Penn report should be made public - MP

SCARBOROUGH MP Robert Goodwill says a controversial report into Scarborough's sea defences should be made public.

The contents of the Penn report have been kept quiet as part of a deal struck by Scarborough Council outgoing chief executive John Trebble, who will step down tomorrow after more than 20 years at the helm with new calls for the report to be made public ringing in his ears.

Leaked documents reveal had Mr Trebble not offered to take early retirement it is highly likely he would have faced a probe over his role in the awarding of illegal sea defence contracts for Marine Drive.

Mr Goodwill said: "It's sad he will leave with this cloud over him because he has given good service to the people of Scarborough for many years and people speak very highly of the way he has run the council.

The people of Scarborough have reason to be grateful to him and not let this one instance completely tarnish the very valuable contribution he has made.

"But what happened, happened under his watch.

"I think the councillors acted in the right way and had no alternative but to accept his request. If they had refused, just so they could have taken him through a process that might have led to his dismissal, that would not have served anyone's interests.

"I'm not sure whether Mr Trebble needs to answer any points in the Penn report but I have always thought that if at all possible any report of this kind should be in the public domain. But the council might not be in a position to do that because, as I understand it, it still has an agreement with Mr Trebble."

The latest revelations about a secret pact between Mr Trebble and senior councillors follow a damning district auditor report 12 months ago which found the authority had illegally awarded a consultant's contract, worth millions of pounds to High-Point Rendel.

Following the criticism that followed, local Government troubleshooter Richard Penn was asked by the council to carry out an investigation into the way senior council managers handled the contracts and whether any individual should be the subject of a disciplinary investigation.

His findings have never been made public and, until now, the only person known to have been criticised was council chief engineer John Riby. However, the leaked documents suggested concerns were also raised about Mr Trebble.

Mr Penn said: "So far as I am concerned my involvement with the council is now complete. It is for the council to determine what happens to my report and I have no view on that matter."

A number of councillors have renewed calls for the Penn report to be

made public.

Cllr Cec Ridley said: "I feel we should bring the Penn report into the open so the public can have some confidence in the council."