Improvement board set up for town council following residents’ petition

Bingham Town Council has been under scrutiny since residents launched a petition against how it was operating.
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

An improvement board has been set up to aid a struggling town council.

A report says progress is being made at Bingham Town Council after two members were alleged to have “harassed and bullied” the clerk.

Councillors John Stockwood and Francis Purdue-Horan were expelled from the Conservative party as a result.

Last month, Rushcliffe Borough Council recommended that an improvement board be set up after hundreds of Bingham residents signed a petition which branded the council as “manipulative, secretive and over-controlling”.

Now, council papers to be discussed this week show Neil Taylor, former Chief Executive of Bassetlaw District Council, Jonathan Owen, Chief Executive of the National Association of Local Councils and David Pye, Advisor at the Local Government Association will sit on the board.

Councillors Rowan Bird (Ind) and Gareth Williams (Con) will represent Bingham Town Council on the board.

The three independent members will visit Bingham Town Council next year to “get a sense of the ambitions and objectives of the council for the future”.

The purpose of the board is to “deliver an action plan” responding to the petition and “help the Council to develop a culture of respect between Councillors and between Councillors and employees”.

The aim is also to “enhance public confidence in the Council”.

The plans will cost £10,000 with Bingham and Rushcliffe contributing £5,000 each.

Council papers prepared ahead of Rushcliffe Borough Council’s meeting on November 2 said: “The Improvement Board will be most effective if it has the genuine buy-in, commitment and support of Bingham Town Council.

“It has cross-party Bingham Town Council representation, and the Council has
endorsed its creation at the Extraordinary Town Council meeting of 23
November 2021. Therefore, it is believed that the Board will be respected and
influential. It will work on the basis of a positive, pro-active and forward-looking approach.”

In a heated meeting last month, some Bingham Town Councillors showed support for the board, with one describing how she has previously felt “isolated” and like she “had no voice”.

Councillor Tony Wallace (Lab) also criticised the council, saying “it is important to recognise just how low we’ve sunk”.

A report on the progress of the improvement board will be given to the Cabinet in July 2022.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)