What’s Joe Anderson got to hide about his statement offering to host the Commonwealth Games here in Liverpool in 2022 if Durban cannot proceed?
Over the last two days I have had an amazing series of e-mail interchanges with the Mayor of Liverpool which has led to me reporting him to the Standards Committee of the Council and having to threaten staff of the Council that I will do the same with them.
The exchange is about the Commonwealth Games which Mayor Anderson announces may come to Liverpool in a letter to the Government in 2022 if Durban is unable to continue with its commitment.
Mayor Anderson has form in this. He first announced a potential bid in 2015. He then produced it in 2016 as part of his re-election campaign. Curious then I asked officers in March 2016 what had been done since the previous summer. The answer was nothing. The Commonwealth Games Bid in 2015 and seemingly in 2016 was nothing more than a press release.
This is important. I would really like the Commonwealth Games to come to Liverpool. I believe in the ‘Friendly Games’ and the spirit of the Commonwealth that inspires them. But if we are to get the Games here we must work hard to build a coherent case. The Games in total costs something in the order of £1 billion. This is big money to lose if we get it wrong. It will involved the creation of strong partnerships if we are to get it right.
There is nothing in the council budget that we are considering next week which begins to supply the cash needed to even work up the bid.
The Exchanges below speak for themselves.
These exchanges lead me to two conclusions:
- That the letter to the Government about the 2022 Games is just a gimmick. And that there is no substance to this application; and
- Mayor Anderson is breaking both the law and the Elected Members Code of Conduct in the way that he is both referring to me in a rude fashion and more importantly is refusing to give me information and therefore the people information to which I and they are entitled
The exchange of e-mails is set out below:
E-mail one from me
E-mail to an officer of the Council on Wednesday 1st March
I understand that the Mayor has told the Government that he would be prepared to see Liverpool hosting the Commonwealth Games if Durban pulls out in 2022. I have no objection to this in principle but….
We should by now have done some preliminary work on an application for a later Commonwealth Games. Could you please send me a copy of all papers relating to the work that your department and partners have compiled relating to this potential of a bid.
In particular I would like to see some evidence about:
- Venue suitability
- Potential costs
- Potential sources of revenue
- Those organisations who have currently expressed an interest in this.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats
E-mail two from Mayor Anderson to me
On 1 Mar 2017, at 19:26, Anderson, Joe (Mayor of Liverpool) <Joe.Anderson@liverpool.gov.uk> wrote:
In regard to your recent questions seeking information about Liverpools intention to bid for the Common Wealth games of 2022 or 2026. No Officer will be able to provide you with any information without my approval. I would therefore suggest that any questions you may have should be directed to me. Of course I will not give you the answers to the questions you ask, because you cannot be trusted. However when we have information that we make public you will then have the opportunity to see it.
E-mail three from me to Mayor Anderson
As I am sure you are aware:
1. I am Cllr Kemp
2. The staff of the council do not work for you but for the council.
3. If the council do not provide me with information to which I am entitled I will take legal action to ensure that they do under the FOI or other means.
Cllr Richard Kemp
E-mail 4 from Mayor Anderson to me.
To Richard Kemp
Please feel free to do so.
Beneath is the Employees Code of Conduct extract which is relevant.
Extract from the Code of Conduct for Employees, Liverpool City Council
SECTION 12 – RELATIONSHIP WITH ELECTED MEMBERS
Both Councillors and employees are servants of the public, but their responsibilities are distinct. Councillors are responsible to the electorate and serve only so long as their term of office lasts.
Employees are responsible to the Council and their job is to give advice to Councillors and to carry out the Council’s work under the direction and control of the Council and its decision making structure.
Mutual respect between Councillors and employees is essential and close personal familiarity between individual Councillors and employees can damage the relationship and prove embarrassing to other Councillors and employees.
Employees serve the Council as a whole and consequently must serve all Councillors not just those of any controlling group. Some employees are required to advise political groups and must advise minority groups as well as controlling groups. They must do so in ways which do not compromise their political neutrality.
Employees, whether or not politically restricted, must follow every lawfully expressed policy of the Council and must not allow their own personal or political opinions to interfere with their work.