When the draft minutes of the last Shiptonthorpe Council meeting were published I was keen to read what had been recorded for posterity.

Several things took my eye but the significant one was what seemed to a discrepancy between what was actually said and the published draft.

What was actually said was:

“We went ahead to offer continuation with the existing auditor he decided not to accept and step back, so we are now starting to seriously look. We have a number of options shall we say and we will be developing those options and will come back to council accordingly.”

The draft had more words and a phrase which was never used during the whole meeting.

“The Chair stated that the Council had asked the current Internal Auditor (IA) if he wished to continue the IA service he had provided previously. He stated that he was appreciative of the offer but due to the close working relationship with the previous clerk, he would feel it would appropriate to withdraw from the IA service and allow the Council to appoint a new IA.”

When I asked the chairman to comment he replied:

“Regarding “draft” minutes they are exactly that, draft / work in progress.
I am certain you are aware that minutes are not verbatim record and were written up by the locum clerk attending the meeting”.

I assume that my transript of the meeting was accuarte as the chairman has edited the draft minutes and removed the reference to the working relationship with the former clerk.

There is no argument that the minutes are clearly marked as draft and are often updated before councillors finally accept them as being a true record. However, I am left with some questions:

  1. Would any of the existing councillors have noticed the error and had the courage to amend it I hadn’t raised it?
  2. How did the phrase “but due to the close working relationship with the previous clerk, he would feel it would appropriate to withdraw” come to be included at all?
  3. What was the motivation or thinking behind including this phrase?


Finally, I have seen no evidence to prove that the former auditor ever gave his working relationship with the clerk as a reason to withdraw his service.

As always. Draw your own conclusions.

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