Report raps lawyers in Lambeth

LAMBETH Council's legal department has been criticised for its failure to prevent the misuse of decision-making procedures in the official report on fraud in the borough.

Elizabeth Appleby QC's inquiry found the department failed to prevent the use of “urgency procedures” when they were inappropriate.

The report says the procedure – intended for emergency decisions between council meetings – was being used routinely, and to “force” committees to a particular decision.

Appleby also says meetings under the procedure were oral rather than correctly minuted.

The 54-page report also says the legal department has delayed committee reports and failed to ensure that they are concise and clear.

There have also been squabbles between the department and the council's directorates.