Page last updated at 05:47 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 06:47 UK

Charter to end council bickering

Anglesey council offices
Councillors will be urged not to pursue personal or constituency interests

A charter for councillors to set aside personal bickering and political in-fighting for the good of an authority's future is to be set up.

Anglesey council's audit committee is meeting for the first time since the assembly government intervened in its running.

Members will be asked to sign a pledge to "look at the big picture" ahead of personal or political points-scoring.

The Auditor General recently found serious failings at the council.

The council's history of "personality politics" based around mistrust was also criticised.

On Friday, the council's audit committee charter will be discussed by members and was an appendix of the agenda which has already been sent to members.

By signing it, members will agree to abide by its terms of reference.

Each councillor is asked to sign the charter which states - "it means that I will not" at the Audit Committee:

  • "Use it to pursue any personal interest"
  • "Use it to pursue any constituency matter"
  • "Use it to pursue the interests of my political group"

Councillors will also be urged to focus on processes rather than just outcomes and to focus their minds on the authority's systems for achieving its objectives.

Members of the audit team will also be urged to address the management of risks and how decisions are made, coupled with "the aim for compliance with the authority's policies, procedures and decisions".

It follows the first meeting on Thursday between the council leader Clive McGregor and Local Government Minister Dr Brian Gibbons.

The appointment of a new managing director David Bowles was announced earlier this week as part of setting out the terms under which he is intervening in the running of the council.

Dr Brian Gibbons
It desperately needs someone with strong experience in corporate recovery
Dr Brian Gibbons, local government minister

Dr Gibbons admits that the fact that Mr Bowles cannot speak Welsh is an issue, but says that if there had been an available Welsh-speaking candidate with equal or greater skills and experience, he would have appointed him or her.

He said exhaustive inquiries failed to identify such a person.

Mr Bowles recently held the role of interim chief executive of Bridgend council.

Last month, a report by the Auditor General for Wales Jeremy Colman identified serious failings in the corporate governance of the council, and recommended that the Welsh Assembly Government intervene to address them.

Dr Gibbons said that following productive discussions with the authority and others, he had issued the council with a formal direction setting out the terms on which he will intervene.

"Firstly and most simply, I am requiring the council to comply fully and sustainably with all of the auditor general's recommendations as soon as possible," he said

"Secondly, I am taking over the council's power to appoint a managing director.

"Anglesey has been without a managing director for some time. It desperately needs someone with strong experience in corporate recovery. There are very few such individuals at the best of times and someone needs to be in post as soon as possible."

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