County council apologises after unlawfully employing ex-councillor: report

Nottinghamshire County Council has apologised for allowing a former councillor to be unlawfully employed by it, according to reports.

The Hucknall Dispatch has reported that former councillor Phil Rostance was appointed to the paid post of executive officer to the senior leadership team for the ruling Conservative group in early November.

He had been a county councillor until he lost his seat last May and is still a Conservative member of Ashfield District Council.

The report said Schedule 116 of the Local Government Act 1972 banned the employment of former councillors as officers until a year after they ceased to be elected members.

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Nottinghamshire held a debate on the issue in late November in private, despite calls from opposition councillors for it to be public.

The Hucknall Dispatch reported that chief executive Anthony May had admitted the council broke the law by employing Mr Rostance but this was a “genuine mistake” and he would apologise to the council.

Mr May said: “Now we are aware of this breach, having taken advice, we are required to deal with it by taking a report to full council following processes which are also set out in law.

“The breach relates to the employment of a new member of our staff and officers who made the appointment used our normal procedures but were not aware of this particular element of the Act.

“Having considered the public interest, the report has not been made public because it contains personal and financial information about the member of staff and legal advice which the council has received.”

He said the report considered in private by councillors “sets out the various factors for consideration in determining the way forward”.

Nottinghamshire has failed to respond to three requests for a statement on what will now happen.

Mark Smulian