Inside Croydon’s exclusive coverage of the Penn Report has already been followed-up by national newspapers, the country’s best-selling fortnightly satirical magazine, and even the trade magazine for local councils have been publishing material this week which Croydon Council has failed to publish for almost two years.
Inside Croydon has obtained a copy of the Penn Report, a full 160-page version without a single one of its 84,000 words redacted. We began publishing extracts on Tuesday – despite repeated threats of legal action from Croydon Council.
The report was compiled by experienced Local Government Association investigator Richard Penn, and looked at the reasons behind the financial collapse of Croydon Council in 2020.
As Inside Croydon was first to reveal, it includes the recommendation that councillors should consider calling in the Metropolitan Police to investigate possible misconduct in public office, and a further suggestion that Jo Negrini, the former CEO, may have broken the terms of her contract and could therefore be pursued to refund her £437,000 pay-off.
The wide-ranging report repeatedly refers to Croydon Council as “dysfunctional”, it contains multiple allegations of bullying by the shouty former CEO, and it even contains the suggestion that senior figures were “paranoid” about news getting out to… Inside Croydon.
Yesterday, Patrick Butler, the social policy editor at The Grauniad, wrote of the Penn Report, “Painting a picture of chaotic leadership at the council in the period before it fell into financial crisis, it reports allegations of lax governance, reckless decision-making, disregard for democratic processes, bullying by senior managers, reward for failure, and a habit of ignoring inconvenient evidence.” Which all seems familiar.
In The Municipal Journal, Dan Peters, the magazine’s news editor reported that, “Penn blamed the council’s dysfunction on ‘poor governance by the former political leadership of the council and by correspondingly poor managerial leadership from the council’s most senior officers’.
“The report read: ‘What happened in Croydon seems to have been an assertion of power to control the operational domain of the council by certain elected members and an apparent acquiescence to that by some senior officers’.”
And the Penn Report saw Croydon once again leading the way in the Rotten Boroughs column of Private Eye magazine.
They report one of Penn’s interviewees as saying, “In Croydon, nobody seems to be responsible for anything and no seems very concerned about that.”
It’s unlikely that many people will be arguing with that assessment.
Read more: #PennReport wanted police probe into possible misconduct
Read more: #PennReport: Croydon has been let down by political leaders
Read more: #PennReport: Hall and Negrini ‘only wanted good news stories’
Read more: Men who led council to bankruptcy say they did nothing wrong
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