Report into running of Hartlepool council set to be revealed

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COUNCILLORS were today expected to receive the findings of an independent report into the running of a local authority.

Middlesbrough-based barrister Tom Mitchell led a public inquiry after a Local Government Association Peer Review carried out in September 2012 raised major concerns about the perception that some councillors acted out of self-interest and the perceived lack of rigour around the declaration of interests of councillors in Hartlepool Borough Council.

Mr Mitchell’s review started at the end of April and was originally hoped to last around three months, though it was extended by a further month.

During the inquiry, Mr Mitchell spoke to residents, representatives of the community and voluntary sector and elected members of Hartlepool Borough Council and had open access to any documents belongting to the local authority.

The 23-page report was being e-mailed to all Hartlepool councillors, with a total of 152 bullet points outlining Mr Mitchell’s findings.

In the report, which has been seen by the Mail, Mr Mitchell speaks at length about investigations into the situation surrounding Manor Residents Association and urges councillors to leave any future investigations to the police.

He also investigated concerns over the running of the Connected Care and Who Cares North East contracts, and said he found “no evidence” that any councillors had personally benefitted from the awarding of any contracts.

Summing up his report, Mr Mitchell said: “Those elected of the people, by the people and for the people need to be seen to work more closely in doing good for the people they undoubtedly, on the whole, do.

“I finish where this inquiry started, with the peer challenge review report.

In, I hope plainer language, this is what it was trying to say. It has now been said twice.

“Those who fail to act upon this further advice will sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”

l A FULL copy of the report will appear on www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk, with more reaction in tomorrow’s Mail.