Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Liverpool Shenanigans: Five, Once I Caught a Fish Alive

5) Cllr Bradley required that the internal investigation report into Mathew Street should be changed before it was made public. It is clear now that he did not believe the report to be accurate (his emails suggest that he personally does not blame Lee Forde but blames ‘others’ - presumably Jason Harborow. Mr Forde may be able to shed more light on this. )

Requiring the releasing of a report which, in part, publicly blames an individual, whilst the Leader of the Council did not believe it to be accurate, had two effects. First, it unjustifiably destroyed or damaged the reputation and thus the career prospects of Mr Forde (I understand that Mr Forde has found obtaining work more difficult since the report was published).

Secondly, this conduct may expose the Council to a claim for defamation.
i) Councillor Bradley is in breach of Clause 5 of the Code of Conduct in that his actions in saying one thing, but then doing another, could reasonably be regarded as bringing his office as Leader of the Council and/or his authority into disrepute.
ii) Councillor Bradley is in breach of Clause 3 (1) of the Code in that he failed to treat Mr Forde with respect by publicly blaming him for failings over Mathew Street and then, two days later, holding a meeting with Mr Forde in which he sought to involve him in a conspiracy against Mr Harborow.

In total, Councillor Bradley and Storey have breached the Code of Conduct 26 times.

Such consistent, flagrant and repeated breaches of the Code of Conduct have brought the leader of the council, the Executive Member, the authority and, more importantly, the city of Liverpool, into disrepute and public contempt. The behaviour of Councillors Bradley and Storey has been without honour, integrity or transparency. They have abused their positions, abused employees and abused the people of Liverpool who they are meant to serve. They have been dishonest, underhand and disrespectful both of individuals and of the organisation they serve.

I believe the Standards Board should impose the maximum penalty possible as an example and a warning to others that we expect and demand higher standards from our elected representatives..

The following documents may be useful to your further investigation. I suggest that you contact the city council to request them. I have been assured that they will be provided.

a) Letters sent by the city solicitor to Councillors Bradley and Storey warning them of their conduct in relation to press statements about Mr Harborow.

b) The claim form from Mr Harborow’s solicitors claiming unlawful conduct/constructive dismissal and setting out their reasoning.

c) The City Council’s independent legal advice which sets out reasons why the Council’s position is legally vulnerable as a result of Cllr Bradley and Storey’s conduct, justifying a payment of compensation to protect the Council’s exposed position. I understand that this advice was provided to the appointments sub committee by the Chief Executive and according to press reports formed part of the basis for the Council offering Mr Harborow compensation. I have been informed by the chief executive that this will be made available to the Standards Board on request.

d) A copy of the speech made by Cllr Bradley to the full Council on 12/12/07 (although the speech was made orally, it was read out from a prepared text by Cllr Bradley who will, no doubt, still have a copy).

This speech appears to suggest that Cllr Bradley had held a number of meetings with Lee Forde when he was still a Council employee to discuss the internal management of the Culture Company – presumably a reference to Jason Harborow’s perceived failure to manage the Culture Company. This would also mean that Councillor Bradley is in breach of Clause 3 (2) (d) in compromising Mr Forde’s impartiality as a council employee. The speech provides further evidence of Councillor Bradley lying about his contact with the Daily Post reporter, Mr Bartlett.

In addition, can I also request that further evidence is sought from Mr David Bartlett, reporter, Liverpool Daily Post, Mr Mark Thomas, editor, Liverpool Daily Post, Mr Lee Forde, and Mr Jason Harborow.

Yours faithfully,

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