Thursday, 21 July 2011

Just a thought...

I see that Kelly Edwards has declared an interest in Green Issues Communiqué on the council web site still without mentioning that she is lead manager on the Tesco and Bellway accounts. She may not be employed on projects within the Borough herself but as a partner, shareholder and manager on those accounts she does have a beneficial interest in her clients being successful. She should have named them. She has done so on the Green Issues communique web site!

Interestingly her declaration of interest document is "dated" 24th May 2011. I published her involvement as lead manager on the Tesco account on the 20th June 2011. The properties of the PDF file reveal that it wasn't created by Councillor Services until the 22nd June 2011. It may also be of interest to readers that Green Issues Communiqué did the community "consultation" for the controversial Lok 'n' Store planning application. The local residents haven't forgotten, it was they who reminded me!

Ms. Edwards declaration of interest also reveals another interesting nugget. Her election expenses were part-paid for by Unison and the T&G Union. Putting aside the fact that the T&G doesn't exist anymore and they've just pensioned off Derek Simpson with a £1/2m pay off whilst bleating on about "fat cats", it does reveal a nice little dodge that Reading Labour appear to be using to avoid putting union money through their books. It's legitimate, as it is perfectly permissible to donate directly to a campaign but it does avoid an observer from creating a direct link from union donations to Labour to their receiving payment in kind through the facilities agreement. It would be interesting to know whether the Unison money came from their General Political Fund although I suspect it wouldn't make much difference. The GPF is used to campaign for Labour anyway.

At least Kelly's link with Tesco is in the public domain and she is not on any body that could directly influence a decision but if you are clever enough, there is a loophole in council policy and one which is almost impossible to unravel.

If you are a self-employed councillor providing consultancy services, you don't have to reveal your client list. If you don't have to declare your client list, there is no way to independently check on potential conflict of interest. There is no requirement by the council which forces you to do so.

I guess that's okay with people?

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