The Audit Commission should not waste its money threatening bloggers

I read with some concern NCCLOL’s post that he has received a letter from solicitors acting for the District Auditor following posts he wrote about various issues concerning Nottingham City Council and the District Auditor. He states quite clearly what has happened, and you should go and read it.

The way the political system in this country works is that it is supposed to be accountable to the public. Painfully few people take enough of an interest in our many public bodies, and many of them work in completely opaque ways. When people are prepared to put the time in to discover what is going on and write about it, often in depth, it should be something that is rewarded, not something that frightens public officials.

When people holding roles in public bodies take decisions, they must expect to be held accountable for them. That includes criticism from informed commentators such as local bloggers, who can be expected to express themselves forcefully.

It cannot possibly be right that Audit Commission has paid several thousands of pounds to solicitors to send a frightener letter to a member of the public who is doing what members of the public are supposed to do: holding to account public officials.

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6 comments on “The Audit Commission should not waste its money threatening bloggers

  1. […] The Audit Commission should not waste its money threatening bloggers by Alex Foster on Niles’s Blog. “It cannot possibly be right that Audit Commission has […]

  2. Judith Brooksbank says:

    Having looked at NCCLOL’s blog I decided to check the composition of Nottingham City Council:-

    Labour: 50
    Conservative: 5
    Others: nil

    It seems the Labour Group has such a big majority that it may have given in to the temptation of allocating itself dictatorial powers – and that other public officials are playing along. If they don’t like criticism they could always behave in a more publicly accountable way. That would solve their problem. Congratulations to NCCLOL for taking them to task. Keep showing them up!

  3. Judith Brooksbank says:

    I’ve just sent an email to Nottingham City Council, as follows:

    Dear Nottingham City Council

    It has been pointed out that you are so averse to criticism that you have spent £3,500 in solicitor’s fees in an attempt to gag NCCLOL, a concerned member of the public who has pointed out some of your failings in his blog.

    This has brought his criticism of you and the District Auditor, Mrs Sue Sunderland, to a much wider audience than would otherwise have happened. You will be interested to know that people all over the country are now reading about the goings on of Nottingham City Council.

    He believes that NCC has covered up corruption and that the District Auditor has threatened him for pointing out that she should have dealt with this. Instead she (or you) has had a solicitor’s letter sent to him threatening him with action. (I’ve read an online scan ot it.) She seems to expecting NCC to fund some kind of court case, which is apparently not legal as she is not a member of the council. The person who has blown the whistle is being threatened by yourselves.

    It seems to me that the large majority of councillors of one party (Labour) may have given your council an overweening sense of its own importance, a sense of its own invincibilty. This is very, very unfortunate. You are, of course, only there to serve the people of Nottingham.

    Shame on you
    Judith Brooksbank

  4. I appreciate the support Judith but in fact it wasn’t NCC who sent me the legal threat it was the Audit Commission.

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