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Leader of Lichfield District Council issued with a warning after using official email to receive private Menorca holiday apartment bookings

The leader of Lichfield District Council has been issued with a warning by the local authority after offering holidaymakers the chance to book an apartment in Menorca via his official email address.

Lichfield District Council leader Mike Wilcox
Lichfield District Council leader Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox was found to have published his email details on a website promoting a holiday rental apartment in Menorca which was set up in 2011.

The two-bedroom property called Chapel Porth Apartment – which at the time the site was created was available to rent for £350 a week during high season –  is described as being part of a complex which “features a swimming pool and outside terrace”.

The website for the property in Menorca
The website for the property in Menorca

Located close to Cala Blanca’s two beaches and near the town of Ciutedella, the apartment’s website offers tips on places to visit and eat, before inviting would-be holidaymakers to contact Cllr Wilcox via phone, a dedicated email or his official council email address – a move which is in breach of the local authority’s official policy.

Bal Nahal, monitoring officer at Lichfield District Council, confirmed that the leader had been taken to task over his actions.

“Councillors can use their council email for personal use, but are not allowed to publish their email addresses other than for council business,” she said.

“I have advised Cllr Mike Wilcox that this is considered a breach of policy and have given him a warning.”

But Cllr Wilcox has insisted that at the time the website was created, he had not flouted any rules.

“I have apologised for this infringement,” he told Lichfield Live.

“At the time I was unaware this was a breach of policy – and in fact, the regulations at the time allowed you to use your email address.

“I have asked for this site to be removed.”

Latest blow

The news is the latest blow to the Conservative leadership who have already seen the deputy leader told to undertake training on the council’s code of conduct after being found to hold an undeclared company directorship.

Cllr Ian Pritchard apologised for the omission from his register of interests, claiming he was not aware that it needed to be declared.

Another member of the six-strong leadership team – Cllr Ashley Yeates – was also forced to amend his register after a similar undeclared directorship in a dormant property development business was unearthed.

Ashley Yeates
Ashley Yeates

But it has also emerged that Cllr Yeates did not declare an interest during a 2017 meeting involving the Lichfield Garrick, despite the fact he held a role with Brian Yeates Associates Ltd, a company that had previously been paid more than £60,000 by the city theatre.

Bal Nahal added: “In relation to Cllr Ashley Yeates, Brian Yeates Asociates Ltd, of which he is a director, hires the Lichfield Garrick and the £66,000 figure represents ticket sales from shows the company has produced.

“However, as he has a contractual relationship, albeit as a client of the Lichfield Garrick, he should have declared this in any meetings concerning the Lichfield Garrick and I have reminded him of the requirement to do so in the future.”

Lichfield District Council has also confirmed that councillors have been reminded of their responsibilities to keep their registers of interest accurate.

“Slipshod and cavalier”

Since Lichfield Live published the details of the undeclared directorships of the two Cabinet members, at least 13 councillors have updated their documents on the local authority’s website.

Cllr Sue Woodward
Cllr Sue Woodward

Opposition Labour leader, Cllr Sue Woodward, said the continued issues were unacceptable, both in terms of the council rules and the perception the public had of elected representatives.

“To be frank, I’m just very disappointed,” she said. “I expect high standards from myself and my Labour group, but it seems that things have all become a little too slipshod and cavalier in the controlling Conservative group.

“It does none of us any good in the eyes of the public because it’s not just about complying with the letter of the rules but about public perception.

“We are all required to hold to the Nolan Principles of standards in public life including transparency and leadership.

“The councillors concerned should be reminded of these.”

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13 Comments

  1. Sminty

    8th February, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Oh come on! How much
    more of this are people going to tolerate? It’s bordering on farce now. Friarsgate and now this. How do we get rid of the morons?

  2. Nodge

    8th February, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Inept in every sense of the word.

  3. Christine Rapley

    8th February, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Seems a bit off that the details of the apartment are being published. If it’s still available for rent the article acts as an advertisement. Adding to the infringement of regulations?

  4. Ross

    8th February, 2019 at 11:54 am

    Christine – we are merely providing the source for the information in the spirit of openness…

  5. DS

    8th February, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Maybe we would get a discount with us bring constituents an’ all

  6. Neil Hickman

    8th February, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Oops… just something else that reinforces my opinion that this council can and do what they want because of the overwhelming balance of power they have. It’s unhealthy and undemocratic.

    They are not even accountable to the public any more with the way the constituency boundaries are set. Just look at the standard of MP we have for starters.

    Bad news is it’s only gonna get worse with more retirement apartments that are going to spring up on the Friarsgate site and the £500K plus houses on the edge of the city.

  7. Albatross

    8th February, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    This council puts the “cor!” Into corrupt. Unbelievable how much the council and its members are allowed to get away with – pretty much with impunity. WAKE UP LICHFIELD – THEYRE TAKING US ALL FOR MUGS!

  8. Michel Souris

    8th February, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Let’s hope that main body of the electorate remember these misdemeanours when the local election takes place in May.

  9. Darryl

    8th February, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Ignorance of the rules, is no excuse.

    Simply not caring, that’s another matter.

  10. Stephen Kirby

    9th February, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I am surprised that it is permitted to use a council e-mail account for personal mails anyway, is it assumed that the councillors are so technological inept as to be unable to have their own yahoo/g-mail addresses?

  11. John Griffin

    9th February, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    He should be sacked, what else is he doing that we don’t know about. Often the police pull over a vehicle for a misdemeanor and find stuff in the boot of a more serious nature.

  12. Andrew Steed

    11th February, 2019 at 4:19 am

    Are their Council elections in Lichfield this year? I certainly hope that voters react accordingly to such monumental incompetence and ineptitude from The Conservative administration.

  13. Joanne Grange

    12th February, 2019 at 10:13 am

    @John Griffin – agree wholeheartedly. When I was starting my finance career I worked as an internal auditor for a while. A very wily, well-respected senior internal auditor taught me that the first thing to do when you got to a site or an office was to look at the petty cash tin (shows you how long ago it was!). If you found a petty cash tin full of IOUs, with receipts that hadn’t been written up or with the wrong amount of cash in it you knew you were looking at a culture where basic controls and governance would be slipshod. The magnitude of the errors in the petty cash wasn’t the important point – it was an indicator of how seriously governance and controls were taken. If the leadership were accepting of the failure to control petty cash, then this set the tone and culture for the rest of the organisation and you knew you’ve had a pretty hefty internal audit report by the end of the assignment. Where management was seen to condone minor misdemeanors then this blase attitude perpetuated down through the workforce. In my career to date, the wily, well-respected internal auditor has never been proven wrong!

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