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Barnet Council paid lawyer £16k to investigate its legal failings

PUBLISHED: 14:00 30 January 2015

Maryellen Salter.

Maryellen Salter.

Archant

Barnet Council was forced to pay more than £16,000 for an independent lawyer to investigate legal failings which led to one of its most senior directors stepping down.

Andrew Travers.Andrew Travers.

A request from the Ham&High under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed the council paid £16,200 to Claer Lloyd-Jones & Associates Ltd last year.

Ms Lloyd-Jones was enlisted by Barnet Council chief executive Andrew Travers to investigate the circumstances surrounding a series of erroneous reports produced for the annual council meeting on June 2 last year.

Mr Travers was forced to postpone several meetings after it was discovered the two reports – underpinning the council’s new committee system of governance – were incorrect when voted on by councillors and left the new committee system “flawed”.

The investigation by Ms Lloyd-Jones found the council’s governance team led by assurance director Maryellen Salter was responsible for the erroneous reports, prompting Ms Salter’s departure.

Ms Lloyd-Jones said there was now “no one who understands local government law” working at Barnet Council after all its in-house lawyers transferred to a Harrow-based legal service.

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