To Archive List Page

Kangaroo crossingAccountability suppressed :
What the Standards Board for England really achieves

The Case of David Adami
Case no. SBE545.02
APE Tribunal no. APE0166

A businessman, who had been involved in major civil engineering contracts around the world, stood as a Conservative candidate and was elected to North Dorset District Council in 1996. He felt that his business experience would be of value to the council. But when he began to question the way the council was spending taxpayers' money at no benefit to the taxpayer, he was fobbed off regularly with 'non-answers'.

In 2002, he dared to ask why the chief executive of the council, Alan Greaves, was to be paid a tax-free £37,000 for staying on for a few weeks after his contract of employment expired. Mr. Greaves lodged a complaint about Cllr. Adami with the Standards Board for England.
   The Standards Board's officials then proceeded to over-egg their pudding with multiple charges against Cllr. Adami, which included 'bringing his council into disrepute', 'being rude to a senior officer', 'wasting council resources' (by asking questions about what the officers were up to) and a whole bunch of other stuff.

In 2004, the Conservative group on the council evicted Cllr. Adami on a technicality and because he was proving to be an embarrassment to the group. He was asking questions and trying to find out what was going on, which made his compliant fellow councillors look bad.
   When he stood for re-election as an independent, Cllr. Adami was returned with 76% of the vote. The Tories got 12%.

Councillor David Adami . . .
. . . unreasonably pursued matters with officers and made complaints when he felt these matters had not been addressed.

The Standards Board's kangaroo court chose to hear his case on a date when Cllr. Adami had already arranged to be in Singapore. He was convicted in absentia and suspended as a councillor for four years.

Mr. Admai appealed in the High Court. After listening to his submissions for two hours, Mr. Justice Bean decided that he had heard enough. He ruled that Mr. Adami had just been doing his job as a councillor and that the charges against him were worthless. The judge reinstated Cllr. Adami.
   The Standards Board went to the Court of Appeal, which ruled that, on a technicality related to the judge's conduct and nothing to do with the facts of the case, that the matter should be referred back to the Standards Board.
   Surprise! The Kangaroo Court found Cllr. Adami guilty again on all of the trumped-up charges and sentenced him to a two-year suspension beginning at the end of January 2006. This amounted to a three-year suspension as Cllr. Adami spent a year of suspension before his case reached the High Court.

Cost to the taxpayer at this point – £65,000

Mr. Adami decided not to wast any more time and money on what was clearly a lost cause, and stood down from the council. His seat was won by the Trivial-Democrats, not the Tories, at the subsequent by-election.

This is a further instance of the way local councils are controlled by unelected officials while councillors, who are supposed to be there to represent the taxpayers' interest, just draw their allowances and go along with everything put before them like a bunch of sheep. Anybody who asks questions becomes a target for trumped-up charges of misconduct.
   Don't look for democracy and accountability in local politics because there ain't none. All there is, is cosy rackets and cartels, which have the Standards Board's 'investigators' on their side, ready to jump on anyone who asks awkward questions.

There is something peculiarly New Labour about the concept that when it comes to standards in public life, those who seek to uphold them must be hounded out of office and those who lie, cheat and ignore the rules (Blair, Mandelson, Byers, Prescott, etc., etc.) are allowed to prosper.

New Labour's creature The Standards Board for England pretends to regulate but signally fails to do so.

Kangaroo crossing

To Page TopTo Archive List PageBack to Front page