An email has been circulated by Nottingham City Council in response to the Nottingham Evening Post’s article about a secret report that Nottingham Council are refusing to make public. The email says:
“You may have seen the front page of the Evening Post on February 18th referring to a report about the management of the City Council which the paper said the authority had refused to publish.
The Post offered to print a response to the story from the Council’s Chief Executive Jane Todd but when one was provided the paper was not prepared to print it.
The full response is provided below for your information.
Sometimes I wonder what it will take for the Nottingham Evening Post to recognise that things have changed and continue to change – for the better – at Nottingham City Council.
The front page story headlined City’s Top Secret File, on which the council was not even invited to comment, is so wide of the mark and so out of date that many readers must be beginning to wonder if their local newspaper has it in for their local council.
No-one would deny the media’s legitimate role in holding public services and public servants to account in the public interest. But where is the public interest in splashing on the front page a story that dates back to 2006? Well before I was Chief Executive. Before even Michael Frater was Chief Executive.
It seems the Post may have its iPod stuck on shuffle and it’s playing one old tune after another.
It’s been acknowledged that relationships between senior Councillors and senior managers previously – but no longer – employed by the council did not work as well as they could. But things have moved on. I’ve been here since 1st May last year and I think it reflects on my time here that the Post has been unable to date any of its “Trouble at the City Council” stories later than June last year.
What will reflect even more upon how things have changed will be the Audit Commission’s next Comprehensive Performance Assessment Direction of Travel report due to be published in March. I don’t expect it to say everything is perfect but I am confident that our significant steps in the right direction will be acknowledged.
To be very clear, we have not released an old, draft report to Councillor Sutton because, on balance, our legal officers and advisors do not believe it to be in the public interest to do so. I must emphasise that councillors have had no role whatsoever in making this decision.
It strikes me – and I know it strikes people I talk to – that the Post seem to be seeking to denigrate the City Council at any opportunity – no matter how old the story – and I think people deserve better.
It does Nottingham no good and the Post no good if we’re raking over old coals rather than pulling together, particularly in these difficult economic times, in the interests of Nottingham and the people who live here.
Chief Executive, Nottingham City Council ”