Chief Executive Could Be Stripped Of Monitoring Officer Role

Council Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer, Philip Hygate

Councillors on the Standards Committee have voted in favour of stripping the Chief Executive of his Monitoring Officer duties. The role gives the officer power to assess whether allegations of rule-breaking by Isles of Scilly Councillors can be taken further.

Councillors Chris Thomas and Gordon Bilsborough were unhappy that the Council boss made that decision.

Members were issued with a report explaining that the Standards Committee will be streamlined to save money and the monitoring officer will have greater autonomy in assessing complaints.

But Gordon didn’t like that and he felt that would be sacrificing justice for the sake of cost.

Administration Officer Sue Pritchard confirmed that Scilly is the only Council where the Chief Executive interprets who could face further action and that’s because our Council has been granted special dispensation for it.

But she pointed out that the duty pre-dated the Standards Committee and the Monitoring Officer deals with other activities too.

Gordon wants a mainland based independent person to assess complaints. He asked members to vote for change and to ask the full Council to decide the matter in two days time.

But Sue advised members to discuss it between now and September as she didn’t feel it should be debated in an open forum.

And she urged Councillors to “be careful.”

Councillor Fred Ticehurst said they couldn’t get the matter before Thursday’s Council meeting because you have to give notice.

Councillor David Pearson agreed with Gordon that, ‘things have not been right for some considerable time” but he felt that members shouldn’t rush into change.

The meeting last night, which had already been cancelled through an administrative error, was shambolic.

Paperwork was missing and clerical errors added to the confusion. As the meeting closed one Councillor said it was a “bloody mess,” blaming the Government for the additional paperwork.

After much debate, members voted by four votes to two in favour of asking September’s full Council meeting to support their request to give an independent person the monitoring function.


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