Minister To Decide On Independent Person

The Town Hall

Eric Pickles is likely to decide on the designated independent person who will investigate allegations made against the Council chief executive.

We understand that the Town Hall wanted agreement reached on who would oversee the process by last Friday.

The Council produced a final list of QCs that they wanted to put forward. Philip Hygate’s legal team also suggested individuals with a high level of understanding of local authority procedures, but the two sides could not agree on who to choose.

Now the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will break the deadlock after both the Council and Mr Hygate’s team have written to ask for his input.

Mr Pickles had previously spoken on what he views to be the slow and costly bureaucracy that requires Councils to appoint an independent person, usually a QC, to review disputes involving chief executives.

Mr Hygate is currently suspended as a neutral act while an investigation can take place. He strenuously denies the allegations and his team have challenged the authority of the P&R committee to initiate the suspension.

At the time of Mr Hygate’s suspension, Council chair Mike Hicks said he wanted the process to last six to eight weeks. He also said that he didn’t feel the process would divert staff attention from important Council business, and he praised the “good team” that is working at the Town Hall.


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