A correspondent writes:
Having read your very useful summary of the Humphreys investigation, I have a number of questions regarding the officer or officers of EDDC who participated in the LADO meetings. It is impossible to say whether one person attended all meetings or different officers attended different meetings.
My questions are as follows:
1. How was the initial contact made with EDDC about the LADO meetings and who was it with? Did that officer delegate someone to attend the meeting(s) or attend themselves?
2. Once the officer(s) who attended these meetings knew of the allegations, what was their duty at EDDC, given that there were safeguarding issues and legal issues involved?
3. If they were senior officers, to whom did they report the information from these meetings? What action (or inaction) was subsequently decided upon?
4. Was the Monitoring Officer at the times of the LADO meetings made aware of the meetings? If not, why not? If so, who did the Monitoring Officer inform?
It is the role of the Monitoring Officer to report on matters they believe to be illegal or amount to maladministration, to be responsible for matters relating to the conduct of councillors and officers and, to be responsible for the operation of the council’s constitution. They are often, but not always, the head of legal services in a local authority.”
5. Section 1.2 of the EDDC constitution (Standards for Officers) states:
You must report to the appropriate manager any wrong doing or legal, or ethical, breaches of procedure. Alternatively, you can use the procedure outlined in the Whistleblowing Policy.
Did anyone do this and to whom?
6. The report states that JH allegedly blackmailed an adult member of the gay community. If the identity of this person was known, was that person connected in any way to EDDC?
So many questions, no answers.
Given the deafening silence from the previous Tory party council members, I approached some evidence gathering from a different direction-namely seeking evidence of who proposed, seconded or otherwise supported Humphreys according to his various election documentation. I reasoned that anyone who signed up as a supporter of Humphreys could perhaps be expected to know a bit about him. Publicly supporting him in that fashion surely infers that he is a decent man in their view? They would also be prospective interview subjects for the Verita enquiry.
I am aware that the FOI does not include Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) amongst those covered by the Act though parliament can question them*. But, I am also aware that the Electoral Commission has given advice that such officers can and should respond to FOIs in some circumstances. As the information sought, on Humphreys and Simon Jupp (who stayed a short period at one of Humphreys’ properties) had all been published previously on the EDDC website, and there is an expectation of transparency and cooperation in understanding this matter that reflects so badly on local police and councils, I had hoped a full answer would be forthcoming. I was wrong.
My FOI was refused on the basis of the ERO not being covered by the Act. It was not on the basis of the records having been destroyed after 3 years-as per the relevant Act. (I reckoned copies would still be around and available)
Why the FOI was refused, when it had previously been in the public domain, when it would have been lawful to do so and might be of assistance to the enquiry authorised by EDDC, might form the basis of yet another question to be asked of the officers when the Verita report comes out. It might even be a question for the leader of the local Tory party to ask- or indeed answer. Failing that, I trust some council member will when this is debated further