Council officers named and shamed for Cowes Enterprise College delays, now given all clear

A massive turn-around for the council as they now say suspended officers had nothing to do with the school’s delayed opening. Very different from what was heavily implied previously.

This is a major about-face for the Isle of Wight council.

Back in November 2013, the two officers were firmly placed in the frame by the senior leadership at the council – both director level and political – heavily implying they were the reason for the school being delayed. Not only that, but the name of at least one of them was leaked to the County Press, something highly unusual.

Now, although unnamed in this statement from the council, Janet Newton and John Brocklehurst, the council today confirms, “were not responsible for the shortcomings in the project or for any wrongdoing”.

What follows is the statement from the council, in “words agreed legally between the council and those members of staff”.

Dave Burbage, Isle of Wight Council managing director and strategic director of resources, said: “The council recognises that there were a number of shortcomings in the delivery of the Cowes Enterprise College building. This was because of a range of differing reasons and circumstances.

“Two members of staff were suspended in November 2012 as a precautionary measure pending the outcome of an internal investigation into the management of the contract. It has been concluded that, although there were undoubted delays and issues that arose, the two suspended officers were not responsible for the shortcomings in the project or for any wrongdoing. In these circumstances the two members of staff who were suspended are no longer the subject of any further investigation or action.

“In addition the council recognises that this has been a long, stressful and protracted process for the two individuals concerned and that issues related to the way the suspension and other matters were handled is likely to result in cases being taken through an employment tribunal process.

“There is now a need to bring this matter to an early conclusion and bearing in mind the potential costs of defending the cases at tribunal and the costs of any potentially successful claims for compensation, it has been agreed by the two individuals and the council that a settlement is made.

“The council has devoted considerable efforts to ensuring that the Cowes Enterprise College building is fit for purpose and that it is available to handover to the Trust as soon as practicable. This will happen in September this year.

“The council will need to learn from what has happened in this case and will be reviewing its processes and procedures.”

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Wednesday, 31st July, 2013 4:56pm

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

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26 Comments on "Council officers named and shamed for Cowes Enterprise College delays, now given all clear"

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retiredhack

Is there a confidentiality (gagging) clause in the agreement?

I bet a pound to a penny that there is. If there is, it runs clearly contrary to the public interest, because it will make it more difficult to establish how so much public money came to be wasted, and who was really responsible for the CEC fiasco.

nevaagain
That scape goating is another clear reminder of why we should give thanks that our council and Island is no longer controlled by that terrible bunch who were last in power (who happened to be Conservative), aided and abetted by a now-disgraced Chief Exec, who was propped up by his political pals. The damage that those people did to the Island should NEVER be forgotten … or… Read more »
retiredhack
I give thanks for that as well. But the new administration mustn’t simply allow the matter to rest there. It would be too easy to say “we can’t talk aboiut it” and “we must move on” and “the person/people responsible don’t work here any more”. No legal agreement between the IWC and its former employees can or should be allowed to get in the way of a… Read more »
martin william wareham

Well said nevaagain I’m looking forward to the day when the Independent Council can get on with their own policies instead of clearing up the detritus of the previous Conservative administration.

Cynic

Which of the senior IWC officers will resign as a result of apparently making false accusations? If none, why?

Bremnant

As council tax payers then perhaps the setelment figures should be released or just one more cover up? We were not to blame then who is the last big name to leave to start a business on how to wreck further education with his wonderful no hope ideas

Harold

I heard it is a mixture of senior officers, governors, trust staff who caused this damage and they should answer any questions. Somebody knows surely? Are they still involved? The head and Alan Wells resigned.

Martin Stones
This story appears to confirm what a number of people were saying at the time about the building being ready. It was not that the building wasn’t ready rather that the Trust were not ready for the building. Again, this appears to have been confirmed several weeks ago in the County Press when the Trust confirmed that they did not have the budget for maintenance. These two… Read more »
tulsevent

Brilliant news that the pair of them have been vindicated with their professional reputations intact. Now they just have to find work elsewhere. I wonder who is to blame for this cock-up?

tryme

Sounds as though these two were used as human shields.

It reminds me of the news today that a joint treasurer of the national Conservative party won his court action today, being exonerated. Yet David Cameron had bad-mouthed him in public at the time, without evidence. It’s a terrible strain to put anyone under.

tryme

(..yesterday)

David
Cock-up? Who knew what and when within the former councillors and why did they not do anything? Did the ‘block vote’ extend to such atrocities and miscarriages? Which officers and members benefited from this as it did not just ‘happen’? Are these people still involved and if so what and who is going to pay for all this? I thought experts were brought in so who, why… Read more »
Meursault

Key questions: Who decided to suspend them and against what evidence? What action is being taken against those who suspended them (as they have cost the taxpayer a significant sum of money – in wages and compensation)? Who is actually to blame for the mess at CEC? What action is being taken against those who are to blame for the mess at CEC?

Davy Jones

County Hall sources insist that the Boy Blunder insisted on sending out the press release that led the two being identified – against very clear advice from HR.

It is that they were named in the press – not the suspension that is costing us.

Angry Mum
The Trust and Governors must be involved in this as they have been shuffling about and giving mixed messages left, right and centre. I heard from a former employee at the college that Rachel Fidler started this last year and was involved in other related matters, some still ongoing. It has been disturbing but sad for all the pupils, parents and staff, to witness the slow but… Read more »
tulsevent

I suppose it depends how many people who know what to ask are under gagging orders.

Mr Magoo

I might have misunderstood the situation but are the two officers still employed by the council? They were suspended and not dismissed.

Sally Perry

We understand that their positions were made redundant before the end of the last administration, so both are now presumably out of work.

It’s possible they may have found other employment, but unlikely, given the suspension was hanging over them for the last eight months.

tulsevent

Suspended and dismissed.

L R Traite

has anyone seen the letter from former Councillor Scoccia and Alan Stovell in the South Wight Chronicle?

woodworker

no. why dont you tell us what it says

bill

We don’t receive the south wight chronicle on the west of the Island, BTW is it available online or can you post it here?

Nicky

Nor in Bembridge. What did it say?

bill

retiredhack – who ‘needs the bottle to get on with it’ – councillors or officers?

L R Traite

The letter regretted the fact that St Lawrence has a rep on the council who neither lives nor is involved in the village.
Councillor Welsford’s record is rubbished.
Apparently there is a candidate, (not named but guess who) who is well liked, an active member of the community, a female, who would have done a splendid job. They ask why was Chris Welsford chosen over such an excellent candidate?