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councilchamber400A motion challenging Isle of Wight Council Leader Ian Stephens to give up his lucrative off-Island paid appointments has been withdrawn by its proposer, Newport West’s Councillor Chris Whitehouse, and will not now be debated at the Full Council Meeting on Wednesday.

Cllr Whitehouse has pulled his motion to allow the meeting to focus on the devastating criticisms of the Independent Administration contained in the Corporate Peer Challenge, which has been arranged through the Local Government Association.

The Corporate Peer Review presentation can be found here and criticizes the Independent Administration for a wide range of failings including:

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  • it has no shared vision of the future
  • repeats mistakes and doesn’t learn from them
  • poor internal communication
  • project management and procurement are weak
  • too many defunct partnerships
  • allocation of finances not aligned to priorities in the Corporate Plan
  • inward looking focus on savings is taking sight off outcomes for residents
  • the council does not understand the profile of the local economy
  • insufficient pace of change

The report also highlights the Council’s strengths including:

  • Pride of place is evident
  • Members are ambitious
  • Ambition supported and directed by an up to date Corporate Plan
  • Social capital on island is available to help deliver the council’s priorities
  • Good work is being delivered but in danger of being overshadowed by the negative perceptions from the funding gap
  • Strong staff base to build on
  • Good clear planning framework in place and intention to develop Area Action Plans and Neighbourhood Plan

Speaking today (Saturday), Cllr Whitehouse says:

“The Leader of the Isle of Wight Council is clearly struggling to cope with the challenges he faces. His Group is haemorrhaging support and has lost four members in the last few weeks; the rest are held together only by their common interest in receiving additional payments in paid allowances: council taxpayers’ money being used to buy unity.

“I can understand the great stress Cllr Stephens is under as he fails to confront the budget cuts of £28 million he needs and as he runs himself ragged trying to do too many jobs at once. He really should be here on the Island giving Leadership to his failing administration and its officers, but it seems he is determined to chase every penny of allowances he can find.

“But, I don’t want the Council to spend further time on this when it should be looking instead next Wednesday at the devastating criticisms of the Independent Administration contained in the Corporate Peer Challenge arranged through the Local Government Association: it is truly shocking”.

“This is truly a damning indictment of a failing administration and it is right that it should be the main focus of debate at the coming Full Council.”


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