Tuesday, 6 August 2013


Despite obvious reservations, in the interests of openness and transparency, TDC councillors agreed to debate two motions put forward by Independent and UKIP members on Tuesday evening (6th August).
However, following the debate, the council quite rightly decided not to accept either motion and rejected them both, as the measures that were being called for had already been put in place by the council’s administration.
TDC Leader Cllr Clive Hart said “I’m afraid several Independent and UKIP councillors appear to have been duped into supporting the call for an extraordinary meeting of the council on Tuesday evening which was totally unnecessary.
There was nothing new proposed through the Independent / UKIP motions to council and Tuesday evenings extraordinary meeting of the council was a complete waste of ratepayer’s money.
Indeed, had the Independent and UKIP proposers spoken to me before submitting their motions I could have explained to them that the council is already meeting their expectations. This could have been done in just a few minutes over a quiet cup of tea. In any event, there was certainly nothing urgent discussed at Tuesday’s meeting that could not have been left until the next planned meeting of TDC.
Instead, many hours of leading officers, administrative staff and councillors time has been wasted staging what I believe was nothing more than an expensive publicity stunt for a few misinformed Independent and UKIP councillors who really should know better, and all at ratepayers expense.
It really was quite a pathetic and ridiculous state of affairs and although it took all five of the Independent and UKIP councillors to jointly call for the meeting, in the end, even those five failed to give both motions their full support. 

Worse still, through their intransigence, at one point all five actually voted for a motion which would have considerably weakened, not strengthened, existing financial management at the council."
Independent & UKIP motion to Council:
"That any debt owed to Thanet Council, including multiple debts owed by a single organisation and/or its subsidiaries, which exceeds £250,000 must be reported to a meeting of the Full Council along with a debt recovery plan at the earliest opportunity. Members of the Council will be entitled to ask questions about and comment on such debts".
Labour administration response: 
This was dealt with in paragraph 5.2 of the Budget Monitoring Report 2013/14 agreed at the last cabinet meeting on 1st August, which stated:
As the level of aged debt is an important indicator of the financial risk being carried by the Council it is proposed that the Financial Procedure Rules be amended to include the requirement to report to Council any debt owed by an organisation, or its subsidiaries, where it exceeds £150,000. The report will also include details of the debt recovery measures in place. Debt will only be reported after it has becomes 'aged', i.e. falls outside of the Council's standard payment terms of 90 days, to the next available ordinary council meeting.

(Note - the Independent / UKIP motion would have reduced effectiveness of existing monitoring procedures by £100,00).

Independent & UKIP motion to Council:
"That all the documents, background papers, and e-mails related to Transeuropa Ferries debt to Thanet District Council be made available for inspection by Councillors within 10 working days of this decision being agreed by Council."
Labour administration response:  
This was dealt with through an email sent to all 56 councillors by the Monitoring Officer on 24th July, which stated:
Dear Councillor,
A request has been made by a Member to access the council’s records that form the 2012-13 accounts and associated items relating to the Transeuropa debt.
The Account and Audit regulations give all Members (and the public) the right to inspect and copy prime documents that are used in the formulation of the statement of accounts, and I am writing to remind you that the inspection period runs until 9 August 2013. If you would like to make an appointment to view any of the books of accounts, deeds, contract bills, vouchers and receipts relevant to the 2012/13 accounts please contact Sarah Martin for an appointment. 
In addition, the Transeuropa debt will be subject of an Overview and Scrutiny Working Party, where, in accordance with the Council’s constitution, requested background documentation will be made available to Members of the working party for review.  
Your sincerely
Harvey Patterson
Corporate & Regulatory Services Manager

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