Monday, 29 September 2008

If the cap fits

The complaint against Cllr Alan Gloak is not a matter for me nor a subject upon which I wish to make any comment. The poor man was seen openly weeping in County Hall today. It would have seemed partisan to give him a hug, but I smiled in empathy as he lurched down the stairs. The high standards of this authority and its reputation for excellence in every field speak louder, surely, than politically motivated charges against a vulnerable public figure. Cllr Gloak, like me, is a victim of gossip. But the public should rest assured that there is ample machinery in place to deal with matters of financial and personal probity. As readers may know elected councillors are subject to the displines of the Standards Board and local monitoring committees. Council officials, on the other hand, subscribe to a strict code of conduct and must declare any interests upon an official register. This should be a considerable reassurance to all electors and interested parties. The registers, of necessity, contain personal data which identifies and relates to individual members of staff. This means that the registers are covered by the Data Protection Act 1998 and must be kept secret from anyone who does not have a strict need to know. In other words people in my position are duty bound to make declarations and people like you have no right at all to know what has been declared. I hope that is now clear.

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