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SWRA - A reader writes

The regional assemblies being voluntary bodies may not, unauthorised, place impositions on the public purse. This may only be done by elected bodies. Despite this and although unelected at least three and very likely all English regional assemblies have employed personnel on permanent and pensionable terms. The assemblies are employers associations under S122 of the TU and Labour Relations Act 1992. According to the National Audit this renders members of the Boards of the assemblies responsible for such liabilities. However, Counsel's opinion is that should the Boards fail in their responsibilities the Courts would probably rule that these responsibilities would descend on local authorities since they had sustained the Assemblies by their subscriptions and must be taken to have been aware and approved of their actions. In other words local taxpayers can end up paying for people they never appointed and who were never even public servants being appointed under S122. This was undoubtedly always the intent of the ODPM. Once the assemblies became elective they would tax to meet the commitments. The NE put paid, at least for the moment, to that. In the case of the SWRA, the Assembly with expectable incompetence, omitted to register under 122 with the Certificating Officer and hence the legal status of the employees is uncertain. Although this has been brought to the attention of Public Service Unions none has evinced any interest. Nobody is keen to offend Prescott. Further in the case of the SWRA, having woken up to the fact that it was operating illegally in this matter, the Assembly tried to pass itself off to the Certificating Officer as being the SWPEO but this was noticed by some of us amazed at the effronteries going on. At least until recently, the Assembly has been "in discussions" with the Certificating Officer. These discussions have continued for nearly a year. In the meantime, the Board has understandably become anxious and went into defensive manoeuvres. One was to enter into a deal with the Somerset County Council Pension Fund for pension and redundancy cover for the Secretariat staff. The other was suddenly to start calling itself the South West Regional Board. The point of this latter move is believed to provide a facade that it has remit over staff and assets of SWPEO and SWLGA as well as the SWRA. Arrangements had indeed been made for the SWRA to provide joint secretariat services but no evidence has yet been encountered that the SWPEO, SWLGA, or SWRA gave the necessary individual plenary session endorsements. These are separate bodies with their own memberships and constitutions. But it seems that whatever the SWRA Board wanted was automatically a done deed. To enable the deal with the SCCPF to go forward the SWRA had to produce a bond of indemnity for 1 million against existing liabilities. It did this by "ring fencing" reserves. That it was able to do this was something of a surprise since the accounts show that the SWRA doesn't have any reserves. However, the SWPEO does and the suspicion has to arise that the SWRA has filched the money from the SWPEO. The SW Regional Board appears to claim that it has the right to do this but has proved unprepared to produce evidence. On top of all this, as if it were not enough, there aeems to be something odd about the status of Dennett House, Taunton, where this secretariat hangs out. This belongs, or used to belong to the SWPEO. Enquiry at the Land Registry shows it in the charge of 4 Trustees, 3 of whom it has not been possible to get in touch with and the other died a year ago. Enquiries to the SWRA about the ownership of the premises it occupies have failed to produce any answer. Actions are being taken on these things but anybody who wants to wade in on them, please do. They are matters for everybody's outrage. The people primarily responsible for it all are in fact local councils whose business it is to know what is going on since they subscribe to the RAs. But they do nothing. They need to redeem themselves. Peter

Comments

Is that one of those essays written by a computer?

I was lost after the first sentence, if that was what it was.

great stuffwhat does SWPEO stand for,is it peoples equality org?

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