Mark Hynes, LBWF Director of Governance and Law, cracks the whip

Against the background of the ongoing controversy about Cllr. Anna Mbachu’s Register of Interests form, LBWF Director of Governance and Law Mark Hynes has circulated the following missive to councillors:

‘Dear Councillor,

I am writing to remind you that if you own property in the borough that you let out, you must include address details in section 6 of your Register of Interests (RoI).

In addition, your own address details must be included in section 6, regardless of the status of your tenure, i.e. whether you own or rent a property in the Borough.

However this can be exempted in special circumstances from general publication if I consider it amounts to a sensitive interest. As Monitoring Officer, one of my roles is to review dispensations concerning sensitive interests (paragraphs 6.1 – 6.3 of the Council’s Code of Conduct).  If you feel that disclosure of your home address could lead to you being subjected to violence or intimidation, you should formally write  to me (email is fine) setting out why you should be granted a dispensation

If you do not contact me by 8 December with reasons why you think your home address should be exempted, I shall ensure that the correct details appear in section 6 of your RoI….

Thank you.

Mark Hynes’

As an aside, it is revealing to find that, when he chooses, Mr. Hynes can write fluently and politely, since an e-mail that he recently sent to a mere resident – see linked posts – is little more that an offhand jumble, which appears to have been composed during a brief fag break. Of course, the contrast is revealing about LBWF priorities, and makes a mockery of claims to ‘customer-focus’, but that is hardly a revelation.

On a more serious note, it is interesting to speculate as to why this guidance has been circulated now. It appears that the Conservative councillors’  register of interest forms are all present and correct, so if problems exist, they are likely to concern one or other of the many landlords on the Labour side. This blog will be watching closely to see which (if any) updates occur.

Coincidentally, news emerges that Mr. Hynes has questioned a Labour member about their rather too long absence from council business, though in the end he accepted that there is no case to answer (of which more anon.).

Cumulatively,  this puzzles. The rules for councillors are clear. Yet every time that this blog has scrutinised compliance over the years, issues have emerged. Perhaps it’s time for those councillors who do take their obligations seriously to get together and tighten up the system once and for all. Because otherwise, needless to say, they risk being tarred with the same brush.

PS This, from 2012, is always good for a laugh:

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