Senior councillors have called for assurances the recording of a telephone conversation with a former Norfolk County Council leader was an “extraordinary one-off.”
A report to be presented to the county council’s cabinet scrutiny committee today suggests that no other cases of conversations being taped without one of the parties’ knowledge or consent have been discovered.
The committee had called for an investigation after it was revealed last month that chief executive David White had recorded a telephone conversation with former leader Derrick Murphy.
Committee chairman George Nobbs said: “There are a range of factors that make this a timely and necessary moment for county councillors to scrutinise just how well the authority is meeting its responsibilities under the Data Protection Act.
“I will be looking, for example, for robust reassurance that the tape recording of a conversation reported in a recent standards hearing was an extraordinary one-off – which I very much hope it was.
“I am sure colleagues will want to do likewise.”
Meanwhile, the authority has announced plans to replace Mr White with an interim managing director when he leaves the council next month.
Mr White will leave the authority on Saturday, April 6, after his role was made redundant following a review of the senior management structures.
Anne Gibson, the council’s head of human resources and organisational development, will take up the role until a permanent appointment is made if the plan is approved by councillors next week.
The issue will be considered at a full council meeting which takes place next Monday, March 25, where a motion by Dersingham councillor John Dobson, calls for the structure of the council to be changed.
He wants to see the “strong leader” and cabinet structure replaced with either a mayor and cabinet structure, similar to the one adopted by West Norfolk Council, or a return to the former committee system.
He claims that the system effectively excludes many backbench councillors from the decision-making process.