Council leader's expense claims: no regulations broken, report says

Western Telegraph: EXPENSES: Cllr Jamie Adams  (5536463) EXPENSES: Cllr Jamie Adams (5536463)

A REPORT into four years of expense claims paid to Pembrokeshire County Council leader Jamie Adams has concluded that no regulations have been broken.

Cllr Adams was controversially paid £4,649 in expenses in 2012/13 for claims dating back to 2008, despite Pembrokeshire County Council imposing a three month time limit for members’ claims.

In an interview with the Western Telegraph, Cllr Adams described the situation as poor book-keeping’ and added: “I got out of the habit of claiming and it’s my fault entirely.”

The council maintained that while the three month rule was in place ‘nothing prevented the authority from making a payment’ outside of that time frame.

However, the leader’s expenses claims were referred to the council’s Audit Committee for further examination.

The committee then asked the Wales Audit Office (WAO) to report on the matter.

The WAO report, which will go before Audit Committee members on Thursday at County Hall, acknowledges that the claims were paid outside the time limit but says that settlement of late claims is not against regulations.

The report concludes that legislation clearly states that claims can be paid despite being submitted outside of the set time limits and acknowledges that all of Cllr Adams’ claims were “authorised by the Director of Finance and seem reasonable.”

The report adds: “There is evidence of checking claims, and mileage, location and meeting description seem reasonable.

“In overall terms, the values are not significant, and there is no evidence to show that staff or other members have had claims declined because of late submission.”

At the time that the claims were uncovered, opposition councillor Mike Stoddart, said: “He’s the leader of the council – if he can’t keep all his expenses claims up to date what hope is there of him running the council?”

Comments (15)

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6:14pm Fri 18 Apr 14

Tttoommy says...

What many ppl are unhappy with is the one rule for one and and another for every one else - the workers I understand have to claim within 3 months or lose financially so why does he get away with 4 years ? the same when any allegations are made against any member of staff they are put on garden leave but of course Bryn Jones doesn't think the rules apply to him :(
What many ppl are unhappy with is the one rule for one and and another for every one else - the workers I understand have to claim within 3 months or lose financially so why does he get away with 4 years ? the same when any allegations are made against any member of staff they are put on garden leave but of course Bryn Jones doesn't think the rules apply to him :( Tttoommy
  • Score: 18

7:08pm Fri 18 Apr 14

Gogledd says...

Fiddler on the Roof.
Fiddler on the Roof. Gogledd
  • Score: 12

9:29pm Fri 18 Apr 14

chizy says...

No regulations broken? Really?
Didn't see that coming
No regulations broken? Really? Didn't see that coming chizy
  • Score: 10

9:48pm Fri 18 Apr 14

Welshman23 says...

What did you expect justice another 2 fingers to the Pembrokeshire people scratch my back.
What did you expect justice another 2 fingers to the Pembrokeshire people scratch my back. Welshman23
  • Score: 14

10:13pm Fri 18 Apr 14

pembrokedock123 says...

"Cllr Adams was controversially paid £4,649 in expenses in 2012/13 for claims dating back to 2008, despite Pembrokeshire County Council imposing a three month time limit for members’ claims. "

PCC are good at keeping to the small print of the rules but not to the spirit of the rules. They seem to have found a loophole to allow this man to claim back money. He was clearly against the spirit of expenses being claimed within 3 months but general fairness does not seem to matter to them.

It's all such as shame and again leaves nasty taste.
"Cllr Adams was controversially paid £4,649 in expenses in 2012/13 for claims dating back to 2008, despite Pembrokeshire County Council imposing a three month time limit for members’ claims. " PCC are good at keeping to the small print of the rules but not to the spirit of the rules. They seem to have found a loophole to allow this man to claim back money. He was clearly against the spirit of expenses being claimed within 3 months but general fairness does not seem to matter to them. It's all such as shame and again leaves nasty taste. pembrokedock123
  • Score: 19

8:44am Sat 19 Apr 14

Harrygrayballs says...

There is the letter of the"law"
There is the spirit of the"law"
Then there is"Jamie's law"
ONLY IN PEMBROKESHIRE!!!!!!!
!!!
There is the letter of the"law" There is the spirit of the"law" Then there is"Jamie's law" ONLY IN PEMBROKESHIRE!!!!!!! !!! Harrygrayballs
  • Score: 16

9:44am Sat 19 Apr 14

Indeview J Hudson says...

Once again tax payers and electors of Pembrokeshire have been let down.

It is true that Parliament through its Acts and supplementary Statutory Regulation have given each local AUTHORITY discretion to fix a time limit for the submission of members expense claims, and further discretion to pay claims submitted late. The Council's time limit was increased from two to three months.
According to the Council's own Constitution the approval of its annual Member's allowance scheme is a matter for the Council, although salaries and expense rates are now prescribed by the Independent Remuneration Panel. Our Council has not formally approved its annual allowance schemes for some years now, officers have not formally presented them to Council for approval.

Now we mere peasants might think it is reasonable to have a time limit for the submission of claims to ensure good timely book-keeping for the Council's Accounts. We might also think that it is not unreasonable to allow Councils to pay claims submitted late due to extenuating circumstances such as prolonged illness etc.

So who acted on behalf of the Council in setting the time limit and approving the late payment? The Council have not, and cannot delegate this matter, which is reserved by statute as a matter for the Council.

I am assured by the Council, that the Director of Finance approved both, using his general Section 151 Responsibility for the proper Administration of the Council's Financial affairs. If this responsibility is so wide ranging, why then have the Council found it necessary to give him specific delegated authorities to act on the Council's behalf in other specified matters but not this one?

Then there is a general rule that decisions of a Council and its officers must be reasonable. You can make your own mind up whether you think it was reasonable for the Leader to submit his claims so late ( incidentally to anyone looking at his past expense record it would have looked as though he hadn't claimed any, and this at election time!). While the late claims submitted did relate to expenses incurred, and were certifiable as such, was the decision to allow the claims for payment outside the time limit on grounds of poor book-keeping reasonable.

I note the Audit report concludes that the payments were made within the regulations and seem reasonable.

One further thought, If the Council had formally determined that the time limit should be three months and then required that requests for late payments should be submitted to the Council for formal approval, would a member have had the brass neck to ask the Council, that is all 60 members, to approve late claims on the grounds of poor-book-keeping?

Directors are required to report their delegated actions on the Council's web-site, but only if they think it is necessary. It appears that this council is run for the benefit and convenience of some of its members and officers.
Once again tax payers and electors of Pembrokeshire have been let down. It is true that Parliament through its Acts and supplementary Statutory Regulation have given each local AUTHORITY discretion to fix a time limit for the submission of members expense claims, and further discretion to pay claims submitted late. The Council's time limit was increased from two to three months. According to the Council's own Constitution the approval of its annual Member's allowance scheme is a matter for the Council, although salaries and expense rates are now prescribed by the Independent Remuneration Panel. Our Council has not formally approved its annual allowance schemes for some years now, officers have not formally presented them to Council for approval. Now we mere peasants might think it is reasonable to have a time limit for the submission of claims to ensure good timely book-keeping for the Council's Accounts. We might also think that it is not unreasonable to allow Councils to pay claims submitted late due to extenuating circumstances such as prolonged illness etc. So who acted on behalf of the Council in setting the time limit and approving the late payment? The Council have not, and cannot delegate this matter, which is reserved by statute as a matter for the Council. I am assured by the Council, that the Director of Finance approved both, using his general Section 151 Responsibility for the proper Administration of the Council's Financial affairs. If this responsibility is so wide ranging, why then have the Council found it necessary to give him specific delegated authorities to act on the Council's behalf in other specified matters but not this one? Then there is a general rule that decisions of a Council and its officers must be reasonable. You can make your own mind up whether you think it was reasonable for the Leader to submit his claims so late ( incidentally to anyone looking at his past expense record it would have looked as though he hadn't claimed any, and this at election time!). While the late claims submitted did relate to expenses incurred, and were certifiable as such, was the decision to allow the claims for payment outside the time limit on grounds of poor book-keeping reasonable. I note the Audit report concludes that the payments were made within the regulations and seem reasonable. One further thought, If the Council had formally determined that the time limit should be three months and then required that requests for late payments should be submitted to the Council for formal approval, would a member have had the brass neck to ask the Council, that is all 60 members, to approve late claims on the grounds of poor-book-keeping? Directors are required to report their delegated actions on the Council's web-site, but only if they think it is necessary. It appears that this council is run for the benefit and convenience of some of its members and officers. Indeview J Hudson
  • Score: 8

11:35am Sat 19 Apr 14

Bilbo101 says...

No law was broken here, they just bent their own rules as a favour to Jamie and I wonder why this was because this certainly would not apply to all councillors and most definitely would not apply to all council employees, but only a few loyal servants at the top. Now if a seriously overdue expenses claim had been submitted by a not-so-loyal supporter of Bryn, somebody like say Mike Stoddart then I am sure the Director of Finance would not have been so flexible, in fact I a very confident that he would not have been flexible at all and would have taken great delight in reminding him of the rules.

So why was it exactly that they broke their own rules for Jamie, was it to keep him sweet or was it a favour payback for Bryn's favourite little poodle ?

Why is it exactly that somebody with such poor book-keeping skills is allowed to stay on as leader of the council ? This is more evidence, if any should be needed, that Jamie is incompetent and not of the sort of calibre that is required for such a responsible role. A motion of no confidence would surely seem appropriate but then what's the point when the majority independent plus group would never vote it through.

The IPG ( Independent Plus Group ) should change their name as I feel it is misleading, because whilst they claim to be independent of any political group it obvious that they are far from being independent when it comes to the way OUR council is being run. I propose that their name should be changed to something like "Bryn's Loyal Poodles", yes I think that would be a more appropriate and fitting title.

Being relatively young I don't have much knowledge of the history of our council and wonder if this is the way it has always been run ? Was it this bad years ago ? Has it always been this bad ? I now fully understand why so many people have been referring to County Hall as the Kremlin as it certainly feels like a dictatorship.

IT ALL STINKS to me and "I have a dream", a dream where one day our council really does fight for the interests of Pembrokeshire people and not waste our council tax money on high-flying expensive lawyers to defend their bad decisions and on so called "Independent" external consultants to write expensive reports recommending unpopular proposals.
No law was broken here, they just bent their own rules as a favour to Jamie and I wonder why this was because this certainly would not apply to all councillors and most definitely would not apply to all council employees, but only a few loyal servants at the top. Now if a seriously overdue expenses claim had been submitted by a not-so-loyal supporter of Bryn, somebody like say Mike Stoddart then I am sure the Director of Finance would not have been so flexible, in fact I a very confident that he would not have been flexible at all and would have taken great delight in reminding him of the rules. So why was it exactly that they broke their own rules for Jamie, was it to keep him sweet or was it a favour payback for Bryn's favourite little poodle ? Why is it exactly that somebody with such poor book-keeping skills is allowed to stay on as leader of the council ? This is more evidence, if any should be needed, that Jamie is incompetent and not of the sort of calibre that is required for such a responsible role. A motion of no confidence would surely seem appropriate but then what's the point when the majority independent plus group would never vote it through. The IPG ( Independent Plus Group ) should change their name as I feel it is misleading, because whilst they claim to be independent of any political group it obvious that they are far from being independent when it comes to the way OUR council is being run. I propose that their name should be changed to something like "Bryn's Loyal Poodles", yes I think that would be a more appropriate and fitting title. Being relatively young I don't have much knowledge of the history of our council and wonder if this is the way it has always been run ? Was it this bad years ago ? Has it always been this bad ? I now fully understand why so many people have been referring to County Hall as the Kremlin as it certainly feels like a dictatorship. IT ALL STINKS to me and "I have a dream", a dream where one day our council really does fight for the interests of Pembrokeshire people and not waste our council tax money on high-flying expensive lawyers to defend their bad decisions and on so called "Independent" external consultants to write expensive reports recommending unpopular proposals. Bilbo101
  • Score: 8

3:04pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Electra1 says...

We will have to wait and see if this 'new rule' applies to others.
We will have to wait and see if this 'new rule' applies to others. Electra1
  • Score: 7

4:03pm Mon 21 Apr 14

South of the Landsker says...

When you are that arrogant nothing we say matters, end of discussion!
When you are that arrogant nothing we say matters, end of discussion! South of the Landsker
  • Score: 6

4:47pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Indeview J Hudson says...

Several senior officer posts have statutory responsible for ensuring that the Council follows correct legal and procedural practice.. Having failed in this duty, they are then forced into hiring specialist advice to argue and justify what they have allowed to happen. Quite why professional officers allow councillors to make such a mess of things is an open question, as is why most councillors seem content to allow it to continue.
Several senior officer posts have statutory responsible for ensuring that the Council follows correct legal and procedural practice.. Having failed in this duty, they are then forced into hiring specialist advice to argue and justify what they have allowed to happen. Quite why professional officers allow councillors to make such a mess of things is an open question, as is why most councillors seem content to allow it to continue. Indeview J Hudson
  • Score: 6

11:54am Wed 23 Apr 14

seaveiw says...

Indeview J Hudson wrote:
Several senior officer posts have statutory responsible for ensuring that the Council follows correct legal and procedural practice.. Having failed in this duty, they are then forced into hiring specialist advice to argue and justify what they have allowed to happen. Quite why professional officers allow councillors to make such a mess of things is an open question, as is why most councillors seem content to allow it to continue.
The answer is the senior officers are ineffective even if they were impartial which they are not. This council need sorting out the Caerphilly mob are looking sorry for themselves now, come on hurry the police investigation and get them sorted.
[quote][p][bold]Indeview J Hudson[/bold] wrote: Several senior officer posts have statutory responsible for ensuring that the Council follows correct legal and procedural practice.. Having failed in this duty, they are then forced into hiring specialist advice to argue and justify what they have allowed to happen. Quite why professional officers allow councillors to make such a mess of things is an open question, as is why most councillors seem content to allow it to continue.[/p][/quote]The answer is the senior officers are ineffective even if they were impartial which they are not. This council need sorting out the Caerphilly mob are looking sorry for themselves now, come on hurry the police investigation and get them sorted. seaveiw
  • Score: 4

9:44am Thu 24 Apr 14

Dave Edwards says...

Isn't it odd that no correspondence at all passed between the Finance officer and the Leader to ask why he was late. If Old Grumpy hadn't spotted it ,it would have been conveniently swept under the carpet!
Isn't it odd that no correspondence at all passed between the Finance officer and the Leader to ask why he was late. If Old Grumpy hadn't spotted it ,it would have been conveniently swept under the carpet! Dave Edwards
  • Score: 3

4:57pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Welshman23 says...

Have a look on the Pembrokeshire Herald an officer at PCC has changed council minutes and may be disciplined. Who is he. Naughty person. Are the WT on the case for next weeks publication.
Have a look on the Pembrokeshire Herald an officer at PCC has changed council minutes and may be disciplined. Who is he. Naughty person. Are the WT on the case for next weeks publication. Welshman23
  • Score: 2

10:45pm Sun 27 Apr 14

Tttoommy says...

Tttoommy wrote:
What many ppl are unhappy with is the one rule for one and and another for every one else - the workers I understand have to claim within 3 months or lose financially so why does he get away with 4 years ? the same when any allegations are made against any member of staff they are put on garden leave but of course Bryn Jones doesn't think the rules apply to him :(
Might I suggest to those councillors that care about Pembrokeshire that if Bryn doesn't abide to the rules of the council employee contracts you can sack him without fear of a claim from hin for unfair dismissal
[quote][p][bold]Tttoommy[/bold] wrote: What many ppl are unhappy with is the one rule for one and and another for every one else - the workers I understand have to claim within 3 months or lose financially so why does he get away with 4 years ? the same when any allegations are made against any member of staff they are put on garden leave but of course Bryn Jones doesn't think the rules apply to him :([/p][/quote]Might I suggest to those councillors that care about Pembrokeshire that if Bryn doesn't abide to the rules of the council employee contracts you can sack him without fear of a claim from hin for unfair dismissal Tttoommy
  • Score: -1

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