Uproar as Malvern council chief investigated for code of conduct breaches - The Malvern Observer

Uproar as Malvern council chief investigated for code of conduct breaches

Malvern Editorial 16th May, 2024 Updated: 16th May, 2024   0

AN EXECUTIVE councillor in Malvern has been forced to apologise after unwittingly issuing a report to her fellow committee regarding receipt of a grant to her own business.

Following an investigation into councillor Beverley Nielsen’s conduct she acknowledged and apologised for failing to read the report she gave to the committee on the payment of a grant to the company – Boundless Outdoors – of which she is a founder and current director.

A press release later issued by Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) referencing the business’s grant also quoted independent councillor Nielsen – another document she admits to failing to read in full.

The council’s monitoring officer did not find fault regarding Coun Nielsen’s conduct in presenting the report, during the January 23 meeting, as she had no involvement in the application of the grant, nor did she reside over any decision to issue it.

However, fellow councillors across parties in the town have branded her ‘incompetent’ and ‘uninterested’ after she apologised for her failings as the portfolio holder for economic development and tourism.

Three councillors, including Conservative councillor Jeremy Owenson, Lib Dem’s Paul Bennett and Independent’s Sarah Rouse, say this indicates her inability to manage her portfolio and have called for the council’s leader, Tom Wells, to strip her of her executive role.

In a letter addressed to council leader Tom Wells, the councillors said: “Many new councillors were elected for the first time last year, and many are very serious and dedicated about delivering improvements for our residents.

“That is why it is so disappointing that Coun Beverley Neilsen admits to not fully reading Council Papers, and indeed press releases issued in her name.

“We believe Beverley should step aside and allow a Councillor, who will be diligent and dedicated, to take over the role.”

Coun Nielsen told the Standard:

“Having been cleared of any breach of the code of conduct, I have openly acknowledged my error and apologised.

“This has highlighted to me, once again, the importance of taking more time over our documents and reports.

“I am dedicated to my work as councillor and to our wonderful district of Malvern Hills and will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again.”

Coun Nielsen’s involvement in Boundless Outdoors is listed in her register of interests on MHDC’s website. She did not declare this ahead of the executive meeting.

Coun Wells did not respond to a request for comment.

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