Council leader: We will not discuss documentary

Environment services manager Terry Dunn with staff featured in Don't Blame the Council

Environment services manager Terry Dunn with staff featured in Don't Blame the Council

  • Councillors will not be allowed to discuss controversial documentary
  • Opposition members had wanted answers from council bosses
  • Lord Smith says any debate could jeopardise ongoing internal review
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WIGAN’S councillors will not be permitted to discuss the controversial documentary Don’t Blame the Council at the latest town hall meeting.

Council bosses have said any discussion at Wednesday’s full council meet could conflict with the local authority’s ongoing internal review.

Leader Lord Smith said: “I’ve spoken to many councillors since Don’t Blame the Council aired last month, all of whom have expressed their disappointment in the way Wigan Council and Wigan Borough was portrayed by ITV. We have also kept the leader of the opposition fully briefed.

“Our councillors and officers work extremely hard to improve perceptions of the town and to help improve the lives of our residents – as demonstrated by the BBC series - Call the Council.

“While I know many would like to comment on the issue at this evening’s council meeting it would be inappropriate while the internal investigations are ongoing. Members will be given the opportunity to ask questions as soon as the investigations are complete.”

Opposition member Coun Gareth Fairhurst had proposed a motion calling for an explanation of the decision to allow TV crews behind the scenes of council services.

Lord Smith addresses delegates at People at the Heart of Scholes

Lord Smith addresses delegates at People at the Heart of Scholes

But the motion was not added to the agenda as officers said it had not been seconded. Coun Fairhurst denies this, claiming his father, Coun George Fairhurst, had backed his bid.

As part of the internal review, deputy chief executive Paul McKevitt has taken over the running of the environment services on a temporary basis in the place of Terry Dunn. And all participants in the TV show have been interviewed by legal and human resources staff.

The ITV show prompted a frenzied reaction on social media as staff were shown displaying a poor work ethic.

Viewers saw binmen sleeping in their lorries while one admitted going home mid-shift before returning to the depot to clock off.

While I know many would like to comment on the issue at this evening’s council meeting it would be inappropriate while the internal investigations are ongoing

Council leader Lord Smith