Monday, 25 March 2013


Following my earlier post about the alleged gross mismanagement of  Thanet Council's collection of Art and Artefacts and  the possibility that  items making up the collection may have been stolen. I reproduce a letter which sheds more light on this  worrying matter. The letter was sent to Councillor John Worrow who is Chairman of the Council's Governance & Audit Committee. The Governance and Audit Committee agreed by a vote of  5 to 4 to refer this matter to the Council's Overview Scrutiny Panel  (OSP) for a full investigation. I am the Chairman of the OSP but the views I express on this blogsite are my own personal views and do not reflect the views of the OSP who are yet to consider this matter.

Dear Councillor Worrow

I am writing to you as you are the Chairman of Governance and Audit to express my concerns regarding the collection of Art and Artefacts held by Thanet District Council. My concerns are about poor auditing, lack of proper controls, missing items, under valuation and items under insured.

 In 2005 1 brought this matter up with the then leader of the Council Sandy Ezekiel and his deputy Cllr Roger Latchford who at the time assured me that the management of the collection met all (PARAGRAPH REDACTED)

In November 2012 an audit began on the Thanet District Council Collection at the Margate Museum using volunteer support from the Friends of the Margate Museum supervised by a TDC officer.

From the audit so far interesting facts have emerged vindicating my original position. For example there are items that have more than one number on the inventory,some items are even unlisted like a 11aluable Rowlandson print. In storage the collection consists of over 680 pictures with many suffering from neglect. There is also a "missing list" and I doubt if most items have the correct valuations or insurance cover judging by the audit so far.

I am writing to you to raise three issues.

  • Why has the collection which is a Council asset and has monetary value been allowed to be neglected for so long without a regular audit and proper controls .
  • Why were proper audit controls not put in place in 2005 when the then leader and deputy were aware there was a problem.
  • Why has the collection at the Margate Museum never been properly audited when the collection was no longer managed by the East Kent Maritime Trust In .2008 and handed back to TDC control.

This letter raises some extremely serious issues about how Thanet Council managed, or perhaps mismanaged a valuable and extremely important collection of Art and Artefacts.

I would recommend  that you look at Tony Ovenden's Blogsite Thanet Coast Life where even more information has been  published which appears to me to describe incompetence of the first order by Thanet Council and allegations of theft by persons in high office

Here is the link - you couldn't make this stuff up!


  1. Well I can see who the letter is to, but, perhaps more significantly, who is it from and what is the source of their information?

    As I suggested earlier and also on Tony Ovenden's blog, this matter should be referred to the police rather than simply be a subject of inuendo and suspicion to be banded around blogsites. If there has been theft or even wilful neglect, let's find out and get it out in the open.

  2. Tom at this stage there is no hard evidence. If and when hard evidence emerges then it will be passed to the police in the right and proper way. In the meantime serious allegations have been made about the Council's management of its art and artefacts collection over a long period and it has been suggested that some people may have helped themseleves to obejects which were in the collection. This should and will be investigated and at the very least the Council will soon have procedures in place to prevent any future mismangement of its unique and valubale collection.

    1. Surely the police are the people to get evidence for that is what they do in order to bring the guilty to court. There also now seems to be confusion over whether it was the council or the Margate Charter Trustees who were responsible for these items and I see that Tony Ovenden's 2007 letter on the sugject was to the mayor and not the leader of the council.

      Incidentally, you still have not said who the letter to Councillor Worrow was from or the source of its information. As for your suggestion that the matter will be investigated, who exactly has the skills to carry it out or the powers to require former museum employees, members of the public etc to answer questions.

    2. Maybe the police are already looking into it as well - why would they tell a know-all-know-nothing person like so-called Tom Clark?

    3. Or Ian Driver?

    4. I sincerely hope you are right, Anon 22.26, but according to Councillor Driver, who is on the council and thus in the know, it will be passed to the police when there is hard evidence. My point is that it is the police that find and collate evidence and all crimes start out as allegations until the police build a case to the satisfaction of the CPS.

      By the way, as to the 'know all know nothing' comment it is because I don't know that I ask the questions.

  3. Why would the Conservatives want an investigation into this, surely they would like it to go away?

    1. Who said they did, Anon? I, as an indivual council tax payer, think that any suspicion of theft or neglect of public assets should be reported to the police and not left to amateurs on some TDC committee. It is Labour currently running the council so why don't they refer it to the police, particularly if, as you seem to be suggesting, this would be embarrassing to the Conservatives.

  4. Tom Clarke is a bit slow on the up take!