Talkswindon

Elections => Swindon Council Elections & AV Referendum 2011 => Topic started by: Geoff Reid on May 12, 2011, 07:22:14 PM

Title: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 12, 2011, 07:22:14 PM
Also blogged here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1112 (http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1112)

(http://www.geoffreid.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/dave-wood-eastcott-liberal-democrat-swindon.png)

Regular readers of my blog will probably be familiar with my recent notes (http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1050) concerning Swindon's small clutch of Liberal Democrat Councillors who represent the electoral ward of Eastcott and that, in that post, I discussed how the residents of the ward were being subjected to a concentrated bombardment of political Porky-Pies contained in Lib Dem election material.

Well, here's the thing:  Councillor Dave Wood, (the boyfriend of newly elected Eastcott Lib Dem councillor Nicky Sewell), recently appeared on the Talkswindon forum and,  in a discussion topic he euphemisticly named 'Coming Soon: The Truth about Eastcott 2011' (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=7581.0),  he promised to:

Quote from: Cllr Dave Wood
"Set the record straight"


I became briefly excited by this, until I read a bit further and noticed that he'd almost immediately added:

Quote from: Cllr Dave Wood
"Well, not now.  As soon as I get the time I will be back"


Councillor Dave has been back, but hasn't yet set any records straight.  In fact he's gone to some lengths to avoid answering any questions at all which,  all by itself,  raises yet more questions but, as  Dave has already accused me of trying to divert his 'topic-of-truth',  I thought I might chuck a couple of interesting questions out to the world at large and see what comes back.

During Nicky Sewells election campaign the lib dem election leaflets variously trumpeted the messages that Nicky Sewell was a 'local campaigner', a resident of Bowood road and that she was fiercely opposed to 'HMO's, (no, not Homo's, but 'Houses in multiple occupation').   In no leaflet was reference ever made to Nicky Sewell and Dave Wood being a couple or apparently living together at Nicky's Bowood Road address.

Normally it absolutely should not matter what the living arrangements between two people are, unless of course they are doing something illegal while they are doing it.  I'm not suggesting that Cllr's Sewell and Wood are doing anything illegal, but my curiosity is piqued by the effort Dave and Nicky are both expending as they apparently try to hide where they live from the very people that elected them.

Just prior to  Councillor Wood being elected to council in his nomination papers gave his address (http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/Eastcott/liberal%20democrats/2010%2004%2001%20statement%20of%20persons%20nominated%20-%20Eastcott%20Ward.jpg) as: 21 Bowood Road, Eastcott and his proposer was none other than Nicola E Sewell, his girlfriend and also latterly known as Councillor Nicky Sewell.

Oddly though, after he was elected Councillor Wood submitted his contact details for inclusion on the Swindon Borough Council Website, and listed his home address (http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/Eastcott/liberal%20democrats/SBC%20Contact%20pages/2011%2005%2011%20councillor%20dave%20wood.htm) as:

Quote
Home Address:
c/o Civic Office


Councillor Woods register of interests entry is also interesting because, in the section where councillors must disclose any "Land in the area of the authority in which you have a beneficial interest", Daves entry says starkly (http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/Eastcott/liberal%20democrats/2011%2005%2012%20Dave%20wood%20register%20of%20interests.pdf):

Quote
Details available at the Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH


I presume then, that Cllr Wood does have a beneficial interest in some land or property within the Borough, but he does not wish members of the public to easily find out what, or where it might be.  At this point I can only speculate as to why he wants to hide these details from public scrutiny.

In 2011, when she decided to join her boyfriend in the council chamber,  Nicky Sewell also recorded her address as being 21 Bowood Road, Eastcott on her  nomination papers (http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/Eastcott/liberal%20democrats/2011%2004%2001%20statement%20of%20persons%20nominated%20-%20Eastcott%20Ward.jpg) but, following Cllr Dave Woods previous example,  post-election she appears to have given her address as:

Quote
Home Address:
c/o Civic Office


This strikes me a being more than a little curious and quite contrary to my previous perception that liberal democrats are wedded to the notion of demanding transparency, openness and honesty from elected public servants.  Considering the considerable gravity which her election material gave to her being a 'local' resident of Eastcott, it seems very strange to me that both she and Dave Wood would, upon being elected to council by other residents of Eastcott, would then go to considerable lengths to hide where they live,  reduce their contact details to the bare minimum and go to  similar lengths to prevent the easy examination of their register of interests.

Perhaps Dave rents out a house to multiple occupants, (embarrassing for him considering the Eastcott Lib Dems apparent policy on HMO's), or maybe the pair of them don't want Eastcotts Catholic population to know they're living in sin.  Despite what their own election material said recently, and what was submitted on Cllr Sewells nomination papers,  it's also possible that neither of them live within the ward and the Bowood Road address may not be where they actually reside.  (that would cause a problem with electoral law of course).

I don't know what the answers are to be honest, (and as Cllr Wood has already said he won't answer questions from anyone he thinks is a labour supporter -  I actively supported Chris Watts' campaign in Eastcott so I guess that makes me a labour supporter in Daves opinion), but I think this is very strange behaviour from two people who actively sought votes from the residents of Eastcott - because they said they wanted to publicly serve those residents - but then try to hide where they live and what other property they have a 'beneficial interest in', within the Borough.

Cllr Wood is refusing to answer reasonable questions about public domain information about himself which ought to be freely and easily available.  His example, which Cllr Sewell is now following, seems to suggest that they might both think that transparency is something which applies to other Borough Councillors, but not to them.  I beg to differ.

Given that it is a mandatory requirement that all Borough Councillors accurately maintain their register of interests and update it within 28 days of any changes, I feel it is my civic duty to stick my nose in and have a good long sniff on behalf of the other incurably curious tax-paying residents of the Borough.  To that end I have today submitted the following freedom of information request (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/councillors_register_of_interest#incoming-173832).
It may yet prove to be the first of several.


Quote from: Geoff Reid
Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I note that the Register of Interests entry for Swindon Borough
Councillor Dave Wood (Eastcott Ward) does not record details of
land in the area of the authority in which he has a beneficial
interest.

The on-line register of interests document available at

[url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=926&T=6&J=3[/url] ([url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=926&T=6&J=3[/url])

states that this information is available at the Civic Offices,
Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH.

Question 1: Please supply the address and other relevant details of
any land and properties in the area of the authority in which Cllr
Dave Wood has a beneficial interest.

I note that a register of interests entry for Cllr Nicky Sewell is
not available online at:

[url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=1576&J=1[/url] ([url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=1576&J=1[/url])

Question 2: Please supply the address and other relevant details of
any land and properties in the area of the authority in which Cllr
Nicky Sewell has a beneficial interest.

Question 3: On the current electoral role for the Borough of
Swindon, at what address or addresses are Nicky Sewell and Dave
Wood registered to vote?



Yours faithfully,

Geoff Reid




As the  'No smoke without fire' analogy is so often proved correct within local politics,  I very much look forward to finding out what it is that Cllr's Wood and Sewell are intent on hiding.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of The Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Ringer on May 12, 2011, 09:42:45 PM
Has Cllr Dave Wood and Cllr Sewell got telephone numbers? How are their people meant to get in touch with them?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of The Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Spectre on May 12, 2011, 10:14:13 PM
Has Cllr Dave Wood and Cllr Sewell got telephone numbers? How are their people meant to get in touch with them?

They don't want them to now the election is over Ringer.  Watch this space in about ten months time.  :coolsmiley:
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of The Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Ringer on May 12, 2011, 11:12:42 PM
They don't want them to now the election is over Ringer.  Watch this space in about ten months time.  :coolsmiley:

Have people got to wait for 10 months before they can get in touch with a councillor in Eastcott by phone?  :popcorn:
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of The Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Richard Symonds on May 12, 2011, 11:53:18 PM
According to the internet they both live at 21 Bowoood Road, but mysteriously whilst Dave's link works Ikky's does not!!

Typed it all out but lost it and cannot be bothered to do it again at this time of night.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of The Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Ringer on May 13, 2011, 12:24:26 AM
According to the internet they both live at 21 Bowoood Road, but mysteriously whilst Dave's link works Ikky's does not!!

Typed it all out but lost it and cannot be bothered to do it again at this time of night.

Never mind you old night owl  :wakeup: don't blame  O0
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of The Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: DarkAuror on May 13, 2011, 07:34:14 AM
Has Cllr Dave Wood and Cllr Sewell got telephone numbers? How are their people meant to get in touch with them?

They don't want them to now the election is over Ringer.  Watch this space in about ten months time.  :coolsmiley:

Does this mean that the only time residents will see the councillors will be in the FOCUS meetings and Elections?

Surely this is what alleged in the LibDem leaflets about the labour candidate, you would only see the candidate at elections. If other councillors have made their details available, including Councillors Bluh and Perkins,who to be fair have more on their plate then the most councillors, why not the 2 LibDem councillors?

There is probably a very simple explanation for the lack of details but how do residents contact the councillors outside of the FOCUS meetings?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of The Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Ringer on May 13, 2011, 10:22:46 AM
There is probably a very simple explanation for the lack of details but how do residents contact the councillors outside of the FOCUS meetings?

Some Swindon Borough Councillors sit on a Parish council and I believe there is a condition of residency.
 
Quote
A candidate for a Parish or Town Council is qualified if, when nominated -

(a) he or she is a British subject or Irish citizen,
(b) is 18 years of age, and
(c) is either in the list of electors for that Parish or Town or has during the whole of the preceding twelve months
(i) occupied land as owner or tenant in it, or
(ii) had a principal place of work there, or
(iii) resided in or within three miles of it. (as c)

 


If they move after election is it only out of politeness that the people who elected them should be informed of where they live? Cllr Dale Heenan made much of the North Swindon MP's/candidates residential status and where they were registered to vote. Why does he not scrutinise Cllr Peter Heaton Jones, another C/O the civic councillor?
 
I think it is only fair in the interests of local transparency that councillors explain why they do not publish their addresses on the SBC website.  Another worrying trend that I have noticed in the recent election is some candidates hide from the   are not disclosing their own home addresses to the voters on their election bumpf.

As the Leader of the Council Rod Bluh has said previously scrutiny is generally to be welcomed. Is generally the word open to interpretation?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of The Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 13, 2011, 10:38:32 AM

Funny that, PHJ is already the subject of another discussion elsewhere.  :wink:

For the time being though, what Cllr's Wood & Sewell may or may not be up to or hiding has certainly woken the Lamplighters network (http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/lamplighters.htm) up.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Richard Symonds on May 14, 2011, 06:47:54 PM
Having started this Dave isn't it about time you finished it?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Ringer on May 15, 2011, 11:30:27 AM
Having started this Dave isn't it about time you finished it?

Richard when you are sitting comfortably he'll begin  :2funny:
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Walker on November 10, 2013, 08:29:53 PM
from: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/business/9533086.print/ (http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/business/9533086.print/)

It looks likes they live in Kingshill, Nicky comes from Jersey (the tax haven) and Dave the Isle of Skye (speed bonnie boat springs to mind)

 :fish:


Two more councillors tie the knot in secret ceremony

4:02pm Wednesday 15th February 2012

 By David Wiles

WEDDING fever has gripped the Lib Dem group at Swindon Council, with members tying the knot in two ceremonies at Swindon Register Office this year.
 
Andy Harrison, 48, who has been a Penhill councillor for just over five years, married his partner Sue Beeston, 50, in front of friends and family on January 28.
 
Their wedding was attended by partners Dave Wood and Nicky Sewell, both 30 and councillors for Eastcott, who wed in a surprise ceremony on February 4.
 
Both ceremonies took place in a room at the Civic Offices which was once committee room six, where all three councillors previously took part in many debates.
 
The weddings mean all four members of the group, led by Coun Stan Pajak, are now married. Dave said: “There are four members and three got married within seven days. It’s a bit bizarre.
 
“We were trying to decide between the two weeks. It was good luck we went for the weekend afterwards because we didn’t know Andy was getting married.
 
“Andy, as far as I know, doesn’t know we got married because he is still on his honeymoon.
 
“We just told parents and grandparents before the day.”

There are only a few couples who are both borough councillors in Swindon, and this is thought to be the first time for decades, if ever, that serving councillors in Swindon have married.
 
Dave said the politics does not get in the way of the relationship but presents its challenges.
 
He said: “It’s difficult in not seeing as much of one another as other couples would because we’re on different committees, so we’re out on different nights.
 
“And we don’t agree on all the issues, so we’re very much like any other members of the group. We have to separate the political and the personal.”
 
Dave and Nicky met as students at the University of Plymouth, when he was studying psychology and politics, and she was studying psychology.
 
On the wedding day, the couple, who live at Kingshill, invited friends to their combined 30th birthday party and ten-year anniversary of being together.
 
When the guests arrived, they were greeted by a video message telling them they had been married that day. They were then invited to a blessing at Lydiard House before a party at the Hilton Hotel.
 
The blessing was conducted by the Rev Lionel Fanthorpe, a friend of the couple and veteran of TV and radio.
 
Nicky said: “We didn’t want the pressure that normally comes with wedding so we decided to only tell parents and grandparents. We did it very our way and were pleased we did.”
 
The blessing and reception were nearly derailed as weather warnings meant many parts of the country were at a standstill.
 
But guests still travelled from Nicky’s home of Jersey in the Channel Isles and Dave’s birthplace of the Isle of Skye, in the Hebrides. They will honeymoon is Romania in May.
 
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on November 11, 2013, 12:09:26 AM

Interesting choice of subject for your very first post on TS, especially as it appears to be out of date by at least 18 months.  Welcome to TS though.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Richard Symonds on November 11, 2013, 01:42:14 PM

Interesting choice of subject for your very first post on TS, especially as it appears to be out of date by at least 18 months.  Welcome to TS though.

Does it have anything to do with the fact that both of them were absent again at Council last Thursday?

I wonder how long it will be before the people of Eastcott notice that their Representatives have such a poor attendance record?  Or more importantly do they actually care?  Over to you Tobes.  :wink:

Either way dear old Dave must be dangerously close to the minimum requirements for attendance.  Such a difference from his heady days in his remunerated position of Chairman of the Children's Overview Scrutiny Committee.

So even with the absence of the Mayor there was absolutely no chance of the Administration being outvoted and even more so with the early departure of two Labour Members!  Does anyone agree that the minutes should record a late arrival and an early departure of a member?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Alligator on November 11, 2013, 02:03:34 PM
Does anyone agree that the minutes should record a late arrival and an early departure of a member?

I think this would be a good start, however it's the quality of their contributions that matter more to me.  I'd prefer that someone didn't attend if all they were going to do while there was engage in a load of yah-boo politics or attend only for the sake of being seen to attend. 

I think a Hansard style reporting would be beneficial all round,  allowing us to see both their attendance and their voting record.   I know that this may be costly, but if transparent, accountable democracy, designed to operate in the 21st century, is something we can't afford, we may as well give up.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on November 11, 2013, 03:17:39 PM

Interesting choice of subject for your very first post on TS, especially as it appears to be out of date by at least 18 months.  Welcome to TS though.


Does it have anything to do with the fact that both of them were absent again at Council last Thursday?

I wonder how long it will be before the people of Eastcott notice that their Representatives have such a poor attendance record?  Or more importantly do they actually care?  Over to you Tobes.  :wink:

Either way dear old Dave must be dangerously close to the minimum requirements for attendance.  Such a difference from his heady days in his remunerated position of Chairman of the Children's Overview Scrutiny Committee.

So even with the absence of the Mayor there was absolutely no chance of the Administration being outvoted and even more so with the early departure of two Labour Members!  Does anyone agree that the minutes should record a late arrival and an early departure of a member?


I don't know Richard but I thought it interesting, (for several reasons), that the first post made by new member 'Walker' dived straight into an older topic about Cllr Wood.

I understand, (via hearsay),  that there has been another online Twitter/Facebook/Beebo/Myspace spat betwixt Swindon's Tory and Labour Councillors which is, I am told, centred upon Cllr Wood.  Cllr Wood is, as we know, A liberal Democrat Councillor for Eastcott Ward.  I don't know the content of the spat and nor am I really interested.

I genuinely couldn't give a proverbial rat's arse if the opposing teams want to fang each other over a Liberal, but my antenna twitches when a new post, by a new member, suddenly pops up in an old thread about Woody......at about the same time that Cllr Faramarzi mentions Nazigate (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php/topic,8248.0.html) and Olive has yet another abortive attempt at fibrillating the mouldering corpse of Sweary Bob. I never figured either of them as being particularly necrophiliac in nature, but they do seem to like repeatedly mounting and flogging dead horses.

...anyway, I figure there's some diversionary political activism going on, and my money is on a small number of Tories desperately trying to shift public attention away from the embarrassing civic spectacle of a Mayor whose credibility increasingly resembles the painting of Dorian Grey (http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=9568.0). 

It is literally rotting and sloughing away as we watch.   
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Tobes on November 11, 2013, 05:44:11 PM
Quote
I wonder how long it will be before the people of Eastcott notice that their Representatives have such a poor attendance record?  Or more importantly do they actually care?  Over to you Tobes.

I suspect I am not giving away any confidences - seeing as 'Opportunity Anne' Snelgrove has already kicked herself full in the mouth by trying to make hay over his absence, but I understand that he was rushed to hospital. He's now back at home - but I'm not sure he's fully recovered from what ever was wrong.

In answer to your repeated rhetorical question Richard, I'll repeat my usual answer  :wink:

His absences compared to other councillors have already been noted, but as i said before, as long as voters in Eastcott think that he's good at reacting to and acting on issues in the ward, I doubt support for the libs will waver much. The bullshit which goes on in the chamber is something which we find interesting - but the majority of the electorate find asinine. Dave's actions regarding the old college building, for example, are the only ones I know of which have had any impact at all - people notice things like that and it has a resonance, whatever else the criticisms of him.

Besides all, on this occasion at least, I think the reason for his absence is pretty valid, don't you?  ::)

Quote
...at about the same time that Cllr Faramarzi mentions Nazigate and Olive has yet another abortive attempt at fibrillating the mouldering corpse of Sweary Bob.

Interesting? Another outbreak of 'put the knife into Geoff' eh? What seems to have sparked that, or is the drawing in of the winters nights mean that they're looking to dust off a favourite old hobby?

Quote
Does anyone agree that the minutes should record a late arrival and an early departure of a member?

Yes - defo. It seems a lot of councillors use this as a sneaky 'fourth' way of voting - it being neither an aye, a nay or a recorded abstention...
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: concerned_of_Old_Town on November 11, 2013, 06:16:24 PM
Must admit when I first saw Walkers  post couldn't understand the relevance and suspect Geoff is right in his suggest that some kind of Troll looking to create troubleert attention


Walker if you are reading this please advise why you posted it ?


Yes I also heard the rumour about Dave collapsing and if you happen to be reading this hope you are ok.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on November 11, 2013, 06:55:50 PM
Aah....the light dawns, cheers Tobes.

Interesting? Another outbreak of 'put the knife into Geoff' eh? What seems to have sparked that, or is the drawing in of the winters nights mean that they're looking to dust off a favourite old hobby?

It's a predictable cycle of Cllr A tweets about Cllr B, Cllr's C, D & E take offence on behalf of X, Y & Z. 

I get added into the general fun because this week's C, D & E Councillors  see it as another opportunity to wield a bit of reputational leverage, (the implied threat of damage to 'reputation' and 'integrity'), on several groups of people who have/will/might/might-not use(d) TS to do some some stuff which has/is, quite frankly, made/making the administration even more disturbed than usual  ;D

Pretty sure that some currently non-political-but-active Swindonians are just starting to realise that they're being pushed into either 'playing the game' at the big house - thus possibly losing the trust of Joe and Josephine average, or remaining with Joe and Josephine out in the cold, frozen out by the big boys. 

My interest in this is pretty much academic/TS centric* unless/until I'm libeled again.

* With the exception that, politics aside, I don't wish any physical ill on Dave Wood and hope he recovers speedily...so I can get back to kicking him politically  :)


 
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Mart on November 11, 2013, 07:46:44 PM
Aah....the light dawns, cheers Tobes.

No, still stygian here here. Atramentous even.

Haven't they got anything better to do?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on November 11, 2013, 10:34:40 PM
Quote from: Me
Aah....the light dawns, cheers Tobes.

No, still stygian here here. Atramentous even.

Short explanation for those easily bored or confused by the Antics Of The ilk.  (A potential comic opera title if I'm not mistaken) 

The ilk have been at each others (virtual) throats again - both in short bursts of less than 140 characters & longer, uncontrolled and ill-thought cholera type squirts of Facebook diarrhea - and a bit of it landed on my Nike's. 

This seems to happen quite regularly just prior to Remembrance Day, (I mean the ilk fanging each other, not their shit landing on my shoes!),  so perhaps all the red gets the blood lust up on both sides. 

We've seen just about everything else, so I wonder if Swindon will witness its first politician-on-politician 'assault with intent' one of these days  :-\   Perhaps we should play safe and start a sweepstake  :thumb:
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 17, 2013, 04:34:03 AM

Time to get back on topic.  :wink:

I spent several hours last night thinking about the original subject matter of this topic - Cllr's Dave Wood and his Missus, Cllr Nicky Sewell.  Why?, because they've cropped up in conversations several times recently and the subject matter of those conversations relates directly to this topic, and beyond.  I don't think it would be unfair to suggest that some of the activities of Cllr's Wood & Sewell, or perhaps I should say Cllr Wood and Cllr Wood, appear even more curious than I had suggested in post #1 of this topic.

Before I elaborate further, might I respectfully suggest that readers slowly peruse what I published in the first post of this topic in May 2011:



Also blogged here: [url]http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1112[/url] ([url]http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1112[/url])

([url]http://www.geoffreid.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/dave-wood-eastcott-liberal-democrat-swindon.png[/url])

Regular readers of my blog will probably be familiar with my recent notes ([url]http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=1050[/url]) concerning Swindon's small clutch of Liberal Democrat Councillors who represent the electoral ward of Eastcott and that, in that post, I discussed how the residents of the ward were being subjected to a concentrated bombardment of political Porky-Pies contained in Lib Dem election material.

Well, here's the thing:  Councillor Dave Wood, (the boyfriend of newly elected Eastcott Lib Dem councillor Nicky Sewell), recently appeared on the Talkswindon forum and,  in a discussion topic he euphemisticly named 'Coming Soon: The Truth about Eastcott 2011' ([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=7581.0[/url]),  he promised to:

Quote from: Cllr Dave Wood
"Set the record straight"


I became briefly excited by this, until I read a bit further and noticed that he'd almost immediately added:

Quote from: Cllr Dave Wood
"Well, not now.  As soon as I get the time I will be back"


Councillor Dave has been back, but hasn't yet set any records straight.  In fact he's gone to some lengths to avoid answering any questions at all which,  all by itself,  raises yet more questions but, as  Dave has already accused me of trying to divert his 'topic-of-truth',  I thought I might chuck a couple of interesting questions out to the world at large and see what comes back.

During Nicky Sewells election campaign the lib dem election leaflets variously trumpeted the messages that Nicky Sewell was a 'local campaigner', a resident of Bowood road and that she was fiercely opposed to 'HMO's, (no, not Homo's, but 'Houses in multiple occupation').   In no leaflet was reference ever made to Nicky Sewell and Dave Wood being a couple or apparently living together at Nicky's Bowood Road address.

Normally it absolutely should not matter what the living arrangements between two people are, unless of course they are doing something illegal while they are doing it.  I'm not suggesting that Cllr's Sewell and Wood are doing anything illegal, but my curiosity is piqued by the effort Dave and Nicky are both expending as they apparently try to hide where they live from the very people that elected them.

Just prior to  Councillor Wood being elected to council in his nomination papers gave his address ([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/Eastcott/liberal%20democrats/2010%2004%2001%20statement%20of%20persons%20nominated%20-%20Eastcott%20Ward.jpg[/url]) as: 21 Bowood Road, Eastcott and his proposer was none other than Nicola E Sewell, his girlfriend and also latterly known as Councillor Nicky Sewell.

Oddly though, after he was elected Councillor Wood submitted his contact details for inclusion on the Swindon Borough Council Website, and listed his home address ([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/Eastcott/liberal%20democrats/SBC%20Contact%20pages/2011%2005%2011%20councillor%20dave%20wood.htm[/url]) as:

Quote
Home Address:
c/o Civic Office


Councillor Woods register of interests entry is also interesting because, in the section where councillors must disclose any "Land in the area of the authority in which you have a beneficial interest", Daves entry says starkly ([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/Eastcott/liberal%20democrats/2011%2005%2012%20Dave%20wood%20register%20of%20interests.pdf[/url]):

Quote
Details available at the Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH


I presume then, that Cllr Wood does have a beneficial interest in some land or property within the Borough, but he does not wish members of the public to easily find out what, or where it might be.  At this point I can only speculate as to why he wants to hide these details from public scrutiny.

In 2011, when she decided to join her boyfriend in the council chamber,  Nicky Sewell also recorded her address as being 21 Bowood Road, Eastcott on her  nomination papers ([url]http://www.talkswindon.org/lamplighters/Eastcott/liberal%20democrats/2011%2004%2001%20statement%20of%20persons%20nominated%20-%20Eastcott%20Ward.jpg[/url]) but, following Cllr Dave Woods previous example,  post-election she appears to have given her address as:

Quote
Home Address:
c/o Civic Office


This strikes me a being more than a little curious and quite contrary to my previous perception that liberal democrats are wedded to the notion of demanding transparency, openness and honesty from elected public servants.  Considering the considerable gravity which her election material gave to her being a 'local' resident of Eastcott, it seems very strange to me that both she and Dave Wood would, upon being elected to council by other residents of Eastcott, would then go to considerable lengths to hide where they live,  reduce their contact details to the bare minimum and go to  similar lengths to prevent the easy examination of their register of interests.

Perhaps Dave rents out a house to multiple occupants, (embarrassing for him considering the Eastcott Lib Dems apparent policy on HMO's), or maybe the pair of them don't want Eastcotts Catholic population to know they're living in sin.  Despite what their own election material said recently, and what was submitted on Cllr Sewells nomination papers,  it's also possible that neither of them live within the ward and the Bowood Road address may not be where they actually reside.  (that would cause a problem with electoral law of course).

I don't know what the answers are to be honest, (and as Cllr Wood has already said he won't answer questions from anyone he thinks is a labour supporter -  I actively supported Chris Watts' campaign in Eastcott so I guess that makes me a labour supporter in Daves opinion), but I think this is very strange behaviour from two people who actively sought votes from the residents of Eastcott - because they said they wanted to publicly serve those residents - but then try to hide where they live and what other property they have a 'beneficial interest in', within the Borough.

Cllr Wood is refusing to answer reasonable questions about public domain information about himself which ought to be freely and easily available.  His example, which Cllr Sewell is now following, seems to suggest that they might both think that transparency is something which applies to other Borough Councillors, but not to them.  I beg to differ.

Given that it is a mandatory requirement that all Borough Councillors accurately maintain their register of interests and update it within 28 days of any changes, I feel it is my civic duty to stick my nose in and have a good long sniff on behalf of the other incurably curious tax-paying residents of the Borough.  To that end I have today submitted the following freedom of information request ([url]http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/councillors_register_of_interest#incoming-173832[/url]).
It may yet prove to be the first of several.


Quote from: Geoff Reid
Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I note that the Register of Interests entry for Swindon Borough
Councillor Dave Wood (Eastcott Ward) does not record details of
land in the area of the authority in which he has a beneficial
interest.

The on-line register of interests document available at

[url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=926&T=6&J=3[/url] ([url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=926&T=6&J=3[/url])

states that this information is available at the Civic Offices,
Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH.

Question 1: Please supply the address and other relevant details of
any land and properties in the area of the authority in which Cllr
Dave Wood has a beneficial interest.

I note that a register of interests entry for Cllr Nicky Sewell is
not available online at:

[url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=1576&J=1[/url] ([url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=1576&J=1[/url])

Question 2: Please supply the address and other relevant details of
any land and properties in the area of the authority in which Cllr
Nicky Sewell has a beneficial interest.

Question 3: On the current electoral role for the Borough of
Swindon, at what address or addresses are Nicky Sewell and Dave
Wood registered to vote?



Yours faithfully,

Geoff Reid




As the  'No smoke without fire' analogy is so often proved correct within local politics,  I very much look forward to finding out what it is that Cllr's Wood and Sewell are intent on hiding.

Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 17, 2013, 04:56:11 AM

Oh yeah, I think we're going to uncover what the Cllr's Wood wanted to keep under wraps.  It isn't pretty and I'm fairly sure that Swindon's fledgling 'Urgent Call For Reform' movement will want to talk to Cllr Wood (D) because his continuing presence in the (paid by the taxpayer) role as Chairman of the Swindon Borough Council Standards Committee should probably be urgently and publicly examined as a result of what will come to light later today.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Terry Reynolds on December 17, 2013, 09:41:55 AM
Will he and his good lady be making an appearance on Thursday??...
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Richard Symonds on December 17, 2013, 11:10:33 AM
Will he and his good lady be making an appearance on Thursday??...

You beat me to it T!!

but do you know which way they will vote if they do?

I wonder if Tobes will ask them?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 17, 2013, 03:04:28 PM
Will he and his good lady be making an appearance on Thursday??...


Considering that both Cllr Wood (D) and Cllr Wood/Sewell (N.E) are in regular receipt of payments from the public purse because the Conservative leadership saw fit to cement their local coalition by giving Mrs Wood the chairmanship of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=685) and Mr Wood Chairmanship of the Standards Committee (http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=282), Deputy Chairmanships of the Special Committee (http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=307) and Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Sub-Committee]....
....I would say that it is very, very likely that Cllr Wood (D) will vote in support of his Conservative colleagues and do what they can to 'protect' Mayor Martin.

Venality usually trumps Principles in local politics.  The other two lib dems will probably abstain.

([url]http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=335[/url])
I wonder if Tobes will ask them?


Richard, it was recently suggested that you're following Tobes around TS in the same way that 20eyes stalked his victims. Worth 5 minutes of reflection I think  :wink:

Anyway, let's get properly back on topic.....
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 17, 2013, 03:36:45 PM
My time if quite limited today so I'll sketch the outline of a picture and let members and readers fill in as much of the colour as they see fit.  I'll pop back as and when to publish supporting public domain documents to support what I say.

Lets start with Cllr Sewell, (Mrs Wood), and her register of interests at Swindon Borough Council. http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=1576&T=6 (http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=1576&T=6)

It's immediately obvious that Cllr Sewell has chosen not to disclose her address (singular) and, as we've heard before, the Woods' maintain that the reason for this is because she works as a crime scene investigator, however, the particulars of her employment has not prevented her from disclosing her address on other public domain documents.

In fact it is within other public domain documents that evidence seems to exist which indicates that Cllr Sewell and Cllr Wood regularly use multiple addresses.

In the case of Cllr Sewell, she appears to have deliberately used two identities and two addresses in order to become both the Company Secretary, (as Mrs Nicola Emma Wood of 21 Bowood Road Swindon), and a Director, (as Miss Nicola Emma Sewell of 4 Winifred Street Swindon), for a company called: Association For The Scientific Study Of Anomalous Phenomena (The). Company number 02075226

Cllr Wood is also named as a director for the above company, as: Wood, David CLLR, and in using 'CLLR' Dave Wood has brought his position as an elected member of Swindon Borough Council into association with whatever chicanery both he and Cllr Sewell have been up to with the Association above - and I assure readers that it looks as if there has been some considerable chicanery at ASSAP, to a level which caused Companies House to impose a large fine, (which wasn't then paid), the original ASSAP company to be struck off, a new company to be incorporated with a very slightly different name (07418442), allegations of illegal trading/operating, resignations of board members and a subsequent paying of the fine for, and re-instatement of, the original company. 

Top that lot off with a a mass exodus of ASSAP members and grumbles about a 'Wood Oligarchy', bullying and underhand practices and the story starts to get properly interesting.  As if that weren't enough, Cllr Wood (D) was apparently challenged about the above on ASSAP's facebook forum.  It is alleged that Cllr Wood gave an incorrect account for the change in the name of the company before deleting, or causing to be deleted, those parts of the discussion from facebook.  I don't know if screenshots exist but I'm sure we'd all like to see them if they do.

I'm running out of time, but there's a lot more to this. There also seem to be irregularities with ASSAP's status as a registered charity for which ASSAP members seem to be holding Cllr Wood directly responsible.

My parting thoughts for today are:  Is it illegal, when incorporating a company, for one person to present themselves as two different people and use two different addresses to do so?

Are Cllr's Wood and Sewell appropriate persons to be chairing any Council committee, let alone the Standards Committee and Health Overview And Scrutiny Committees if they are shown and proven to have given misleading information to Companies House?

It's ironic really, my original interest in how many homes/addresses Cllr's Wood and Sewell owned and used was piqued because I was interested to know whether an electoral (multiple registrations and voting) fraud was occurring. 

I think this is far more interesting.  :)
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: DaveWood on December 17, 2013, 06:38:57 PM
Returning for a one-post only appearance.   I've no doubt silly innuendo will continue for a long time to come, but I won't be coming back to see it now that I've set the record straight.

This silly post is a collection of inaccuracies, misleading statements and irrelevant information.

1. I'm not deputy chair of any committees stated

2. A former secretary of a charity I volunteer for added (accidentally, I assume) a duplicate entry for Nicky 'Wood' when she became secretary.  I've just seen this and corrected.  I assume 'Cllr' was added as an honorific instead of 'Mr' by someone else, but does not imply any link with the authority. 

3. Our previous address was on the system and had not been updated.  And now it is.

4. A volunteer at the charity forgot to file a return which resulted in a fine that was then paid, all a number of years ago.  Whilst I was also a volunteer trustee at that time it was not my action.  I was part of a committee that asked for the fine to be paid rather than form a new company.

5. Some years later, an entirely unconnected, a disgrunted former volunteer left due to a behavioural matter entirely unconnected.  I'm not sure what the comments about members blaming me for anything are about, apart from one or two disgrunted ex-volunteers.  I've had no other members contact me and it wasn't raised at the Annual Meeting of the charity last month.  And any members can ask for a matter to be raised without even attending.

6. There are no other facebook accounts or posts deleted, or whatever any of that means

7. There are no irregularities with ASSAP presently, status wise or anything else. 

8. I'm glad you seemed to drop the idea of electoral fraud  :WTF:

To sum up: sloppy administration by volunteers, personal politics and all entirely irrelevant.

Silly as this posting is, I thought it right to set the record straight.

And again I won't be checking back for any replies to this, but I hope you have hours of fun with it anyway!
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 17, 2013, 06:44:59 PM
That's an interesting version from Councillor Wood. 

Tomorrow I'll publish the documents and readers can decide whether Cllr Wood's version trumps the public record :)

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: concerned_of_Old_Town on December 17, 2013, 08:21:56 PM
Thanks for the update Dave.


At this stage not particularly bothered about the "allegations" which Geoff has posted as know from experience voluntary/charity admin can be a nightmare.  You get dammed if you do but dammed if you don't.  However will review the evidence when presented.


However if you are reading this and as one of your constituents more concerned how (if) you will vote on the 19th.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Outoftowner on December 17, 2013, 09:00:30 PM
I was curious to know what Cllr Dave Wood does for a living in a sort of, "down the pub - what do you do for a living mate?" kind of way.

According to his register of interests, he is an SBC councillor and a member of this Ghostbuster Charity and that's it.

Maybe his Grannie didn't tell him that you need to get a trade that you can fall back on? :popcorn:
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 18, 2013, 07:05:41 AM
I was curious to know what Cllr Dave Wood does for a living in a sort of, "down the pub - what do you do for a living mate?" kind of way.

It won't be any sort of public speaking.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 18, 2013, 07:16:21 AM
Returning for a one-post only appearance.   I've no doubt silly innuendo will continue for a long time to come, but I won't be coming back to see it now that I've set the record straight.

This silly post is a collection of inaccuracies, misleading statements and irrelevant information.

1. I'm not deputy chair of any committees stated


Starting with Cllr Wood's first point then - I'd previously stated: (my bold emphasis)

Quote from: Me
"the Conservative leadership saw fit to cement their local coalition by giving Mrs Wood the chairmanship of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Mr Wood Chairmanship of the Standards Committee, Deputy Chairmanships of the Special Committee and Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Sub-Committee....


This screenshot, taken at 20.05 hrs yesterday evening, proves that Cllr Wood's own SBC contact page is littered with 'inaccuracy', 'misleading statement' and 'irrelevant information'   

Click thumbnail to enlarge:

(http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/eastcott/cllr.dave.wood.contact%5Bwebthumb%5D.jpg) (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/eastcott/cllr.dave.wood.contact%5Bweb%5D.jpg)

On to Cllr Wood's Point 2:

2. A former secretary of a charity I volunteer for added (accidentally, I assume) a duplicate entry for Nicky 'Wood' when she became secretary.  I've just seen this and corrected.  I assume 'Cllr' was added as an honorific instead of 'Mr' by someone else, but does not imply any link with the authority. 


Ah, the 'Accidental Director' excuse.  I don't accept to be explanation to be even slightly credible.  A 'duplicate' entry would be two instances of the same name and address.  As readers can verify for themselves, two different names and two different addresses have been entered on the form.  This is not duplication but is, in fact, misrepresentation of identity details on a legal document which creates the impression that one person is, in fact, two entirely different people.

Insert pic 1.

3. Our previous address was on the system and had not been updated.  And now it is.



4. A volunteer at the charity forgot to file a return which resulted in a fine that was then paid, all a number of years ago.  Whilst I was also a volunteer trustee at that time it was not my action.  I was part of a committee that asked for the fine to be paid rather than form a new company.


5. Some years later, an entirely unconnected, a disgrunted former volunteer left due to a behavioural matter entirely unconnected.  I'm not sure what the comments about members blaming me for anything are about, apart from one or two disgrunted ex-volunteers.  I've had no other members contact me and it wasn't raised at the Annual Meeting of the charity last month.  And any members can ask for a matter to be raised without even attending.



6. There are no other facebook accounts or posts deleted, or whatever any of that means



7. There are no irregularities with ASSAP presently, status wise or anything else. 


8. I'm glad you seemed to drop the idea of electoral fraud  :WTF:

I expect Cllr would be glad if the idea had been dropped, but no one has yet gotten round to checking the electoral register to see whether Cllr's Wood and Sewell have registered themselves to vote at both addresses.  If they had it would make sense to then check whether voting numbers assigned to them at each address were presented at polling stations.

To sum up: sloppy administration by volunteers, personal politics and all entirely irrelevant.

Silly as this posting is, I thought it right to set the record straight.

And again I won't be checking back for any replies to this, but I hope you have hours of fun with it anyway!
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 18, 2013, 09:10:33 AM
I can't comment on Dave and Emma's validity in anything you say or otherwise Geoff. Don't know them well enough although Dave is a friend on facebook probably because he has green leanings - litter pick etc. which he appears to organise and attend quite regulary.  I seem to remember that he andEmma Wrote  book, so perhaps that's what he does - writes.

However - the charity and company, probably linked because many charities are 'charitable companies with limited liabilities' 'not for profit'  and becoming both is a sensible way of protecting the trustees of the charity.   It's a bit of a specialist thing.

It's also true that many groups don't know how to run these properly and even when they do, it is complicated.  I always treat the one's I'm involved with as a charity first and company second but still have to deal with the legal bits of both. 

The problem with this is that you don't get qualified people to be secretary, just the first person to stick their hand up usually.  Groups also don't meet a the office every day and usually a lot of trust is put in the person who stuck up their hand.

Having said that the trustees of the charity are all equally responsible for the smooth running of the charity.
Dave is right when he says the place to bring complaints is to the AGM. Unfortunately these usually don't provide the audience that some want and it often gets taken out of the group.   Anyone thinking there is some hanky panky should be writing to the charity commission, who WILL investigate, believe me! I once they do get their bit between their teeth they don't let go. The charity commission is the worst of the two believe me.

 
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Terry Reynolds on December 18, 2013, 11:38:09 AM
MUGGS, I HAVE AN ONGOING BIT OF BOTHER AT THE MOMENT, CAN YOU SEND ME THE ADDRESS OF THE CHARITY ASSoc please..
regards K....
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Tobes on December 18, 2013, 12:57:57 PM
Quote
I wonder if Tobes will ask them?

A wonder already obliged Mr S - I emailed Dave a couple of weeks ago to let him know my feelings on the matter (already outlined on TS). It'll be interesting to see what they do. Based on your previous comments though, if they vote with the motion, I presume you'll accuse them of 'politicking'... and if they vote against the motion, I also presume you'll accuse them of going along with the tories and letting Martin off the hook...?

Out of interest, which way would you like them to vote...?  :D

Personally, I hope they vote for the motion. Or, if they feel that the presumption of innocence until proven guilty aspect has to apply until standards/scrutiny has looked into the issue, I'd prefer to see them abstain entirely.

Lets see. 

Quote
However - the charity and company, probably linked because many charities are 'charitable companies with limited liabilities' 'not for profit'  and becoming both is a sensible way of protecting the trustees of the charity. 

As a trustee of a charity, that would seem entirely in line with my experience.

Quote
I always treat the one's I'm involved with as a charity first and company second but still have to deal with the legal bits of both. 

Yup - its the role of a trustee to scrutinise and hold the day-to-day managers of a charity to account and to act as a balance as well as a legal signatory to check as far as they can that all is above board. Mind you, I've no idea if the Ghostbusters have any employees, or whether the whole thing is run by un-paid volunteers (?)

Quote
At this stage not particularly bothered about the "allegations" which Geoff has posted as know from experience voluntary/charity admin can be a nightmare.  You get dammed if you do but dammed if you don't.

Certainly chimes with me.

There is a big jump between cock-up/s (especially within a disparate organisation made up of volunteers and part-timers) and conspiracy to do wrong. I'd also be cautious about grumbles and rumours emanating from within a bunch of people many of whom I presume believe in conspiracies (ghosts, aliens etc!) as a way of life. But if Geoff has something concrete, like you, I'll be interested to see what's what.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Terry Reynolds on December 18, 2013, 01:19:18 PM
On the motion or vote issue, surely they have to go for the option, which is the best for the name of this town in general.
will anybody be influenced by the current position on the council and what a yes or no 'vote' would do to the job in question..
As for the abstain point, aren't they the champions of sitting on their hands at vote time.... :coffee:
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Richard Symonds on December 18, 2013, 01:46:31 PM
In answer to your question Tobes I would reluctantly vote for the motion, although  the Mayor has yet to be found guilty even though he has shown every indication that he is guilty of those unfortunate words and that he has 'form' in his indiscretion.  I say that reluctantly because I believe in innocence before proven guilt, but in the best interests of Swindon can we afford the luxury of the Mayor's potential for further unfortunate behaviour?  I suggest we cannot take the risk.

As for the vote I believe it is already lost and that the Liberals, with the possible exception of the Lady from Wroughton will vote with the Conservatives.

As for this being political, of course it is and everybody knows it and that is why the Mayor will survive.

I take it we shall have the opportunity to discuss in person on Thursday night Tobes?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Tobes on December 18, 2013, 02:16:13 PM
Quote
On the motion or vote issue, surely they have to go for the option, which is the best for the name of this town in general.
will anybody be influenced by the current position on the council and what a yes or no 'vote' would do to the job in question..
As for the abstain point, aren't they the champions of sitting on their hands at vote time....

I suppose it depends on what you think anyone should do if they think the censure of Martin ought to be left to the vagaries of scrutiny/standards, or whether its relevant to put a line in the sand regarding a man who's the civic figurehead of the entire town... The question isn't even really about his guilt or otherwise - its a vote in the councillors confidence in his ability to discharge his duty with any credibility under the current circumstances.

On that, Ko, I think you and I are in complete agreement  :wink:

Quote
I take it we shall have the opportunity to discuss in person on Thursday night Tobes?

Nope - I'll be spending my time with my family
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Outoftowner on December 18, 2013, 02:24:11 PM
Something has probably happened in Dave’s Ghostbusting charity, “The Association For The Scientific Study Of Anomalous Phenomena”, as 7 Directors retired in June 2013, leaving 4 or 5, depending on your take on things.

Councillor Dave Wood, remains a director, as do 2 others, including a Fundraising Consultant, plus of course Ms Nicola Emma Sewell, (Director)  and  her physic shadow, Mrs Nicola Emma Wood (Company Secretary).

The net worth of the charity is £3,100, which given that they offer to make grants of, usually £100, for “self-help” Ghostbusters, is not very much at all.

It would appear then that Dave’s sole source of income is from his SBC Council Member allowances plus, of course the top up from sitting on 3 committees.

Dave has been unable to attend any 6 of the full Council meetings since February this year when he last attended. Maybe he was there in spirit? Is this value for money?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 18, 2013, 04:08:35 PM

It would appear then that Dave’s sole source of income is from his SBC Council Member allowances plus, of course the top up from sitting on 3 committees.

Dave has been unable to attend any 6 of the full Council meetings since February this year when he last attended. Maybe he was there in spirit? Is this value for money?


I'd wager a small sum that Cllr's Wood (D) and Wood (N) will attend tomorrows council meeting and that they will vote in support of Mayor Martin.  Abstaining from voting or voting against Mayor Martin will result in future access to the Pork Barrel of paid committee chairmanships being denied to them.

As the chair of the Standards Committee the only correct course of action for Cllr Wood (D) would be to abstain from the vote.  Naturally a political 'interpretation' of the rules will be concocted which will allow him to circumvent any conflict of interest caused by his voting in a vote of no confidence, (the subject of which is Mayor Martin), and then chairing a committee which will supposedly examine Mayor Martins standards of behaviour.

As I said earlier, venality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venality) will trump principles, especially where monthly allowances paid from the public purse form a useful/major part of household income.

Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Terry Reynolds on December 18, 2013, 04:14:31 PM
with regard to the last two blogs, is it not time for the council to go back to the pre bliar days, and pay councillors when they actually attend a meeting or committee...
Perhaps they could also go down the road of just how many we actually need..... :2funny:.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Outoftowner on December 18, 2013, 05:57:21 PM
Taking a look at Dave’s Council attendance over the last year i.e. since November 2012 we find that:

At the Full Council Meetings;
Present 1,  Absent or Apologies  8

At the Scrutiny Committee;
Present  0, Absent or Apologies  5, Expected 3 (Expected but failed to materialise.)

At the Licensing Committee;
Present  2,  Absent or Apologies  4

At the Economic, Environmental and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny Committee;
Present  2,  Absent or Apologies  0

At the Standards Committee;
Present  5, Absent or Apologies  0

At the Children and Young People's Overview and Scrutiny Committee;
Present  2, Absent or Apologies  1

At the Locality –Town Centre;
Present  3,  Absent or Apologies  1 Expected 1

Total meetings 38
Present 15
Absent 23
% Attendance 39.47

Given that there is an "on-line" Meeting Calendar at the SBC web-site where I can see most meetings for next April and some for next June, 4 and 6 months away, surely Dave can plan his diary to attend them.

The question is, if his charity, The Association For The Scientific Study Of Anomalous Phenomena, has only got £3,000, which is hardly likely to provide 4 or perhaps 5 directors with Ghostbuster suits like Dan Akroyd’s, is he using his publicly funded Council income, to support the expense of busting ghosts?

If he is, then there is probably no point in reasoning with him, as he probably feels that he is doing the public more good by saving them from the unknown, than from badly conceived council plans. ( And he may have a point!)
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 18, 2013, 06:05:49 PM
MUGGS, I HAVE AN ONGOING BIT OF BOTHER AT THE MOMENT, CAN YOU SEND ME THE ADDRESS OF THE CHARITY ASSoc please..
regards K....

Charity Commission I think you mean Ko, easily looked up on the internet, just been up there doing a return, took 3 trustees off, have to put two on. Not mass walk out, one is very ill, one is his carer, and one moved out of town.  This is much the way of the volunteer hands on trustee.

I'd only worry about Ghostbusters having staff, if the names of the staff were the same as the trustees, which is a definite huge NO NO. Trustee obviously can't raise money to pay themselves, but you wouldn't believe how many times I've had to warn people off of doing just that.  The all important document is their constitution - any one got a copy?  That gives them powers and if that doesn't give them powers to raise and then distribute money to others they can't do it. One would hope that if they employ people they also know the law on that, it's pretty full on.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Outoftowner on December 18, 2013, 07:36:47 PM
Muggins, you are wonderful!

The Charity Commission entry for the Ghostbusters shoes that they are Charity No:327422 -  THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF ANOMALOUS PHENOMENA

Their Charitable Object are:
Quote
WE HAVE PROVIDED EDUCATIONAL/TRAINING FOR THE PUBLIC HAVING RUN TRAINING DAYS AND COURSES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR AND ONLINE TRAINING VIA OUR WEBSITE. WE HAVE ALSO PROVIDED TECHNICAL ASSISTANT AND CHARITABLE FUNDING FOR A NUMBER OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PROJECTS THIS YEAR

And the finances show a strange pattern: Modest income most years with modest spending then, just when 7 Directors retired, the income went up considerably are the spending considerably more.

Quote
Year End    Income    Spending
30 Jun 2012     £11,943    £15,246   
30 Jun 2011     £4,211    £3,943   
30 Jun 2010     £4,211    £1,915   
30 Jun 2009     £5,208    £5,251   
30 Jun 2008     £5,082    £2,564
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 19, 2013, 08:10:38 AM
Why thank you, Outer, everyone else thinks I'm a bit peculiar when it comes to constitutions. 

I couldn't find them on the charity commission site   I find that a very strange object, it sound more like a bit of an annual report and I've also got to say, that I'm surprised it's objects are charitable at all, perhaps its been registered a long time and or they take the training/education into account.

The finances wouldn't worry me, you can see it on many charities, i.e. the years they get funding and the years they don't.     I posted return last evening: income nil, expenditure £,1.6K.  that's getting a grant one year and spending it into the next.

The objects of the charity are different to the powers, need a copy of that constitution!!
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 19, 2013, 08:17:56 AM
These are the Objects:

TO PROMOTE THE ADVANCEMENT OF EDUCATION BY OBTAINING, STORING AND PROCESSING AND DISTRIBUTING INFORMATION CONCERNING THOSE AREAS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND OBSERVED PHENOMENA FOR WHICH THERE IS NOT GENERAL EXPLANATION AT PRESENT AND TO CONDUCT RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATIONS INTO SUCH PHENOMENA AND TO DISSEMINATE THE USEFUL RESULTS OF SUCH FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC.

It was first registered in 1986? and amended in 2007? (amendments often done in charities, especially if hey are older ones like this) no need to read anything untoward into that, it would have had to been carried at a previous AGM and someone has to sign to say it has, maybe even a copy of said minutes sent). Sorry can't flit between the charity com page and posting.  In effect it's the advancement of education and the distributing and dissemination of same - if they are doing that they are within the rights of it.   Be back later when I've found the powers.

These look like the powers:

EDUCATION / TRAINING
 
Who
• OTHER DEFINED GROUPS
• THE GENERAL PUBLIC / MANKIND

How
• PROVIDES HUMAN RESOURCES
• PROVIDES ADVOCACY / ADVICE / INFORMATION
• SPONSORS OR UNDERTAKES RESEARCH
• ACTS AS AN UMBRELLA OR RESOURCE BODY

I take it the 'Resource Body' when beefed out could include making grants to other groups, although I would think it would have to be within the same objects - this would be specified a bit more in the full constitution.

I just LOVE constitutions - and a Memorandum and Articles is a real Christmas treat.
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Richard Symonds on December 19, 2013, 08:44:33 AM
I know it is early in the morning M, but whose constitution have you posted above please?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 19, 2013, 09:08:31 AM
That's not the full constitution, Richard that the copy of what's on the charity commission web site for Charity No:327422 -  THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF ANOMALOUS PHENOMENA.

When a group is registered there, they send in their constitution, the Commission says yes or no, if it's a yes, the commission summarise your constitution (or did in 1986) because they are usually about 8 pages long with loads of what you can and can't do.  If anyone want's a copy of one of the groups I'm with to see one, then PM me. I've got both sorts, plain Constitution and Memorandum. 

Took another look at Outer's post and may be able to offer some explanations: Look at this case as the people are Trustees first, company directors second - in this case it's just a name although there are legal things to being one, most charitable company 'directors' refer to themselves as 'trustees' of the charity rather than 'directors'  (they only use that to swank). Charitable companies are not for profit and the directors don't take a share/bones/handout, or shouldn't. To do this, they would have to be negotiated with the Charity Commission, some trustees with specialist skills can be paid, but for short times but any transaction like that should be taken with the utmost care and backsides covered by numerous bits of substantiating paperwork.
And dealing with charity commission on anything like this take ages. Look at it this way, it takes a good bit of paperwork just to start a charity these days.

About the walkout = more money:

1. More money, more to squabble about, especially if people don't know the limitation on expending grants or funding given for especial purposes - i.e the people of Toothill not understanding how come they haven't had their million spent yet. And when we got our Fairshare money which is very similar most of them dealing with the damned fund didn't know either - i.e. councillors, so people got would up about not seeing and immediate effect from it.

2. The one who got the money but fundraising or application,  getting heavy about how it's spent - and that could be related to no 1, in it not maybe being their fault, or it could be their fault as they could be the one that doesn't understand - hope that makes sense. 

3. Maybe the walkout was before the money was got and either nothing to do with it, or funders etc. seeing that the ones who needed to go -went.  I can site a couple of groups were this is happening, where they won't get more funding, or even start up funding, without a change of board and the incomings seen to be 'fit and proper people'.

4. In many charities people hang on in post of trustee, simply because there is not a load of people lining up to take over. They are grateful and go quick when the opportunity arises. Or the ones that really have had their day, hang on forever.   

It's not like anyone on a charity board is in it for the money, you'd be better off standing for council.
Trustees are however entitled to get expenses, but often they don't take them or take them in a block, so what might look like a big pay-out might accumulated travel cost for example.

'Course there are always the ones that do take advantage too. But in 30 years, I haven't met many of them, any wrong doing I've found, noticed, etc. has been down to ignorance and/or big headedness.





 
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: jennyb on December 19, 2013, 11:06:08 AM
That's not the full constitution, Richard that the copy of what's on the charity commission web site for Charity No:327422 -  THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF ANOMALOUS PHENOMENA.

When a group is registered there, they send in their constitution, the Commission says yes or no, if it's a yes, the commission summarise your constitution (or did in 1986) because they are usually about 8 pages long with loads of what you can and can't do.  If anyone want's a copy of one of the groups I'm with to see one, then PM me. I've got both sorts, plain Constitution and Memorandum. 

Took another look at Outer's post and may be able to offer some explanations: Look at this case as the people are Trustees first, company directors second - in this case it's just a name although there are legal things to being one, most charitable company 'directors' refer to themselves as 'trustees' of the charity rather than 'directors'  (they only use that to swank). Charitable companies are not for profit and the directors don't take a share/bones/handout, or shouldn't. To do this, they would have to be negotiated with the Charity Commission, some trustees with specialist skills can be paid, but for short times but any transaction like that should be taken with the utmost care and backsides covered by numerous bits of substantiating paperwork.
And dealing with charity commission on anything like this take ages. Look at it this way, it takes a good bit of paperwork just to start a charity these days.

About the walkout = more money:

1. More money, more to squabble about, especially if people don't know the limitation on expending grants or funding given for especial purposes - i.e the people of Toothill not understanding how come they haven't had their million spent yet. And when we got our Fairshare money which is very similar most of them dealing with the damned fund didn't know either - i.e. councillors, so people got would up about not seeing and immediate effect from it.

2. The one who got the money but fundraising or application,  getting heavy about how it's spent - and that could be related to no 1, in it not maybe being their fault, or it could be their fault as they could be the one that doesn't understand - hope that makes sense. 

3. Maybe the walkout was before the money was got and either nothing to do with it, or funders etc. seeing that the ones who needed to go -went.  I can site a couple of groups were this is happening, where they won't get more funding, or even start up funding, without a change of board and the incomings seen to be 'fit and proper people'.

4. In many charities people hang on in post of trustee, simply because there is not a load of people lining up to take over. They are grateful and go quick when the opportunity arises. Or the ones that really have had their day, hang on forever.   

It's not like anyone on a charity board is in it for the money, you'd be better off standing for council.
Trustees are however entitled to get expenses, but often they don't take them or take them in a block, so what might look like a big pay-out might accumulated travel cost for example.

'Course there are always the ones that do take advantage too. But in 30 years, I haven't met many of them, any wrong doing I've found, noticed, etc. has been down to ignorance and/or big headedness.

M,

Thanks for a most informative post!

For Toothill we have been working hard to explain what the grant means, what is required in order to access it ,what it can/cannot be used for and what must be in place in order that any of this can happen.  More info coming out in the new year..

Back to topic...

Kareen
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Richard Symonds on December 19, 2013, 12:26:52 PM
I have just come off the phone and my conversant is tempted to ask the following question at council tonight!

I note that the member for Eastcott is interested in the paranormal.  Is this the reason why he has such a bad attendance record at council?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Outoftowner on December 19, 2013, 01:37:46 PM
That's my point entirely Richard. Most people have an interest that takes up part of their time but if you are paid by the taxpayers to work for them, then they expect that you put in more than 40% attendance at meetings.  40% in a maths or any other exam is a fail, is it not?

Most people, of course, have jobs that they must go to, often at odd hours. They need to make sure that their jobs do not suffer from the time spent as a councillor as their family's income depends on it. The most amazing thing about our Dave, is that he appears to have the Council allowances as his sole source of income but cannot be bothered to turn up when he is expected.

Could anyone tell me what would happen to an employee at a private or public company, that only turned up 40% of the time?
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Terry Reynolds on December 19, 2013, 01:53:16 PM
What is the date of the next publication of councillors attendance at meetings,  and do we have any say in the matter..
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 19, 2013, 03:07:34 PM
I have just come off the phone and my conversant is tempted to ask the following question at council tonight!

I note that the member for Eastcott is interested in the paranormal.  Is this the reason why he has such a bad attendance record at council?

What you saying here Richard? That he's there in spirit? 
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Richard Symonds on December 19, 2013, 03:52:32 PM
I have just come off the phone and my conversant is tempted to ask the following question at council tonight!

I note that the member for Eastcott is interested in the paranormal.  Is this the reason why he has such a bad attendance record at council?

What you saying here Richard? That he's there in spirit?

No M I am saying he may believe he is!!
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 19, 2013, 04:47:29 PM
I don't know Richard, if he thinks he is and is into the paranormal, maybe he can hear the debate and send the vibes back to vote. Does he have a *proxy?

*That would be the councillor with two hands in the air.  :wink:
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 19, 2013, 05:30:46 PM

Apologies for not getting back into this properly yet, I'm experiencing problems with my GPU which appears to have become possessed.  The damn thing has 'black screened' 3 times in the last 24hrs, each time when I've been trying to publish documents. Who am I going to call?

Anyhow, It's nice to see the TS charity experts having a chat about that aspect although my interest is more firmly rooted in the failure of Cllr's Wood & Wood to discharge their legal responsibilities as director, director and company secretary.

Further to that, Cllr Wood's (Dave) willingness to blame someone else is typically cavalier.  Ignorance is not an excuse for non-observance of company law and blaming other volunteers (presuming he or his wife weren't the volunteers he blames), for submitting false documents to Companies House doesn't absolve him or Cllr Wood (N) from their duty to check that records held about them are factually correct.

As for other subjects like the mass walk out, we'll get to that in good time. There's no rush  :)
Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 20, 2013, 07:47:27 AM
What I'm saying is Geoff, that the Charity and the Company are the same thing, same annual report, same set of accounts and not big business, sometimes tiny, tiny business - well not a business at all because these orgs are not for profit.

There is no excuse not to act within the laws on either, but in small groups with sparse activities, the returns are often done several months in arrears, but still within the law. (I've just done one of ours - Accounts to the end of March, (they took me to July to finalise and then a couple of months to remember find someone to audit them)  AGM in Early November, returns done this last week. Takes me that long to get new trustees details etc. but I got them in 'early' because I had to the end of January to do it)

It's hard to let it go past the 'send in by' date because if the CC and CH have your address, you get a letter or an email, however if eithers info has not been updated or there has been a change since AGM's the chances are the returns notices go to the person named and if they have resigned, unless they are on the ball and feeling co-operative (and still alive!), it's gone and lost forever, some simply say 'serve' 'em right and stick them in the bin, so the new person doesn't know.  If someone takes on the job but doesn't know that these things have to be done, well, it takes a while for the light to dawn.

Are you saying that Woody should know about company law etc, because he already has some experience of it?   

To be honest, I think that org doesn't need to be a charity or company, it's balances are so little, and probably raised by their own fundraising (Membership fees, and events etc. as apposed to grant aid) , if they were starting up now I think they would not get charity number status.  They could probably function very well, with a good constitution, as a not for profit group, more or less answerable only to their member within whose group they would raise the funds. The Membership then police the functioning of the group - although that's how most charities are supposed to function. i.e. keep an eye on the treasurer to keep an eye on the money flow and have a responsibility to turn up at AGM's etc, but hardly ever do. If a group is not well run it's as much the fault of the member as anyone else. If someone has walked out of an AGM disgruntled, then they are as much at fault as them they were disgruntled at, either that or maybe no one agreed with them??
I've seen some rum old AGM's I can tell you!

However, not being a company provides no financial protection to the trustees.  Not that forgetting to do the returns would stand them in good stead no if there was an investigation, having said that it looks like that it is now up to date.

It's recognised that the two orgs/one org thing is confusing and that's why the Charity Com and Companies House have been working on getting one registration that covers the two, not only that it saves the org money because they don't have to prepare the two (but the same) returns, it will save money too, because Companies House requires a chartered accountant (very expensive) to sign off accounts, but the charity commission doesn't, under a certain amount.  Any NEW group starting now can apply to be one of these orgs.  I fancy that a lot of orgs that are the two things at present will be go over to the new type of org. 

I've prepared a beautiful annul report and set of accounts for our charity return only to find they don't flipping want it because it's under £10k.  All they want is the income total and expenditure total, which really wouldn't show you how much we actually have in the bank - we could (but don't) have millions in there unspent.

At the end of the day if Trustees/board members don't show a duty of care, they are financially fully liable for all their doings.  The important words here are 'Duty of Care'.  And that goes for any trustee that has resigned for several years.  Good 'en' it, can't get away with anything these days. Well not if you are a volunteer anyway.

Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Geoff Reid on December 20, 2013, 06:59:09 PM
What I'm saying is that, regardless of charitable status etc, company directors and secretary's are subject to company law, expected to understand the law and then adhere to it.

Blaming their own failures to observe laws which applie to them on others indicates that they're ignoring their responsibilities.

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Where's Woody: The Curious Case Of Swindons Vanishing Councillors
Post by: Muggins on December 21, 2013, 08:05:12 AM
And that Geoff,  is exactly the stance either Companies House or the Charity Commission will take on this when someone reports it to THEM.

However they may well be more charitable than to slam them in clink.....knowing that most of these charitable company  posts are voluntary and not someone's 'proper job'. 

Unless some serious cash has gone missing of course. 

At no point have I suggested they should get away with functioning outside the law.

Just an explanation that's things do sometimes go awry by the nature of the groups/orgs, with no other intention than that of ignorance or forgetfulness.  I dare say they would be more wary of losing their charitable status than of falling foul of the law. 

When it comes to fundraising and functioning, reputation is everything in this sector. Like we are always banging on at SBC about.

http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/our-regulatory-work/reporting-our-regulatory-work/inquiry-reports/ (http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/our-regulatory-work/reporting-our-regulatory-work/inquiry-reports/)