Councillor’s questions over Cllr Pugh’s involvement with Cratus blocked

Question to be asked at Full Council of Cllr Pugh’s involvement with lobbying company Cratus – and their possible connection to Island projects – is stymied by a council officer.

Prior to last week’s Full Council meeting, councillor for Bembridge and St Helens, Jonathan Bacon told On The Wight that he had submitted a written question for Cllr Pugh to answer during members’ question time (quite normal in itself).

He was surprised to receive an email from a council officer in the legal department a while later, rejecting his submitted question, thus blocking him from being able to ask it in the public meeting.

What is lobbying firm’s involvement on the Island?
Cllr Bacon proposed to ask, “Last week it was noted in the media that Councillor Pugh is employed as an account director for a media consultancy called Cratus. The report noted that one of the company’s clients is Infinergy, which was the applicant in the planning application for the Wellow Wind Farm.

“As there are many rumours doing the rounds could the leader state whether Cratus is currently engaged, or has in the past been engaged, to act in respect of the application to build a new Asphalt plant, the PFI contract, Academy Schools on the Island and/or the Ecoisland project.”

Conflict of interest?
The question continued, “Further, and in any event, while members should not be unduly restricted from appropriate contracting and employment, would the leader comment on whether it is wise for members to take up employment or engage in paid activities in company with other individuals or organisations who it is known are involved or engaged in projects which the Isle of Wight Council is involved in, such as those already listed, particularly when those activities or projects are of a controversial nature.”

“Not related to policy and budget” claim
The council officer put forward in an email their reasons for rejecting the question, they said, “I’m writing to let you know that under the constitution (P85 Procedure Rule 9 paragraph 4) we must reject a question if (a) it is not related to policy and budget and (e) it relates to an individuals own particular circumstances.”

Try again …
Cllr Bacon submitted the following re-worded question, “While members should not be unduly restricted from appropriate contracting and employment outside their Council duties, is it wise for members to take up employment or engage in paid activities in company with other individuals or organisations who it is known are involved or engaged in projects which the Isle of Wight Council is involved in, such as those already listed, particularly when those activities or projects are of a controversial nature.”

Alas, this was rejected once again by the officer, “I still don’t think your reworded question relates to budget or policy and so I must reject it.” they told Cllr Bacon.

Image: bludgeoner86 under CC BY 2.0

Thursday, 25th October, 2012 5:41pm

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

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24 Comments on "Councillor’s questions over Cllr Pugh’s involvement with Cratus blocked"

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steephilljack

How about:
“What is the Council’s policy regarding members who take up employment or engage in paid activities with companies who it is known are involved or engaged in projects which the Isle of Wight Council is involved in, such as those already listed, particularly when those activities or projects are of a controversial nature.”

steephilljack

I should have added:
“and have the Council Leader’s activities complied with this policy ?”

random bloke
Its not related to Budget or Policy. Its related to a possible conflict of interest regarding the leader of the council. Where is the correct place to ask it if not at a full council meeting? Maybe the Standards committee? DIdnt Pugh once manage to get a minister to do something or other because the minister was related to Mrs Pugh? A touch of nepotism might not… Read more »
Island Monkey

Is that REALLY you Jon?

I ask you – who is really surprised that the council’s legal department blocks any questions relating to these matters?

Was it not this same department who rushed to aid their master when he had his foul-mouthed outburst and faced possible censure or arrest?

random bloke
Yes its really me. What a foolish question. If you have read my posts, you should know that I give credit where credit is due, and criticism where criticism is due. In this case, criticism is due, deserved, and if its coming from Jonathan Bacon, might even get results. I doubt it, but its possible. In answer to your question, no, Im not surprised that the legal… Read more »
tryme

Island Monkey very relevantly reminds us that the legal department controversially came to Pugh’s aid when he lost control of himself after a social event, & it gives us good reason to look closer at what they’re doing now to come to his aid.

I’ve got a feeling that this one isn’t going to go away though, whatever questions are suppressed in CH.

Stewart Blackmore

Surely this could be construed as relating to policy, given that Pugh is the Leader of the Council, and he works for a company which advertises the fact that he is working for it as an education advisor

random bloke
how does that affect policy? It may affect implementation of policy, ie which companies are considered for tenders etc, but you would have a very hard job proving that policy has been altered by Pughs alternative jobs. By that reckoning, Pugh cant talk to anyone since every conversation must in some way affect policy. At some point you have to be practical. However, asking where that point… Read more »
Island Monkey

I wonder if the curious stench that emanates from County Hall will waft around and among enough Islander’s to actually have any effect come May?

I do hope so.

Stewart Blackmore

Er, Jon, because David Pugh is the Leader and he and his Cabinet make policy, including education policy. He is employed by Cratus to advice on education………

random bloke
yes, of course it will affect policy to some extent. Everything does. Every conversation has the potential to alter policy in a small way. The question is are Pughs policies being dictated by his other employers? the answer is probably no. He may well take good practice from them and implement it in policy, but Cratus are unlikely to be telling Pugh exactly what to do with… Read more »
I do not believe it

Why is it that, every time the name ‘Pugh’ crops up, I get the feeling that I am gazing at a heap of those creepy-crawlies when you turn over a large stone in the garden?

hussar

Just a thought to add to this thread- how on earth can Cllr Pugh, who failed two degrees at two different universities be qualified to give anyone advice on education? Is it not a case of the blind leading the blind?

Black Dog

His position within Cratus CLEARLY has nothing to do with his ability or record. I wonder if we collectively contacted all of Cratus’ clients letting them know just who is employed by them and for what???

Black Dog

Just one question: If you have nothing to hide why not answer Councillor Bacon’s question????

Cynic

Perhaps the question should be addressed to the Scrutiny Committee?

downwind resident

We only need to see the client list just to make sure that it doesn’t include anyone associated with asphalt in any shape or form.

Sciolist

Anyone paying crstus for this ‘expertise’ might want to contact their local trading standards officer?

playingthenumbers
Three tenets from the council’s latest & much adhered to strategic plan contains these priorities: • Raising educational standards; * • Regeneration and the economy; # • Delivery of budget savings through changed service provision. Drilling down the plan, we find the following in each section’s blurb: * “During 2010, the Year 5 transfer was successfully implemented with accommodation, resources and staffing all in place in the… Read more »
Sciolist

Brilliant David Pugh cartoon in CP today.

He just appeared on BBC South today – speaking on schools. This man has chutzpah. No doubt this appearance will be on his Cratus CV soon?

steephilljack

David Pugh has realised something that we have known for some time: it’s time for him to quit the Island and set up his career camp somewhere else where his track record is not well known.
“The future’s bright,the future’s Independent”.

Stewart Blackmore
If even the County Press is printing a cartoon lampooning Pugh, the writing must surely be on the wall for this administration. He’ll fit in nicely at Tory Central Office having failed to complete his degree and going on to lecture the Island on education reform. After all, David Cameron promoted Chloe Smith to be a Treasury Minister when he thought that she was an accountant; in… Read more »
adrian nicholas
”“There are clearly school-by-school factors which led to these differentials, rather than an Islandwide impact as a result of the structural change….The top performing school in terms of GCSEs is Christ the King College, which is the only Island ‘state’ school to have thus far had pupils in the same learning environment for the full secondary range (11 to 16 year olds). This shows that the continuity… Read more »
steephilljack
Here is a case study: My neighbour, who is a teacher of kids with behavioural problems, has just moved to Wiltshire with his family because his kids are not happy with their schools, and nor are Mum and Dad. One was at primary in Ventnor and the other in secondary at Medina. He told me that “a lot of parents are becoming Catholic, or pretending to be… Read more »