Liverpool Town Hall
Yesterday Cllr Steve Radford and I decided not to take part in a meeting with Joe Anderson and Ged Fitzgerald about what happened in Rotherham in the last decade. For different reasons we overcame reservations that we had about the process when we initially agreed to take part but a lot has happened in the 5 weeks since then. Not least being the resignations of two people connected with the Rotherham scandal and further revelations only this past weekend about the failure to use available evidence.
We believe now that the process being suggested is flawed and that we should wait to consider a Liverpool response when we have clear evidence from the 2 parliamentary and DCLG investigations taking place. Then we can meet and decide what, if anything, we should do.
Here is the e-mail that we have sent to Mayor Anderson
From: Kemp, Richard
Sent: 21 October 2014 11:14
To: Anderson, Joe (Mayor of Liverpool)
Re: Proposed meeting with Ged Fitzgerald
We are writing regarding the proposed meeting with Ged Fitzgerald.
We have serious concerns about the structure and point of this meeting:
We have taken independent legal advice and have been advised that it is entirely proper for an employer to question an employee about events that took place before they joined their current organisation.
We do not know and have not agreed the name of an independent chair.
We have been told by you that this cannot be an interrogative session.
We understood that it was likely that there would be a written statement from Mr Fitzgerald and that we would then submit written questions for written answer. This would now appear not to be the case.
Although this was not discussed we assumed that this meeting would take place in public and would therefore be on the record.
Given these concerns we will not be participating in the meeting. Given that new allegations about the way that Rotherham Council responded to information about child abuse that was given to them whilst Mr Fitzgerald was Chief Executive and the fact that there are two parliamentary enquiries and a DCLG investigation being undertaken we believe that it would be best for Group Leaders to convene when the results of these enquiries and investigations have concluded.
At that stage the Council could decide corporately what steps it wishes to take given the comprehensive nature of those activities which we cannot hope to replicate. Both the Parliamentary Select Committees and DCLG have the power to compel responses to questions in a way that we cannot.
We look forward to working with you on an agreed all party basis in the New Year.
Cllr Steve Radford Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Liberal Party Group Leader Liberal Democrat Group Leader