A police chief and five council bosses were snubbed by some of the councillors who are meant to scrutinise them.

Just one councillor – Clr Nigel Patrick - was on time to probe decisions on police and planning matters at Friday’s Kirklees Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel for Development and Environment.

As Panel chair, he faced the decision of either holding the meeting without a quorum or turn away Kirklees Police Chief Superintendent Tim Kingsman; council director Jacqui Gedman; assistant director Paul Kemp, Richard Hollinson - the Local Plan lead officer; head of department Michael Greene, council manager Chris Walsh, plus Cabinet member Clr Peter O’Neill.

In proceeding to hear updates on the vital issues by just himself and two co-optees – members of the public – it meant the Scrutiny Panel had no power to make any recommendations for change.

However, Clr Andrew Marchington arrived 56 minutes late due to work commitments and a quorum was reached.

Clr Patrick said: “I will be writing to the business managers of these members to ask what’s going on. They’re either on the panel or they’re not.”

Clr Nigel Patrick and Clr Andrew Marchington
Clr Nigel Patrick and Clr Andrew Marchington
 

The Panel is made up of four other councillors.

Two of them – Clrs Darren O’Donovan and Amanda Stubley – sent apologies.

The Examiner called the other two to ask why they didn’t attend or send apologies.

Clr Mahmood Akhtar said: “I had to go to the doctors, I am terribly sorry I forgot to send my apologies.”

Clr Vivien Lees-Hamilton said she had a personal matter to attend, adding: “I am angry at myself that I didn’t put apologies in.

“I have a lot of respect for Nigel Patrick and really believe in the work of the Panel. I am going to call him to apologise.”

The Panel is also made up of three co-opted members and two of them attended.

There was also a member of the public at the meeting.

During the meeting Penny Bunker, Scrutiny and Governance Manager, said it was “not appropriate that one councillor is doing all the work” and asked for suggestions from the late arrival and the two co-optees.

Co-optee Ian Brierley said: “I can’t understand why they’re not at meetings that have been planned for some time.

“Do you need councillors to do the work or can we assist?”

He was told that two councillors were needed to take actions forward.

Clr Julie Stewart-Turner, chair of a different Scrutiny Panel, attended but was not a panel member.

All 69 Kirklees councillors are paid a basic allowance of £12,566 for ward duties. There is no requirement for them to attend a minimum number of meetings.