Shropshire in crisis: community team axed despite council resolution

Shropshire Council is to make its Community Enablement Team redundant. This comes as the council struggles with an unprecedented financial crisis. The move bizarrely seems to have the support of the cabinet member for communities. The decision flies in the face of a motion passed unanimously by Shropshire Council members on 20 September. That called for a working group to review how Shropshire Council supports communities. But now it’s official. Shropshire Council doesn’t support communities any more.

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A full and unreserved apology to Councillor Joyce Barrow

In a blog post on the 22 January 2014, I suggested that Councillor Joyce Barrow signed the 27-year Veolia contract. Councillor Barrow complained on 29 July 2018 to the Lib Dem leader at Shropshire Council that she did not sign the contract. “It was in fact officer [name redacted by me]. I did tell Andy last year but assume he has forgotten!”

I has forgotten that and I apologise.

Contracts are signed by officers. Councillors can’t sign them. But the political decision is a signing off. If I had used the phrase “signed off” not “signed” it would have been clearer and correct. For that error, I apologise and unreservedly.

The scandal over the TNS grant is not just a problem with administration, it’s a political issue: The Barrow Era (8)

After complaints from Keith Barrow and the threat of legal action, this blog post has been modified. I have changed the strap line to the “Barrow Era” not the “Barrow Affair”, removing any suggestion that he was responsible for decisions on TNS matters when he was leader of Shropshire Council. I have also corrected an error that said that Keith Barrow was chair of the Joint Economic Board. He was deputy chair and only chaired on one occasion. 

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The Barrow Era (7): Shropshire Council threatens police action against councillors – I’d welcome being arrested

Shropshire Council has threatened Shropshire councillors with police action if we reveal details of a potentially illegal payment to a football club. That is too much for me to stomach. I want to know why a former councillor leader approved a grant to his favourite football team. I want to know why repayments of that “grant” were cancelled on his watch. I want to know why, when he was forced to resign from Shropshire Council, he was immediately employed by the owner of the football team.

The growing scandal about TNS, an Oswestry football club, cannot be ignored. If I knew enough to make the evidence public, I would publish it. I would welcome being reported to the police. I would volunteer for it. That means the police would see paperwork we councillors can’t see. They will have to look at the main issue.

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The Barrow Era (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).

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