UK Docks’ Shed

PDF copy of Post

The Document below – Introduction, Approved v Non-Approved Drawings etc. was the attachment to an important email and it shows that the section of the Local Government Ombudsman that deals with Planning Matters is either incompetent or corrupt as some of those in South Tyneside Counci. >>>


It is ten years since the two large cranes arrived beside the slipway off River Drive in South Shields. They were there to lift an overhead crane into the additional roof space of the slipway shed, cover or enclosure was awarded after South Tyneside Council had withheld plans and drawings that showed the shed to be 3m taller than the permission granted in 1996. The additional space was about 3m high, 13m wide and ran for the entire length of the shed and one only has to look at the plans approved in August 2013 to see the truth of this.

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Covering Email to Trail of Deceit

Dear Harry and Everyone,

Everyone, were those copied into email’s Bcc and included, the MP for South Shields, the Constituency Support Manager for the MP for Berwick, the Chief Executive, and the Head of the Council’s Legal Team, the ‘Monitoring Officer’ who has been handling our complaint that UK Dock’s ‘Shed’ is 3m taller than planned, those who attended the meeting in March 2014 where we decided to raise a Petition and finally, a few of those who were also aware that the shed had been built without planning permission.

Please see the attached document, provided to back the Trail of Deceit.


It describes a trail which began in September 2013 when a planning officer in South Tyneside Council told the protestors that the structure being erected near the mouth of the Tyne in South Shields had been given approval when it hadn’t and it looks like he was being economical with the truth because the Council’s Enforcement Officers stopped work in the yard about two weeks after it had begun when an approved document was recovered from the Council’s archives.

By the end of 2013, I had discovered with the help of another local resident, that there were also plans that had been approved by the Planning Manager a few weeks before the structure that was to become a large enclosure on a slipway (was began). Those plans proved that it was built nearly 3m taller than permitted.

Meanwhile at a meeting was held in the Town Hall on November 25th 2013, the original planning officer had gathered 4 persons who were prepared to support him in maintaining the lie about the shed’s height being approved and UK Docks were allowed to restart work on their shed in spite of the fact he would have known that one of the two approved drawing from 1996 would prove all five of them were perpetuating the misrepresentation made by UK Docks two and half months earlier.

By the time my complaint about the shed’s height, on behalf of the protestors was submitted, the tracks for the gantry crane had been fitted and that left the Planning Manager with a problem. He should, of course, have told UK Docks to stop work on the shed and they were in no position to protest as it could be easily shown that their claim that they had approval it was actually fraudulent.

He chose not to and because planning officers appear to be beyond the law, he was persuaded to back his Principal Planning Officer rather than reprimand him for gross misconduct and he achieved this by removing the original complaint from the public domain and adding to the misinformation about the shed’s height:-

  1. that the inland end of it was approved at 15.5m;
  2. that the gable end on the drawing he had approved in August 2013 also referred to the inland end of the shed and when that proved to be a lie as well –he said that;
  3. it was not to scale;
  4. later, when it was shown to be to scale, he claimed it was drawn after the Principal Planning Officer had inspected the framework.

So it went on, firstly with the Head of Development Services overwriting the fact that the original and one and only complaint that the shed was taller than planned had been deleted and enabled the fraud that UK Docks had approval for the shed to be repeated to the Ombudsman so that I, along with any of the other protestors could be falsely accused of making allegations.

Finally, to avoid being honest about the shed’s height a scheme was put in place to silence me by the misuse of a staff code in mid 2016 and although it fell into disuse it was revived by the Council Leader in 2021 on the advice of the Interim Head of Legal Services and is currently being exploited each April by the Chief Executive because he, like his predecessor has no wish to be honest about the shed’s height.

Yours sincerely
Michael Dawson

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Trail of Deceit

Covering Email to Trail of Deceit

Full Trail:- Evidence-Trail-6-Nov-23.pdf

Dear Mr Harlow,

Evidence backing the Trail of Deceit

My combined email/letter of the 25th September had been incorrectly titled SDCandC-Petition, it has now been posted to the website as STCandC-Petition. You did respond within a few minutes but it was not to correct my error but to complain that I had annoyed you.

I believe thanking you for letting me know from where Mr Simon Buck got the idea to falsely accuse me of making vexatious calls to an MP’s office, was not harassment but a rather generous thank you:- “Thank you for making me look again at the process by which the South Tyneside Council misuse their own Complaints Procedure to hide malpractice of their planning staff and their manager.

I concede that I was being somewhat disingenuous because I reported that you had made the comment, Will you just give it a rest mate!, against a website Post rather than a Page because comments are not normally made against pages in WordPress.

I have also taken the opportunity to correct some of the other minor mistakes made in post, STC and Corruption – Petition.

I have no intention of giving it a rest until South Tyneside Council (STC) accept that I was correct when I complained in January 2014 that the slipway enclosure (shed) built by UK Docks on their slipway off River Drive is nearly 3m taller than planned. Unless one works there or derives some income from it, what is done about the shed is not important but as long as it remains, it is a symbol of the corruption that is endemic within STC.

It appears that you were attempting to present yourself as Mr Buck by using the email address of against a page where I describe how he threatened me with the misuse of a Parliamentary Code. Maybe you did not know that the disgraced Mr Buck should be keeping his head down he after he had falsely accused me of flouting of parliamentary rules but it now appears that you did by making the one word comment YAWN against the post, Contact Restrictions Review on May 12th.

You were not to know that he had removed the email shown below from the MP for South Shields inbox which is probably a prosecutable offence.

Re: Complaint: 248789 – Unplanned Development on River Drive Date: 13/01/2020 (22:05:29 BST) 
To: Emma Lewell-Buck MP 
Cc: Keith Palmer, Cllr Angela Hamilton, Cllr David Francis, Cllr Anglin 
Attachment: 8DLL.pdf (108 KB)

Dear Emma,
I answered a call today from a Mr Keith Palmer on 01914271240 and we spoke about UK Docks. Judging from the email address he gave me, I guess he must be your office manager in South Shields and from our conversation I gathered he did not wish to consider any further correspondence from me and suggested that because I now lived away you/he would not be able to deal with correspondence because of parliamentary rules. . .

Please note that the copy of the letter from Peter Dunn and Co was sent to Emma and not to Mr Buck. Nor was it copied to Mr Buck yet it was he who responded to the second email, sent to Emma early on the 14th:-

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LGO Hide Corruption

Jennifer Brooks is the MP for Berwick’s Constituency Support Manager and it was Hayley Johnson who misinformed the MP when she told the MP in 2015 that we (Mr Dawson and other local residents) were making allegations when we were not.

Nicola was Monitoring Officer who swept everthing to do with UK Docks under the carpet when she kept repeating “It remains the case that all complaints procedures relating to this matter have been exhausted both internally within the Council and externally”.

Re: Ombudsman Response to MP
Date: 10/10/2023 (17:14:11 BST)
To:   BROOKS, Jennifer
Cc:   Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Hayley Johnson, Nicola Robason
3 Attachments:	23 09 23 LTR LGO to REP complaint invalid.pdf
		General letter to PA.pdf
Dear Jen

Please see my response to Mr Heath's Final Decision statement, 23 09 23 LTR LGO to REP and the General letter to PA was Mr Lewis' response.

Hopefully I'll post DearJen10-Oct-23 to over the next couple of days and when I've done that I will copy it to the others who have apparently been making allegations about UK Docks shed.
Hayley is the Corporate Lead who has been giving misinformation to Anne-Marie and Nicola was for a few years the Monitoring Officer for South Tyneside Council. I do not seem to have an email address for Mr Heath

Mick Dawson  

Dear Jen,

Thank you for the copy of the letter sent by Mr R Heath, an Inspector for the Ombudsman, to Anne-Marie Trevelyan on the 26th September.

He first tells us that he is acting in line with a code which says:-

The Ombudsman’s enabling legislation allows him to decide which complaints he wishes to pursue. While we aim to help people where we can, and where we decide it is appropriate to do so, the law places restrictions on our work and we operate with limited resources. That means we only look at what we decide are the most significant and serious complaints.

I personally think that giving misinformation/misrepresentation to the Local Government Ombudsman is a very serious offence but he appears to be content to let evidence that South Tyneside Council have been giving them misinformation be destroyed, when he says:-

We no longer hold any documents relating to the complaint, the decision or our consideration ofthe complaint, in line with our data retention policy, and the time for challenging the decision has long since passed.

That was with regard to their investigation 14015052 carried out in 2015 and he fares no better with their second investigation:-

I note Mr Dawson has also previously attempted to challenge the decision as part of another complaint to this Office in 2017 under the reference 17001436 but that we declined to take the matter further at that time. We closed this case more than six years ago on the basis we had already considered and decided the issues raised and again, documents relating to the case have been deleted.

The second Inspector, Mr P Lewis, conflated the complaint that a shipyard slipway enclosure on Tyneside was 3m taller than permitted, with the second complaint, that South Tyneside Council had lied to the first Inspector, when they said that the shed was not taller than any approved document allowed.

Mr Lewis then consigned the separate complaints, that the slipway shed was taller than planned and that South Tyneside Council had been giving misinformation to the Ombudsman to the waste bin:-

I consider that your latest complaint remains that of your previous complaint which has already been determined (whether or not to your satisfaction) and the opportunity to request a review of that decision has passed.

I will treat your complaint therefore as invalid and your complaint will not be investigated.

You said in your covering email of the 5th that Mr Heath’s response would not be the response I was hoping for but I think it only goes to show that the office of the Local Government Ombudsman has been corrupt for some time and the planning officers and their managers of South Tyneside Council were aware (of that) as long as I have had anything to do with them. It started in 2013 or possibly a bit earlier when they left me no choice but to resort to the Ombudsman to establish that an immediate neighbour did not have permission for the redevelopment of his property.

That was water under the bridge but it showed me the importance of keeping an accurate record of drawings and plans and how they were being referenced and here I refer to correspondence between South Tyneside Council and the MP for Berwick in 2015 about the shipyard slipway enclosure or shed on the banks of the Tyne, when I discovered that the Council were using the Ombudsman’s findings to misinform her.

I had suspected that the Council was misinforming the Ombudsman, to push through favoured projects without planning permission but needed some evidence i.e. something in print to back my suspicions. I had explained to the MP for Berwick that the shed was taller than planned but the Council’s Corporate Lead told her otherwise.

The matters and allegations raised by your constituent are well documented and have been subject to a number of enquiries from Mr Dawson and other local residents over a lengthy period of time. The matter was ultimately referred by way of complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, the outcome of which was delivered on 14 April 2015.

I repeat, if the approved plan or drawings indicate that a structure is nearly 3m taller than planned it is not an allegation to say it is taller than planned, it is the truth and it is therefore a lie, to tell LGO Inspectors, MPs and others, including myself, that it is not taller than planned.

Two MPs, because while I was corresponding with the first Inspector it became obvious that she was being misinformed and I raised the issue about the conduct of the Council’s Planning Officers with the MP for South Shields but someone had noticed that (I) had taken up lodging in Amble and the case ended up with the MP for Berwick.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan then had, not only the case notes given by me to Emma Lewell-Buck in March 2015, but some additional information sent three months later which I had copied to the Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council. I had added, knowing full well there no approved drawings to show that the shed was the permitted height:- “If Mr Swales provides any new plans to show you that I am wrong in my assessment of the development on River Drive by UK Docks please let me know.

As you can see the Chief Executive asked one of his officers to accuse I and others of making allegations about the shed’s height and I was not at all pleased about it and when I moved back to South Shields I decided to challenge him again about his officers giving misinformation to the Ombudsman and wrote to him on the 8th July 2016 explaining that the shed was built without planning permission and asking:-

I ask you to look again at this because there is a clear contradiction between what the Council were telling the LGO and what is known. Why your staff should misrepresent the facts to the LGO is for you to determine. That they have misinformed the LGO should be admitted and corrected and that is what this letter is about.

He was well and truly trapped because he either had to lie about his staff giving misinformation to the Ombudsman or explain why his staff were giving misinformation to the LGO but he played his get out of jail free card by asking his Corporate Lead who had already misinformed Anne-Marie by accusing us of making allegations about the shed, to misuse Section (F) of a Staff Code to remove the need to answer the question:-

I now consider this matter closed. Should you continue to repeat historic complaint issues in your contacts, we will consider imposing formal restrictions on your contact with the Council. Should you continue to repeat this same complaint already investigated by the Council or the Ombudsman, including historical plans or perceived misinformation, we will not acknowledge, or respond to those communications.

Part of the answer is that the Chief Executive and his staff can rely on Inspectors like Messrs Heath and Lewis to make sure that the truth about shed remains hidden and it appears from here that giving misinformation to LGO would be better described as fraudulent misrepresentation.

That in turn raises the question: who profits from giving misinformation/misrepresentation to the Local Government Ombudsman?

Kind regards
Michael Dawson

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STC and Corruption – Petition

Full copy of pdf file: STC and Corruption

More than nine years ago, the Planning Manager agreed with me as one of the main protestors that the enclosure, on the slipway, in UK Docks boat repair yard off River Drive was nearly 3 meters taller than permitted. South Tyneside Council had done little but deny the fact that it was taller than planned for five months, by withholding the approved plan which showed the enclosure or shed was 2.7m taller than what had been approved 8296/2, and we decided to raise a Petition:-

3.3.2014 To the Chief Executive STMBC,
The attached signatories are concerned about recent developments at Tyne Slipway and Engineering Ltd, River Drive, South Shields.
We protest at:
1. A lack of relevant information from STMBC
2. A lack of public consultation on the unannounced construction
3. Lack of research and impact surveys
4. Apparent negligence by STMBC
5. Apparent breach of planning law by the developers

We are concerned that by its actions in this case STMBC is in breach of its own Local Development Framework Core Strategy Objectives, eg. "to protect and enhance the boroughs coastline and water frontage; to ensure that the individual and cumulative effects of development do not breach noise, hazardous substances or pollution limits; to increase public involvement in decision making and civic activity".

Local residents wish to live in peace and harmony with appropriate light industry as we have for many years, supporting the cultural heritage and environment of the area for the benefit of residents and visitors. We believe the new development at Tyne Slipway threatens to disrupt this.
Yours sincerely,
Signatories attached

The response to the Petition was not from the Chief Executive but from the Head of Development Services. It was in the form of a letter, sent to addresses in top third of Greens Place on the Lawtop and all of those in Harbour View, South Shields, on the 2nd May 2014 and it contained a lie.

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Duplicity Exposed

South Tyneside Council and Corruption
Date: 19/07/2023, 16:56:27 BST
To: Jennifer Brooks
Cc: Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Nicola Robason, Alison Hoy
2 Attachments: Duplicity Exposed.pdf (80 KB)
Heart of Shed and Corruption.pdf (117 KB)

Jennifer Brooks is the Constituency Manager for the MP for Berwick and the email of the 19th July started with an apology and went on to explain its purpose:- “Please forgive me for leaving this so late in the current session of Parliament for writing to you but I wish to to let you know that that I will be publishing the attached document, ‘Duplicity Exposed’ on my website tomorrow.

It was to let her know in response to a question she had raised in June about giving misinformation to the Ombudsman and that if I had evidence that South Tyneside Council were giving it,  then I should contact the Ombudsman about it and request that my case is looked at again with correct information.

I explained that I had attempted to contact the Local Government Ombudsman directly and it had failed and the main reason was because if the truth had come to light, it would have confirmed that South Tyneside Council had given them misinformation to hide the corruption rooted in the Council’s Planning Office and centred on the duplicity of the Council’s Planning Manager which was explained in the first of the attached documents.

The other attachment was to provide Jennifer with additional information. It stemmed from a letter to Anne-Marie written in 2022 and posted as Part 18 of the Shed and Corruption Series.

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Hiding Duplicity

Hiding the Duplicity of the Planning Manager

On April 13th I received a message from a attached to a page with the title Threat: Simon Buck, 26-Feb-20 and it was received with a great deal of scepticism on my part. You can tell this from the content of the email sent to the person delegated hide the truth behind UK Docks’ shed built on their slipway off River Drive on the South Bank of the Tyne in South Shields on the 28th April 2023.

Ms Hoy has been used by various South Tyneside Council officers to misdirect correspondence to the South Tyneside Council, as shown in Part 8 of Shed and Corruption and she has quite accurately recorded not only emails that have either been sent or copied to Customer Advocacy but also one or two that have neither been sent or copied to her.

It appears that is not only I who has been questioning them about truth of the claims made by Council Officers and Councillors about UK Docks’ shed.

When determining whether a development has permission or not, it would seem reasonable to refer to plans and drawings that have been approved by the relevant body and it should be a given that any that have not been approved should be discarded. Also when sharing a timeline with a council and people complaining about the conduct of its officers, one has to pay particular attention to the sequence of events.

As you can see from Part 8 of Shed and Corruption, Ms Hoy had been used by South Tyneside Council for a number of years to divert attention from the amount of misinformation given to the Ombudsman by planning officers. With regards to the shed, it was her letter of the 9-Dec-15 that I took to a solicitor in Sunderland, but it was not the first time she had called upon to redirect a question.

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Minister Response

Re: Minister Response
Date: 26/06/2023 (15:22:31 BST)
To: BROOKS, Jennifer

No71-and-Corruption.pdf (265 KB)
LGOexcusesPL30May17.pdf (82 KB)

Dear Jen

Please thank Anne-Marie for referring the case about Local Councils giving misinformation to the Ombudsman to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety, Lee Rowley MP and I thank him for his response.

Thank you for the suggestion that I contact the Ombudsman and ask for them to look at the case again with correct information but it seems that you are not aware that I have attempted to do this on two occasions and failed.

The first concerned the party wall between a neighbour and my home and was a simple matter of whether a planning officer had followed the Council’s own guidelines and plans for such things. They plainly had not done so but told the Ombudsman that they had. A local architect was then persuaded to provide plans so the neighbour need not have to apply retrospectively to show that he had permission the development of the property. Please see attached file: No71-and-Corruption.pdf.

The second concerned the enclosure, or shed on the slipway off River Drive operated by UK Docks and was simply a matter of whether it had planning permission or not. It had not and even South Tyneside Council agreed with all the protestors and that it was built without planning permission but the Council claimed it is not taller and only marginally wider than planned. One only has see the plans approved by the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation in 1996 to see that it is actually nearly 3m taller than permitted and the Council first hid this fact by giving misinformation and or misrepresentation to the Ombudsman.

Anne-Marie picked this up very quickly in 2015 but the Council implied that we were lying when they told her on the 25th June:- “The matters and allegations raised by your constituent are well documented and have been subject to a number of enquiries from Mr Dawson and other local residents over a lengthy period of time. The matter was ultimately referred by way of complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, the outcome of which was delivered on 14 April 2015.

To save having to admit that they were fraudulently misrepresenting plans to the Ombudsman a scheme was devised in 2016 whereby they could close down any dialogue by the misuse of their own staff code and allowed them say things such as:- “There is no evidence to suggest that there has been deliberate misinformation provided by Council officers to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Two weeks ago the former Prime minister was found to have deliberately misled Parliament about so-called partygate and while I do not think he would have been even remotely aware of the example provided by South Tyneside Council nearly 7 years ago, the choice of the word deliberate does illustrate a dark link between a Council acting corruptly and a political leader trying to avoid justice.

You should have a copy of Shed and Corruption: A summary of Parts, 1 to 19 (Sum-Parts-1-19.pdf) which I sent on 23rd February and as it says, it is a summary of nearly ten years of having to deal with one after another of those who were determined to hide the fact that UK Docks did not have permission for structure erected on their slipway off River Drive in South Shields.

There are a number of minor corrections that should be made, for instance at the top of page 8, “you and I met at a Labour Party meeting” should have been corrected to Emma and I etc. but that is trivial compared to the amount of misinformation given to the Ombudsman and in particular the conflation by the second Ombudsman, Mr P Lewis of the original complaint, that the shed was taller than permitted, with the complaint that the Council were giving misinformation to the Ombudsman.

It was my exchange with Mr Lewis, please see attached commentary on his letter of the 30th May 2017, LGOexcusesPL30May17.pdf that made me think that we may be putting the cart before the horse in all that has gone on with UK Docks over the last nine years and by that I mean that Mr Lewis has clearly shown that he has no interest in the truth and was going to find for a Council regardless of the evidence provided.

To put this another way, South Tyneside knew they could get away with being economical with the truth because the Local Government Ombudsman was as corrupt as they were.

Kind regards
Michael Dawson

PS. I have removed the personal detail from both Mr Rowley’s and your letters so that I can upload them to my website and feel free to use any of my references.

Quoting “BROOKS, Jennifer” :

Dear Mr Dawson,

Anne-Marie contacted The Rt Hon Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities regarding your case and highlighted your concerns about discrepancies with the information given to the Local Government Ombudsman by the local authority in your case. Anne-Marie also asked if the Government are considering bringing forward any legislation which holds councils accountable for providing false information to the Ombudsman.

Please see attached the response she has received from Lee Rowley MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety. Minister do not get involved with individual cases however Mr Rowley says ‘the Ombudsman will review a decision he has taken, including when a decision was based on inaccurate evidence’, therefore I would strongly suggest that if you believe this to be the case and have evidence that South Tyneside Council provided the Ombudsman with misinformation then you should contact the Ombudsman about this and request that your case is looked at again with the correct information.

Kind regards,

Jennifer Brooks

Constituency Support Manager
01665 517512

Please note I work part-time therefore sometimes I may take a little
longer to reply to your email

Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed
Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

21A The Hotspur, Bondgate Without, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1PR

DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is confidential. The contents may not be disclosed or used by anyone other than the addressee. If you are not the intended recipient(s), any use, disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken is prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this communication in error please notify us by e-mail and then delete the e-mail and all attachments and any copies. The Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP will treat as confidential all personal information you give to her or to her staff, however she may need to pass on this information to others so they can help you. We undertake to handle the information you give us in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Acts. In line with data protection regulations, this office processes constituents’ data under the lawful basis of public task and legitimate interest. In instances where this lawful basis is not sufficient and explicit consent is required, we will get in touch with you to establish consent. You can find our full privacy notice on the website here:

She would also like to use your information to let you know about constituency news and events that may be of interest to you. You can contact us at any time if you change your mind and no longer wish to receive information from her. If you’d like to receive updates on
Anne-Marie’s work for you, simply sign up to her weekly e-newsletter

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Vexatious Complaints

The legal chief, Mr John Rumney, was speaking at a Standards Committee meeting, four years ago and in response to a question from Coun Doreen Purvis about the complaints process potentially being “weaponised”, he said:- “The [complaints] process itself provides for complaints or communications, that are described as being complaints but mainly aren’t, to be rejected fairly early on if they’re considered to be tit for tat, politically motivated or ‘vexatious’”

It appears that it has been South Tyneside Council’s perspective, since at least since 28 February 2019 when the article by C Binding first appeared. It was the first record of any complaint being called vexatious. Mr Buck’s claim and threat of the 24 February 2020, the threat being in closing paragraph, appears to have  been dictated to him by someone from the Town the Hall.

Chris Binding’s article first appeared nearly a year before Mr Buck’s threat. *

180 complaints alleging councillors’ misconduct sent to South Tyneside Council – Chief fears process is being ‘weaponised’

Claims complainants are “weaponising” council processes as reports of alleged councillor misconduct soar in South Tyneside.

By Chris Binding
Published 28th Feb 2019, 14:03 GMT- 4 min read
Updated 7th Jul 2020, 15:07 GMT

A large spike in complaints against councillors could be linked to a “weaponisation” of council processes, legal chiefs have said.

Since January 2020, South Tyneside Council’s monitoring officer has received a total of 178 emails, letters or calls from potential complainants.

This included complainants expressing a wish to make a complaint or sharing information in respect of “perceived elected member misconduct.”

Of this number, only 23 complainants provided further information to support their complaint, with several cases rejected or resolved without the need for investigation.

A total of 13 complaints are currently ongoing, with many nearing conclusion following delays caused by Covid-19, the meeting heard.

“The [complaints] process itself provides for complaints or communications, that are described as being complaints but mainly aren’t, to be rejected fairly early on if they’re considered to be tit for tat, politically motivated or ‘vexatious’,” Interim Head of Legal Services, John Rumney, said.

“That said, I do think the weaponisation of the process may account for the large numbers that we have seen in recent months.

“But it is certainly nothing new and the process does provide for them [complaints] to be dealt with appropriately.”

The legal chief was speaking at a Standards Committee meeting on July 6 in response to a question from Coun Doreen Purvis about the complaints process potentially being “weaponised”.

Coun Purvis said examples could include a complaint against a councillor(s) being posted on social media and staying in the public domain, regardless of whether the complaint is pursued.

At the meeting, which was broadcast live on the council’s YouTube page, councillors heard about recent steps that have been taken to improve the complaints process.

This included the introduction of a new ‘complaints form’ which helps complainants to structure their complaint and provide necessary information and evidence.

Despite the large number of complaints, no cases have progressed to the final stage so far such as a formal hearing and/or sanction.

Independent chair of the Standards Committee, Professor Grahame Wright, said that the complaints figure of 178 may be “ a little bit misleading”.

But he noted a “significant number of complaints” were still under active consideration, pending any decision to investigate further.

Coun Anne Hetherington added that the complaints figures showed “a very serious issue”and asked if there was any previous data to look at comparisons and trends.

“I know the process for dealing with complaints against elected members since some legal reforms are a bit of a toothless tiger,” she said.

“But there are means in the council’s constitution where members can be sanctioned to a degree if a complaint is found to be proven and I would like to see that we’re actually following that through and dealing with complaints to the full extent that we’re able to.

“Particularly if we’re recieving complaints from residents that they see we’re addressing these complaints because we can’t put ourselves above the law that is there to supervise our behaviour as elected members.”

Legal officer Mr Rumney, responding, confirmed council bosses are recording complaints to allow for statistical analysis in future.

But he warned that records for previous complaints may not be available to build a historical picture.

He told the meeting: “The plan is going forward that each complaint which is reviewed and found to be capable of proceeding within the process will be given a number.

“We have already started numbering complaints so that they can be logged and outcomes recorded so statistical analysis can take place in the future.

“Whether it’s possible to go back beyond the beginning of this year or late 2019 I’m not sure that the records will be there I’m afraid.”

Standards Committee chair, Prof Wright, added: “If you see some of the complaints that we get they’re extremely difficult to work out what exactly it is the councillor has meant to have done wrong.

“It’s more that somebody is just angry and they want to blame somebody so one of the reasons we have this [complaints] form is to try and guide people so if they have a complaint they can make clear what the nature of that complaint is.”

For more information on South Tyneside Council’s complaints process, visit:

* the details of Chris’ Bindings article have been edited to make it appear that it was published after Mr Buck’s threat.

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Pages v Posts

Fwd: Contact restrictions review
Date: 12/05/2023 (13:31:26 BST)
Cc: Simon Buck, Keith Palmer, Alison Hoy, Nicola Robason


I made the assumption that the Simon of was Mr Buck who contacted me in January 2020 for my home phone number, when the comment “Will you just give it a rest mate! was made on April 13th 2023.

The comment was made against a detailed post* in the sub directory threat-by-the-councils-corporate-lead in the directory undercurrents and it was a welcome surprise as gave me a chance to question all of the decisions made by various planning officers ** by telling Alison Hoy that I would not give it a rest until a whole string of Council Officers came out and admitted that they had been lying about the shed, to some extent, since September 2013.

Alison was deliberately chosen because she had been persuaded to extend the vow of silence on April 28th 2023. It was first imposed by Mrs H Johnson under the direction of of the CEO, Mr M Swales in 2016.

I had been anticipating the renewal because the she had said a year earlier in 2022, re Shed and Corruption – Part 14:- I must therefore advise you that we will continue with your current contact restrictions, which was that any emails you make to officers of the Council regarding this subject, will not be acknowledged or responded to. She concluded:- These restrictions will be reviewed in twelve months’ time.

The first repetition of Mr Swales clampdown was made by Paula Abbott on April 30th 2021 under the title, Contact with South Tyneside Council, twenty days before the appointment of the current Chief Executive.

All nice and tidy and all the offending officers mentioned in the letter to Alison of May 2nd can smile and say when asked by their CEO whether UK Docks’ permission for their shed and I quote from the Monitoring Officer, from February 2020: It remains the case that all complaints procedures relating to this matter have been exhausted both internally within the Council and externally.

I’m mildly curious to know if you are not Mr Simon Buck who worked for a short while in Emma’s Office in Westoe but it is not important, not compared to the volume of lies hidden beneath the statement that all matters have been exhausted.

Kind regards,
Michael Dawson

* in fact, a page, not a post, and that is why, “Will you just give it a rest mate!, would not have been seen in ‘Recent Comments’.

** with the exception of the last Planning Manager whose last deed was to repeat the fraud that UK Docks’ shed had been built to approved plans. I believe he took early retirement about this time as his mailbox went dead soon after he had persuaded Ms Hoy to close down 266782.

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