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Council admits jungle bungle

June 8, 2011 3:08 PM

Large quantities of derision were heaped onto Wiltshire Council earlier this year when health watchdog the Wiltshire Involvement Network was banned from working with the council after the use of the phrase 'jungle drums' at a meeting the previous August.

A report at the time claimed the phrase was racist and upheld the complaint made against WIN.

After the eruption of the story into the national press WC re-opened the matter and started another enquiry. This is to be presented to the WC 'cabinet' next week. The new report says:

"There was a failure to follow the rules of natural justice, as those who were the subject of the complaint investigation were not given an opportunity to make representations on the allegations.

The decision to suspend contact was inappropriate and potentially in breach of a statutory duty imposed on Wiltshire Council."

The review concludes that the previous report should be withdrawn, and the process of dealing with organisations such as WIN should be re-examined. The 'kangaroo court' nature of the first reaction of WC was not a suitable way to behave.

The review, carried out by WC lawyer Frank Cain, follows the convention of internal reviews in saying that despite the bungling and incompetence associated with the way WC handled the matter, nobody was at fault or to blame. The legal officer does though point out that had council officers contacted the legal department before suspending WIN then many of the misunderstandings and potentially unlawful actions could have been avoided.

Confused? Read the full report at
http://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/ieAgenda.aspx?A=5648 (Supplementary papers)