Humphreys: Independent investigation launched by EDDC 

Verita Consulting Ltd have been appointed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to carry out an independent investigation into the actions of the council following the allegations, criminal charges and subsequent conviction of John Humphreys.

This investigation has been commissioned following a decision by Council on 28 September 2022 to appoint an independent body to look at this. The aim of the investigation is to understand the actions of staff and Councillors in the handling of matters relating to former councillor John Humphreys, and to recommend any improvements required for the Council going forward.

The council have agreed a terms of reference for its investigation which can be viewed on this page.

Mr Humphreys was a former mayor of Exmouth and was an East Devon District Councillor from 2007 to 2019. He was imprisoned for 21 years after being convicted in August 2021 of sexually assaulting two teenage boys in the early 1990s and early 2000s. Mr Humphreys was made an Honorary Alderman by EDDC in December 2019. The Council voted to remove his honorary title following his conviction.

If anyone wishes to submit evidence, written statements or to request a meeting with the investigation team in the context of the terms of the reference of this investigation, please write to Verita through their confidential email channel at: (Owl emphasis)

If the contribution is outside of the scope of the investigation agreed by councillors at EDDC, please get in contact with Devon and Cornwall Police.

It is anticipated that a report on the investigation will be delivered to the council in early 2023.

Scope and terms of reference (extract from terms of reference)

10. This investigation will primarily focus on the actions of EDDC management and its officers and Councillors. 

11. Relevant external stakeholders may contribute to the investigation on a voluntary basis strictly in relation to the issues set out below. 

12. The aims of the investigation are to:

  1. establish what information was known by EDDC Councillors and officers about Mr Humphreys and any investigations into the allegations against him 
  2. understand the EDDC decision-making processes in considering Mr Humphreys’ continued position as a Councillor after his arrest 
  3. determine the extent to which the EDDC considered whether Mr Humphreys presented any safeguarding risks to children in the context of his party political and Councillor roles 
  4. examine what, if any, safeguarding measures were put into place following the 2016 arrest and assess the effectiveness of their implementation and monitoring 
  5. describe the process by which the EDDC bestowed the honour of Honorary Alderman on Mr Humphreys 
  6. determine whether the EDDC complied with its own policies and procedures in making this decision 
  7. review the decision-making processes deployed by EDDC following Mr Humphrey’s conviction to remove his honorary title and to review its actions in the handling of this matter 
  8. determine whether any improvements could be made to EDCC’s safeguarding and governance arrangements in light of the findings of the investigation
  9. report on any other significant issues that arise in the course of the investigation that bear on its terms of reference