Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Thanet Council Bullies WhistleBlowers

I have  just received the following letter from Thanet Council. In  publishing the letter of the Montoring Officer  I believe that I  acted in the public interest and acted as a whistleblower. However I am a person of limited means and  will take the letter down whilst  I consider my position.

Dear Councillor Driver

Postings on Your Web Blog - 30 April 2014

I am writing to you in connection with your web blog and the publication of material on that site arising from the meeting of the General Purposes Committee last night. During the course of today  (301

April 2014) you have published firstly a commentary on the process being dealt with at the meeting last evening and secondly, later today you have chosen to publish a private & confidential letter written by me as the Monitoring Officer to the members of that Committee clearly intended for their exclusive consideration.

 I regret to say that this is not the first time I have had to write to you expressing concern  about  publishing  private  and confidential  information  that   has come into you possession even though you are full aware that when you became an elected member of Thanet District Council you undertook to comply with the Council's Code of Conduct including, (subject to a limited number of exceptions, none of which apply here) the requirement to keep the Council's confidential  Information precisely that - confidential.

 You were aware that the General Purpose Committee had a sensitive task to work through in circumstances where due process and the duties owed by the Council to its staff required the utmost confidence. Instead, by choosing to publish on your website details of the proceedings (which you only attended for a limited time) and by later publishing a leaked copy of my letter, you have chosen to drive a coach and horses through those principles.

As a result you have placed the work of the General Purposes Committee in jeopardy , published sensitive personal data in flagrant breach of the privacy rights of a number of data subjects and, in my view, fatally undermined the ability of the Council to consider the issues raised by me.                 

You should also be aware that qualified privilege attaches when issues of concern are raised internally but your conduct in publishing these can attract no such protection and as a result, you have placed yourself at significant personal risk of having multiple actions in defamation taken against you by all those named in your web-blog, If nothing else will persuade you to do the right thing, perhaps the realisation that you have placed your home and personal assets at risk, will.
I therefore require you to immediately remove from your web blog all the matters referred to in this letter. I would also suggest that you seek urgent legal advice on how to mitigate your liability for your ill judged actions.



Yours sincerely


 Harvey Patterson Monitoring Officer Thanet District Council P 0 Box 9
Cecil Street Margate


  1. Sack Harvey. How dare he threaten a councillor publishing council information. And how dare he threaten your personal home and assets. A police caution as a minimum is also required. Get rid of him.

  2. Who are the General Purposes Committee, do the have anything to do with Common Purpose and are they the reason you are being bullied and not for the first time either as far as im aware. To threaten your home and personal assets is that not criminal intent and a massive threat to you - I would seek legal advice on how to rid the council of such a nasty piece of work as Harvey Patterson - was he elected by the people - no i dont think so. Was he elected by Common Purpose ?
    TDC is failing on all levels and thinks it is too big to be taken down, it should think again.

  3. Begin a salary review at TDC Ian. We don't need many of the civil servants.

  4. There is an interesting dynamic here - not to mention an obvious motive for the letter from TDC.

    In general terms a defamatory statement needs to be proved to be false by any complainant - as if it is true the utterer of the statement has a perfect defence against any claim of libel.

    If I read it correctly, the original statement was written by the same author who now strongly counsels that it should be 'un-published' - if that was possible. So, although it was not the author who broadcast the original letter, it was he who caused it to exist and must therefore also be considered to have defamed any of the persons named - if what he wrote was untrue. He may benefit from protection by privilege - but that is a more complex consideration.

    However, whilst I agree that confidences should normally be kept there is also the question of Public Interest to be considered.

    Finally if the MO and the author of the 'advisory' letter to the Councillor are one and the same - why doesn't he nail his colors to the mast? He doesn't mince his words in the internal briefing document - does he now think he was not telling the truth?

  5. Perhaps Mr Patterson and whoever he represents should read the whole of the Defamation Act 2013, and not least Section 4 Publication on matter of public interest, and let alone the Truth defence of Section 2, or even Section 1 Serious harm, before threatening you.
    He is just trying to get a lid back on it.
    Bullying in Thanet District Council.. now where have I heard that before, oh yes three days ago in LGA Peer Review of TDC, except contrary to the impression given by that one-sided report this is bullying of an elected member, who is acting in the public interest, by the executive cabal.

  6. You know when your hitting a bone when they come out with letters of this nature. It seems as though being open and transparent as they have been directed to be seems a bitter pill to swallow, when will people in public office realise that they have been put there by the public and are beholden to them.
    Sorry to see that you have been bullied and threatened but as a member of the public i have seen a few of your vids and posts you are being listened to and I commend you. Good luck

  7. The Local Government Association report entitled Thanet District Council – Corporate Peer Challenge and dated 28 April 2014 says “Many unfounded allegations have been made against senior officers who, whilst being held to account, are also owed a duty of care by the council. This behaviour must be tackled if you are going to improve community confidence in the council.”
    This statement appears to be the LGA’s own “unfounded allegation” as they present no list of unfounded allegations to justify it or their subsequent recommendation. If the advice of the Local Government Association is “This behaviour must be tackled” where does this leave “challenge” and “open government”? This recommendation sounds more like Gestapo and dictatorship to me. Local Government for the people it is not.

  8. Communicating threats is a serious offence, Ian, as 9:15 says, it might be worth looking into.

    We can't have these mere public servants threatening our elected representatives, what's next, jackboots?