Scottish Police Authority chief under fire over board member resignation

Written by Jenni Davidson on 3 March 2017 in News

Scottish Police Authority chair Andrew Flanagan is under fire from members of the Public Audit Committee about the resignation of board member Moi Ali

Chair of the SPA board Andrew Flanagan - Image credit: Andrew Cowan

Scottish Police Authority (SPA) chair Andrew Flanagan has come under fire from the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee over the resignation of board member Moi Ali.

Ali resigned from the board amid claims that she was silenced after raising concerns about lack of transparency.

She had asked in a public board meeting for it to be noted in the minutes that she was unhappy with a decision for SPA committees to meet in private.


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Referring to Ali's resignation, Flanagan told the committee: "This is not about the board member’s approach to this. It’s actually about the proper running of the board.

“The issue for me is that if we’re going to conduct ourselves in public the board members must be clear about their intentions and communicate their positions ahead of time.

“In this case the board member did not and that’s what I took issue with, not whether or not there was openness and transparency.”

Committee chair Jenny Marra asked him to confirm that Ali had never raised issues of transparency before that point.

“Not ahead of me raising the issue with her about what happened” he said, but then went on to say that Ali’s concern about transparency was a long standing one, but the issue was not about that, it was about her “surprising” him at the board meeting.

He said he took exception to the fact that she dissented publicly without informing him beforehand.

However, Moi Ali hit back at the assertion on Twitter, saying “Re my resignation from @ScotPolAuth I DID tell the Chair I would raise concerns in the public Board. His account at @SP_PAPLS  is incorrect.”

Ali also tweeted a letter sent to her by Flanagan following the board meeting.

In it he said: “On a professional level, in my experience, individual Board members who wish to share public disagreement would normally consider resigning due to their view of the seriousness of the issue, especially if they consider it a matter of principle.

“That is a matter for you but I assume, since you have not informed me that is your intention to resign, you have decided to remain a Board member and to accept the agreed position of the Board.

“However, given your objection to the basis on which we intend to operate the Committees I do not think it would be fair to you or to your fellow Board members for you to participate in the Committees.”

Responding to the letter, Public Audit Committee chair Jenny Marra called the decision to bar Ali from committees “seriously worrying”.

She tweeted:  “@ScotPolAuth letter to @MoiAliEdinburgh heavy handed. SPA chair says that recording dissent not consistent with collective responsibility

“Which would lead to the question... what's the point in meeting in public if chair won't tolerate dissenting opinions being raised?”

Moi Ali has stated that she will be writing to the Public Audit Committee to “correct” the information given by Flanagan.

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