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Posted By Discussion Topic: BA unjustly removes NavCom member

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RichardB
Oct-02-2018 @ 11:45 AM                           Permalink
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Please read this.

I urge everyone to write to their MPs, particularly Broadland area ones, demanding, politely, that they meet urgently to discuss this appalling behaviour by the CEO. Give them the link here. Note Paul Howes’ suggestion under the article.

PM me for a draft letter.

http://www.thebroadsblog.co.uk/2018/10/dysfunctional-broads-authority.html



A.J.B.
Oct-02-2018 @ 7:29 PM                           Permalink
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I thought forum members might be interested in a press release issued today,sent to all employees, a slightly different account from the Broads blog.

Broads Authority Press Statement
The Broads Authority removed Mr James Knight from the Navigation Committee on 28 September 2018.
The decision follows an internal Code of Conduct complaint about repeated comments published by Mr Knight accusing staff of deliberately misleading Members. A full investigation by an independent barrister found no evidence to support Mr Knight’s serious public accusations.
The Broads Authority’s Hearings Committee carefully considered the barrister's report alongside evidence from Mr Knight and other witnesses before concluding that Mr Knight had breached the Authority's Code of Conduct. The Hearings Committee expressed the view that, although Mr Knight's actions were incompatible with his co-opted membership of the Authority's Navigation Committee, he should nevertheless be offered a final opportunity to retract his statements and apologise before recommending his removal. Mr Knight chose not to take the opportunity extended to him to draw a line under the matter leaving the Authority no alternative but to remove him.
Background note for Editors
Last summer Mr James Knight, a co-opted member of the Broads Authority’s Navigation Committee, publicly alleged that officers of the Authority had deliberately and wilfully misled the Planning Committee. Mr Knight’s allegations were thoroughly investigated and it was concluded that none of them had any substance. Mr Knight was asked four times to either substantiate his allegations or retract his comments. A Code of Conduct Complaint by another Member concerning the same matter was investigated by an independent barrister who concluded that there was no evidence to support Mr Knight’s assertion and that he had breached the Authority’s Code of Conduct in respect of Leadership and Equality and Respect.
On 12th September 2018 a panel of three Broads Authority Members, advised by an independent person, considered the complaint, the report of the independent barrister and evidence from Mr Knight and other witnesses. The Panel concluded that Mr Knight had failed to treat others, particularly the Authority’s officers, with respect. He was given 7 days to retract his comments and apologise. When this was not forthcoming the Panel felt that, if this was not forthcoming, it would have no alternative other than to recommend to the Authority that Mr Knight be removed from the Navigation Committee.
On Friday 28th September the Broads Authority Board considered the report of the Hearings Committee and the absence of a retraction and apology. The Board decided to remove Mr Knight from the Navigation Committee with immediate effect. A replacement will be appointed from the 1st April 2019 as part of the recruitment process for the Committee which is already underway.
Please note:
The hearings had to be taken in private because of Local Government provisions for the protection of officers and legal considerations due to the unjustified accusations of malfeasance against those officers, who were not parties to the complaint.  Broads Authority Press Statement
The Broads Authority removed Mr James Knight from the Navigation Committee on 28 September 2018.
The decision follows an internal Code of Conduct complaint about repeated comments published by Mr Knight accusing staff of deliberately misleading Members. A full investigation by an independent barrister found no evidence to support Mr Knight’s serious public accusations.
The Broads Authority’s Hearings Committee carefully considered the barrister's report alongside evidence from Mr Knight and other witnesses before concluding that Mr Knight had breached the Authority's Code of Conduct. The Hearings Committee expressed the view that, although Mr Knight's actions were incompatible with his co-opted membership of the Authority's Navigation Committee, he should nevertheless be offered a final opportunity to retract his statements and apologise before recommending his removal. Mr Knight chose not to take the opportunity extended to him to draw a line under the matter leaving the Authority no alternative but to remove him.
Background note for Editors
Last summer Mr James Knight, a co-opted member of the Broads Authority’s Navigation Committee, publicly alleged that officers of the Authority had deliberately and wilfully misled the Planning Committee. Mr Knight’s allegations were thoroughly investigated and it was concluded that none of them had any substance. Mr Knight was asked four times to either substantiate his allegations or retract his comments. A Code of Conduct Complaint by another Member concerning the same matter was investigated by an independent barrister who concluded that there was no evidence to support Mr Knight’s assertion and that he had breached the Authority’s Code of Conduct in respect of Leadership and Equality and Respect.
On 12th September 2018 a panel of three Broads Authority Members, advised by an independent person, considered the complaint, the report of the independent barrister and evidence from Mr Knight and other witnesses. The Panel concluded that Mr Knight had failed to treat others, particularly the Authority’s officers, with respect. He was given 7 days to retract his comments and apologise. When this was not forthcoming the Panel felt that, if this was not forthcoming, it would have no alternative other than to recommend to the Authority that Mr Knight be removed from the Navigation Committee.
On Friday 28th September the Broads Authority Board considered the report of the Hearings Committee and the absence of a retraction and apology. The Board decided to remove Mr Knight from the Navigation Committee with immediate effect. A replacement will be appointed from the 1st April 2019 as part of the recruitment process for the Committee which is already underway.
Please note:
The hearings had to be taken in private because of Local Government provisions for the protection of officers and legal considerations due to the unjustified accusations of malfeasance against those officers, who were not parties to the complaint

Andy


This message was edited by A.J.B. on Oct-2-18 @ 7:32 PM

Waveney
Oct-02-2018 @ 9:00 PM                           Permalink
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Andy, thank you for sharing this.

Obviously there are always 2 sides to everything.

For the record:

The independent barrister was not asked to look at whether my allegations were true. She was only asked whether I’d breached the code by making them. The scope of the investigation was deliberately limited to whether I breached the code, rather then whether what I said was true. Their statement that "A full investigation by an independent barrister found no evidence to support Mr Knight’s serious public accusations“ is categorically false - I was not permitted to provide evidence to support my allegations because it was outside the scope of the investigation.

If the hearings committee carefully considered the barrister’s report, then why did they comprehensively ignore her recommendations?

Nobody at the BA has ever “thoroughly investigated” my allegations. John Packman says that he spent 3 days investigating them, but was unable to tell the hearings committee what that investigation involved. If he had investigated, he would see that I was telling the truth. As an example, members were told that the appeal inspectors had confirmed that the river moorings had been abandoned. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the Authority’s own solicitor conceded this point at the Local Plan examination in September.

The hearing did not have to be private. The conduct of the officers was deliberately kept outside the scope of the complaint, and the Authority refused to allow me to cross-examine them at the hearing. They also refused to allow recording.

I offered to meet the Chairman to find a resolution to this whole issue and he refused, as did Jacquie Burgess before him, John Packman and David Harris (the monitoring officer).

I regret that my relationship with one or two officers has deteriorated, because I believe that I've always had an excellent relationship with all the BA staff. But I stand by what I said, until someone proves that I was factually wrong. Whether I breached the code of conduct or not is frankly irrelevant. I'm interested in whether members were misled, and for 16 months nobody has been prepared to investigate that.

This message was edited by Waveney on Oct-2-18 @ 10:13 PM

savoy
Oct-03-2018 @ 11:09 AM                           Permalink
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AJB,in the interests of clarity do you post as an individual or are you posting on behalf of the BA?

Marshman
Oct-03-2018 @ 11:52 AM                           Permalink
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Well it will not be an official comment but perhaps he thought it was being helpful to Forum members to read the Press Release which was already in the public domain!

Bobdog
Oct-03-2018 @ 6:04 PM                           Permalink
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Have I got this right?  James Knight was a ‘co-opted’ member of the navigation committee, i.e. he was not elected by anybody, but invited to join.  Now, because of the committees concerns about his conduct, that invitation has effectively been withdrawn.  What’s the big fuss?

A.J.B.
Oct-03-2018 @ 7:38 PM                           Permalink
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Savoy
I only ever post as a boat owning broads loving forum member that happens to work for the BA.
I'm not allowed to represent the BA on an open forum, there's a whole department employed to do just that.
However, I do some times get involved if it can bring clarity to an issue.
If you read any of my old posts, you will understand what I mean. Smile

Andy

RichardB
Oct-03-2018 @ 9:45 PM                           Permalink
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AJB: no you don’t, you have a record of always supporting the BA.

Dog: if you don’t understand maladministration it’s better that you refrain from comment.

The BA NP peer review was scathing yet the BA has chosen not just to ignore it but to embolden its blatant disregard for good governance.

Bobdog
Oct-04-2018 @ 7:48 AM                           Permalink
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Thank you RichardB.  As a trustee, former chair, and committee member of three charities I am fully aware of potential issues of maladministration.  I am also aware of the duty of trustees and other committee members to raise issues of concern through proper channels, not to snipe from the sidelines with cryptic comments, half truths, and self promotion.  There’s a blond haired chap, always on the TV, who could probably benefit from learning that lesson too.

savoy
Oct-04-2018 @ 9:47 AM                           Permalink
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AJB, thank you for the clarification - very interesting.

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