Login Register
 °

Councillor given £10,000 building contract potentially broke the law

By WBMiles  |  Posted: February 28, 2014

Feock

Feock councillor James Bell potentially broke the law when he took on a £10,000 council building contract.

Comments (6)

A builder used his position as a councillor to gain advantage and potentially broke the law when he took on a £10,000 contract.

James Bell, from Carnon Downs, failed to disclose an interest and brought his office into disrepute while serving as a member of Feock Parish Council.

Cornwall Council’s monitoring officer judged Mr Bell to be guilty of six breaches of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, and potentially in breach of the law.

Feock Parish Council members voted to issue a “public censure” of his behaviour.

Mr Bell, who lost his seat in May 2013’s elections, was a serving councillor when he was appointed to act as contracts manager for the parish council on May 26, 2012, to oversee work on the Market Hall in Devoran for a fee of £10,000.

Simon Mansell, principal legal officer at Cornwall Council, wrote in his report into the allegations: “Councillor Bell was not acting as manager of the Market Hall Site for nothing and was being paid, by local standards, nearly a living wage for this one piece of work.

“While it is not within the remit of this assessment to question the value of the work, Councillor Bell should have been mindful of the public perception of him, as a councillor, being paid a five-figure sum by the council of which he was a member, and then taking part in all discussions relating to the matter.”

Mr Mansell said the code of conduct existed to ensure public confidence in the democratic process and it was difficult to see how that could be maintained when a councillor gained information which would be denied to other contractors in a similar position.

Mr Mansell said from July 1, 2012, it became a criminal offence under the Localism Act 2011 not to correctly register and declare a disclosable pecuniary – or monetary – interest, but said in this case it would not be in the public interest to pursue legal action against Mr Bell.

The report was also critical of Alan Truan, then the clerk to Feock Parish Council.

Read more from West Briton

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

6 comments

  • HattieWil  |  March 02 2014, 2:48AM

    my roomate's mom makes 64dollars /hour on the internet . She has been laid off for 8 months but last month her payment was 21803dollars just working on the internet for a few hours. visit this site.... ww­w.23Jo­bs.c­om

  • pauladamvb  |  March 01 2014, 10:03AM

    my roomate's aunt makes 82 dollars/hour on the computer. She has been out of work for eight months but last month her payment was 20048 dollars just working on the computer for a few hours. go to this website ????? WWW.WORKS3.COM

    |   -1
  • TWINSCREW  |  February 28 2014, 11:16AM

    "Mr Mansell said from July 1, 2012, it became a criminal offence under the Localism Act 2011 not to correctly register and declare a disclosable pecuniary – or monetary – interest, but said in this case it would not be in the public interest to pursue legal action against Mr Bell." Sounds like he is caught bang to rights, If it is a criminal offence this guy should be made to feel the full weight of the law like anyone else, we expect the highest morals from people in public office, IMHO perhaps Mr Mansell ought to consider his position.

    |   12
  • wringer  |  February 28 2014, 11:09AM

    if a crime has been committed then it has to be pursued. by not doing it the whole of the parish council come out looking very bad on this. people have to have confidence in local democracy. this dents it.

    |   13
  • josdave  |  February 28 2014, 10:31AM

    The money should be pursued and he should be made to pay it back including any legal fees accrued along the way. Why should we pay for his crime?

    |   -8
  • FeockLad  |  February 28 2014, 7:20AM

    Can't see why it is not in the public interest to pursue a case! £10,000 is a lot of money and the whole think needs a very bright light of public scrutiny . The money was after all from local rate payers.

    |   16

      YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

       
       
       

      MORE NEWS HEADLINES