Council "not capable" of finding answers over Hereford United - claim

Hereford United supporters protest outside Herefordshire Council HQ

Hereford United supporters protest outside Herefordshire Council HQ

First published in News
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Hereford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

HEREFORDSHIRE Council is “not capable” of dealing with questions over its culpability in Hereford United’s current crisis, which raises issues only an outside agency – even the police – can find answers for.

The claim comes from the councillor who first raised doubts about the council’s due diligence on the club. Doubts that have been borne out by developments over today (Friday).

 Cllr Jim Knipe told the Hereford Times he didn’t think the council  was capable of dealing with issues raised over its relationship with the club and, for the sake of credibility, an outside agency should be brought in.

 “Even the possibility of the police if necessary,” he said.

Earlier this afternoon, Cllr Bob Mathews, the leader of the council’s Independent group, told the Hereford Times of the need for an “official investigation” into the crisis at Hereford United to force answers from former directors – including a sitting councillor - as to how the club’s current owners found themselves in place and got to do what they have done.

Cllr Matthews said he was surprised that, in the circumstances, such an investigation was not already underway.

As reported by the Hereford Times, all councillors were this morning e-mailed  allegations from parties working on behalf of the club’s supporters trust  that questioned the validity of the club’s share issue and related claims on ownership of the club.

Also this morning, the council admitted that no “separate” due diligence report was done on the financial state of Hereford United ahead of the ground leases being re-assigned.

Repeating this admission today’s meeting of the full council, the council stood by its  actions as landlord to the club saying an “appropriate level” of due diligence was carried out.

Cllr Harry Bramer, cabinet member for contracts and assets told members that, at the time the leases were being negotiated, the council was dealing with a club that it had been dealing with for some time.

“The amount of due diligence for someone who is known to us is different to that if you don't know them,” he said.

 The council has already ruled out a scrutiny hearing into the re-assigning of leases on the club’s Edgar Street ground, for which the council is the landlord.

Comments (6)

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4:13am Sat 19 Jul 14

Holmerowan says...

This is now a major issue, and the only way to get to the truth, is for some kind of independent body with the powers to be able ask questions inspect the evidence and demand answers.
I for one am fed up with this ruling conservative council treating the taxpayer with utter contempt, by their secrecy, with the creation of temporary companys so as to avoid the freedom of information laws and the deals done behind closed doors.
If they have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear from such an inquiry.
This is now a major issue, and the only way to get to the truth, is for some kind of independent body with the powers to be able ask questions inspect the evidence and demand answers. I for one am fed up with this ruling conservative council treating the taxpayer with utter contempt, by their secrecy, with the creation of temporary companys so as to avoid the freedom of information laws and the deals done behind closed doors. If they have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear from such an inquiry. Holmerowan
  • Score: 10

8:47am Sat 19 Jul 14

megilleland says...

Public accountability of local government is covered in several Acts:

* The Local Audit and Accoutability Act 2014
* The Localism Act 2011
* The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 opened up meetings to the public, allowing members of the public and press to attend meetings of councils and certain other public bodies
* The Local Government Act 1972 requires councillors to declare their interests, and councils to publish agendas, documents and reports
* The Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980: section 96 established a public register of land and buildings owned by local councils. The aim of the register is to identify government land and buildings which are not being fully used
* The Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 provides public access to local authority meetings, reports and documents.
* The Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) Regulations 1991 requires local authorities to publish the recommendations made by their independent remuneration panel, their scheme of allowances and the actual allowances paid to any member of the authority in any given year
* The Local Government Finance Act 1992 allows members of the public to obtain information about local domestic rating lists
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 allows people to request copies of information held by public authorities
* The Local Government Act 2000 provides people with access to information held by local authority executives, like leaders and elected mayors

There must be something above where the facts and finances can be extracted to get to the truth. What do the Council auditors, Grant Thornton, have to say on this issue?
Public accountability of local government is covered in several Acts: * The Local Audit and Accoutability Act 2014 * The Localism Act 2011 * The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 opened up meetings to the public, allowing members of the public and press to attend meetings of councils and certain other public bodies * The Local Government Act 1972 requires councillors to declare their interests, and councils to publish agendas, documents and reports * The Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980: section 96 established a public register of land and buildings owned by local councils. The aim of the register is to identify government land and buildings which are not being fully used * The Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 provides public access to local authority meetings, reports and documents. * The Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) Regulations 1991 requires local authorities to publish the recommendations made by their independent remuneration panel, their scheme of allowances and the actual allowances paid to any member of the authority in any given year * The Local Government Finance Act 1992 allows members of the public to obtain information about local domestic rating lists The Freedom of Information Act 2000 allows people to request copies of information held by public authorities * The Local Government Act 2000 provides people with access to information held by local authority executives, like leaders and elected mayors There must be something above where the facts and finances can be extracted to get to the truth. What do the Council auditors, Grant Thornton, have to say on this issue? megilleland
  • Score: 3

9:36am Sat 19 Jul 14

megilleland says...

Also:

The Local Governmnet Ombudsman can deal with complaints against the Council where the council has done something wrong? (maladministration)

The law says the Ombudsman can investigate alleged or apparent ‘maladministration
’ or service failure. This can include:

* Delay
* Incorrect action or failure to take any action
* Failure to follow procedures or the law
* Failure to provide information
* Inadequate record-keeping
* Failure to investigate
* Failure to reply
* isleading or inaccurate statements
* Inadequate liaison
* Inadequate consultation
* Broken promises*

The Ombudsman does not usually criticise a decision which has been properly taken simply because someone disagrees with it. We will however look at the way the decision was made.
Also: The Local Governmnet Ombudsman can deal with complaints against the Council where the council has done something wrong? (maladministration) The law says the Ombudsman can investigate alleged or apparent ‘maladministration ’ or service failure. This can include: * Delay * Incorrect action or failure to take any action * Failure to follow procedures or the law * Failure to provide information * Inadequate record-keeping * Failure to investigate * Failure to reply * isleading or inaccurate statements * Inadequate liaison * Inadequate consultation * Broken promises* The Ombudsman does not usually criticise a decision which has been properly taken simply because someone disagrees with it. We will however look at the way the decision was made. megilleland
  • Score: 5

10:57am Sat 19 Jul 14

Simon Brown says...

“The amount of due diligence for someone who is known to us is different to that if you don't know them.” So says Cllr Bramer, Cabinet Member Contracts and Assets. This is a con-artists' charter. It's also abysmal English. But then the whole article is so badly written it's almost unreadable.
“The amount of due diligence for someone who is known to us is different to that if you don't know them.” So says Cllr Bramer, Cabinet Member Contracts and Assets. This is a con-artists' charter. It's also abysmal English. But then the whole article is so badly written it's almost unreadable. Simon Brown
  • Score: 3

7:34am Sun 20 Jul 14

Grid Knocker says...

The council's admission that it is 'not capable' of discovering whether or not it ever carried out due dilligence enquiries into the matters surounding HUFC's Edgar Street ground, beggar belief. Kafka doesn't even approach this epic saga of sheer incompetence. (With due respect to the students at the RNCB) this is The Blind Leading The Blind. At the head of the fallanx, is Leader Tony Johnson, waving a white stick; clutching his jacket tail is Councillor 'Flash Harry' Bramer; then bringing up the rear is the hapless Councillor Patricia Morgan. Sighted and guiding this motley trio from the wings is the eggregious Geof nothing-to-do-with-m
e-guv-I-was-on-leave
-at-the-time Hughes and the man whose autograph now adorns so many company documents, the pork-scratching-lovi
ng Jonathan Bretherton.
The council's admission that it is 'not capable' of discovering whether or not it ever carried out due dilligence enquiries into the matters surounding HUFC's Edgar Street ground, beggar belief. Kafka doesn't even approach this epic saga of sheer incompetence. (With due respect to the students at the RNCB) this is The Blind Leading The Blind. At the head of the fallanx, is Leader Tony Johnson, waving a white stick; clutching his jacket tail is Councillor 'Flash Harry' Bramer; then bringing up the rear is the hapless Councillor Patricia Morgan. Sighted and guiding this motley trio from the wings is the eggregious Geof nothing-to-do-with-m e-guv-I-was-on-leave -at-the-time Hughes and the man whose autograph now adorns so many company documents, the pork-scratching-lovi ng Jonathan Bretherton. Grid Knocker
  • Score: 8

2:55pm Sun 20 Jul 14

redyoll says...

Up until March or April there was a Councillor on the board of directors. The dire financial situation of the club would have been well documented and known to the Council.
Up until March or April there was a Councillor on the board of directors. The dire financial situation of the club would have been well documented and known to the Council. redyoll
  • Score: 5

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