labour Spokesman? I think he needs to look closer to home. What a complete disgrace. Both parties need to feel ashamed of themselves. I hope most councillors lose their seats next time

  • Ron

    What a way to run a council, FairPlay CCBC are a joke I have NO faith in them anymore.

    We have councillors who are constantly arguing among themselves instead of doing what they are paid for.

    It seems a long long time ago we saw any Plaid Councillor in our area oh yes we had a Christmas card,but no communication from Plaid asking any are there issues they can help with,it's about time there was a Big shake up and stop paying certain councillors who do nothing for their ward.

  • Ron

    Peter, Well said .how the hell can they get away with this?

    if someone was caught stealing from the till at a shop they worked at you can guarantee that they would be charged,Sack the lot is right and the councillors who do NOTHING for the money they get.

  • Tony

    Colin Mann and his Plaid Cymru gang have continually failed to take any responsibility for anything relating to the above unlawful payments or senior officers pay. Cllr James Fussell did not oppose the big increase when he had an opportunity to do so meaning he and his party were content with that decision. This unlawful expenditure happened under Plaid Cymru so they must shoulder part of the blame. No party is innocent in all that has gone including the ruling Labour Group but the "wasn't me guv" attitude from Plaid Cymru doesn't wash with the public and in fact quite insults an electorate they should be looking to represent.

  • S Williams

    The s Wales valleys has had almost identical political ideology for a century and nothing has changed. Poverty, ignorance and malaise often generates corruption.

    What we need here in south Wales is an upswing of standards commensurate with those found in most of northern Europe and Scandinavia.

    Wales, generally, will always suffer whilst the historic political bias is adopted by the voter. We should grasp the problem and be brave enough to completely alter our way of accepting "If it was good enough for Grandfather, it's good enough for me" attitude.

  • Ron

    Tony, I totally agree with everything you said.

    I hope that those involved and there are quite a few people should all be sacked and dealt with accordingly including Councillors,it's about time the Tax payer spoke up and all this behind closed doors dealing is stopped now.

    I don't know about you but we have never seen a Plaid Councillor where we live only just before voting,credit to Mr James Pritchard he is out and about all year round.

    We had a Christmas card from Palid with the photos of the councillors on it that's the first time I've saw them,come on people lets stop them getting paid for doing nothing enough is enough.

  • Clive Payne

    Just how many "scandals" must be "exposed" before anyone at Caerphilly County Borough Council takes any responsibility.

    While the "workers" at Caerphilly Council undergo a long "pay freeze" and are expected to "do more for less" the Senior Employees – the "bosses" – are unlawfully filling thier own pockets and being allowed to "get away with it" by the elected Councillors who seem totally unwilling to safeguard the very "public" who entrusted them with the job at the last election.

    The fraudulent "Senior Employees" must go, as must thier "political and cowardly counterparts" – Leader and Deputy at the very least.

  • Peter

    Nothing will change at Caerphilly until commissioners are sent in.

    Unfortunately Labour in Caerphilly are supported by Labour in the assembly, there is little or no chance our AMs will act, Whittle is far to weak, the Tories have nothing to gain.

    Peter Jones