Holbeach Parish Council offices

Police investigate anonymous letters

Claims that Holbeach Parish Council might have paid out around £50,000 to ex staff in recent years, are being looked into.

A police investigation has also been launched into a batch of anonymous letters sent out with alleged details of a payment.
The authority’s accounts reveal it made an ex-gratia payment of £10,000 in January, but has declined to say what it was for.
The council is also remaining tight-lipped about £13,491.66 of legal expenses and £13,508.34 in legal fees it paid out in 2021.
At a meeting of the parish council on Monday (April 8) resident John Kinder publicly asked ‘if any public ratepayers money has been used to ‘pay-off staff’ since 2010 along with the reasons’.
“I believe this could be in excess of three people with possibly a gross payment exceeding £50,000,” he told the meeting. “There seems to be quite a large amount which seems to be going on compensation.
“The public ought to know.”
The council agreed to look at responding to the question at its next meeting.
Mr Kinder raised the question as he was one of several people to read an anonymous letter containing accusations of wrongdoing by a member of staff and claiming that they’d received £10,000.
The Spalding Voice also received the letter in question.
Lincolnshire Police confirmed it was looking into ‘malicious communications’ in relation to the incident.
On February 29, The Voice officially asked Holbeach Parish Council what the £10,000, and a nearly £5,000 rise in what it paid its staff in January were related to.
The authority responded that the information is exempt under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act, which relates to personal data. The Voice has challenged the move on the grounds that the reasons for the payment do not relate to any personal data, and has requested an internal review of that decision.
The parish council has 20 working days to respond.
On the same day The Voice also submitted a Freedom of Information request asking how many ex-gratia payments had been made to former members of staff in the past 20 years.
The authority has not responded at the time of going to press but is still within the 20-day period to do so.
Chairman of the council Rick Stevens said the authority could not comment on the anonymous letters matter due to it being a police incident.
He confirmed the parish council and others had referred it to the police.
He said of Mr Kinder’s request: “We’ll take advice from Lincolnshire Association of Local Councils and we might be able to find out for you.”

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