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SOLACE DEMANDS ACTION OVER CHIEF'S SUSPENSION

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Chief executives have demanded ministers intervene over the suspension of Kingston-Upon-Hull City Council chief exe...
Chief executives have demanded ministers intervene over the suspension of Kingston-Upon-Hull City Council chief executive Jim Brooks.

In an unprecedented show of teeth, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers will put three direct demands to the government over the Hull situation: clear leadership to restore public services, assurances Mr Brooks? statutory rights as chief executive will be respected during the disciplinary process, and the implementation of systems to deal with problems arising from unreasonable actions by councillors.

The move was approved at the society?s annual general meeting at the Local

Government Association conference.

Concerns about the impact of events in Hull on comprehensive performance assessment have been raised with the ODPM. Chief executives believe securing good governance is a key part of CPA.

But there is so much anger among chief executives over the behaviour of the Hull leadership there have already been indications to government the next round of CPA would be viewed as discredited if it does not sort out the corporate governance of Hull.

Mr Brooks said he was delighted by the move: ?It is almost unique ? a professional body saying the situation requires the attention of government.?

Solace honorary secretary Tim Byles said: ?We do expect central government to take decisive action when such problems occur.?

But Mr Brooks said he thought the society may go further if the government does not deliver.

Solace is meeting local government minister Nick Raynsford next week to discuss the situation.

The Association of Local Government Chief Executives ? the chief executives? trade union ? denied it was asking members to boycott the Hull job.

ALACE consultant Peter Bounds said honorary secretary Alastair Robertson had written to Mr Raynsford saying the job would be highly unattractive to members should it become available.

But he said: ?There is no vacancy there. We are contesting this disciplinary action ve ry hard indeed.?

The Audit Commission is due to carry out a re-inspection of the council which could force Mr Brooks? reinstatement.

Mr Brooks added: ?I am chief executive and I want to be back there. I know it?s going to be tough but I really want to make it work.?

Mr Brooks was suspended after Hull leader Colin Inglis (Lab) claimed Standards Board findings implicated him in the leak of a damning Audit Commission report. He strongly denies the allegation.

A new officer structure proposed by the Labour group has been mauled by partnership liasion board chair Lord Best (LGC, 27 June).

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