Cornwall Councillor says he's "innocent of any wrongdoing".

21 November 2014, 14:46

Cornwall Council have written to sports clubs and schools in Launceston alerting them to "the potential risk posed by Councillor Folkes".

Cornwall Councillor Alex Folkes has now accused the Council's Chief Executive of being a "bully", for trying to force him to resign his position.

On October 16th, the council recieved information which they say raised "serious child protection concerns". 

An internal investigation was started and Coucillor Folkes was asked to stay away from the council during this time.

Council Leader John Pollard then asked him to resign from his position as Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, which he did on November the 4th, citing a "personal issue". 

Cornwall Council have now asked Alex Folkes to resign as Councillor, as they do not have the legal powers to remove him from an elected position. 

In a statement, Cornwall Council say: "The authority has an overriding responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children and young people in Cornwall. 

The Director of Education, Health and Social Care has, therefore, written to schools and childrens settings in the Launceston area to alert them to the potential risk posed by Councillor Folkes. 

Following the 2009 unitary elections, some Council officers became aware of an adverse entry on a CRB disclosure form relating to Councillor Folkes. The way the matter was dealt with at that time is now subject to an internal investigation." 

In response Alex Folkes has given Heart this statement: "An accusation has been made referring to a police investigation which took place more than eight years ago - before I became a councillor. 

No charges were ever brought and I am wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.

I discussed this matter with the councils chief legal officer when I was first elected. 

Someone is now seeking to raise the issue once again with anonymous letters to the council, local media and others.

I will be fighting these false claims as I fought the original. 

The decision by the council to write to sports clubs is absolutely wrong and defamatory."

You can read Alex Folkes full response in a blog post HERE

The Council have responded to allegations made in the blog post, saying:

"The Council has an overriding responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children and young people in Cornwall. After receiving the initial information raising serious child protection concerns relating to Councillor Folkes on 16 October, we launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances. 

As part of the investigation we were given information by the police which was assessed by the Local Authority’s Designated Officer (LADO) as part of the Council’s formal safeguarding process.

Based on the information supplied by the police at this stage, the LADO process concluded that Councillor Folkes represented a serious and enduring risk to children. This decision was later confirmed by additional information supplied by the police. This led to the Director for Education, Health and Social Care writing to schools and children’s settings in the Launceston area. 

We took legal advice on all aspects of this matter in order to make certain that the process was conducted fairly and properly and in the interests of ensuring the maximum safety of children in Cornwall. 

We are confident that the investigation, which was aided by the police, has been dealt with appropriately and all proportional steps have been taken to ensure children in Cornwall are protected to the maximum possible degree. 

The Council also took legal advice on when it could share details of the evidence which had been provided to the LADO with Councillor Folkes and provided him with the information as soon as it was legally able to do so. 

An internal investigation is currently underway into the way the matter was dealt with in 2009."