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  • "Wasn't there also a small matter of the judge finding that the Council could not provide written evidence of its decision making process. ( a basic requirement identified in early Guidance issued by the Assembly, still omitted from the Council's Constiutution.)
    Independent inspections into other specific and general governance areas also found that councillors could not carry out their statutory duties, for which they are paid, because they were not being properly informed by officers.

    Ministers have concern about councillor's abilty to hold officers, at a senior level to account and inadequate senior political oversight of key areas.

    How right they are. Councillors have given officers full financial delegation to spend within approved budgets, transfer money between budget heads and allocate and spend reserves, without the need for any prior approval.
    Our councillors are not given, or even seek any information on how officer's spending decisions affect our services.
    Throughout the year Cabinet have received limited financial monitoring reports without any commentary or direction on the detailed use of our money and the effect on services.
    Elsewhere, we now read that Welsh Ministers are seeking legal advice on PCC's response.
    We have the lowest Council Tax,and therefore a limited amount of money to defend legal actions if they are brought and the Council is advised by lawers to defend itself.
    Will we be required to spend our limited money on defending councillors or officers, or both?
    One further thought, this process or journey of internal improvement by our council seems to have forgetten us. Where are improvements to provide us with more, or even some, information?

    Indeview -John Hudson."
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Judicial reviews cost council almost £400,000

Two judicial reviews into care home payments have cost Pembrokeshire County Council almost £400,000 so far.

Director of Social Services, Jon Skone, told the Older Persons, Health and Well Being Overview and Scrutiny Committee that £398,935 had been paid so far, with further costs still to be paid.

He stated £205,535 had been paid relating to the first judicial review, which included the Pembrokeshire County Council legal costs and £85,000 of the applicants’.

A further £193,400 had so far been paid as part of the second judicial review process.

When asked whether the costs could have been avoided, Mr Skone said: “When your legal team advise you that you have a case to defend, it is your responsibility to do so.”

Mr Skone, who is due to step down from his role shortly, said among the important lessons learnt from the judicial reviews was “when working with partners never forget it is business. Knowing each other too well leads to informality”.

However, he added he had ‘no doubt at all’ that the council had had the right people providing them with legal advice.

Cllr Viv Stoddart asked if a decision had been made as to whether there was a case to sue the accountants RSM Tenon.

The council claims the company made an initial ‘mistake’ resulting in the first defeated case.

Mr Skone said it was still being looked into but conceded: “I simply don’t know, we will follow that up.”

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