Thursday, September 21, 2023

Redsell conduct probe goes on “behind closed doors.”

A PROBE into the conduct and activities of a prominent Thurrock councillor is to go ahead after a ‘behind closed doors’ meeting found there was a case to answer.

Joy Redsell took the radical step of complaining about herself in a bid to clear her name after slurs about her involvement in planning issues while she served on the council’s planning committee and as Mayor.

She had called for an open and honest probe into everything she has been alleged to have done in a bid to clear the stain of innuendo from her name.

Last week at a Standards Initial Assessment sub-committee it was decided that her self-referred complaint will be investigated by the Council’s monitoring officer – though it didn’t pass it on to the national standards board, believing it best that the process be handled locally.

Before discussion on the allegations began, there was a debate among the members of the sub-committee about excluding the press and public from their discussion.

The two councillors on the four person panel said they believed Cllr Redsell would want all the discussions to be in the open, but the two lay members of the committee, including chairman Karen Boyles, elected to follow the advice of legal officer David Lawson and on her casting vote it was agreed that discussions should be held in secret.

Mr Lawson told the committee: “It is for frank discussion and legal advice and it is not normal to be held in public.”

During the initial discussions, one of the two councillors, Tory Ben Maney had said he would take part in the discussion, but not vote on a course of action. He said: “This is in relation to the self referral by
Cllr Joy Redsell who is a colleague and a friend.
“I’m also mindful that some of the things that we have been designated to look into have been laid at my door in the past and though I will contribute to the discussion I will not vote.

“However, I think this meeting should be open because Joy very publicly stated that she wanted this to be public and open.”

He was supported by Labour councillor Steve Liddiard, who said: “I have read all of the articles in the newspapers and much of this is already in the open. I am in favour of transparency.”

The fourth member, Tunde Oluwaleimu, was more cautious, saying: “We are not the judge and jury at this stage, we just need to see if it needs to be investigated.”

A statement issued after the meeting said: “The Standards Initial Assessment sub-committee decided the self-referred complaint be referred to the Monitoring Officer for investigation in the public interest. The sub-committee did not believe the complaint warranted referral to Standards for England as it could be best investigated locally and did not meet their criteria for referral.”


  1. No surprises regarding this decision then. I mean an experienced elected Councillor in the form of Ben Maney who confesses during discussions at the sub-assessment committee meeting, that Redsell is both a friend and a colleague! How on earth therefore is he supposed to make an unbiased and objective decision as to whether or not his colleague has breached standards of conduct expected of our civic representatives when she is his friend and colleague? MANEY you should not have even been involved in the proceedings and should have declared a personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of your very close relationship with REDSELL and the fact that some of the allegations made against REDSELL that she wants investigated, have also been laid at your feet before! I am surprised that someone with his level of experience and political nounce, may have left himself open to a standards charge being taken out against him, because of his failure to declare what is believed to be a personal and prejudicial interest in this particular matter being considered by the sub-assessment committee. Redsell is your ward colleague for heaven’s sake with whom you inevitably have a close day to day working relationship and accordingly it is believed you are incapable of making an unprejudiced decision about her or the allegations made against her as you by your own admission have in the past been implicated in the same allegations yourself. You should not have even been in the committee room and certainly should not have contributed to any discussion thereby possibly it is believed leaving yourself open to suggestions that you may have influenced your fellow committee members in the decision they ultimately made and which the public have a right to expect to have been made in independent, impartial and objective circumstances. Such minimum standards of decision making in local government is required by law in a raft of various statutory enactments. Your remiss actions have left yourself open to potentially offending someone who believes that even you, let alone her, may have conducted yourself in a manner that breached standards expected of someone making a decision in circumstances where the need to preserve the public interest is paramount. It beggars, no indeed defies belief!
    The same criticism can I believe be levelled at the legal advisor at the meeting. Why didn’t the Legal Officer advise Maney to declare a personal and prejudicial interest? Surely he knew that Maney was a ward colleague of her and therefore unable to arrive at an impartial and unprejudiced decision about her? This gentleman, Mr Lawson, as a Council employee is believed to have a fiduciary duty not only to Thurrock Council but also to the public of Thurrock to have ensured that the integrity of the sub-assessment committee’s procedure and ultimately the decision reached was not undermined by what is believed to be bad judgement on the part of Mr Maney.
    Incidentally despite the act of the chairman, Karen Boyles, using her casting vote to elect that this matter yet again be held behind closed doors, if Redsell is so anxious to still have this matter heard in public to clear her name, then she can still elect to override and waive the decision of the sub-assessment committee to have any further investigation held behind closed doors and instead exercise her prerogative in insisting that it is dealt with in public. I wonder is it the case that elements within Thurrock Council are nervous about this investigation continuing in public? Mmmmm food for thought? Furthermore she still could insist in a quest for openness and transparency that it be referred to the Standards Board for England and Wales for independent investigation by someone who knows nothing about her, instead of the Monitoring Officer at Thurrock Council. Better still it could be asked for the investigation to be conducted by the Police and open it up to the rigours of a completely independent outside investigation. Over to you Joy. Let’s see if you are as radical, clever and politically astute as you and others think in having, as I believe, put your neck in the noose. Then again I may be wrong, but I don’t believe so.
    Furthermore, can someone please clarify if Maney did or did not vote at the sub-assessment committee proceedings recently? I ask such given that if only Councillor Liddiard, Mr Tunde Oluwaleimu and Chairman Karen Boyle were present with Councillor Maney then why was it necessary for Chairman Karen Boyle to use her casting vote? I sincerely hope that Councillor Maney did not vote with Councillor Liddiard for it to be held in public (and yes HORNDON I have noticed the significance of that) whilst the two independent members voted for it to be held behind closed doors, thereby activating the need for the casting vote of Karen Boyles; or was there another member of the committee not reported?
    Finally I note and read in the above article that “……The sub-committee did not believe the complaint warranted referral to Standards for England as it could be best investigated locally and did not meet their criteria for referral.” How can this be? Particularly as she has already of her own admission breached the code of conduct in what is believed to be her ill-advised actions of meeting a developer at the Mary Green Hotel in Brentwood earlier this year and that she may previously have failed to declare what is reported and believed to be a thirty year relationship with the owners of ICG Ltd. Surely these factors warrant referral to the Standards Board given the gravity and seriousness in terms of public perception of the allegations surrounding, circulating and leveled at this woman! I wonder if the Standards Board for England and Wales has confirmed that a referral to them for a totally outside investigation is unwarranted? Mmmmm further food for thought.

  2. “Is it not strange that previous blogs have been removed from these stories? I sincerely hope that certain individuals have not been threatening “Your Thurrock” to remove the blog, in the mistaken belief that they will be forgotten about and can be buried and hushed up? If my hunch is correct then the individuals responsible for such intolerable behavior, that has no place in any democracy, please rest assured that I for my part will not rest until I get a full explanation for what I believe is the wrongful and intolerable actions and behavior of certain individuals in Thurrock. These individuals know who they are? If you are responsible for threatening behavior then you do know that it is the nature of things that you will eventually be exposed. Incidentally I am still awaiting answers to the questions I posed in my previous blogs to these stories and which blogs have been removed. Whoever was asked these questions in Thurrock and you all know who you are, what are you frightened of in giving answers? Why can’t you answer the questions posed or are the answers too embarrassing and compromising for you to concede or too difficult for you to answer? Is anything being covered up or hidden? Please now answer because this is not going away and you are just delaying the inevitable meltdown that is coming your way, only to make it worse when it happens and the balloon finally goes up. Better still please prove me wrong and demonstrate nothing untoward is going on in Thurrock concerning the matters of concern in these recent stories in “Your Thurrock” for which blog has been removed. Nothing would please me better than to receive good sound explanations to allay not only my concerns but also those of the many other readers of “Your Thurrock” and other commentators and observers in the community of Thurrock.”


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