This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Monday, July 9, 2012

What does Cllr Stansfeld chair? (part two)

See all collected posts about this matter in one place by clicking this link

Ok - this is getting quite technical now. I received a reply to my email (see below) at the end of last week:
Dear Mr Harvey

I refer to your e-mail of 5th July addressed to the Council's General Information address which has been passed to me for comment and response

The Register of Interests is currently being updated by all members of this Council and others around the Country following the introduction of the revised Standards regime as part of the Localism Act 2011. Under provisions introduced by Government on 6th June members now have to reveal 'disclosable pecuniary interests' which are defined by Statutory Instrument.

Under the new provisions a member has to disclose any beneficial interest in shares or interests in securities in a company where that company operates within the 'area of the relevant authority'. In this instance, as the company is neither registered in the UK nor West Berkshire the interest does not fall within the provisions of the Act.
The requirements of the existing Register similarly refer to the

body(company) having a place of business or land in the 'authority's area' which neither of the two companies to which refer has. As far as I am aware the companies do not have any contracts with the Council and therefore there it is not necessary for Cllr Stansfeld to disclose their existence.

Under the previous Register individual members have to disclose the name of the organisation by whom they are employed and their position which Cllr Stansfeld has done as part of his disclosure under paragraph 5 of the Register. There is no statutory requirement to disclose the address of the employer although I would expect that to be the case if the body/company was based within the District. It will be a matter for Cllr Stansfeld to assess whether he feels it is necessary to disclose the additional information to which you refer when he completes his new Register in due course.
Hmm. So I mulled on this for a while, dug deep into my inner-terrier and I replied just now:
Many thanks for your detailed reply. It raises a couple of queries for me which I would beg your assistance with:

As a Town Councillor myself, I am naturally aware of the changes to the Standards Regime - indeed I have a new form to complete currently sitting in my in my email inbox. For the time being, I am not concerned with these changes and what information Cllr Stansfeld decides to declare or not under the new provisions.

I note from your own form as published on the internet that members are required to state (until the new provisions become active):

5. My Employment or Business carried on by me - Description of your employment activity

To this question, Cllr Stansfeld has replied “Chairman FIDAS”

I understand from the information you have provided me with that he has correctly answered the specification of that question. This is fine.

However the next question asks:

6. The name of people/bodies who employ, or have appointed, me

To this question, there are two spaces which I presume that you require to be completed (otherwise why have the two spaces)? You ask for Name of Employer AND Address of Employer. To this question, Cllr Stansfeld has answered “As above”, expressly leaving the address portion of this question blank.

Whilst I understand from you that there “is no statutory requirement to disclose the address of the employer”, your own procedure appears to require such a detail. Moreover, without such address detail (though I am sure it would not happen) a councillor could invent any organisational name and there would be no means of cross checking it.

And so, I would be grateful if you would supply a copy of your procedure (as was) as to the information requested from each councillor. I would like to know if Cllr Stansfeld was (either explicitly or implicitly) asked for an address of the “of people/bodies who employ, or have appointed, me” or not. Thank you.

Secondly, and your procedure will probably clarify this, but were councillors expected under the old regime to list all “of people/bodies who employ, or have appointed, me” or just one, more or none of their choosing? In other words, could a councillor choose not to declare a body (etc) that has appointed him/her under the old system?

If it is the case that Cllr Stansfeld was required to declare all such bodies, can you explain to me how it is that he did not declare his involvement with Prescience AG? Or is he no longer involved with this company or was he never involved? (Is his LinkedIn account now out of date, for example?)

Many thanks

Very best wishes 

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