The members of the public who lodged the complaint which led to the departure of former council leader Derrick Murphy from Norfolk County Council have urged whoever takes his place to change the culture at County Hall.

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Seven people – John Martin, Ron Cornell, Jenny Perryman, Joy Franklin, Christine Hall, Mark Russell and Stuart Wilkie – lodged a complaint about Mr Murphy’s behaviour last summer.

They did so after the conclusion of an independent investigation into an email which was sent to BBC Radio Norfolk by Kevin Vaughan, the political assistant to the Conservative group at County Hall, last April.

It concluded that email was sent on the wishes of then council leader Derrick Murphy, which led to the seven making a complaint about Mr Murphy’s behaviour.

That led to another independent investigation, carried out by Jenni Richards, QC, She recommended Mr Murphy had breached the council’s code of conduct four times and he was brought before a standards committee last Friday.

It emerged at that hearing that the council’s chief executive, David White, had secretly recorded a conversation he had with Mr Murphy over the email on April 27 last year. Mr White told the hearing, in his view, Mr Murphy had tried to lay the blame for the email at Mr Vaughan’s door.

Ms Richards had recommended that the committee should find Mr Murphy had twice breached the code of conduct because of misleading and evasive answers to Mr White.

But the committee did not find Mr Murphy had breached the code of conduct on that matter. However it did find he breached the council’s code of conduct in asking Mr Vaughan to claim it was not Mr Murphy, but twin-hatted councillors [on the county and West Norfolk Council] who requested him to send it.

Mr Murphy has since quit as chairman and leader of the Conservative group and has announced he will not stand as a councillor in May. A leadership contest is under way.

Retired solicitor John Martin explained why he and the others lodged the complaints.

He said: “The origin of the seven conduct complaints lies very much in the failure of the chief executive at the end of last May to instigate a separate external investigation. Given our concerns at that, we had little alternative but to go this route. I have now submitted a corporate complaint against the council in respect of that failure.

“We have always been at pains to make it clear that these conduct complaints were not politically motivated, nor did they have anything to do with the proposed Saddlebow waste incinerator project.

“What we do have in common is a long-running concern that for some time now there has been a culture in County Hall that is not consistent with principles of honesty, integrity, accountability and transparency. Clearly, the next leader of the council needs to take urgent steps to bring about a change in that culture.”

When asked why Mr White did not order an investigation into Mr Murphy’s behaviour, a council spokesman said: “It was the independent internal investigation that concluded the political assistant had been acting on Derrick Murphy’s wishes in sending the email to BBC Radio Norfolk.

“The chief executive was not involved in that investigation and was deliberately distanced from it in case he needed to hear any appeal.

“Almost immediately following publication of the results, the authority received complaints from others that swiftly triggered the QC’s investigation.”

31 comments

  • There will no be change with Borat (Borrett) in charge. It's well known he is the front man for Norfolk's own cross between Arthur Daley and Worzel Gummidge, the gaff prone wheeler dealer Cliff Jordan (aka iffy cliffy). Hardly an improvement over an Essex wide boy who suffered from a loose understanding of the truth and thought running a county council was akin to managing a ruby club! Let's hope the Norfolk public have the sense to vote them all out in May. How much taxpayers money has Jordan wasted with one dodgy deal after another? RAF Coltishall to name but one of many! He and Commisar Borrett (Borat), among others, have presided over a culture of secrecy, cover ups and politicking. in which self-interest triumphs over the interests of the Norfolk population. This is supported by so called legal advice from Fifi McNeil plucked straight from disney, such is its relationship to the reality of law!

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    pig in trough

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Where this is going, and Pickles has a very definite hidden agenda, is the abolition of all District Councils, followed by making the County Councils both more powerful and more accountable. The agenda seems to be that excessive duplication means no-one takes their local council elections and management very seriously. So this all has to go and be replaced by a structure in which accountability to the electorate and real visible responsibilities and powers are in the County Councils. Like his agenda or not, we are going to see huge changes, and he will drive them by budget cuts so the Districts appear to die of natural causes. If they get back at the next general election this agenda is a given. If not, there may not be enough time. Wait and see and watch.

    Report this comment

    Resident

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Nothing will change at County Hall. One single person stepping aside will not make a difference. People involved at Borough Councils, Town Councils and County Councils are all acquainted with the heads of the local military, hospitals, schools etc as well as MPs and MEPs. They all go to the same council parties and receptions held every few weeks and over the years spend endless hours in each others company at numerous meeings. It is a tight ship and only a few hundred people run the entire thing and they all know each other. This extends right up to Central Government and all the departments. A Councillor will also be elected, or should I say ‘elevated’ to sit on any number of ‘Boards’ as well as soon as they are elected. This is done to ensure total control of every element. Check and you will find the same names on just about every Board of control from Planning to Health and the Arts and waste disposal. One way and another their control is vast. It is a special and privileged members only ‘club’. By upsetting a Councillor you also upset everything and everyone he or she is connected with and life can become very troublesome.

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    Dickens

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Local Government will never qualify as being cultured, unless the yahboo performances of Councillors are classed as theatrical ! Or do we mean by culture "maintaining in suitable conditions for growth" as at John Innes?

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • People have no trust in county anymore, its been mentioned as why cant district councils run the county bits. You are right in what you say about them all being connected but its got to the point where other politicans have had enough of county and that includes the Lords.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • To achieve a "cultural" change at County Hall, it will first be necessary to remove all the dead and deseased wood that still exists and that will continue to infect politics in our county.

    Report this comment

    mrsmurphy

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • This saga is all over now. Yesterdays news. The new leader will not have any more coals raked over. I think the incinerator will be built though despite everything. There are a lot of plus points such as disposing of waste from miles around and also creating a lot of much needed jobs for local people.

    Report this comment

    Del Boy

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • I think the new leader should be a non cabinet member who can try and build bridges, officers need to get back into there box as they are stirring more trouble than they should and perhaps as this council has become a joke they should use a committee system until such time that they are trusted. Can anybody name three things this council has done to help the public? And may I remind you that officers pull the strings and the councillors do as they are instructed.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • When a country has 52% of the workforce employed by the government and the private sector manufacturing industry has shrunk to 9% of the overall economy it is no wonder britain is bankrupt! The only answer is to cut down the little council empires that often duplicate jobs and regenerate manufacturing industry. Will it ever happen? highly unlikely because politicians have run out of room to manoeuvre,and cannot afford to cut taxes to restore growth,so we all face a bleak future!

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • You have to say something against the incinerator on here or face being bullied by the 'anti campaigners'. They think the press are with them. In for a big surprise soon. It seems it is not only Councillors with things to keep quiet about.

    Report this comment

    Dickens

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • When a country has 52% of the workforce employed by the government and the private sector manufacturing industry has shrunk to 9% of the overall economy it is no wonder britain is bankrupt! The only answer is to cut down the little council empires that often duplicate jobs and regenerate manufacturing industry. Will it ever happen? highly unlikely because politicians have run out of room to manoeuvre,and cannot afford to cut taxes to restore growth,so we all face a bleak future!

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • I think you will find that all borough councillors except murphys mates together with MPs lobbied Eric Pickles and he realised there had been some wrong doing and 65000 people didnt want it. We have a few idiots and murphys mates who still do. What ever your views I dont think you can blame the Tories as its a faction who has caused the trouble, if you dont believe me ask any borough councillor or party member with sense

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • I am very worried about the Turks and Caicos? Has anyone fron the FCO contacted them saying they made a terrible mistake and that DM really was what the protesters have been saying he was, dictatorial, dishonest, and not fit to give advice to anyone let alone being responsible for advising a fledging state, sadly it was one of own MPs who initiated it, by calling him an outstanding councillor. Can we have apologies in the national press inthe T&C?

    Report this comment

    maryjane

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • People are dwelling on the fact White recorded Murphy rather than the reasons why he felt he had to resort to doing it. I know this was leaked a week before the hearing, when only Murphy, McNeill and Borrett had a copy of the full report. Fifi McNeill was informed of this and did nothing - why? Don't forget Fifi was recommending the hearing to be conducted in private, had it have been, the Standards Committee would have been able to give Murphy a clean sweep and in its wake, leave all the blame firmly at White's door - How clever is that? Murphy has managed to focus all the attention away from his wrongdoings by pointing the finger at White, and everyone is falling for it. Why didn't Fifi or White take action against Murphy's lies when it all came out last April? Is this the real reason behind White's leaving, still a director of Norse who have been given Coltishall - who else tendered for that position Mr Jackson? Murphy wasn't trying to get rid of the schemers his cabinet was comprised of them, hand picked. Now that Borrett has been implicated in the whole sorry mess, are NCC going to do anything about it? Don't hold your breath. It is going to be left to more members of the public to bring a complaint until the dross is removed, pure and simple.

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    Honest John

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • A lot of much needed jobs? What? Either you've been asleep or you think 40 is a lot of jobs. If this monstrosity is built they will bring in specialised workers from all over for the few months it is being built. A few local yokels for the non specialised stuff and then it will go forward with c. 40 staff running it, a large amount of whom will be specialised and will be brought in from other parts of the UK and the US. Don't believe the stupidity that emanated from Borat's mouth.

    Report this comment

    Electra

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • The County elections will be soon upon us and many candidates in west Norfolk will have to list their achievements accomplished. Tories will have either listened to their electorate or opted to hide behind their discredited leader. Labour including Ms Kemp has been championing the residents of her constituency to stop the burner in its tracks but has time for day to day issues. Lib-Dems have been the fighting force from the start and Dr Ian Mack reminded Tories at a Borough meeting over four years ago Saddlebow is the wrong location for an incinerator. UKIP do not seem to get involved with national or local issues including the incinerator.

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    Alan Allan

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • The substantial part of this article is the familiar copy and paste job. Why so little original work nowadays? Is it due to an imbalance in resource allocation between news writing and comment censoring? Changing the culture will be quite simple, all you have to do is discard the current petri dish and make sure yoyu have washed your hands thoroughly after visiting the WC before you pour the next one.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Has anybody thought why the anti-incinerator campaign at Kings Lynn has been so successful? If our County Councillors had not broken their code of conduct by entering with preconceived ideas that an incinerator will be built. As part of their duty they are obliged to engage in dialog with the public as well as CW. The incinerator foundations would be prepared ready to build the final stage of the burner. Derrick Murphy and his wife would be would be looking forward to their next term in office. NCC decided the plan of action was to ignore and bully the public so residents decided to look deeper and harder and found a hornets’ nest of deception. Why did NCC not inform the public Cory Wheelabrator have a long history of fraud and polluting when NCC went on their fact finding mission to the USA. We have gone past the point of no return as NCC has embedded fear in the public by their actions. We all know the incinerator was called in to save the Tory party neck at next county elections. Derrick Murphy’s constant interference has backfired and now the inspector has evidence NCC created the fear of the incinerator. Without any other evidence the planning inspector would be obliged to reject the incinerator as fear manipulated by county hall is a valid reason especially with CWs history. The planning inspector could not suggest residents of west Norfolk be classed as NIMBYs as Palm Paper will be building their own incinerator adjacent to the proposed burner. No mass rejection over this and little or no response to articles in the media, resounding proof Norfolk County Council caused fear stress and anxiety to promote the incinerator.

    Report this comment

    Emma Miller

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Can't agree that the media have ever shown themselves as being 'with' the 'anti campaigners' as they are so wrongly branded time and time again.

    Report this comment

    Wymondham boy

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

  • And still people are looking at May to solve the problems at County Hall. Who was behind the incinerator - Jackson, who is behind Coltishall - Jackson. Anyone see a pattern? Who is running the legal cover up side to all councillor complaints - Fifi McNeill. Who was paramount in covering up this MurphyVaughan fiasco - Fifi McNeill. These two happily escape while others swing, are the electorate able to remove these in May? No. Will anything really change while these employees remain with such power? No.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • I think you will find that all borough councillors except murphys mates together with MPs lobbied Eric Pickles and he realised there had been some wrong doing and 65000 people didnt want it. We have a few idiots and murphys mates who still do. What ever your views I dont think you can blame the Tories as its a faction who has caused the trouble, if you dont believe me ask any borough councillor or party member with sense

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • The Standards Committee, and indeed all Committees, should be made up of an equal number of cllrs from all groups. ie the standards committee should have had an equal number of conservatives, Lib dems, labour, greens etc that way party politics could not have prejudiced the outcome of the hearing. Brian Hannah has today made clear that he was not at all comfortable with the decision but the conservative group are far too strong and robustly control every decision made in County Hall.

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • With regard to "local" jobs, if you look at the minutes of meetings for CW's Riverside incinerator, they consider a 35 mile radius for "local workers" and that's a highly populated area, so come on down Peterborough, Boston, Ely and yes Dereham, you'd all be regarded as local workers to CW. The alternative technology WNBC have signed up to would create around 200 jobs per plant, so 7 across Norfolk in each Council would be 1400 jobs, then there would be the possibility of attracting more manufacturing jobs from the by-products it would produce. So no brainer Borrett and his mates want the 40 jobs option - of course!

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • I think the new leader should be a non cabinet member who can try and build bridges, officers need to get back into there box as they are stirring more trouble than they should and perhaps as this council has become a joke they should use a committee system until such time that they are trusted. Can anybody name three things this council has done to help the public? And may I remind you that officers pull the strings and the councillors do as they are instructed.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Dickens, are you trying to lift the lid on the extent of corruption in public life that blights this country, or are you berating us for not all behaving like good lackeys and keeping quiet about unfairness and injustice? And thanks pigintrough, that explains it, as if there aren’t enough of his sort here already what will the A11 dualling encourage if not more still. What JM suggests may sound very noble and proper, but sadly it is totally inconsistent with the grubby self-serving world of politics. Those who rise to the top, the very people who he believes should instigate the cultural change are also the ones who are totally bereft of the principles he implores. Instead they behave as DM has done, because that is the only way to succeed in that world. Its like natural selection gone mad. So instead of that UEA bod in another article today looking at deviancy in the animal kingdom, perhaps he could explain the dysfunctional behaviour of local politicians who have lost sight of their original purpose of working for the good of their fellow human beings who voted them into office in the first place.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • I am very worried about the Turks and Caicos? Has anyone fron the FCO contacted them saying they made a terrible mistake and that DM really was what the protesters have been saying he was, dictatorial, dishonest, and not fit to give advice to anyone let alone being responsible for advising a fledging state, sadly it was one of own MPs who initiated it, by calling him an outstanding councillor. Can we have apologies in the national press inthe T&C?

    Report this comment

    maryjane

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • People have no trust in county anymore, its been mentioned as why cant district councils run the county bits. You are right in what you say about them all being connected but its got to the point where other politicans have had enough of county and that includes the Lords.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Censored again, ridiculous!

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • Couldn't agree with you more Honest John. It was revealed at the hearing that Jackson was responsible for data protection- he seems to have gone into hiding since the break in by the man and his dog at County Hall (he managed to break into both Jackson's and Fifi McNeil's offices) and the revelation that the CEO was found to have secretly recorded the Leader of the Council. He must be busy devising his exit plan before the Information Commissioner catches up with him. Who does this man report to - Borat (Borrett). Is Iffy Cliffy, aka 'Worzel gaffer Daley' Jordan busy devising dodgy exit deals with large pay offs for these paragons of public service. How many strings and puppet masters does Borat (Borrett) have? At least scheming Murphy was trying to get shot of these parasites! NCC is leaderless and in chaos. Is there any hope for local democracy?

    Report this comment

    pig in trough

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • The insistence of majority parties to place their own people on committees is not necessary, a random selection would achieve far more for Norfolk than playing party politics with important issues.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

  • "a random selection"....picking Councillors out of a hat day?.....A ducking stool would be better....The Councillors that drown are selected, the rest are put in the stocks.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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