Another view on Jahangir Akhtar – It just gets worse!

Rothpol is grateful for this contribution from a reader. She is clearly alarmed and dismayed to discover the full extent of Akhtar’s unacceptable attitudes, from his own words. Warning! Profanity alert, Jahangir Akhtar’s words are of the very worst kind, click on image left to read:

JA Twitter Feed“Very worried and offended that the deputy leader insults individuals in his own town

Very worried the deputy leader insults and belittles those on benefits and stereotypes older citizens

I’m worried that the deputy leader endorses the worst insults possible (c***, whore) tweeting privately doesn’t mean you can endorse filthy words

‘Councillors will help you irrespective of party affiliations’- no, you can only get help if you voted for the Labour candidates. I am upset that councillors are intimidating and belittling people just because they voted for a different party.

The poor children who suffered grooming are being used as a toy by the deputy leader when he mocks Bradford. Why is he humiliating them even more?

As well as sending this in, because of my worries, I am contacting the council and police because I, as someone who lives in Rotherham should not feel that if I ask a question to the deputy leader that he will use dirty words or intimidate me like he has to the people above.”

The Labour Party asks for our trust and repays us with this disgraceful specimen of humanity?

Quite when will they expel this moron who is single handedly, bringing the whole Labour Party into disrepute! All in the Labour Leaders backyard, doesn’t get worse than that!

Have all of Jahangir Akhtar’s 2509 tweets as a single file, email Rothpol if you would like a copy, for your own amusement or edification.

Is this man for real?

Jahangir ‘Asbo’ Akhtar seems to be revealing more than a little of his true views with this tweet:


The link provided points to a blog called Rotherham Bradford Politics and to this post in particular, Exposing the lies and half truths on Child exploitation.

Rothpol can only surmise that in sharing this post, Akhtar was offering his own endorsement of it’s comments as well as being proud of his own words. His own words can also be found amongst the comments, posted under assumed names.

This would be outrageous enough, if Akhtar were merely a labour member but to have come from a labour borough councillor, currently serving as Deputy Leader and Vice Chair of the South Yorkshire Police & Crime Panel, simply astonishing!

Why is this oaf still on the council?

Extra Time Called on Herringthorpe Plans

Rotherham Politics has learned that extra time has been ordered on the consultation about the current proposals before the Council concerning Herringthorpe.

Why? The Council failed to put an advert in the Advertiser for the second time and this infraction has caused this extension to the consultation period.

In light of this the Council have undertaken to comply with the following; Fresh advertisements will be placed in this weeks Advertiser, followed by another the following week, followed by one week for responses to be made.

We can also report that a petition opposing, signed by 4500 residents, has been handed in already and the petition has now also been re-opened, please sign if asked.

Herringthorpe Playing Fields Community Group

Andrew Norfolk wins Paul Foot Award

Andrew Norfolk of the Times has won this years Private Eye Paul Foot Award for investigative journalism for his two year investigation into the child sexual exploitation phenomenon in Rotherham and Rochdale. Thoroughly deserved!

The Paul Foot Award 2012 – Winner
Andrew Norfolk
The Times
Child sexual exploitation
Andrew Norfolk’s two-year investigation into the targeting, grooming and sexual exploitation of teenage girls by organised groups of men has prompted two government-ordered inquiries, a parliamentary inquiry and a new national action plan on child sexual exploitation.
The investigation revealed a crime model that police and care agencies refused to recognise – that most of the victims were white and a majority of those in identified abuse networks were men of Pakistani origin.
Andrew Norfolk’s powerful articles revealed how the reluctance of agencies to acknowledge and confront a widespread form of abuse in deprived northern communities had broken families and shattered the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable children.
Andrew Norfolk’s reports consistently ran throughout last year, exposing past failures to protect children and prosecute offenders – when detailed intelligence was held about victims and perpetrators. The campaign has been instrumental in forcing all concerned with the protection of children to give a higher priority to cases of sexual exploitation.

Shaun Wright – out of his depth?

Looks like Wright is already out of his depth.

I would have thought as PCC he would have dealt with this without having to refer to the Complaints Commission.


Anston Parish Council Survival Kit


Absolutely Love this!

Anston Parish Council Survival Kit

History made in Rotherham at last nights meeting of Anston Parish Council when a tweeter live tweeted from the meeting. To view the tweets, click on this link to view Love Dinnington on Twitter as it happened!

Great piece of citizen journalism, all our thanks go to @LoveDinnington.

#daftarrest – Blogger’s legal fight shines light on council transparency

This, from C4, gives a pretty fair summing up of the issues involved in the #daftarrest libel trial which concluded last week:

Blogger’s legal fight shines light on council transparency

She was arrested for filming a council meeting – the situation escalated and now she’s in a high court libel trial. But citizen journalist Jacqui Thompson says she will still fight for transparency.

It’s a David and Goliath case which lays bare the challenges – and, some would say, the importance – of citizen journalism.

LLandwrda resident Jacqui Thompson is a blogger who writes about her local authority, Carmarthenshire County Council. She says she just wants to raise awareness of what’s happening in local government – but she has been locked in a legal struggle with the council authorities over her work for much of the last 18 months.

Back in 2011, Mrs Thompson was ejected from a council meeting and arrested when she refused to stop filming for a report on her blog. She says there is nothing in the council rules which indicates that she cannot film – but the council disagreed. Read on…….

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The Code of Conduct – Observed more in the breach?

Reproduced below is the RMBC Code of Conduct for Members and Co-Opted Members. This can be downloaded here as a pdf file, for future reference, or to print your own copy:

General Provisions
Introduction and interpretation
1. (1) This Code applies to you as a member of Rotherham Borough Council (“the Council”).
(2) It is your responsibility to comply with the provisions of this Code and uphold the seven principles of public life set out in Annex 1 to this Code.
(3) In this Code –
A “meeting of the Council” means any meeting of –
(a) the Council;
(b) the Cabinet, a committee of the Cabinet or a member of the Cabinet acting under delegated powers;
(c) the Council’s committees, sub-committees, joint committees, joint sub-committees, or area committees.
A “member” includes a co-opted member who is entitled to vote on any question that falls to be decided at any meeting that falls within paragraphs (a) – (c) above.
2. (1) Except when you are acting as a representative of the Council when sub-paragraph (2) applies, you must comply with this Code whenever you –
(a) conduct the business of the Council (which, in this Code, includes the business of the office to which you are elected or appointed); or
(b) act, claim to act or give the impression you are acting as a representative of the Council.
Where you act as a representative of the Council –
on any of the authorities which are under a duty to have a similar code of conduct to this Code, you must comply with that authority’s code of conduct when acting for that authority;
(b) on any organisation or body that is not obliged to have a code of conduct, you must comply with this Code except to the extent that this Code conflicts with any other lawful obligations to which that other organisation or body may be subject.
General obligations
3. (1) You must treat others with respect.
(2) You must not –
(a) do anything which may cause the Council to breach any of the equality duties;
(b) bully any person;
(c) do anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of, the Council.
4. You must not –
(a) disclose information given to you in confidence by anyone, or information acquired by you which you believe, or ought reasonably to be aware, is of a confidential nature, except where –
(i) you have the consent of a person authorised to give it;
(ii) you are required by law to do so;
(iii) the disclosure is made to a third party for the purpose of obtaining professional advice provided that the third party agrees not to disclose the information to any other person; or
the disclosure is –
(aa) reasonable and in the public interest; and
(bb) made in good faith and in compliance with the reasonable requirements of the Council; or
(b) prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person is entitled by law.
5. You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or the Council into disrepute.
6. You –
(a) must not use or attempt to use your position as a member improperly to confer on or secure for yourself, or any other person, an advantage or disadvantage; and
(b) must, when using or authorising the use by others of the resources of the Council –
(i) act in accordance with the Council’s reasonable requirements;
(ii) ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes); and
(c) must have regard to any applicable Local Authority Code of Publicity made under the Local Government Act 1986.
7. (1) When reaching decisions on any matter you must have regard to any relevant advice provided to you by the Council’s –
(a) chief finance officer (the Strategic Director of Resources); or
(b) monitoring officer (the Director of Legal and Democratic Services),
where that officer is acting pursuant to his or her statutory duties.
(2) You must give reasons for all decisions in accordance with any statutory requirements and any reasonable additional requirements imposed by the Council.
Personal interests
8. You have a personal interest in any business of the Council where either it relates to or is likely to affect –
(i) any body of which you are a member or in a position of general control or management and to which you are appointed or nominated by the Council;
(ii) any body –
(aa) exercising functions of a public nature;
(bb) directed to charitable purposes;
(cc) one of whose principal purposes includes the influence of public opinion or policy (including any political party or trade union); or
(dd) which is a private club or society, such as the Freemasons, a recreational club, working men’s club or private investment club,
of which you are a member or in a position of general control or management;
the interests of any person from whom you have received a gift or hospitality with an estimated value of at least £25; or
a decision in relation to that business might reasonably be regarded as affecting the well-being or financial position of you or a member of your family or a close friend or someone with whom you have a close association to a greater extent than it would affect the majority of other council tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of your ward or electoral area.
Disclosable pecuniary interests
9 (1) You have a “disclosable pecuniary interest” in any business of the Council where it is a pecuniary interest of yours or a pecuniary interest of –
(a) your spouse or civil partner,
(b) a person with whom you are living as if husband and wife, or
(c) a person with whom you are living as if you are civil partners
and you are aware that that other person has the interest and the interest falls within the categories of pecuniary interests classed as disclosable pecuniary interests in regulations made by the Secretary of State from time to time under section 30 (3) of the Localism Act 2011.
The current disclosable pecuniary interests are listed in Annex 2 to this Code.
Notification of interests
10. You must notify the Council’s monitoring officer of any interest that is classed as a personal interest or a disclosable pecuniary interest –
(a) within 28 days of becoming a member or co-opted member of the Council;
(b) within 28 days of acquiring any interest or becoming aware of any such interest;
(c) within 28 days of any change to an interest that you have previously registered; or
(d) within 28 days of disclosing an interest at a meeting of the Council
Disclosure of interests
11. (1) Where you have a personal interest in any business of the Council and you attend a meeting of the Council at which the business is considered, you need only disclose the existence and nature of that interest to the meeting if –
(a) the interest is not already entered in your register of interests; or
(b) the interest is not one that you have already notified to the monitoring officer.
(2) Where you have a disclosable pecuniary interest in any business of the Council and you attend a meeting of the Council at which the business is considered, unless the interest is a sensitive interest (see sub-paragraph (3)), you must disclose the existence and nature of that interest and, unless you have been granted a dispensation (see sub-
paragraph (4)), you must not take part in the discussion or vote on that item and must withdraw from the meeting room, including the public gallery, before the item is considered by the meeting.
(3) You need not disclose the nature of any personal interest or disclosable pecuniary interest in an item of business where the Council’s monitoring officer considers that disclosure of the details of the interest (“a sensitive interest”) could lead to you or a person connected with you being subject to violence or intimidation.
(4) Sub-paragraph (2), does not apply where the monitoring officer or the Standards Committee, as the case may be, has granted a dispensation to enable you to take part in the discussion of, or vote on that item, or both.
12 You commit an offence if without reasonable excuse –
(a) you fail to notify the monitoring officer within 28 days of becoming a member of the Council of any disclosable personal interests that you have;
(b) you fail to disclose at a meeting of the Council the nature and extent of a disclosable pecuniary interest that you have, and are aware of having, in an item of business that is being considered at the meeting, unless –
(i) the interest is a sensitive interest and paragraph 11 (3) applies;
(ii) the interest is entered in the Register of Members’ Interests maintained by the monitoring officer; or
(iii) the monitoring officer has been notified that you have such an interest but the register has not yet been updated (“a pending notification”);
(c) you fail to notify the monitoring officer of a disclosable pecuniary interest that you have disclosed at a meeting of the Council, or where you are a member of the Cabinet at your delegated powers meeting, as the case may be, within 28 days of the date on which you made the disclosure;
(d) you participate in any discussion of, or vote on, any item of business at a meeting of the Council in which you have a disclosable pecuniary interest of which you are aware, unless you have been granted a dispensation in accordance with paragraph 11 (4), or
(e) you have a disclosable pecuniary interest of which you are aware in any item of business to be dealt with, or being dealt with, by you as a member of the Cabinet acting under delegated powers and despite having that interest continue to deal with that item of business, except where such dealing is for the purpose of arranging for the item to be dealt with otherwise than by you.
The Seven Principles of Public Life
1. Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
4. Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
5. Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
6. Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
7. Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
In accordance with Section 30(3) of the Localism Act 2011 a pecuniary interest is a “disclosable pecuniary interest” in relation to a member, if it is of a description specified below and either

is an interest of the member, or

is an interest of:-
the member’s spouse or civil partner
a person with whom the member is living as husband and wife, or
a person with whom the member is living as if they were civil partners,
and the member is aware that the other person has the interest.
However it should be noted that the disclosure of sponsorship is only in relation to the sponsorship of the member and not in relation to a spouse or civil partner.
In the Table below –
“body in which you have a beneficial interest” means a firm in which the relevant person is a partner or a body corporate of which the relevant person is a director, or in the securities of which the relevant person has a beneficial interest;
“director” includes a member of the committee of management of an industrial and provident society;
“land” excludes an easement, servitude, interest or right in or over land which does not carry with it a right for the relevant person (alone or jointly with another) to occupy the land or to receive income;
“relevant period” means the period of 12 months ending with the day on which M gives notification of a disclosable pecuniary interest;
“relevant person” means you (as a member) or your spouse or civil partner; a person with whom you are living as husband and wife; or a person with whom you are living as if you were civil partners;
“securities” means shares, debentures, debenture stock, loan stock, bonds, units of a collective investment scheme within the meaning of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and other securities of any description, other than money deposited with a building society.
Prescribed description
Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation
Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain
Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the Council) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by the member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards the election expenses of the member. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992(a).
Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant Council –
(a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and
(b) which has not been fully discharged.
Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant Council.
Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the Council for a month or longer
Corporate tenancies
Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge) –
(a) the landlord is the Council; and
(b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest
Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where—(a) that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the Council; and (b) either— (i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.


A little light reading

Just last week, as the #daftarrest case concerning a citizen who has been subjected to the most outrageous intimidation including the litigation she has been forced to endure, came to an end, Eric Pickles reissued the following two documents:

Town hall doors unlocked to social media and bloggers

Citizen journalists and bloggers should be let in to public council meetings

Letter from Bob Neill to local authority leaders: access to meetings pdf

Trying to tell the Judge something? At the same time local councils? I do hope so.

I imagine, the same rules apply to parish council meetings!