Cllr Gary Taylor files complaint against Cllr Welsford over child death question

Cllr Taylor claims that Cllr Welsford has brought the council into disrepute by asking questions about the death of a very young baby.

Cllr Gary Taylor has written to the council’s Monitoring Officer, Davina Fiore, raising a complaint against Cllr Chris Welsford (The full letter is embedded below).

His objection is centred on the Cllr Welsford raising a question about the death of a child on the Island towards the end of last year, at this month’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel, which Cllr Taylor stood in to chair.

Concerns should be raised at a briefing
Of particular concern to him is distress that this could have brought to the parents of the child.

He claimed that rather than airing it at the meeting, Cllr Welsford should have requested a briefing or clarification from the relevant council director in private.

Taylor: Not in the public interest
Cllr Taylor says that Cllr Welsford’s actions could not “have been in the public interest to raise the specific circumstances of an individual child’s death during a public discussion into the IW Council’s inadequate safeguarding arrangements”.

These actions have “brought the office into disrepute”, claims Cllr Taylor and he requests that Cllr Welsford no longer be a ‘corporate parent’ and “steps should be taken to ensure that Councillor Welsford does not have continued access to confidential and sensitive information during this time”.

The letter closes by requesting that the council’s Monitoring Officer, Davina Fiore, “… investigate this matter, and take appropriate action if necessary, in order that the standards of our public life on the Island are kept at a level we would all expect …”

The letter
Below is the letter by Cllr Gray Taylor, reproduced in full to clarity. To see it full screen, click the icon in the bottom left corner of the document.

For the record
The October date was originally published in our article, and removed within minutes of the council request. It’s of note that the CP did the same with their online report, we learn from this letter also at the request of the council. The CP went on to print both incorrect and correct dates in their newspaper on Friday, despite them having removed it from their Website on the Wednesday.

We ask readers to respect the privacy of the family of the child who died last year and not comment about the child or the death on this article.

Image: onekcahap under CC BY 2.0

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Wednesday, 13th February, 2013 10:59am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. I’d like to file a complaint regarding the letter please. The punctuation is shocking. Unnecessary commas, inconsistent use of quotes and incorrect usage of hyphens.

    Thank you.

    • martin william wareham

      13.Feb.2013 12:08pm

      Gary Taylor Head of English for ten years Ryde School.Makes one think.

    • Island Monkey

      13.Feb.2013 6:42pm

      For how long can Gary Taylor be a part of such an unpopular and controversial council and not have his political activity found to conflict with his job?

      Quite frankly the Headteacher at Ryde school should ‘have a quiet word.’ He might also mention his awful english.

      Fronting a complaint is all very well Gary old chum – but in your position, you really should have checked the grammar and punctuation first. Ryde school parents will be horrified.

  2. I was speaking to someone the other day who lives in Gary Taylors ward. Gary isn’t exactly popular and there was already a campaign to dump him at the forthcoming election so the Tory party have decided he wont be standing in the ward this time around. All residents have had a circular through their doors which says that Taylor is standing in another ward and proclaims his successor will some old codger named Roi Milburn, who is currently Taylors right hand man assisting him in his constituency matters, despite Milburn not being elected by anyone.
    And Roi Milburn just happens to be a resident of Meaders Road, the former cul de sac which is now in use as a cut through to the new Oakfield development with members of the public having to run the gauntlet of the very disgruntled Meaders Road residents whose houses are bristling with security cameras. Not a happy ward.

    This complaint appears to be an attempt by the Tories to raise Taylors profile given his unpopularity, but I’m surprised that Taylors constituents havent themselves raised complaints against Taylor if he is sharing their details with unelected Milburn

  3. Sunlight – not Davina Fiore – is the best disinfectant.

    What a shame its come to one Councillor using procedure against another rather than investigate the substantive issues.

    We really do have a “rotten borough”, don’t we?

  4. Yes Be hold for all the good it did them. Complaints that should have been proven against senior Councillors were whitewashed over by Council Officers.

    There are a lot of dirty tricks going on at the moment and this is just another one. Thank goodness we have the likes of Chris Welsford, Geoff Lumley and Jonathan Bacon.

  5. Robert Jones

    13.Feb.2013 3:11pm

    The comments above are all very well and I don’t disagree with them so far as they go; but councillors, like anyone else in public life, should not identify individuals in remarks they make in open committee, nor allow circumstances to arise in which they could be identified. I appreciate of course that Chris Welsford would have had strong feelings about these issues, and that he was responding, as I recall, to a rather crass remark by Barry Abraham: even so, this is something you don’t do – it would be in his own interests to apologize for any distress he may have caused.

    Gary Taylor has undermined his complaint by attributing motives (“cynical”, etc) to Mr Welsford, however – not the most sensible thing to have done if he wants that complaint to be taken seriously.

  6. Keith Fagan

    13.Feb.2013 3:27pm

    I rather think that Councillor Gary Taylor has missed the point. As I understand this very sad episode resulted in the death of a baby. What is more important the potentially avoidable death of a baby or quoting an incorrect date?

    Lessons must be learnt (irrespective of who at the council or social services get their feathers ruffled) as this can not happen again.

    • Robert Jones

      13.Feb.2013 3:37pm

      Well – up to a point. The point Taylor is making is that the date, while wrong, is irrelevant: had the date been correct, the actual offence potentially would have been worse – and therefore no date should have been mentioned at all, nor any other possible means of identifying the baby’s family.

      • Given the cloak of secrecy that this council operates under it is no wonder Councillor Welsford had to resort to this open question.

        Regrettably Councillor Welsford quoted an incorrect date. However, Ian Anderson stumbled and the truth was out. One just has to read the article in the CP where this very council was severely criticized over a similar tragedy. See below:

        ” In 2009, there were questions over the handling of an SCR into the death of a baby in 2007.

        The report was branded inadequate by Ofsted, but only came to light following inquiries by the County Press, prompting some councillors to raise concerns they had been kept in the dark.” Source CP 8th Feb. 2013

  7. Retired hack

    13.Feb.2013 3:40pm

    You’d think that Gary Taylor,who is head of English at Ryde School, presumably considers himself a man of some intellect, would blush at the threadbare nature of the case the Conservatives are asking him to front.
    Chris Welsford,who got the date wrong,clearly did not identify the child,although the County Press did . So Taylor is reduced to speculating on what the theoretical effects might have been on the parents of a child who might have died on that date.There is no such child. If there had been,Taylor would have found him or her by now.
    Davina Fiore, whose position requires an elevation above electioneering, faces an equally stern intellectual test. Having considered the imaginary effects on imaginary parents,she must return to the real world and decide whether the public interest is served by Chris Welsford bringing to public notice matters of huge imortance which the IW council were doing their best to conceal.
    I know which way I would jump.

    • Bystander

      13.Feb.2013 4:39pm

      Some might see it as cynical and shameful to try to use such a complaint to make political capital

      • Davy Jones

        13.Feb.2013 8:57pm

        Remember that mere Conservative Councillors are not allowed to make any comment to the press without the consent of the Great Leader – according to the group rules that they all have to sign.

        So this can only have been released to the press with the approval of the Leader which shows that the Conservative group are seeking to make political capital out of a child’s death? How very distasteful. Most of us didn’t think that even David Pugh would sink this low.

        It can’t really be true that Ryde School’s Head of English is not able to put together a letter without so many punctuation errors. Was this complaint in fact written by David Pugh? It certainly looks like his style – and Gary Taylor is one of Pugh’s yes men.

        You would have thought he would have had the sense to proof read it before letting it being released in his name though. What a plank.

        Somebody should ask him whether he wrote this himself – either way the answer would be revealing.

    • John Ward

      13.Feb.2013 6:36pm

      Can i just clarify a minor point in this story, if Cllr Stephens were to suspend or eject Cllr Welsford from the Independant’s Group – would he then be an indepandant indepandant?

  8. Cripes, who is it who is actually “exploiting this situation”; & who is it who is being cynical when he repeats the alleged age at death in a public letter, the sort of thing he otherwise condemns? Sounds opportunistic to me….

  9. On the surface of this it would seem that Cllr Cameron was replaced as Chairman of the meeting by Cllr Taylor because Taylor could be manipulated to tow the Pugh line. That implies that they had intended all along to setup Chris Welsford at the meeting, which is a very despicable thing to do. It is obvious that this manipulation and despicable behaviour needs to be investigated, but by whom? Council officials? No chance of that as they protect Pugh no matter how bad his behaviour. So who can investigate the officials for not acting to investigate this despicable behaviour of councillors? Seems to me that the CEO and chief legal official are blatantly failing in their duties by allowing bullying to take place in the Council. They must be sacked, but how do we achieve that? There must be a Government official who can investigate the misconduct of council officials.

  10. On the subject of corporate parenting according to “Looking after other people’s children is one of the most important things councils do. It is the responsibility of all councillors, not just the lead member for children’s services and officers.”

    That would include councillors found guilty of engaging in a lewd sex act in a public toilet in that case. How very reassuring

  11. Davy Jones

    14.Feb.2013 4:52am

    Hey Gary,

    Get your pen and paper out. As you are guardian of upholding the code of conduct we need your help.

    Cllr Pugh said, “In response to a subsequent enquiry, we can confirm that as previously reported, on a date in November 2012, a ten week old baby was pronounced dead having been taken to St Mary’s hospital.

    Identifying this family by quoting the actual age of their baby, the month it died and where it was pronounced dead must be causing them ‘unimaginable anguish at this acutely difficult time in their lives’. And of course Step Back Steve has publicly linked that tragic death to a serious case review.

    But do consider adding to your complaint that if the Council is to blame that might be causing even more anguish than it being reported.

    See if you can get the English right this time by writing it yourself. Some of your sentences are ridiculously long.

  12. Bystander

    14.Feb.2013 4:38pm

    Under which Councilpolicy did Cllr Traitor make this complaint?

    If we wish to make a complaint about a councilor this is the policy:
    “When we receive your complaint, we will write to you acknowledging receipt of your complaint. The member will be sent a copy of the complaint, (on the strict proviso that they do not (at this stage) share it with others (other than to seek legal advice or assistance) and that it remains confidential), asking them to give their initial views/response within 10 working days.
    Once this has been received the Monitoring Officer (or one of the deputies) will then assess the complaint and the response from the member, against the Assessment Criteria and decide what action is to be taken.”

    But a copy of this complaint, which is dated 7th February, was sent to the County press, I cant see how that is appropriate before Cllr. Welsford had had a reasonable opportunity to give his response to the monitoring officer.

    • Black Dog

      14.Feb.2013 5:25pm

      Clearly the council are in breach of their own code of conduct. This is a completely bogus complaint probably written by the Boy Blunder and or The George-father Brown. Either way If Councillor Taylor put his name to it he should be ashamed for not reading and or editing it before pressing the send button.

      The option that Councillor Taylor wrote the letter of complaint is mind boggling. If that is the case perhaps he will get 100 lines from the Head of Ryde School? With an end of term report MUST DO BETTER

      • Bystander

        14.Feb.2013 6:03pm

        It appears that way but we dont know if there is another specific policy for one member making a complaint about another.
        The Council website is terrible searching for anything on it sends you round and round in circles and the pages take a while to load anyway. This should be a simple matter, its a policy document it should be easily assessable not a secret. The code of conduct page itself makes no mention of how to make a a complaint or any links, usual incompetent shambles.

  13. Bystander

    14.Feb.2013 7:34pm

    OK thanks Sally, appendix C is just the proposals on the new complaints procedure but looks similar to that above.

    “1) Receipt of complaint via standard complaint form similar to existing or letter or email. Completed forms will be sent to Democratic Services (as at present).

    2) Once complaint received and acknowledged, the member complained of is sent a copy of the complaint and asked to give their initial views/response and this may be on a pro forma or in an email or letter. This to be returned within 10 working days.

    3) A copy of this complaint is provided to the member on the strict proviso that they do not (at this stage) share it with others (other than to seek legal advice
    or assistance) and that it remains confidential. Supporting statements / responses from third parties cannot be provided at this stage.

    4) Once this has been received the Monitoring Officer (or one of her deputies) considers the complaint and the comment from the member and decides what
    action is to be taken. Broadly four types of possible action:”

    But still none the wiser as to whether this applies to one member making a complaint about another. How can this be so difficult to ascertain? Surely the process for making a complaint under the code of conduct are a cornerstone of transparency. Yet the only info I have managed track down is a proposal document on an website which is nothing to do with the Council.

  14. I. Reader

    14.Feb.2013 7:36pm

    “The letter closes by requesting that the council’s Monitoring Officer … investigate this matter, and take appropriate action if necessary, in order that the standards of our public life on the Island are kept at a level we would all expect …”

    And sadly for islanders, realistic expectation is at the Pughtube level.

    Since that officially whitewashed disgraceful example from one of our rotten borough’s gang leaders, the approved ‘****ing leave us alone’ behaviour is demonstrated with increasing frequency towards anybody (elected politicians, taxpayers, journalists) asking awkward questions.

    Those councillors convicted of offences involving sex or dishonesty who vote the right way remain welcome.

    Now consider the record of failures & achievements: the fact that sufficient material exists to justify a Private Eye special edition (look out for Private Eyel of Wight – geddit!) is something the current disreputable dictatorship may shortly regret.

    • Bystander

      14.Feb.2013 7:49pm

      The article Sally linked to included the quote
      “The latest annual report for the Ethical Standards Committee reveals the number of complaints against councillors has reduced from 34 in 2010-11 to just 18 in 2011-12.”

      Which is hardly surprising given the pughtube cover up. Everybody I speak to has no confidence in any complaint they might make being investigated fairly and impartially, so they dont bother complaining. A damning indictment which is simply spun by them to represent a marked improvement in their conduct.

  15. Bystander

    14.Feb.2013 7:56pm

    I still maintain that a system which allows a councillor to continue in office after being convicted of engaging in a lewd sex act in a public toilet, and yet maintains they have the responsibility of a corporate parent is plain sick and is likely to put children at risk.

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