I saw a very interesting story in the Shropshire Star tonight involving the leader of Telford & Wrekin council.
The council has set up a limited company which will be responsible for carrying out a lot of the executive functions currently vested in the elected council. This company will be funded by the taxpayer, minority owned by the council, run by an unelected board and immune from the Freedom of Information Act. The company has been set up without any public consultation and has already cost £1.3m whilst running as a “shadow company” and not actually doing anything.
Today they appointed a new Chairman of the company – now called Transforming Telford after these people registered their original name, Telford First to try and force them into being more open (which didn’t work unfortunately). The new Chairman isn’t the interesting thing though, it’s the outgoing Chairman – Leader of the council, Keith Austin.
As Chairman of this company, Councillor Austin would be barred from taking part in debates and votes relating to the company because of his prejudicial interest. If it transpires that he did take part in any debates and/or votes then he will have to appear before the Standards Board to answer for his actions.