Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse…

This was the last post we published about the fallout from Thurrock Council’s failing ‘borrow to invest’ strategy that has left them owing hundreds of millions of pounds to other councils who they borrowed the money from: Spiralling down the drain 14.9.22. The situation continues to worsen with this: Blundering council’s latest ‘error’ means council meeting is postponed 16.9.22. Basically, the full meeting of Thurrock Council where the issues surrounding the failing investments and the future of the senior officers responsible could have been discussed had to be postponed because of an administrative error. This would have been the first full meeting of the council since July. Away from the financial issues, there were a host of other issues that urgently needed to be addressed. That discussion didn’t happen because the statutory paperwork making the meeting legal wasn’t completed. You would have thought that completing the paperwork to enable a meeting to legally proceed was a pretty basic, routine, unproblematic procedure but it seems that even that is beyond the capability of Thurrock Council.

Let’s get onto the nitty gritty… On Thursday 15.9, there was a meeting of the General Services Committee of Thurrock Council. The remit of the meeting was to decide what was going to happen to the senior officers deemed to have a responsibility for the failing investment strategy. The meeting went ahead after a fashion but it was subject to a number of adjournments. This is the account from Thurrock Nub News as to what was happening at that meeting: Drama and delays at Thurrock Council vital meeting to discuss CEO’s future. Independent councillor is kicked out of meeting and storms off slating actions that are ‘a disgrace’. 15.9.22. It gets worse than that, much worse: Council CEO goes ‘on leave’ after string of disastrous financial dealings – and her parting shot was another blunder! Council tightlipped about if she is being paid and what has happened to her bungling finance director. 16.9.22.

The Chief Executive Officer of Thurrock Council, Lyn Carpenter, is where the buck should have stopped with the dire situation regarding the failing investment strategy and spiralling debts the council has to service. Carpenter is now ‘taking a period of leave’. It’s unclear at this point whether she’s still getting paid. Ian Wake, the Corporate Director of Adults, Housing and Health is acting as the CEO in Carpenter’s absence. As for Sean Clark, the former finance director of the council who was the architect of the failing investment strategy, what has happened to him is becoming one of the mysteries of the modern age.

Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it has! The situation has descended into a grim farce with a plot line that you couldn’t make up if you tried. Thurrock Council are continuing their practice of failing to communicate with the local media and the residents they’re supposed to be serving. They’re in deep trouble and eventually, it will be the residents of Thurrock who will suffer the consequences. The people of Thurrock are owed an open and honest explanation as to what went wrong and a full apology. Instead they’re getting a toxic mix of self serving evasiveness and utter bullshit. Thurrock Council need to be told that the hole they’ve dug themselves into is already way too deep and that they need to drop the sodding shovel right now!

How many more times are we going to have to say this for f**k sake? Thurrock Council are not fit for purpose. This doesn’t just apply to Thurrock – having started to look at the situation down here in the Avon region with the councils we have to deal with, it’s becoming abundantly clear that the entire system is dysfunctional and not fit for purpose. The question is this – how much longer are people going to tolerate this before something finally gives?

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