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News and Comment March 2012

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2 March (Part 1) - ‘Inappropriate’ relationships

Deputy Director Toni Ainge Director Peter EllershawThe last time this pair of Bexley council directors was mentioned here was on 20th January when it was reported that Bexley council had refused to let anyone know if Antonia Ainge had any qualifications to do her job other than being the wife of her boss Peter Ellershaw. The Information Commissioner had written to suggest they should come clean and I suggested it might be interesting to see what Bexley council’s grounds for refusal would be. Not very interesting as it happens.

According to the Information Commissioner Bexley council has said that “disclosure would be inappropriate” which are exactly the same words used to refuse the question in the first place. How did Bexley expect to get away with that? The IC was unimpressed and wrote back to say that if Bexley belatedly comes up with a satisfactory answer he will deal with them on an informal basis, failing that, “the complaint will be dealt with via a decision notice”.

It’s mind boggling that the best brains in Bexley council can only repeat the words that the IC had already accepted weren’t good enough and think that it will satisfy him second time around. Those responsible are paid more than the Prime Minister.

I hear that Eric Pickles was on the warpath about that again yesterday. Perhaps Teresa Pearce M.P. has already upset him with news of Bexley’s petition rejection. Mr. Pickles said “local authorities should also look at saving money by getting rid of the role of chief executive altogether - or by sharing one with a neighbouring council”.


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