Thursday 22 February 2024
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Optimism for Bingham improvement board which is hoped to ‘draw a line under dreadful behaviour’

It is hoped the setting up of an improvement board to drive change at a town council will “draw a line under dreadful behaviour”.

The board has been set up at Bingham Town Council after two members allegedly “harassed and bullied” the clerk.

The board will deliver an action plan and aims to “enhance public confidence in the council”.

It comes after a petition signed by hundreds of residents asked for the council to be dissolved over the bullying allegations and culture at the authority.

Councillors John Stockwood and Francis Purdue-Horan have since been expelled from the Conservative party.

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Plans for the board were met with optimism at Rushcliffe’s full council meeting on December 2.

Councillor Mike Gaunt said the Labour group hoped the board would help “draw a line under the dreadful behaviour and culture of bullying”.

He also questioned the “missed opportunity” to recruit female members to the board.

Leader of the council Simon Robinson (Con) said: “I am absolutely delighted to bring to you tonight that we have managed to recruit three very highly talented and highly skilled people to serve on that board.

“We are confident this improvement board has the skills and experience to address very significant issues at Bingham and that we will see huge improvement as we go forward.”

Neil Taylor, former Chief Executive of Bassetlaw District Council, Jonathan Owen, Chief Executive of the National Association of Local Councils and David Pye, Advisor at the Local Government Association, will sit on the board.

Councillors Rowan Bird (Ind) and Gareth Williams (Con) will represent Bingham Town Council on the board.

Councillor Mike Gaunt (Lab) said: “We are very pleased to see progress towards the formation of this improvement board.

“Hopefully this can draw a line under the dreadful behaviour and culture of bullying that has occurred in Bingham over such a long period of time.

“I would like to point out that there seems to be a slightly missed opportunity here with the appointment of an entirely male board.”

Councillor Lizzie Howitt (Lib Dem) said: “We are happy that progress is being made and hope that this will result in a more harmonious town council which will hopefully be better equipped to serve the needs of its community.

“We would also like to thank those who brought forward the petition highlighting the issue.”

Councillor Andy Edyvean (Con) added: “Of course, we support inclusivity. What we want to do is make sure that is the best board we can put together, with the right experience. It is a shame that there may not be any women on it but I would like to see that in the future as well.”

A budget of £10,000 to support the plans will be funded equally by Bingham and Rushcliffe.

Councillors unanimously passed the recommendation to “welcome progress” made to deliver the board.

An update on the progress will be brought to the council in summer 2022.

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