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News and Comment December 2012

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4 December - Not so secret pay off

Angela HoganOnce upon a time there was a Bexley council solicitor personally selected for the job by Ian Clement, the disgraced former leader of Bexley council. Her name was Angela Hogan and she was a Deputy Director and Head of Legal Services. She resigned soon after Clement got himself into trouble and Bexley council decided against reporting Clement to the police. There were suggestions that all these events were linked.

I heard one councillor and one council officer suggest she left the council’s employ under a cloud. When asked if there had been a financial settlement both said something like “of course not” and implied (and in one case said), she wasn’t really very good and there would have been no pay off.

The people from the Bexley Council Monitoring Group (BCMG) decided they would try to confirm that with a Freedom of Information request. Was there a golden goodbye or not? A simple Yes or No answer was all that was required. Bexley council decided to give no answer at all. The Information Commissioner sent Bexley council a nine page letter instructing them to give an answer. Bexley council still said No.

Hogan resigns
With no more help forthcoming from the Information Commissioner the BCMG decided to take the matter through the Information Commissioner’s complaints procedure which means a Judge and a Tribunal.

Soon after the file went before the Judge for a preliminary hearing another member of the BCMG stumbled across this entry on the council’s website. Not bad money for a simple resignation!
£41,000 pay off
They decided to continue with the complaint to the ICO’s Tribunal to see how far Bexley council would go to defend their wish to maintain secrecy of a figure that was in the public domain. Quite a long way was the answer. The Judge and the BCMG exchanged several long telephone calls.

Eventually when it was clear that Bexley council was about to hire a barrister and waste more public money on their obsession with admitting nothing, the BCMG decided it was time to own up. The Judge was informed and soon afterwards Bexley council told the BCMG what they already knew.

This concludes a story begun in earlier blogs from November 2011 and August this year.

The entry currently on the London Councils website is unexplained. (See right hand of this rotated extract.)
London Councils web page


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