The London Borough of Barnet has appointed Davina Fiore as its new Director of Assurance, a role that will include monitoring officer responsibilities at the council.
The full council at Barnet will be asked today (14 April) to note the appointment of Fiore, who was previously Director of Corporate Governance at Isle of Wight Council.
Fiore’s predecessor at Barnet, Maryellen Salter, left the local authority in October 2014 after an investigation into how flawed reports were presented to council for decision.
Barnet had called in Claer Lloyd-Jones, an experienced local government lawyer, to examine how incorrect or misleading reports on members’ allowances and proportionality came to be presented to full council on 2 June 2014 without appropriate legal clearance.
Lloyd-Jones concluded in one of her two reports that no-one at Barnet at the time understood local government law in depth and this was one of the factors behind the mistakes.
She added that staff in key roles in the governance structure were inexperienced in governance matters, and that there was no clear protocol or process between the governance team and HB Public Law (the legal service shared with Harrow) for clearing council reports.
Salter, an accountant, was replaced as monitoring officer on an interim basis by Peter Large, Head of Legal and Democratic Services at Westminster City Council.
A report to Barnet’s remuneration committee in March this year noted that 11 applications for the role had been received. Six of those candidates were deemed suitable to progress through to the technical interview stage, although one was later to withdraw from the process.
Three candidates were shortlisted for a 1-2-1 interview with Barnet’s chief executive. The candidates were then interviewed by the remuneration committee.