Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

KEEPING MEMBERS IN THE DARK IS LABOUR NORM, SAYS LAWYER

  • Comment
A leading local government solicitor has called on the Labour Party to make public the costs of confidential legal ...
A leading local government solicitor has called on the Labour Party to make public the costs of confidential legal settlements agreed with council officers.

Stefan Cross, a partner with law firm Thompsons, made the call after LGC revealed that Broadland DC had warned members they faced surcharging if they disclosed details of an agreement with former chief executive John Bryant (LGC, 4 August).

Mr Cross said: 'Unfortunately this practice is not confined to Broadland DC but is entirely the norm in dealing with employment-related disputes.'

Mr Bryant had agreed to take early retirement and drop harassment allegations against five councillors. In return, the council agreed not to pursue disciplinary action against him.

Labour members raised concerns about the suspected level of Mr Bryant's settlement, and complained it did not allow those accused to clear their names.

Head of Labour's local government unit Howard Knight last week said council tax payers were entitled to an explanation of the costs of the decision, but has since denied he wants to see confidential information disclosed.

Mr Knight said: 'The point was not about confidential information but other issues in the public domain.'

Mr Cross cited seven Labour-controlled councils where he had been involved in settlements, claiming members had not been informed of the details.

'I would be delighted if Mr Knight was to issue instructions to all Labour councils that such arrangements should not be confidential and local taxpayers should be entitled to know the sums being paid out in damages and costs in such disputes,' he said.

Mr Knight was unavailable for comment.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.