Questions raised over number of senior roles held by South Tyneside Council chief

Concerns have been raised over the number of senior roles held by a council chief – though officials say it would be ‘genuine oversight’ if an issue was found.
South Tyneside Council leader Iain MalcolmSouth Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm
South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm

An opposition councillor has suggested Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, may have overstepped official guidelines by taking on too many positions.

Bosses have insisted the appointments were an error and that governance regulations for the borough are due to be reviewed and updated to account for this.

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“I need to bring to the attention of [the council] a breach of constitutional rules, I believe,” said opposition councillor Paul Milburn.

Councillor Paul MilburnCouncillor Paul Milburn
Councillor Paul Milburn

“[According to the constitution], no councillor will at any time be chairperson of more than one committee, yet Cllr Malcolm is chair of at least three committees.

“I think you need to be standing down from this committee as I think you’re in breach, mate.”

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Cllr Milburn was speaking at a meeting of the council’s General Purposes Committee on October 23.

Cllr Malcolm, who also chaired the panel, responded that Cllr Milburn may be mistaken and instead referring to rules on special responsibility allowances (SRAs).

Councillors are barred from receiving more than one SRA.

In 2019/20, Cllr Malcolm claimed the only SRA he was entitled to – the £28,121 allocated to the leader of the council.

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However, according to his councillor webpage, he is listed as chairman of at least five council committees, which appears to put him at odds with the council’s constitution, which states: “No councillor will, at any time, be: Chairperson of more than one Committee.”

Responding, a council spokesperson said: “Council officers are currently working on a review of the constitution to amend and bring the constitution up-to-date in a number of areas.

“This matter will be duly considered by them in the course of that review, as there is an expectation that certain committees should be chaired by the leader of the council in the overseeing of policies, budget and organisation of the council.

“The Cabinet is the executive decision making function of the council and is not a committee.

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“Committees such as Common Land, Town and Village Greens Committee, Constitution Committee and indeed, General Purposes Committee, meet so infrequently and as a result has led to this genuine oversight.”

The statement added: “Officers are grateful to Cllr Milburn for bringing this to their attention so that Elected Members can be advised appropriately going forward.”

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