Sunday, 5 August 2012

Disqualification from Holding Elected Office.

Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended defines who is disqualified from holding an elected office:
Section 80(1)(a) states that 'a person shall be disqualified for being elected or being a member of a local authority….. If he holds any paid office or employment […] which are or may be made or confirmed by the local authority'. This includes those who hold a paid office on joint boards or committees on which the local authority is represented.
What this means is that anyone EMPLOYED by a local authority CANNOT be elected as a Councillor for that authority. But,  if you work for a third sector organisation, a charity or a non profit organisation which is wholly funded by a local authority and provides commissioned services on behalf of that local authority there is nothing to prevent you from being elected as a Councillor to that authority.

It cannot be right that employees directly paid by a local authority are disqualified from public office whilst those that are paid indirectly or via a third party by a local authority are not disqualified.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

An example of this can be seen in the Penyawun ward in Rhondda Cynon Taff. It's a single member ward almost wholly made up of the Penywaun Estate. Helen Boggis conducted a 'coup' on the directorship in 2011 and became the Secretary of Penywaun Enterprise Partnership Ltd. PEP owns a community centre (The Cana Centre) on the estate, provides a number of community services such as sports facilities, playgroup, and adult training. It is billed as an 'Integrated Services Centre'. PEP is substantially funded by and is a supplier of services to RCT council. After gaining control of PEP, Ms Boggis then embarked on a publicity campaign including flyers and letters to residents, explaining PEP services and these were funded by PEP. It coincided with her candidature for Labour in the council elections. The text of the Labour Party leaflets in her ward was identical, other than the logo and sponsor address, as that produced by PEP, using council funds. Ms Boggis, is now the ward councillor. When PEP tender for council services such as play schemes, and council funded community activities she is required to 'declare an interest' but no such requirement existed when she was both Labour Party candidate in the election at the same time as being director of the scheme. This type of activity was clearly what section 80 of the Local Government Act was intended to prevent, but as a funded 'third sector' body, with PEP it does not apply. However, it stinks.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

If PEP is a registered charity, then resources of the charity cannot be used to fight an election for one party, charity law is quite specific n this.

Anonymous said...

PEP Ltd (03172304) is indeed a registered charity (1062754). It has £500k annual revenue grant mainly from Communities First, of which £17,500 is direct donation from RCT council. It currently sits on £200k cash at the bank, and is charged £43k "management fee" out of a total of £61k 'providing services'. There is a £386k 'staff costs' each year, 2 caretakers, 7 admin staff, and 9 "project managers'. Bizarrely, in 2011, it spent £32k on postage and stationary, even though it's community footprint is all within 1km of the Cana Centre. I question whether it is ethical for the Company Secretary, who draws a substantial sum as income, also to be the County Councillor, especially when it is directly funded by council coffers. It's not possible for me to say that PEP resources are used directly for party political campaigning, other than Cllr Boggis and some of the 'staff' go knocking on doors during office hours throughout the estate distributing Labour Party leaflets. They also canvassed for Labour votes during the election campaign. Source : Companies House Financial Statement. Is this another 'Malik'?

Jac o' the North said...

Labour and the Malik sector, again. How much longer do we have to put up with this?

Plaid Whitegate said...

My thoughts entirely Jac - can I suggest the Anonymous insider has a word with politicswales@bbc.co.uk.

The use of charity workers to canvass and campaign for the Labour Party isn't something that's entirely alien to us in Wrecsam either.