Independent investigation to look at council staff behaviour

Announcement follows report into Cheshire East authority handling of planned waste transfer site

An independent investigator will be immediately appointed following last week’s decision by Cheshire East Council’s Audit and Governance Committee, regarding Lyme Green.

The group considered a report last Thursday into the shelved waste transfer site proposed for Macclesfield.

It highlighted failings in several areas, and suggested officers had broken financial, planning and EU regulations.

Michael Jones, Leader of the Council, said: "The investigator, once appointed will be encouraged to meet with all the staff mentioned in the report, Members, Cabinet Members and their support Members and any other appropriate witness.

"The decisions were taken at an extraordinary informal Cabinet meeting, convened to respond to the recommendations made by the Audit and Governance Committee.

"This issue is so important to me and the Members of my Cabinet, I felt it was essential that actions must be taken and made public with the utmost urgency.

"This issue is too important and I feel it is necessary to move things along as quickly as possible.

"It is inconceivable to me that any member of the Council will question this line of action but it is necessary that everything we do regarding Lyme Green is open and transparent.

"The Council’s reputation is being seriously undermined and I want to assure every resident that the fullest independent investigation will take place to review the conduct of staff mentioned in the report into Lyme Green.

"Many changes have already been introduced to prevent any reoccurrence of such a failure of the processes of the Council.

"However, it is only after the independent investigation has been concluded that the Council will be in a position to address some of the potential cultural and constitutional changes that I, and I am sure, other Members envisage being necessary.

"The draft recommendation reads: ‘The Council, in accordance with its staffing policies, instigate an immediate independent review of the conduct of staff mentioned in the report and consider whether there is a case for appropriate disciplinary or other action to be pursued, the review to include consideration of whether the public or any Members were misled and an examination of the nature of the Council’s communication with the public’.

"It was essential that this report was discussed fully, in public, so that every resident, especially those who live near the Lyme Green site, could be assured nothing was being hidden.

"The only way we can now deal with this regrettable position is by showing openness at every stage."

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