York Council responds to vested interest criticism

The Council has published details of an interim scheme which it believes will prevent a repetition of the recent scandal over unlawful payments to officials.Top-secret-stamp-006

Ironically the proposal was agreed in another “behind closed doors” decision session earlier today. The background papers were only made public after the decision had been made.

It has published a new code which can be read by clicking here

click to read

click to read

The form that senior officials will have to keep up to date – and publish publicly – can be found by clicking here .

The Code list sevral areas where a potential conflict of interest may occur

The following is a list of situations that may result in a conflict of interests for a member of staff:

  • A planning application or appeal in which the address concerned is the employee’s residence or a neighbouring address;
  • Ownership of land that is subject to a Council decision;
  • School admissions appeals involving a friend or relative;
  • A contract between the Council and another organisation in which the employee has a personal or financial interest(including council-owned or other related parties to the council). Any pay received from related parties must be declared;
  • Processing of Council Tax payments/refunds where the employee is the landlord of the properties concerned;
  • Benefits applications/appeals in which the claimant is a friend/relative or neighbour;
  • Processing of home or residential care cases where the customer is a friend or relative;
  • An audit of an establishment in which the employee has a personal interest (e.g. Elderly Persons’ Home where a relative is a member of staff).
Further refinements to the rules are promised at a later date.

Revised York Local Plan promised

The York Council has said that it will publish a draft of a new Local Plan next month.

Big City smallIt will be fifth attempt in recent years to come up with a blueprint for the City which seeks both to conserve the natural and built heritage, while making provision for the additional 10,000 or so homes required over the next 20 years to meet the natural growth in population size (excess of births over deaths).

More controversial will be the Councils’ decision on economic expansion targets.

The “Big City” approach  of the last Labour Council could have seen an additional 25,000 homes built in the City – most of which would have been occupied by inward (economic) migrants. The proposal attracted 14,000 objections. The policy led to Labour losing control of the Council in 2015 and since then a Tory/LibDem coalition has struggled to find common ground on house building numbers.

The LibDems were elected on a manifesto of conserving the Green Belt.

Labour politicians are now briefing that two Green Belt sites (at Whinthorpe & Clifton Gate) will get the go ahead, albeit with both reduced in size. However, both would have huge cost implications with a new access corridor being required to accommodate the first, while Cliftongate (between Clifton Moor and Skelton) would make dualling the A1237 essential.

The Council has been criticised for not coming up with a firm timetable for decision meetings on the new Plan. The only firm date given for public discussion is 30th June when apparently the Councils Executive will discuss it prior to formal public consultation being launched. Even this date has not been included in the Council’s Forward Plan of key decisions.

The Council statement reads;