IOC hits out at "patronage" appointments to Herefordshire Council

First published in News
Last updated
Ledbury Reporter: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

IT’S Our County (IOC) leader Cllr Anthony Powers has accused opponents of using “the old politics of patronage” to force his group out of  controlling a key committee.

IOC councillors Alan Seldon and Liz Harvey lost the respective roles of chairman and vice-chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee to an Independent-Tory combination put up at this morning’s (Friday) meeting of the full council.

Independent group leader Cllr Sebastian Bowen was overwhelmingly voted in as chairman of overview and scrutiny and widely expected to stand down as group leader.

Tory councillor Barry Durkin was  voted in as his deputy.

Cllr Powers had proposed that Cllr Seldon and Cllr Harvey retained their roles.

“Tories and Independents seemed  determined to put an end to IOC’s two-year leadership of the General Overview & Scrutiny committee,” said Cllr Powers.

“Despite the highly qualified, experienced, and forensically effective partnership of Cllrs  Seldon and Harvey, Conservative and Independent members backed  their leaders’ alternative ticket and both were duly voted in, demonstrating that their groups can be relied upon to collaborate in the old politics of patronage,  and in contradiction to the administration’s evident endorsement of the best practice principle that they should step aside from any scrutiny leadership,” he said.

Cllrs Seldon and Harvey were widely expected to retain their roles and bolster the credibility of scrutiny as the council headed into an election next year.

The idea of an alternative ticket has been doing the rounds of the council’s Brockington  HQ for the past week.

Comments (13)

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5:00pm Fri 23 May 14

AylestoneVoice says...

That's politics - IOC out manoeuvred.
That's politics - IOC out manoeuvred. AylestoneVoice
  • Score: 11

6:56pm Fri 23 May 14

fmrbill says...

Well its only 12 more months to go till this administration are booted out. ))))).lets be honest what more damage than they do to our county over and above what they have done the last 4 yrs. Lets just look at it as another nail in their COFFIN
Well its only 12 more months to go till this administration are booted out. ))))).lets be honest what more damage than they do to our county over and above what they have done the last 4 yrs. Lets just look at it as another nail in their COFFIN fmrbill
  • Score: 7

7:15pm Fri 23 May 14

Cllr Liz Harvey says...

Quiet right Aylestone Voice - That's politics. We just don't have the headcount at the moment to counter this sort of thing ... So that's me 'spending more time with the family' as the saying goes. :-)
Quiet right Aylestone Voice - That's politics. We just don't have the headcount at the moment to counter this sort of thing ... So that's me 'spending more time with the family' as the saying goes. :-) Cllr Liz Harvey
  • Score: 1

7:22pm Fri 23 May 14

flamboyant says...

It's all very sneaky isn't it?
It's all very sneaky isn't it? flamboyant
  • Score: 4

3:48am Sat 24 May 14

Holmerowan says...

Independents what a load of codswallop
This just shows that those who stand as Independents are in fact true blue tories.
And more frightening is the fact that these so called Independents will campaign in the election next year that they do not do politics and are above all that skullduggery.
Independents what a load of codswallop This just shows that those who stand as Independents are in fact true blue tories. And more frightening is the fact that these so called Independents will campaign in the election next year that they do not do politics and are above all that skullduggery. Holmerowan
  • Score: 2

8:55am Sat 24 May 14

AylestoneVoice says...

Politics Eh! They are all after their own little deals and alliances. Of course if it had worked in favour of IOC then it would be the other parties whingeing. And whilst this goes on and they play their little games we all suffer.
Politics Eh! They are all after their own little deals and alliances. Of course if it had worked in favour of IOC then it would be the other parties whingeing. And whilst this goes on and they play their little games we all suffer. AylestoneVoice
  • Score: 5

12:08pm Sat 24 May 14

littlewhitebull says...

In my very humble opinion, party politics gets in the way when it comes to local councils.
Perhaps, the day will dawn when councillors will work together, form a consensus, and strive to make the taxpayers that they serve proud of their actions and decisions.
Is this just a pipe dream? Probably.
In my very humble opinion, party politics gets in the way when it comes to local councils. Perhaps, the day will dawn when councillors will work together, form a consensus, and strive to make the taxpayers that they serve proud of their actions and decisions. Is this just a pipe dream? Probably. littlewhitebull
  • Score: 6

3:18pm Sat 24 May 14

Cllr Liz Harvey says...

Littlewhitebull - I think you've just described IOC. A group of local people, independent of national party politics who work together to create Herefordshire solutions to Herefordshire problems. Old and young; working, self employed and retired; evenly balanced between men and women ... As each by-election is won our numbers grow, and we work every day to represent the views of local people and to minimise the damage done to the county while we prepare for 2015. We've reached out a number of times to the Independents - but they won't yet forgive us for the fact that IOC was started by Independent councillors.
Littlewhitebull - I think you've just described IOC. A group of local people, independent of national party politics who work together to create Herefordshire solutions to Herefordshire problems. Old and young; working, self employed and retired; evenly balanced between men and women ... As each by-election is won our numbers grow, and we work every day to represent the views of local people and to minimise the damage done to the county while we prepare for 2015. We've reached out a number of times to the Independents - but they won't yet forgive us for the fact that IOC was started by Independent councillors. Cllr Liz Harvey
  • Score: 3

11:52pm Sat 24 May 14

Holmerowan says...

Clir Liz Harvey - IOC is the only effective opposition we have against this disastrous ruling administration and has my full support.
My comments on Independents was not directed at the excellent Independents who make up the Its Our County group.
Clir Liz Harvey - IOC is the only effective opposition we have against this disastrous ruling administration and has my full support. My comments on Independents was not directed at the excellent Independents who make up the Its Our County group. Holmerowan
  • Score: -1

9:23am Mon 26 May 14

flamboyant says...

IOC were not effective when it came to cutting the grass! IOC are in fact in favour of forming community groups to cut the grass, in fact they started forming those groups before the decision was made public! If they let that gem passed scrutiny I for one I'm glad they lost their seats!
IOC were not effective when it came to cutting the grass! IOC are in fact in favour of forming community groups to cut the grass, in fact they started forming those groups before the decision was made public! If they let that gem passed scrutiny I for one I'm glad they lost their seats! flamboyant
  • Score: 4

3:06pm Mon 26 May 14

saidflo says...

Sad to read this Liz and Alan.
It appears to look like a bit of sneaky back stabbing politics maybe.
Maybe due to running scared after IOC took the last by elections.

I have been to public council meetings to see what happens and I know what brilliant efforts were made within the constraints of council rules and regulations. Also the enormous amount of work put in behind the scenes, you personally were making on behalf of us less committed council tax payers and Herefordshire residents.
I'd like to thank you both for your work :)

Roll on a change - we could do with a few Nigel Farages leading the ordinary people toward a fairer society for all. (Negative connotations excluded of course).
Sad to read this Liz and Alan. It appears to look like a bit of sneaky back stabbing politics maybe. Maybe due to running scared after IOC took the last by elections. I have been to public council meetings to see what happens and I know what brilliant efforts were made within the constraints of council rules and regulations. Also the enormous amount of work put in behind the scenes, you personally were making on behalf of us less committed council tax payers and Herefordshire residents. I'd like to thank you both for your work :) Roll on a change - we could do with a few Nigel Farages leading the ordinary people toward a fairer society for all. (Negative connotations excluded of course). saidflo
  • Score: 2

10:44pm Mon 26 May 14

Cllr Liz Harvey says...

*sigh* flamboyant ... IOC and other councillors made it clear that the decision on grass cutting was going to cause big problems ... but to be fair, even this administration aren't so dollopy that they didn't realise the decision would, as a minimum, be a tad unpopular.

Their unforgivable omission was to then fail to communicate their unpopular decision in a timely and effective manner (fancy) to parish councils, the ward councillors and with communities and groups who might have been able to help to target and prioritise the grass cutting area by area before the growing season began.

Are you seriously taking IOC to task for not waiting until this news was (eventually) communicated to press release it ourselves or to start work with our own communities to mitigate the impact?

Scrutiny isn't allowed to challenge a decision just because it is silly - we can only challenge on specific grounds ... and silly, unfortunately, isn't one of them.

Anyway - IOC is not in the business of shying away from the difficult truth when it stares us in the face. Communities ARE going to have to step in - or watch the bins overflow, the grass grow, the assets decay and the services vanish.

Elsewhere you berate us for supporting the use of digital technology to enable people to access council services via the internet and out of hrs as staff and budgets are cut further. Should people be left with nothing? Should we argue pointlessly for decisions to be different in the face of diminishing funds from central government and vanishing reserves from bad decisions made locally?

If you've been watching you will see IOC has pushed hard to ensure that customer services and libraries remain open too so people can speak to a real person, pay bills and seek advice face-2-face. And I've lost count of the number of times that scrutiny has pointed out that use of on-line systems disenfranchises the poor and the elderly.

Some services must continue centrally - the community can't step in ... but where it can, we think it should - for the benefit of us all. If people don't value the services enough to take charge ... then of course they should cease and be done with it.

If you think your or anyone else's council tax is prioritised for grass cutting and flower planting, you are sadly mistaken. What money is raised locally is directed towards services that you, I and any right-minded person will hope we are never in receipt of – child protection, care of the sick, support for the vulnerable, assistance to the disabled. 3/4 of the council's funds come from central govt. If the cuts being made centrally were to be even just offset by council tax, we would have to raise the tax by more than 10% p.a. just to stand still.

We're told no-one's up for paying significantly more council tax ... and that despite council tax being a means by which redistribution of wealth occurs at a local level. It takes more from the better off and less from the poor and none at all from many, whilst delivering services to all. Go figure.

Some parish councils have grasped the nettle and shouldered the burden of delivering county services – Ross, Bromyard, Kington, Leominster, Hereford City. People in communities throughout the county are stepping forward too – cutting grass, tending flower beds, picking litter, patrolling against dog-mess. And there’s more of this to come.

The role of parish and county councillors should be to help their communities to understand these challenges, make the right decisions for the needs of the people they serve, and to act as leaders in making these changes happen on the ground.

Nobody likes what’s happening … but judging by the reaction on the ground … neither do most people want to stand by and do nothing. Good for them!
*sigh* flamboyant ... IOC and other councillors made it clear that the decision on grass cutting was going to cause big problems ... but to be fair, even this administration aren't so dollopy that they didn't realise the decision would, as a minimum, be a tad unpopular. Their unforgivable omission was to then fail to communicate their unpopular decision in a timely and effective manner (fancy) to parish councils, the ward councillors and with communities and groups who might have been able to help to target and prioritise the grass cutting area by area before the growing season began. Are you seriously taking IOC to task for not waiting until this news was (eventually) communicated to press release it ourselves or to start work with our own communities to mitigate the impact? Scrutiny isn't allowed to challenge a decision just because it is silly - we can only challenge on specific grounds ... and silly, unfortunately, isn't one of them. Anyway - IOC is not in the business of shying away from the difficult truth when it stares us in the face. Communities ARE going to have to step in - or watch the bins overflow, the grass grow, the assets decay and the services vanish. Elsewhere you berate us for supporting the use of digital technology to enable people to access council services via the internet and out of hrs as staff and budgets are cut further. Should people be left with nothing? Should we argue pointlessly for decisions to be different in the face of diminishing funds from central government and vanishing reserves from bad decisions made locally? If you've been watching you will see IOC has pushed hard to ensure that customer services and libraries remain open too so people can speak to a real person, pay bills and seek advice face-2-face. And I've lost count of the number of times that scrutiny has pointed out that use of on-line systems disenfranchises the poor and the elderly. Some services must continue centrally - the community can't step in ... but where it can, we think it should - for the benefit of us all. If people don't value the services enough to take charge ... then of course they should cease and be done with it. If you think your or anyone else's council tax is prioritised for grass cutting and flower planting, you are sadly mistaken. What money is raised locally is directed towards services that you, I and any right-minded person will hope we are never in receipt of – child protection, care of the sick, support for the vulnerable, assistance to the disabled. 3/4 of the council's funds come from central govt. If the cuts being made centrally were to be even just offset by council tax, we would have to raise the tax by more than 10% p.a. just to stand still. We're told no-one's up for paying significantly more council tax ... and that despite council tax being a means by which redistribution of wealth occurs at a local level. It takes more from the better off and less from the poor and none at all from many, whilst delivering services to all. Go figure. Some parish councils have grasped the nettle and shouldered the burden of delivering county services – Ross, Bromyard, Kington, Leominster, Hereford City. People in communities throughout the county are stepping forward too – cutting grass, tending flower beds, picking litter, patrolling against dog-mess. And there’s more of this to come. The role of parish and county councillors should be to help their communities to understand these challenges, make the right decisions for the needs of the people they serve, and to act as leaders in making these changes happen on the ground. Nobody likes what’s happening … but judging by the reaction on the ground … neither do most people want to stand by and do nothing. Good for them! Cllr Liz Harvey
  • Score: -12

8:07pm Tue 27 May 14

flamboyant says...

'Yawn' yes Cllr Harvey in a nut shell I am taking IOC to task for not informing the public, outside of your communities of the decision not to cut the grass. I also think there were more grounds to challenge that decision other than silliness. .I think it should have been challenged by scrutiny on the grounds outlined in the petition launched on Hereford voice. Grasping the nettle as you put it is facilitating the Councils incompetence in wasting our money. I completely understand the cuts in Government funding. However can someone please explain why dozens of people keep losing their jobs whilst others are getting wage increases. The Council sit back and facillitate Peter getting robbed to pay Paul and no one is stopping it! Had the Council frozen all wage increases and put an immediate ban on employing consultants I'm not sure I would be holding anyone to task. Then we would truely as you say ALL be in this together!
'Yawn' yes Cllr Harvey in a nut shell I am taking IOC to task for not informing the public, outside of your communities of the decision not to cut the grass. I also think there were more grounds to challenge that decision other than silliness. .I think it should have been challenged by scrutiny on the grounds outlined in the petition launched on Hereford voice. Grasping the nettle as you put it is facilitating the Councils incompetence in wasting our money. I completely understand the cuts in Government funding. However can someone please explain why dozens of people keep losing their jobs whilst others are getting wage increases. The Council sit back and facillitate Peter getting robbed to pay Paul and no one is stopping it! Had the Council frozen all wage increases and put an immediate ban on employing consultants I'm not sure I would be holding anyone to task. Then we would truely as you say ALL be in this together! flamboyant
  • Score: 7

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