AN INDEPENDENT review of the expenses of two advisers is underway after allegations of irregularities.
The revelation was made by the Green Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council at Hove Town Hall on Thursday evening.
Councilor Phelim Mac Cafferty said the review was taking place as he answered questions from members of the public.
They related to childcare expense claims submitted by Green Councilor and former Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Alex Phillips, who was also a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
She and her husband, fellow Green Councilor Tom Druitt, who represents the Regency Ward, have two young children.
The questions relate to expense reports relating to the care of their children while the couple were in France during the coronavirus pandemic and when council meetings were held remotely.
Nigel Furness asked: ‘Regarding the unsavory rumors currently circulating in the local media, regarding your two missing Regency ward councilors, and your complete inability to communicate with the media, plus the fact that one of those two missing councilors is on his way to Ukraine tomorrow on a mission of mercy, could you please enlighten everyone in this room now if you are going to make a vital statement on this very serious matter right after these questions are over?
“Or could it be that these advisers are asking for political asylum on the mainland?
And another resident, Peter Harland, asked why responses to Freedom of Information (FoI) requests about the couple’s expenses had not been posted on the council’s website.
Mr Harland said the FoI disclosure log only contained “selected information”.
Cllr Mac Cafferty said: “The board is committed to the principles of openness and transparency. We publish responses to FoI requests. Anyone can access it by visiting the freedom of information disclosure log on the council’s website.
“However, in accordance with legal requirements and best practice, there are instances where we do not publish FoI requests and responses… where the information is not retained or the information cannot be provided because an exemption applies.”
He said the exemptions applied, for example, to personal data and commercially sensitive information.
Cllr Mac Cafferty said: ‘There is an independent review relating to questions about spending…and I’m not free to talk about that in more detail, not least because it’s going to be handled independently of me.’
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This notice was published: 2022-04-08 07:21:13