Chard – who it is not – Part 2
Following on from our report last week, The Leveller has now completed its investigation into Chard Town Council. To recap, a report commissioned Chris Rolley, a local authority expert to look at the culture at the council. His report identified a toxic culture. It gives examples of aggressive behaviour and poor practise (losing or not keeping records of exit interviews for instance). It noted that three reports over three years had been prepared looking into that culture. Despite recommendations and further costs to taxpayers, nothing appeared to have changed.
Some have tried to make this into a political issue. It would be very convenient to do so, but that does not add up. The facts are these:
- Independent councillor Dave Bulmer has called for names to be named
- The Greens have said that if any of their members were responsible they would stand down
- LibDem Martin Carnell was responsible for commissioning the report.
Calling this a political issue is frankly wishful thinking. And unhelpful.
Mr Rolley himself noted that three councillors appeared to be the root cause of the toxic culture. He noted that they were named frequently in the interviews he conducted with staff and former staff for his report. However the councillors were not named in his report.
The new Chair of Chard Town Council, Cllr Gary Shortland has contacted Mr Rolley to identify the three councillors. Having done so he went on to inform the three councillors that they were the ones Mr Rolley identified. However the council received legal advice that it could not name those councillors. Faced with that legal advice, Cllr Shortland quite correctly could not name the councillors he had spoken to. All that information was all divulged at the Town Council meeting of 13 June.
As a result The Leveller undertook a forensic investigation of our own. Using Mr Rolley’s report and a variety of other evidence we have identified those not responsible for the toxic environment at the council. We reported on our initial findings last week.
Bear in mind that there are 15 town councillors sitting for Chard Town Council. The following are not the councillors implicated by Mr Rolley’s report as being responsible for the toxic culture at the council:
- Gary Shortland
- Claire Brown
- Victoria Bate
- Claire Richter
- Dave Bulmer
- Tim Eggins
- Natasha Watson
- Jason Hawkes (Cllr Hawkes has since resigned as he is moving out of the area)
- Banah Crook
- Andrew Grief-Page
- Zak Williams
- Shakil Hassan