South Ribble Council is spending thousands investigating how a secret dossier into last year’s taxi licensing scandal was leaked – despite the ‘leaker’ outing herself months ago.
Monitoring officer Dave Whelan instructed Shaun Goacher of legal firm Weightmans to find out how and why the information was leaked, and make recommendations.
This is despite Leyland Councillor Claire Hamilton (pictured) announcing in November she leaked the report to the media “in the public interest”.
She has slammed the investigation as “a disgraceful waste of public money.”
The estimate for the work was £4,000-£6,000 plus VAT, with £675 plus VAT billed up to early April.
Coun Hamilton said: “It is appalling that safeguarding the public is not of paramount importance to South Ribble Council and instead they obsessively try to find out who leaked information about the systematic failings in the licensing function. The Council has its priorities wrong and it is a disgraceful waste of public money.”
The Council has its priorities wrong and it is a disgraceful waste of public money.
She claims she leaked the report at the request of South Ribble Labour leader Councillor Paul Foster. He admits giving her the report, but only to “get issues investigated by people who knew more about it than us.”
Councillor Peter Mullineaux, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “The council commissioned Weightmans Solicitors in February this year to carry out an investigation into how and why confidential information was made public.
“This council takes such matters extremely seriously and is determined that lessons will be learnt from the events of the past 18 months.”
“The report will make recommendations on what improvements – if any – we can make to our existing procedures in this regard.”