Mayor’s resignation should be the turning point in the outlook and behaviour of those elected to Swindon Council writes Carole Bent of Old Town.
For too long , in Swindon, the process of dealing with official complaints has been too opaque, too slow and not fit for purpose – enabling conduct that would be addressed in most other walks of life.
If the system was better, the situation with the Mayor of Swindon should never have arisen.
It’s worth remembering that the urgent call for reform of standards wasn’t led by councillors or even this most recent case, but by local people as part of Better Swindon as a result of multiple negative experiences.
Cases include of a long standing ward councillor somehow found to have done nothing wrong via the standards process, despite clear evidence contained within the Investigators report proving – even in her own words – that she had misled people – with an impact that stretches into the future.
As one of many witnesses to that complaint, it is crystal clear that an offence was caused and not dealt with. The culture and the process supported the councillor and not the complainant.
No wonder the recently resigned mayor Cllr Nick Martin felt able to dismiss local people who issued complaints as ‘well educated mischief makers.’
So few members of the public had their complaints dealt with properly, which councillors really needed to worry? If the system and culture had been better it would not have reached this point
Thanks should go to local press and radio for sharing news so people were able to see what was going on and to say ‘enough is enough.’
On a personal note, I am very glad that Nadine Watts is a councillor in Old Town. She represents higher standards than a number we have had in the past.
Here’s to a turning point for something better in Swindon. There are plenty of good people including a number of councillors from all political parties who can do something to make this happen.