Challenge mounted against Margate councillor’s disqualification

Ian Venables

The disqualification of a Margate councillor because he is now deemed to be holding a paid role with Thanet council is being challenged.

Margate Central ward councillor Ian Venables, who was elected in 2017, has been disqualified by the authority from serving the ward after taking a role with a new homelessness team.

Thanet council says that means he is now indirectly employed by the authority but Mr Venables’ lawyers have argued that he remains with his current employer at the isle’s drug and alcohol service.

The homelessness team is a multi-agency group that will work with those sleeping rough on issues including rehousing, mental health and addiction.

It is understood Mr Venables was put forward for the new role by a Thanet council officer and the drug and alcohol service which he has worked for over the last 25 years.

The Isle of Thanet News also understands that Mr Venables’ employer approached Thanet council to check there was no bar to him taking the placement.

But Thanet council has now declared the Margate Central seat vacant and said the role means Mr Venables is disqualified from sitting on the authority.

Thanet councillors are due to discuss the issue at a meeting on Thursday (October 11). A report to members says: “Mr Venables applied for and has taken up a secondment with the council as a specialist to assist within the council’s housing team in relation to rough sleeping.

“He took up this secondment position on the 1 August 2018. This arrangement disqualified Cllr Venables from being a Thanet District Councillor, under Section 80(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 1972 with effect from 1 August 2018.

“Under the Act a councillor is disqualified from holding office as councillor, if they hold ‘paid office or employment or an appointment’ which is made or confirmed by the council.

“Advice has been sought from counsel and he confirms that the secondment arrangement is caught by Section 80(1)(a) of the Act and cited a similar situation which was considered by the High Court in 1999.”

Thanet council says a notice of vacancy will be published prior to a by-election.

16 Comments

    • She sounds like a crappy councilor. Perhaps they could do DNA testing on her & those who supported her madcap plan-that we still have no idea of how much it cost to see if they have evolved from Neanderthals.

  1. The rules are quite simple – you cannot be both an elected member and an officer or other employee (or be acting as such) at the same time.

    • When I worked in Merton there was a Councillor who was also employed by the local MIND who were funded by the council. She didn’t vote on any funding issues because of this but remained a Councillor. What’s the difference here?

  2. A council official was asked prior to Mr Venables secondment if he could continue as a councillors if he took the post. The council official said yes he could but now they rescind!!! Shame on TDCs incompetent paid officers

    • Shame on Thanet district council, their mistake but is the officer concerned going to pay for the cost of the by election, legal minefield if Cllr venables wins his case after a new councillor is elected. Only could happen under this council officers

  3. Yet leaving homophobic slurs/threats on another councilors phone is fine. Dreaming up some ridiculous DNA testing for dog owners & then somehow losing the information needed on how much this idiotic folly cost is fine. Going around stealing from shops & lying about military service is fine-you can remain as a councilor. Indeed when the homophobic councilman was able to become a KCC councilor while his victim felt he had no choice but to resign & when he passed away due to his alcoholism hours after putting his hands on his wife everybody said what a lovely chap he was.

  4. In a situation where the relevant bodies were asked in advance if this would constitute a conflict of interest, and the cllr was told ‘no’, then why on earth should the councillor be disqualified? The officer/s should do what they can to correct the mistake, and find a solution.

  5. “It is understood Mr Venables was put forward for the new role by a Thanet council officer and the drug and alcohol service which he has worked for over the last 25 years.” That’s some joined up thinking by the council officer…

  6. Seems unfair to me…. Thanet is not the nicest place to be, with all the Homeless and Drug addicts. Surely, if someone has been working on this problem for 25 years, it is time for recognition, rather than the defame the TDC are creating.
    Legal Department needs to looked in to!
    My thoughts only.

  7. Cllr Venables has been a victim of a series of poor advice from TDC. Cllr Venables should be reinstated on the Council, so that he can carry out the duties he was elected for by Margate residents. I have full confidence in Cllr Ian Venables, and he has the support of the local Labour party.

    • Who runs Thanet council ? Unelected officers or elected councillors, ? Thanks to Paul messenger for supporting Ian, hope other councillors do the same to save local democracy.

  8. A technical solution must be found to solve this situation. Ian Venables spends his public life trying to help people at the bottom end of our unjust society. There is no conflict of interest involved, no hint of corruption.

  9. Funny that but I can’t see any councillors here defending the decision to oust Ian Venables – is that because they don’t have a leg to stand on?

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