Two senior Norwich Labour Party members are blaming an administrative error after it emerged they were not recorded as declaring an interest when awarding a charity a near-£37,000 grant.

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Steve Morphew, former Norwich City Council leader and Labour’s police and crime candidate for tomorrow’s election, and current council leader Brenda Arthur did not make a declaration when Voluntary Norfolk was approved for a grant during a cabinet meeting in March 2011, according to council papers.

Ms Arthur is married to Voluntary Norfolk’s chief executive Brian Horner, while Mr Morphew works as a freelance consultant for the group.

Mr Morphew said: “Voluntary Norfolk was consistently listed on my register of members interests and I was always careful to declare an interest in meetings. I have written to Norwich City Council and asked that the minutes of the 2011 meeting be checked and corrected.”

Ms Arthur could not be reached for comment last night but she earlier told the BBC she believed she had declared an interest at the time.

She added if she had made a mistake, it was not spotting the minutes had not recorded it.

In March 2008, it was agreed Voluntary Norfolk, then known as Norwich & Norfolk Voluntary Services, would receive £40,481 in 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11. It was one of 15 voluntary or not for profit groups to receive a share of £154,646, approved by the authority’s Labour executive.

Mr Morphew declared a prejudicial interest in the agenda item and withdrew while it was considered. Ms Arthur was not a councillor at this time.

Donations to charities were discussed in the following years, but Voluntary Norfolk did not appear on the list again until March 2011.

It is at a meeting on March 16, 2011, where Mr Morphew and Ms Arthur are not recorded in the minutes as having declared an interest.

Fellow Labour cabinet member Julie Brociek-Coulton did declare an interest because of her Norwich in Bloom membership and left the meeting during the discussion on the report, introduced by Mr Morphew.

Voluntary Norfolk was approved to receive £36,614 out of a total of £415,909, split among 19 groups.

The next opportunity to discuss and correct the minutes of this meeting arrived on June 1, 2011 – after the May election, in which Mr Morphew did not stand as a candidate.

Ms Arthur did, however, declare an interest and left the room in March 2012 when the cabinet was asked to approve the latest grants to voluntary and not for profit groups.

Voluntary Norfolk received £42,000 out of £155,260. In total, 14 groups received money for 2012/13.

Ms Arthur also told the BBC yesterday she would not have been required to leave the room during the 2011 meeting for such a personal interest, and she had never made any secret of the fact she is married to Voluntary Norfolk’s chief executive.

57 comments

  • David Powles says the delay has been because they have been doing their own checks into the accuracy - for 18 months? It just happens to have been completed the day before the elections - please! It took the EDP over 3 weeks after it was published in another local paper to report that Palm Paper were not going to be a customer for the proposed incinerator's CH&P. What interest have they shown in the alternative technology that West Norfolk BC are going to adopt? How have they given their readers across the county the opportunity to see it for themselves? Archant are not only run by conservatives but need to tow the line with County Hall to keep their lucrative publishing contract with NCC. Over and over they have had the opportunity to be unbiased, yet fail at every hurdle.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • It appears to me that they are all tarnished in one way or the other but only the press have the power to decide the importance of letting the voter know. Very sad day if EDP is pulled by politics and so obvious.

    Report this comment

    Marigold

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Here is the story at last- long after the BBC carried it and tucked away Did the EDP not think we needed to know before the commissioner elections just how many pies Morphew has his fingers in? Neither of them come out of this covered in glory, even if they did declare an interest, purely because it is one example of councillors and their relatives muddling up their personal finances with organisations in receipt of council funding. Dealing of a long eared equine animal in abundance.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • so Mr Morphew is noted as having discrepancies Funny it comes to light not long after he leaves the city council and then puts up for police commissioner, so he will have another highly paid job with yet another pension, but untill the money matter is closesd satisfactory he should withdraw his application for the Police Commissioners role. Me thinks thias very strange

    Report this comment

    edifir

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • The EDP were slow on all the stories! Any dirt on the UKIP chap apart from the party membership?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • ..... parties have never had a mandate....So you would have preferred the political party in power to have appointed the crime commissioner for Norfolk...is that what you mean by mandate? I am one of the foolish ones who has voted today, I hope I have picked the best one for the job.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Well put David Powles. It doesn't matter when this was published we now know what has been suspected for a long time and that is that there have been shennanigans between Voluntary Norfolk and SM associates. There is more to this than meets the eye. What is Voluntary Norfolk's stance on this? Usually you cannot keep Brian Horner quiet. I'm listening....

    Report this comment

    antitroughfeeders

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • I am incensed that Brian Horner CEO of Voluntary Norfolk who actually made several people redundant recently saw fit to fund a failling enterprise of Mr Morphews to avoid humiliation as the then leader of the council. Maybe I am wrong, maybe Mr Horner and Mr Morphew would like to respond?

    Report this comment

    antitroughfeeders

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • popeye's forecast mk2...I forgot about the the second choices. I am pretty confident that both Athill and Bett appeared on nearly all the 'Tory Voter' ballot papers -so my guess is Athill will get a second choice boost of say 20%. On reflection I think Athill will creep over the line with 45% total and Morphew second best with 40%.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, November 16, 2012

  • Bit tired now of Morphew and labour in general wittering on that the Commissioners do not have a mandate because of the low turnout. They never make the same case when the party wins their safe urban seats in the North and North East with very low turn outs, the very factor that skews general elections in their favour. Perhaps spoiled papers should have been counted, perhaps the deposit the candidates had to find should have been lower but I suspect that if these elections happen again there will be more interest.We willprobably see police officers stumping up deposits for ex police officer candidates all over the country so they can keep on being a rule to themselves. It is not police commissioners we need it is a national equivalent of Ofsted -with teeth-for policing.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

  • Anyone thinking of voting for Ukip in the pcc elections can I recommend you check out Matthew Smith.s twitter first. He seems to like ridiculing overweight people by taking sneaky pictures of them and then mocking them, he also paints himself as a nuisance neighbour by playing overly loud music.

    Report this comment

    Colin news

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • BREAKING NEWS Look East run mini smeer story on Lib Dem candidate (EDP, where are you?). Again, sounded pretty feeble and nowhere near as murky as arms dealing, of which there has been no mention, of course. Narrows down the list of potential originators to the current and 2 former tories standing, perhaps?

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Because Mr Steve Bett divided the Tory vote here is popeye's forecast...... Morphew 30 percent of votes...... Athill......25 percent...... Bett......20 percent..... Joyce......20 percent...... Smith......5 percent

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, November 16, 2012

  • David Powles, pull the other one please, it's got bells on. I'll translate your message. You were holding on to the story until the last possible moment to create the maximum negative impact, but unfortunately it broke elsewhere. Never mind, still late enough for the full facts not to get the chance to come out before the PCC election tomorrow.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • New interesting names commenting here all in a sudden and this story was kept under wraps, just like the stopry of Jam,ie Athills arms procurement directorship. The EDP is a gatekeeper for the Tory's and has batted off three letters to that extend. Those who want to spoil you papers with a slogan will find that they are counted, their vote is included in the percentage, they have participated in the vote and process, so they will say. I shall not vote at all tomorrow. This si the worst ever election and the EDP is conspiring to deceive us with regards to the facts, not just this delayed action, just before the last hurdle, no, they do this all the time. Joseph Watts unprofessional, below standard interview with a single person shows exactly what I mean.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • .....If you agree, why not consider spoiling your ballot paper .....Quite a lot of pop-up posters seem to advocate this.....so become a puppet and do what the pop-up suggests.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Fact is popeyr, the majority will not vote because they feel that these two minority parties have never had a mandate and that this vote is for the privatisation of the police, eventually. They also have been misinformed about candidates real employment, whilst having had to witness a last minute smear campaign against both, Lib Dem and Labour candidates. I will not even spoil my ballot paper as this gets counted as a successful vote, a legitimisation of the electoral process, part of the percentage that took part. Not this time!

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Charity begins at home

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Thanks a lot for not telling us EDP! I know I won't be voting for Morphew. Ridiculous. This seems to be the norm in this country now, mates manipulated into better positions. I thought they were Labour?

    Report this comment

    antitroughfeeders

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • has the edp been sitting on this two years

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • nuLabour, does exactly what is says on the tin.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Morning guys, A few of you have been commenting about when we posted this story so I just wanted to attempt to explain. Unfortunately, we have to hold our hands up and admit this was one story we were beaten on. Fortunately I can hand on heart say that doesn't happen much. But when this story breaks, we can't simply cut and paste, publish and be damned, we have to do our own check to be sure of the accuracy. That's what we have done here, which is why there has been a delay. Nothing sinister and no great hidden agenda. And for those accusing us of some sort of ridiculous pro-Tory stance - take a look at where this story sits in the paper and how written. We've played it straight down the line. Regards David Powles - Assistant Editor

    Report this comment

    David Powles

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • I have just been and voted at (3.45pm) and I was informed I was the sixteenth person in today. So who did I vote for? Yes you got it no one, I spoilt my paper in protest at this farcical nonsense.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • It was on the BBC website quite early yesterday and I am surprised that it was not a breaking news item in the Archant papers. Even if the commissioner elections were not happening this story should be given a bit of light . And by the by-still no info through the post about the candidates, they could all be brownshirted half wits for all I have been officially informed.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Hang on - what's that at the top of the page? Why, it's an ad banner for Stephen Bett..... no wonder the EDP doesn't want to say anything against him - he's paying their wages!!

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • David Powles: The EDP's failure to report the Athill story can only be taken as not being even-handed. The EDP had reported that he was asked at the open selection meeting whether he wished to disclose anything that might cause embarrassment. He declined then but later when challenged by a voter about his failure to disclose being a director of CSOK he admitted that it would not be compatible with the role of PCC. This serious failure to disclose is something that the EDP should be reporting. What is perhaps even more worrying is that according to the Guardian Diary piece Athill says that the Tories are well aware of his failure to disclose CSOK in his election material.

    Report this comment

    Kenny Bunkport

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • vote for nrg, you know you'll be voting for the EDP, gosh he's fay.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • tomorrows story should reveal which party was the source

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • This is a link to the document that Jamie Athill is not talking about http:psm.du.edumediadocumentsreports_and_statsthink_tanksprivwar_national-report_ochmannova.pdf The organisation that he is a director of is one page 5.

    Report this comment

    nathanp

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • How on earth can a charity buy a private company? Surely this must have been pourchased using charitable funds? Voluntary Norfolk and Mr Morphew have questions to answer!!! Is this just another case of the back slappers looking after each other? Should the Charities Commission know about this? There is a bigger issue here.

    Report this comment

    antitroughfeeders

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • How is it David Powles that you have failed to uncover the connection between the Czech Middle Asian Chamber of Commerce and Jamie? Is that a non story?

    Report this comment

    nathanp

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Colin- I have yet to see in print any evidence that the UKIP candidate has anything more academic up his sleeve than a cycling proficiency badge. Much talk of experience in retail or whatever, but that could mean selling mobile phones since he was 16.This position must need a bit of intelligence to do the job properly. Even if we don't like some of the other candidates we at least know a bit more about their capabilities. What I would hope for in a commissioner is someone who could persuade our force to do their job for our benefit rather than their own- so that would probably need someone used to dealing with people like Chief Constables on an equal footing, and with the hide of a rhino and the persistence of Robert Bruce's spider.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • nrg

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • nuLabour yuk!!!! The word charity has been abused by companies that are invented just to feed off the hard pressed taxpayer.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • I was thinking of voting for Morphew, but I won't now as I can't see myself voting to what on the face of it appears to be a group of charlatans. I suppose its now a case of not bothering to vote or just going and spoiling my ballot paper in protest at the whole farcical exercise.

    Report this comment

    Unemployed and Luvin it.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Because Mr Steve Bett divided the Tory vote here is popeye's forecast...... Morphew 30 percent of votes...... Athill......25 percent...... Bett......20 percent..... Joyce......20 percent...... Smith......5 percent

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, November 16, 2012

  • EDP proving once again they are pro-Conservative. A story from 18 months ago suddenly appears a day before an election which Labour could win. Bring back Mr Walters!

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Are anti-government letters being stopped Ingo?

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Popeye you are probably right but they have all got their own selfish agendas.

    Report this comment

    antitroughfeeders

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Spookily enough, theres a banner for Athill too. Hmmm.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Mr Powles: The day before the PCC Norfolk election, the EDP publishes a story (Interest in donation to charity not on record) which raises questions about two local Labour politicians who allegedly have not declared interests as they should have. An issue of transparency, then. And the article expressly makes the point that one of them is the Labour candidate for Norfolk PCC. A fair cop? Not in my opinion. On November 7 2012, WELL IN ADVANCE of the PCC election date, I wrote the following letter to the EDP raising a question about Tory PCC candidate Jamie Athill's undeclared link to a Czech security organisation "Of all the qualities required of a successful candidate for the post of PCC, irrespective of their party political affiliations, transparency much surely rank in first place. For example Mervyn Barrett, PCC candidate for Lincolnshire, had to fall on his sword when it was revealed that his campaign was backed by an American firm 'with an interest in privatising police services' . Peter Walsh (when the going gets tough, teamwork's what's needed) offers EDP readers today a profile (ABOUT JAMIE) of Conservative PCC candidate Jamie Athill: a Gresham alumnus, he embarked upon a military career, rising to the rank of colonel before retirement last year. Jolly good show. But there is no mention of Mr Athill's appointment on January 25 of this year as CSOK Territorial Director for the United Kingdom. (http:www.csok.czarticlenew-office-of-csok-in-the-united-kingdom). CSOK? Who they? Here's who they are (http:www.csok.czarticleabout-us-r208). Among the other entities which CSOK have founded, is the CBS - Center for Security Studies ... which is responsible for control and coordination of activities aimed at the defense industry, military security activities, education and training. Would it not have been better for Mr Athill to mention this 'Czech connection', in the interests of transparency? And may we assume that if he becomes Norfolk's PCC he will relinquish this role?". This letter did not appear. As for Mr Athill, today's EDP carries an advert for his candidacy for the post of PCC. Is this fair?

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Being a land owner, will Steve Bett use Norfolk Police Officers instead of gamekeepers to catch poachers if he becomes Norfolk's Police Commissioner? My view is he will be more concerned about pheasants being taken from his land than money being stolen from pensioners pockets.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • I listened to the interviews with the 5 PCC election candidates on Radio Norfolk broadcast last Thursday morning. Several of the candidates themselves, said they didn’t agree with the creation of this position of police and crime commissioner. If you agree, why not consider spoiling your ballot paper when you go to vote today, and write on it why: eg because you think it could result in putting too much power in the hands of one person (who even if they want to try to remain neutral, could be subjected to pressure from members of their political party not to be), or that it could risk politicising the police.

    Report this comment

    openyoureyes

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Aren't Archant behind the local TV station that is going to be using the studios in Norwich that NCC sold for a song earlier in the year? I can imagine the long line of councillors lining up to be guests - Graham Plant waffling about the NDR, Borrett in his flat cap and tweeds, etc etc

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Looks like 'muck spreading' on the eve of an election to me; well that's messed his chances up anyway.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • ....but at the same time he see's it as his job to question the integrity of others. Eh? Lets face it, the EDP is a Tory rag in the thrall of NCC - that's the line coming down from the directors of Archant whether he likes it or not.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • What I want to know is how the charity Voluntary Norfolk bought Morphew's company and why! This does not seem right especially with the links between Morphew and the charity. I won't be voting for him. I smell a rat that will no doubt raise its head in time.

    Report this comment

    antitroughfeeders

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Well that's Morphew's election chances doomed, I wonder who decided to release this news on the day before the elections; it may be true but it's also pretty dirty whatever way you look it.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Messy messy and the EDP has kept this under wraps longer than other news pages.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • I have seen no investigation of James Athill's involvment with , the Czech Middle Asian Chamber of Commerce.Among the activities proclaimed by CSOK are industrial and defence undertakings in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Libya.The electorate have a right to know whether they are voting for an arms dealer to regimes with terrible human rights records.Neither has there been any questions asked about the possible involvement of The Fund for The New American Century,a secret US lobby group for the privatisation of public services.Surely it is no co-incidence it is only the Labour candidate who has come under scrutiny and the Labour candidate is the only one opposing privatisation.Where is the balance?

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • None of them covered in glory-even the Liberal chap doesn't read as being in line with Liberal thinking on law and order. The best man withdrew-initially because a driving offence conviction ruled him out I think. On balance I think a driving offence might be less troublesome to the way I regard a police commissioner than what we have been reading about the other candidates. I have to say Martin and Ingo that initially I thought the EDP was sitting on the story about Morphew because they are cosy with Norwich City Council, they were a day behind the BBC web site.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Such a shame to see David Powles bleating on twitter about having his integrity questioned in all of this. Perhaps if there was balanced reporting....

    Report this comment

    nathanp

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • I was surprised by the number of people voting when I went, more than I expected and a pretty broad sample of the community.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Councillors declare the interest, councillors agree the minutes. Stop blaming the admin staff in hindsight of your own mistake.

    Report this comment

    Catty

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • no good putting words in my mouth, popeye, a mandate is received at an election and I can't remember this being an issue at the last general election. You indeed were foolish to vote at all. I spent an hour in front of the polling station today to see who is going in, a big fat zero is the answer, but very nice sunshine.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • Note the style of reporting the information here. Almost identicle to the content and slant of the BBC. Not the first time I have felt that the EDP is merely printing verbatim something that has been written 'elsewhere'. Where's the journalism in that? In any case, this is a familiar pre-election smeer tactic which the EDP always seems keen to go along with. I recall with no fondness whatsoever the disgusting lies that were regualrly trotted out against the late Les Potter. Apparently the SM situation is something over nothing, if you choose to scratch below the surface, but far better to present the story as if something fishy is going on and being covered up! Didn't realise he had the other candidates running scarred to that exent. Question is, which one of them is behind this charade? On the subject of Betts, his record as NPA chairman is a disgrace. Clobbering the electorate with a 4 fold increase in council tax over the years and now capitulating in the face of central government cuts.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • If you dig at all in anyone's past you will find something to whinge about. But the biggest story of all in this, Athill's job as director of a foreign government's highly dubious outfit that sells goods that cannot get British export licences to Afghanistan and other horrible central asian states is flatly ignored by the EDP. Shame on Athill and his party and shame on his lackeys at the EDP and the BBC for rolling over like a pair of obsequious dogs. You are a disgrace to the profession of journalism. There is acres of information available that SHOULD be reported and has not been. And you don't even have to pretend you are investigative journalists (fat chance of that) all you need do is check the sources the far more aware public has given you. Perhaps one thing you could tell us is just exactly when you would stop being Tory lapdogs and start standing up for the rest of us? The decade would be sufficient.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

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