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Complaint following councillor Cheryl Bacon
to Bexley’s Monitoring Officer

Dear Mr. Alabi,

With reference to a letter dated 23rd August 2013, from Lynn Tyler, Legal Services Team Manager, informing me that she had found, in her opinion, there had been no breach of the Members Code of Conduct, in relation to my complaint against Councillor Cheryl Bacon, regarding her chairmanship of the PRCSEDR OSC meeting on 19th June 2013 and that on that basis has decided to take no further action.

I am therefore requesting, as is my right, that her decision not to refer the allegation for investigation, or other action, should be reviewed.

The grounds for seeking a review are as follows;

During her enquiries she only took account of the matters that arose from Councillor Cheryl Bacon, Mr. Adams and two other Members present at the meeting. She has not taken account of two other formal complaints made by members of the public present at the meeting regarding the chairmanship of the meeting held on 19th June 2012.

Lynn Tyler has not taken account of a memorandum issued by Paul Moore on 20th June 2012, which could have only been communicated to him by either Councillor Bacon, Mr. Adams or the two other Members that she spoke to. In the memorandum Mr Moore makes the comment "In the meantime, last nights Scrutiny Committee was subject to some disruption BY AN INDIVIDUAL seeking to record, without the permission of the Chairman.

Lynn Tyler has not taken account of the fact that Mr Moore issued the memorandum setting out the proper procedure Councillor Bacon should have adopted at the meeting.

Lynn Tyler has reached a subjective decision on the meaning of the words "closed session" uttered by Councillor Bacon, in order to support Councillor Bacon's version of events.

Based on Lynn Tyler's own statement that Councillor Bacon knew the correct procedure for dealing with the incident and applied it appropriately, Councillor Bacon would have been aware that under Standing Orders, the words "closed session" only has one meaning and cannot be interpreted in a manner that suits her own purpose.

The comment in Lynn Tyler's report that Councillor Bacon cited Standing Order 75 is a fabrication.

The comment in Lynn Tyler's report that the only members of the public deprived of the right to attend the adjourned meeting were those persons causing disruption and preventing the proper conduct of the meeting is a fabrication. Nobody at the original meeting attempted to attend the adjourned meeting based on the fact that Councillor Bacon informed everyone present that the meeting was going into "closed session."

The statement that Councillor Bacon addressed me and other members of the public regarding the disruption of the meeting is a fabrication. The only person she addressed was the individual attempting to record the meeting. The only time Councillor Bacon spoke to me was when I approached her and asked under what authority she was holding the meeting in a closed session and she replied "I am too busy to tell you. I have a meeting to attend".

The statement that Councillor Bacon approached me and my colleagues to address us all personally and to ask us to desist in calling out and ask that the meeting proceed without interruption is a fabrication.

That, having called the police, Councillor Bacon had a legal duty to remain in the chamber until they arrived. It is not the duty of police to eject individuals from private property. Their legal duty is to stand by to prevent a breach of peace whilst the individual who requested police presence attempts to eject that individual, using no more force than is necessary. Councillor Bacon did not do this. Neither did she arrange for any other council employee to accompany police to the council chamber. She just abandoned the council chamber, leaving members of the public to sit there and await the arrival of police to inform that why they had been called. Approximately eight minutes after Councillor Bacon had hastily exited the chamber, two police officers arrived, unaccompanied, leaving me as a retired Police Inspector, to relate why they had been called.

In your review, I am requesting that you interview the individual who attempted to record the meeting, in order to ascertain from him whether he was acting alone or in collusion with any other individuals present at the meeting.

I am requesting that you interview the two other members of the public present at the meeting who made complaints against Councillor Bacon.

I am also requesting that you interview a Mr. Danny Hackett, Labour candidate for Lesnes Abbey Ward in the forthcoming local elections, who was present at the meeting as a member of the public and was also prevented from attending the adjourned meeting.

I am also requesting that you interview Mr. Malcolm Knight of Belvedere, Kent, a blogger who was present at the meeting and was sitting within a few feet of Councillor June Slaughter.

I am requesting that all other members and officers present at the meeting are interviewed, not just those who appear to be supporters of Councillor Bacon.

I am also requesting that you interview Mr. Paul Moore, in order to ascertain who informed him of what had taken place at the previous nights meeting.

I am awaiting responses to a number of Freedom of Information Requests relating to the meeting which I will forward to you to assist you in your review.

In conclusion, I would point out that, bearing in mind that I have made allegations that Councillor Bacon breached the Local Government Act, 1972, the biased and slapdash manner in which Lynn Tyler has dealt with the matter amounts, in my opinion, to Misconduct in a Public Office. If the review is dealt with in the same manner I will forward all the papers to the Specialist and Economic Crime Branch at New Scotland Yard to ask them to consider whether any criminal offences have been committed by any individual in relation to the investigation.

I look forward to an acknowledgement of this correspondence in accordance with council protocol.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Barnbrook,

4th September 2013

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