Mrs Loudon accuses!

Happy New Year to one and all.

The Standards Commissioner’s office responded well to the subject access requests I made and, while it will take a while to go through the material, one nugget has emerged which I now share with you. Similar requests to the council have produced almost nothing.

I today sent all councillors and the press the following email. The attachment to the email, a letter Mrs Loudon sent to the Commissioner in July 2015, can be read in full here:

sally-louden-c-further-info-new-complaint-al-28-07-15-redacted

I thought you would all like an update on my attempts to draw a line under the issues I have with the 4 officers who substantially failed in their complaint against me.

In my statement issued on 12 December, to counter what Mr Sneddon said at the November council meeting, I concluded it with what I considered to be an olive branch. My words were as follows:

extract-from-statement

Regrettably, there is no sign that the complainants will do this. They did not respond at all to my statement and when I asked last week, the reply was pretty negative and all they wanted to do was look forward. As I said in reply, wrongs need righted before you look forward and one of the wrongs was the statement read out by Mr Sneddon on their behalves. You will recall they rejected the 4 attempts to settle the matter before the hearing and now they appear to want to maintain their position as set out in Mr Sneddon’s derogatory statement. You can draw your own conclusions.

The subject access request I made of the council back in October last year  has not turned up anything as yet. How can this be I wonder? The standards commissioner’s office, though, has produced a pile of material, some of which should have been reflected in the council response to my subject access request.

For example, I now know that Mrs Loudon attempted to accuse 7 other councillors of being in breach of the code of conduct simply because, before the complaint was accepted as such by the Commissioner, they gave me public support. They were perfectly entitled to do this as Mrs Loudon should have known. I note below an extract from Mrs Loudon’s letter to the Commissioner on 27 July 2015. The full letter is attached to this email. As far as I can ascertain, the Commissioner showed the good sense to ignore Mrs Loudon’s letter.

extract-from-sl-letter

The council is still maintaining its stance that there were no costs involved in producing and responding to the complaint. Apparently, all this work (including the letter attached) was done in their own time and therefore at no cost whatsoever! I now intend to estimate and make public what I consider to have been the costs, because I don’t accept there were no costs.

I will be updating you soon on the “behaviours” I had to put up with in the first year or so of being a councillor.

 

Author: Michael Breslin

I am no longer a councillor with Argyll & Bute Council but given the appalling treatment I got from the senior officers and a few elected members, I plan to continue keeping an eye on what the council is doing.

5 thoughts on “Mrs Loudon accuses!”

  1. Re the Sally Loudon letter in July, it would be useful to learn the Commissioner’s take on the suggested Code of Conduct breach by the seven councillors. Notwithstanding the carefully worded allegation, presumably there was a response?

    As to the absence of a reply from Mr Sneddon to your conciliatory statement and the Council’s stonewalling position on costs, is there any mileage in asking the Commissioner to earnestly request that his/her ruling is acknowledged in full?

    Also, aside from the complaints against you and all the hoo-ha surrounding them there would also appear to be instances of maladministration. The Council has a Customer Service Charter and from your experience of attempting to gain responses from senior individuals to sensitive queries its provisions in this regard would seem to have been ignored as a matter of course. Isn’t there an Ombudsman you can refer these serious failings to? Mr Sneddon and other senior officials need to be reminded from time to time that they are also public servants and subject to the same rules and requirements as more junior employees.

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  2. During Mrs Loudon’s tenure there were very serious and devastating failures in front line education service provision for children with ASN that Mrs London was very well aware of. Some of these have been reflected in the material posted on Councillor Breslin’s blog.
    Mrs London could have better spent her time during 2012-15 or so sorting out the innapropriate behaviour of some of her ‘more junior employees ‘ who had complaints UPHELD against them in the education department. She had these repeatedly brought to her attention, however, she chose to ignore her staff’s behaviour, the customer charter, the complaints system etc , etc. over many years and instead saw legitimately complaining service users i.e. parents as the problem!
    To see how she has thrown herself behind her own unsubstantiated complaint is a perfect example of how it works in Argyll and Bute. It’s an embedded culture that needs to change to allow for learning and collaboration; officers, the public and councillor’s all working together.
    She should graciously acknowledge she got her leadership in this wrong and actively encourage councillor’s to do exactly what they are elected to do, represent the citizens.
    She will take these lessons from this very sorry affair to her new role, whether she admits it, or not, is another thing.

    For those of us still in Argyll and Bute I am personally hopeful that shift happens.

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  3. Happy New Year Michael – just when you think the Kilmory bog is clearing a bit it refills with more toxic sludge. It would seem that almost all the democratic options have been spurned by ABC and one wonders at what point do the Police become involved.Its peoples lives that this festering maladministration is causing untold misery to and if not death to the population of Argyll-it needn’t be like this.

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  4. Of course there was a cost involved.
    Since she wrote on council headed paper then either there was at least the cost of the paper, or she was using council headed paper for personal use.
    If it was the former then there must be other costs involved and she and others have lied, and if the latter then she should be taken to task for misuse of council resources.
    Perhaps her new employers might wish to check which in order that their finances are not abused.

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  5. I guess she lied in the letter then, the ‘advice’ of the commissioner was not welcome, at least once she discovered it was contrary to her own interests.

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