The Barrow Affair (6): Investigation into Barrow costs more than £12K and Shropshire Council is to pay

Shropshire Council has revealed some of the costs of investigating whether former council leader Keith Barrow breached the council’s code of conduct.

In answer to a question from Lib Dem group leader, Councillor Roger Evans, deputy leader Steve Charmley said:

The final cost of the investigation undertaken has not yet been calculated. External costs to date, however, total £9,782.80 excluding VAT. This investigation was instigated by Shropshire Council and there are no plans to invoice ip&e Limited for this. Officer time is not routinely recorded for individual pieces of work such as this (PDF).

So that comes to £11,745.60, nearly £12,000. That’s without staff costs for supporting the review and the standards subcommittee. There is clearly going to be not much change out of £20,000 for this review.

Keith Barrow has resigned as both leader and a councillor, so there seems little possibility of landing this bill on him. I am even not sure that there is a legal basis for doing so.

It seems extraordinary that the council will pay this charge not ip&e. What is the point of transferring work to a private company if risk associated with that work is not transferred too?

Keith Barrow seemed confused about whether he should declare his interest in Peakfast within the private halls of ip&e. Was the company acting in a private capacity or as an arm’s length subsidiary of Shropshire Council? It is this confusion that led to the code of conduct complaint last summer and that became the starting point for his downfall.

If Shropshire Council bears the costs of the Barrow inquiry, I think that will show that the council is also confused about its relationship with ip&e. That needs sorting out sooner rather than later.

One thing that Shropshire Council must pay for is the by-election that follows Keith Barrow’s resignation. That will be held on Thursday, 4 February 2016. The notice of election will be published on 18 December, with nominations due by 8 January.

Other Barrow Affair Posts

The Barrow Affair (1): Shropshire leader forced to resign from council company after conflict of interest scandal

The Barrow Affair (2): Shropshire Council’s company ip&e needs reinventing as an innovation hub

The Barrow Affair (3): Auditors of leader’s personal tax return got ip&e contract says standards report

The Barrow Affair (4): Keith Barrow resigns as council leader and councillor

The Barrow Affair (5): The curious case of a ransom strip in Morda

Notes

A correction has been made to this article to correct an error about VAT.

4 thoughts on “The Barrow Affair (6): Investigation into Barrow costs more than £12K and Shropshire Council is to pay

  1. Andy I’m a bit confused by this article.The breach was against the Councils code of conduct not IP&Es.It is therefore only right that they bare the cost. Or am I missing something?

  2. Interesting that one week later the head of IPandE has also tendered their resignation….a close family friend of Mr Barrow, the individual perhaps felt a little vulnerable in the ever changing climate….

  3. Fining IP&E is robbing Peter to Pay Paul. It is a ‘Council Company’
    This is the company that boasted a first time ‘profit’ of around £24,000 in the last tax year, but which I believe still owes the Council around £97,000 of an agreed loan pot of a possible £500,000 made available by it for the company’s ‘setting up costs’
    As taxpayers all this money is ,of course, ours
    Meanwhile swinging cuts to important and vital services continue.
    You couldn’t make it up!

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