Civil servants from a Caribbean paradise could be used to deal with complaints, questions and concerns at Norfolk’s largest council.

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The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) will next month hold its first elections since a 2009 investigation concluded there was a “high probability of systematic corruption” among former government officials.

The Foreign Office ordered the TCI to undergo reform work before elections returned, with Norfolk County Council picked to mentor political staff in finance, governance and economic development.

A fourth group of TCI representatives is due to finish a visit to County Hall, in Martineau Lane, Norwich, today as part of this work.

And Derrick Murphy, Norfolk County Council leader, said ideas were being considered for the future about how the two authorities could maintain links.

Mr Murphy, who visited TCI for seven days in May, said: “One thing they were very enamoured with was our customer service and how we deal with customers.

“One suggestion, and it’s only a suggestion at this stage, is Turks and Caicos Islands staff are seconded to work at the county council’s customer services for a period of time of one or two months.

“They would also like us to go over there and help their officers and members work well together.”

The number of complaints made against the council increased from 2,156 in 2010/11 to 2,252 in 2011/12. A report due to go before next week’s cabinet meeting states this is largely because of people’s “increasing awareness of the right to complain”, together with issues of spending cuts and personal care budgets.

Questions have been raised in Norfolk about the suitability of the council for the role with TCI.

Campaigners protesting against plans for an incinerator at King’s Lynn sent letters on the issue to TCI’s Governor Ric Todd.

One concluded: “When it comes to transparency, accountability and democracy, Norfolk County Council has a reverse Midas Touch.”

But Mr Murphy said he believes the foreign office will use the example of Norfolk and Hertfordshire’s work with the British Virgin Islands to create more links between English counties and the overseas territories.

Mr Murphy said: “Come November, representative government will be re-established and no-one in the UK or the islands want to see any suspension again.

“The idea was initial feedback to them of how to run things, them to come over and talk on a one-to-one basis with cabinet members and senior officers and develop a much more medium-term relationship, whereby if needs be secondments from there to here will take place and we may go there to advise them.

“There’s things like telly and video-conferencing now. It would suit me, I can tell you, to sit here to do a telly or video-conference than to spend 14 hours on a British Airways flight each way. It would be a massive waste of public money and people’s time.”

He added all the authority’s TIC costs were covered by the foreign office and he will seek full recovery on any future costs.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, in his former role as a foreign office minister, has also been involved in working with TCI.

He visited the islands in June to announce new elections will be held on November 9.

Mr Bellingham, in a speech made during his June visit, said: “I believe that today is a time to look forward, not back. This is a territory about to adopt a new constitution, about to hold an election; a territory that is finding its feet once again.”

10 comments

  • This is a fine example of Johnny English and Mr Bean!

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    maryjane

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

  • Murphy Murphy Murphy OUT OUT OUT.

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    bookworm

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

  • Norfolk County Council continues to make the case for its' own extinction.

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    Peter Watson

    Friday, October 5, 2012

  • Two things come to mind - we don't need people from the Carribean working in county hall - if there are any jobs going they should be given to those who are being made redundant. Second, Murphy's lack of support and interest in the recent by-election shows that he is looking for other things to do. Is he waiting for an appointment to the T&C government which is being held in November an appointment perhaps supported by his MP Henry Bellingham - who called him an outstanding councillor, who since being sacked from his ministerial post suddenly is rushing round trying to do something about the incinerator?

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    maryjane

    Friday, October 5, 2012

  • THe fact that the government picked Mr Murphy to mentor the T.C.I. , says it all . His organisation is hardly open and transparent . He kept his 7 day junket well under wraps . Mr Bellingham likewise , a rather bumbling man to have even as Tory M.P.

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    dragonfly

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

  • Must be fantastic to have a break at the taxpayers expense.

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    nrg

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

  • Mr Knee deep in ash. NCC county councillors were also working overtime at parish councils to drum up support for the burner. At the end of the day the vast majority of parishes rejected the incinerator. You will find they have broken County Council code of conduct many times. One observation is husband and wife team the Murphy’s were a double act. I suspect Janet had information about the incinerator from Derrick while cooking the dinner. Richard Rockcliffe lives only yards away from the Murphy’s and Shelagh Hutson less than quarter of a mile away. Very strange Shelagh Hutson was allowed to chair the meeting in her capacity and still be a friend and close neighbour of the accused Derrick Murphy at the scrutiny meeting.

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    Alan Allan

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

  • Perhaps our visitors should be invited to sit in on the current investigation into the conduct of Cllr Derrick Murphy in relation to the Kevingate scandal. That would certainly open their eyes.

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    Nemesis

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

  • Maryjane. Some good will come out of this. Derrick Murphy will be training Patrick Boyle the fine art of stage management for his return to T&C. What I mean is assume you wanted to build an incinerator at Kings Lynn. A few members of the public phone their County Councillor to ask is he or she working on your behalf to stop the burner. The Councillor slams the phone down on them and goes running to County Hall accusing some members of the public ruing their day. This is broadcasted by the leader that his members are enduring harassment just before a vital vote. Wait a minute are these allegations true and did the Councillor phone the police NO. Stage management at its best. The decent thing to do would be to have a full and proper police investigation to check validity of the Councillors accusations and vote afterwards when report completed.

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    Knee deep In Toxic ash

    Friday, October 5, 2012

  • Hahahaha - I keep checking the date to see whether it's April 1st but no, it's actually not. If there was ever a council qualified to educate people in the ways of corruption, double-talk and whitewashing then it's Norfolk County Council. People from the TCI will finally get to see how the big boys do it - maybe they'll go the whole hog and secure the services of nplaw too?

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    User Removed

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

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