WFG: Ashford and KCC ‘guilty of maladministration’

Wye Future Group is set to accuse all the main players in the Wye Park concordats fiasco of maladministration and acting ultra vires.

The group has dropped its claim for a judicial review in favour of preparing complaints to the Standards Board of England and the Local Government Ombudsman. The group is also reserving its right to pursue legal action against all the main players, too.

In letters sent to Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council, WFG says that is disappointed that neither authority responded properly in accordance with the pre-action protocol and did not address all the points raised in legal correspondence from the group and failed to disclose the documents demanded.

The letter to Ashford continues: ‘However, we accept the point made by the Council that a judicial review against the authority would be inappropriate at this time given that the concordat has not been adopted, ratified or endorsed by the Council corporately. We note the statement in the letter of 24 February 2006 that the concordat has not been considered or endorsed by the Council, the executive, or any committee or sub-committee, and that the concordat does not represent Council policy. We also note the statement made in the letter of 2 March 2006 that the Council will not proceed as if bound by the concordat.’

In its letter to KCC, WFG states: ‘We note the statements in the letter dated 28 February 2006 that the Council will not treat Imperial College’s development plans for the Wye Park Project differently from any other, and that the concordat is to be reconsidered. We also note that in the letter of 22 March 2006 it is confirmed that there will be proper and due consideration of Imperial College’s plans once published.

‘We will not, therefore, proceed with the proposed claim. This is expressly without prejudice to the ability to raise the issue of the concordat or its effects in any later proceedings that there may be, in particular if the Council corporately does seek to implement the concordat, or if the Leader is involved in any decision-making by the Council in connection with the Wye Park Project.’

Both letters conclude that the ‘appropriate remedy in this case’ is against the leaders and senior officers of the councils for ‘their actions in connection with the concordat’.

Maladministration causing personal injustice is one of the most serious complaints that can be brought against a public body. If it is proved, the ombudsman can award compensation and order the authorities concerned to retract an unlawful decision.

Read the letter to Ashford council here

Read the letter to KCC here


About David Hewson

Professional novelist, published in more than 20 languages. Creator of the Nic Costa series set in modern Rome, Pieter Vos in Amsterdam, adaptions of the Sarah Lund stories in Copenhagen, and versions of Shakespeare worked for Audible.
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5 Responses to WFG: Ashford and KCC ‘guilty of maladministration’

  1. Ian Cooling says:

    Erm, while I think most readers of this site will probably agree that there are times when the English processes of law can take an interminable age. However, I sense that in your efforts to speed them up, you may have moved a little ahead of yourself.

    Your first line reports that “Wye Future Group is set to accuse…..etc.” Yet your headline reports that “Ashford and KCC guilty of maladministration.”

    While that may well reflect your wish, subconscious or otherwise, it hardly reflect the thirst for accuracy and “non-partisan” reporting that we have come to expect from your good selves.

  2. Justin Williams says:

    Ian – nice to see you back on site.

    The headline – ‘WFG: Ashford and KCC guilty of maladministration’- makes it pretty clear that it is the future group that is accusing the two councils of this. If the WFG is accusing them of maladministration, then it is pretty clear that it believes them to be guilty of it, otherwise the accusation would not be made.

    The headline is, in my opinion, a fair representation of WFG’s position. For your information, the story was written after a discussion with Ben Moorhead.

  3. Ian Cooling says:

    Hi Justin, good to be back. But I’m afraid that we are going to have to agree to differ on this one.

  4. David Hewson says:

    In that case you are going to find ourself in disagreement with every newspaper in the land, Ian. It is standard practice to write headlines in this way and has been since they started chopping down trees for news print.

    If you read a story headlined:

    Ferguson: ‘Chelsea are rubbish’

    Everyone understands that it is Ferguson’s opinion that Chelsea are rubbish, not that the news organisation carrying the story is making some definitive statement that Chelsea are rubbish on their own part. Very standard, accepted journalistic practice, and I would have thought well understood by most readers.

  5. J.Lo says:

    Well stated David, I am surprised that Ian did not understand this most basic of journalistic practice – especially considering the very important position he holds in our community.

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