Notorious ‘cover-up’ council shamed yet again

OMBC Mayor Harry Catherall Amanda Chadderton

Another day, another gaffe and another ‘cover-up’ by beleaguered Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council.

This year sees the once in a generation ‘all-out’ local elections when voters go to the polls on Thursday 4th May, 2023 to elect sixty councillors, instead of the more usual twenty by rotation.

But it has already proved too much for a Council now widely renowned not just for its incompetence, rock-bottom ethical and professional standards, poor judgement and calamitous decision-making but, mostly, for its propensity to ‘cover-up’ its failings.

Expounded regularly by Neil Wilby Media, but most recently in a hard-hitting piece as recently as 11th April, 2023 that chronicled the fiasco over Election Notices published in the wrong section of their website, published late, or early, and an abracadabra Election Timetable that seemed to disappear and re-appear at will and can still only be found by a search of the OMBC website (that article can be read in full here).

The latest disaster to befall them is not exactly life-changing but more symptomatic of the malaises that afflict the Council’s senior paid officers, far too often for comfort or confidence in their ability to run an authority with a budget running into hundreds of millions of pounds and wide-ranging municipal and safeguarding responsibilities.

A group of political aspirants, joined together under the banner Shaw and Crompton Independents, has issued a public statement outlining an error allegedly made by the Council over the election of Parish councillors on 4th May in their East Ward.

OMBC election gaffe Shaw and Crompton

There has been no statement from the Council or its Returning Officer, Harry Catherall, who is also chief executive of the local authority.

A short time ago these questions were put to Mr Catherall via email by the author of this article, Neil Wilby:

“Can you please provide the following:

1. A copy of the letter (or email) Jenna Madeley is alleged to have sent to the ‘Shaw and Crompton Independents (I attach a copy of their statement on the issue).

2. A copy of any letter or email sent to the Electoral Commission on this topic.

3. An explanation as to how the error set out by S&CI occurred.

4. An explanation why a matter of such public interest has been concealed from the press and public.

5. Who made the decision to conceal it and why?

A response before 4pm UK time would be very helpful”.

This article will be updated once a reply is received from the Returning Officer.

For clarity, the Shaw and Crompton Independents is an entity unregistered with the Electoral Commission and its name will, therefore, not appear on any ballot papers against any of their candidates’ names. Led by Marc Hince, a social media troll and a leading member of a group of notorious Mossley-based conspiracy theorists, axe-grinders and political malcontents, whom self-style as ‘The Rabble‘ (or ‘Raja’s Rabble‘).

The dramatic out-turn from this exclusive has led to a further Neil Wilby Media article which can be read at this weblink.

This is plainly a story with more to come: Follow Neil Wilby on Twitter (here) and Neil Wilby Media on Facebook (here) for updates.

Page last updated Thursday 27th April, 2023 at 0840hrs

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Picture credits: Oldham Council and Twitter

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2023. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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