“Unethical” Croydon faces expulsion over Riesco sale

Dudley Mead and Tim Pollard, the pair of senior Tories behind the secretive scheme to flog off 24 of the most valuable pieces of the publicly owned Riesco collection of Chinese ceramics – first exposed by Inside Croydon – must be hoping that the auction achieves top dollar, since their actions will see Croydon Council facing disciplinary action from the Museums Association.

Dudley Mead: unethical?

Croydon Tories’ deputy leader Dudley Mead: unethical?

Croydon could become only the third local authority in a quarter century to be kicked out of the Museums Association because of what the national organisation described today as “its financially motivated disposal” of the Riesco collection china.

Nick Merriman, director of Manchester Museum and convenor of the Museums Association’s ethics committee, said today: “We reviewed the actions of Croydon Council against the guidance in the MA’s code of ethics on financially motivated disposal, and we found that they had not met the requirements of the code of ethics in a significant number of areas, despite considerable efforts by the MA to engage with them on these issues.

“The committee therefore reported to the MA’s director that Croydon Council is in breach of the code of ethics, and recommended that he consider disciplinary action against the council.”

Croydon residents’ public property is, thanks to posh West End auction house Christie’s, off on a world tour prior to being flogged off on November 27 in Hong Kong.

Councillor Tim Pollard: uninsurable?

Croydon Tory councillor Tim Pollard: uninsurable?

Pollard continues to claim that the sale is motivated by savings to be made on the cost of insuring the collection – despite the fact that, according to Croydon Council, not a penny has been spent on insuring the Riesco collection for at least five years. Is Pollard lying, or does he really not realise that no insurer is going to take on the risk of insuring what is a priceless collection?

It is unclear whether the Museums Association’s ethics committee also examined the probity of what Croydon Council wants to do with the proceeds – to part-pay for refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls, where Councillor Dudley Mead, the deputy leader of our Conservative-run council, also happens to sit on the governing body.

According to the Association, representatives from Croydon Council will be asked to attend a disciplinary hearing in the next few weeks where they will have an opportunity to state their case before a panel made up of three MA board members.

“It seems to me that the case against Croydon is very strong but they will be given a chance to account for themselves at the hearing before the MA makes a decision,” Mark Taylor, director of the MA, said.

“If the panel then decide that the disposal contravenes the code of ethics, they have the power to recommend expulsion from the MA.”

In the past 25 years, only two local authorities – Bury and Derbyshire – have been expelled from the MA for violating the code of ethics.

Croydon has also been warned by Arts Council England that its accreditation status for the Museum of Croydon will be reassessed in light of the disposal.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, Art, Croydon Council, Dudley Mead, Fairfield Halls, Riesco Collection, Tim Pollard and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “Unethical” Croydon faces expulsion over Riesco sale

  1. Being disciplined by the Museums Association: sounds to me like being savaged by a dead sheep.

    Dud and Tim, the Steptoe & Son of Cost-you-a-Mint Walk, are unlikely to be quaking in their boots.

    Does this crockery need an export licence? If so, can we hold up the sale until after next year’s local government election? Or does that sort of sanction only apply to grander heirlooms?

    • You are undoubtedly right, David, about the severity of any Museums Association sanction.

      But how many times, and by how many bodies, does a council have to be described as unethical or the like – anyone remember the Newsnight expose of the dangerous and illegal housing conditions that the same Councillor Mead was imposing on young homeless families? – before the penny drops with broader society that those in charge of our Town Hall are utterly toxic?

  2. At the risk of repeating myself: as long as the people of Croydon troop through the polling booths and act like sheep; or stay away in their droves, this council is fireproof.

  3. britasjo says:

    Taking this council of “chancers” to task on an issue of ethics will be like water off a duck’s back. The first step might be to explain the meaning of ethics in public life to them.

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