New information reveals the Leader of Bexley’s Labour Group mislead the Council at its meeting on 17th July on three occasions.
Firstly, the Labour Leader claimed that he, and other Labour Councillors, had constantly raised issues about complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman in relation to Special Educational Need and Disabilities (SEND) Transport.
In fact, it has now been revealed NO Labour Councillor has raised the Ombudsman issue with any Council staff, nor have he or any other Labour Councillor submitted any correspondence to any Council Department on the matter.
Secondly, at the same Council meeting, Cllr Daniel Francis claimed that in the case of six complaints to the Local Government Ombudsmen about SEND transport, the Ombudsman had found against the Council and forced changes.
In fact, in 50% of the 6 cases he raised, the subsequent review led to the original decision being confirmed.
Thirdly, Cllr Francis stated the Cabinet Member for Education had been “misleading” by saying at the Communities OSC on 2nd July there had been no Ombudsmen cases where the Council has been criticised.
In fact, the Cabinet Member was referring to the number of appeals made in the current year – a completely different issue.
Cllr John Fuller, Cabinet Member for Education, said:
“At the Council meeting on 17th July the Leader of the Labour Group made three allegations about the Council, Council staff and myself which were all untrue.
Misleading the Council once in that way is a very serious matter, let alone three times in just a few minutes, and Councillors who do so are in clear breach of the Members Code of Conduct.
Moreover, as elected representatives, Councillors of all parties have a duty to each other and to the residents who voted for them to be factual in what they say.
In light of these new findings, and having ignored our request to withdraw the claims, Cllr Francis must resign as Leader of the Labour Group, make a statement retracting his previous statements and those by other Labour Councillors and supporters, and formally apologise to the Council at the earliest opportunity, and certainly by the time of the next Full Council meeting in November.
If he fails to do these things, in line with the Members Code of Conduct he has signed up to adhere to, then we will pursue this matter further.”