Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why it is best that I resign as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor

Many will have heard that I've announced my resignation as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor representing the people of Howdenshire - I'm very sorry to the many who've offered me support over the past few weeks, especially Howdenshire residents - but to continue to represent you as your Councillor has become impossible - due to the barriers that would be put up by the ruling ‘political elite’ at County Hall.
It is with a degree of sadness that after talking to my family, friends and many Howdenshire residents I have taken the decision to resign, and concentrate all my efforts on my new role as Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Humberside.
Many will be aware that the Labour Group at County Hall brought forward a motion at Wednesday’s full Council meeting saying the role of Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner was incompatible with holding office as a Councillor  - this, even though the legal advice and messages from the government were clearly saying the opposite.
Rather than dealing with the motion, what I witnessed on Wednesday was an orchestrated attack on me by the ruling ‘political elite’ at County Hall.  The debate from the Conservative side was led by the Council Leader, Deputy Leader and senior Councillors, much was based on perception, very little was fact based, and a great deal was very personal and little to do with the question posed in the motion.
It made me realise that if I stayed on, whilst without any payment, barriers would be constantly put up which would have damaged the interests of Howdenshire residents.  I therefore thought about it again after the meeting and decided the next morning that, in the circumstances, it would be best to resign, it was time to make the break and I wanted everything over and done with.
The barriers to performing my role as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor would have been political, rather than anything involving the officers and the way the council functions from an administrative point of view.
The Leader of the Council being reported as saying he was ‘delighted at my decision to step down’ probably speaks volumes.
I have unfinished Council business which dictates that I won’t be able to stand down immediately, but probably in March.  This includes the conclusion of work on the Gilberdyke/Newport Tip, the final phase on the flood alleviation programme in Gilberdyke, the proposed path between Gilberdyke and Howden, a couple of wind farm applications, and unfinished casework for individual residents.
This remaining work is very typical of what I’ve done over the past 6 years, almost all is detailed here on my blog – ironically, I would NOT have been prevented from doing almost all of this if I continued as a Councillor as there would have been no so called ‘conflicts of interest’ or incompatibility between the roles of Councillor and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.
It has been an absolute privilege to serve the residents of Howdenshire over the past six years – I may not be your Councillor in the future but I will always be your voice.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

I will continue to represent the people of Howdenshire

As I have now taken up the role of Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside I have given some thought to my continuing role as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor for Howdenshire.

Much has been said about my ability to balance the two roles and I am confident of being able to do so and continue to provide a high quality service to Howdenshire residents, as I have done for the past 5 years.  The major difference for me moving forward is that I am no longer actively involved in my company, so I’ve effectively now given up my ‘day job’ to take on the position of Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner.
With regard to questions about a conflict of interest between the two roles, if there were any issues relating to police and crime in Howdenshire where a conflict was to arise, I would declare this and allow my fellow ward councillors to act without my involvement.  I have already removed myself from the council’s Corporate Communities Overview and Scrutiny sub-committee and the Licencing Committee on which I previously sat where a possible conflict of interest may occur.  I have also resigned from the Chairmanship of the Goole & Howdenshire Community Partnership.
After consulting widely with Howdenshire residents, Parish Councillors, family and friends almost everyone I have spoken to are insistent I stay on as a ward councillor and continue to work on their behalf.  I will always listen to the people I have been elected to serve, and after taking time to consider their views, my decision is that I will continue as an ERYC Councillor but I propose NOT to take the annual allowance of £10,711.
Many who know me will testify that I serve on the Ouse & Humber Drainage Board, both Gilberdyke and Howden School governing bodies, and the local Parish Council - all in a voluntary capacity without payment.  Others know I lived and worked in West Africa as a volunteer development worker for less than £95 per month.
One of the key areas of Matthew Grove’s manifesto we will work to deliver is the significant increase in the number of special constables.   As we are asking for volunteers to serve their communities with distinction without payment, I can think of no better way to serve mine than leading by example and volunteering my services as a councillor.
I am looking at options of using my allowance to further good causes in the area.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Looking forward to my new job as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside

Many of you will now know that I’ve been appointed Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (DPCC) for Humberside.
I am delighted that Commissioner Matthew Grove has asked me to become his Deputy. After working closely with Matthew in his election campaign, helping him to write his manifesto, and working alongside him in the weeks since he has taken office, this is a challenge which I am looking forward to immensely. I think it’s important to set out the objectives and purpose of my role, and what aspects of the Police and Crime Commissioners office Matthew has asked me to lead on.
One of the key aspects of the role is to deputise for Matthew when he is unavailable. 
The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is not just to set the priorities for the Police and monitor their performance, but to work with strategic partners, including local authorities, community safety partnerships and voluntary services, to examine the ways we can prevent crime from occurring in the community, and to challenge the cycle of re-offending.  These are the key areas which I will be concentrating on.
As a local Councillor, I have always tried to be at the heart of the community I serve, and have worked on many public safety initiatives over the years.  Over the course of the three and a half years, I will be meeting the people who work tirelessly to make Northern Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire communities better places to live, and exploring how we can work with and support them to cut crime even further, through new and innovative ideas. The ‘..and Crime’ part of Matthew’s title also includes how we work with the criminal justice system to ensure that the good work of our Police officers and staff is properly reflected in the sentences handed down to criminals, included restorative justice in the community.
In these tough economic times, we must use every opportunity to save money by working closely with other public and voluntary sector organisations to share examples of good practice. I will be exploring how we can join together to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the ‘back office’ of the force through shared services and assets, to make better use of facilities to deliver more value for money, and to ensure that we find ways of achieving the Government imposed savings without affecting policing.
I have also been asked to proactively enhance relationships with local and regional media, to promote the success of the joint work of the Commissioner, Police and partners in securing improved outcomes for local people.
Building on the success of chairing the Local Action Team/Community Partnership in the Goole and Howden Area, I’ve been asked to proactively enhance relationships with a wide range of stakeholders in the community safety and criminal justice sectors to identify blockages or identify opportunities to improve the delivery of programmes that secure improved outcomes for local people across Northern Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire.
Needless to say, after consulting with Howdenshire residents, Parish Councillors, friends & family the overwhelming feeling is that I should continue to serve as an East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor, although I will be giving up some of my specific roles including removing myself from the Council's Corporate & Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee and the Licencing Committee, I will also be stepping down from chairing the Goole and Howdenshire Community Partnership. I will be also reviewing my other commitments in the months to come.
To enable me to continue as an ERYC Councillor and take on the role of DPCC, I will be taking very much a back seat and a 'hands off' role in the running of 1-2 Clear Ltd.  The day to day running will be cascaded down to the employees and the overall responsibility passing to my fellow director. 
2013 will be an exciting and challenging year, and I look forward to working hard with Matthew to make our communities safer.

 Matthew Grove has said: “The people of East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire elected me to be their voice in ensuring the safety of their community. I represent 900,000 people in an area of 1,350 square miles, on two banks of the River Humber, where over 70,000 crimes are reported each year. The enormity of this role is not lost on me and I need a deputy who I can rely on to challenge me on the big issues, to be a critical friend and lead on significant areas of work on my behalf. 
My Chief Executive built a detailed profile for the job, to give me extra capacity by having someone who can focus on partnership working, the ‘back office’ side of policing and working with the media to make sure all my aspirations are communicated to the local public. This profile was developed and assessed independently. 
As Commissioner I need someone who I have total trust and confidence in and who can fit this profile. My judgement is that Paul fits this role and can deliver everything I need to be delivered. I know that Paul’s vast experience, skills and deep understanding of community safety issues fit the role of deputy. The work he has done with me since the election has left me even more convinced of this. 
2013 is going to be a busy year. It will start with approving a budget and appointing a new Chief Constable, then issuing a Police and Crime Plan and delivering on the pledges I made in my manifesto. The public have put their trust in me to make these important decisions. They deserve less crime and the best possible policing and with Paul’s appointment, I am confident we will deliver this.”