A COUNCILLOR who is the subject of a complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has said the move is 'an attempt to silence' him.

Powys County Council has made the complaint against Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, who is also the prospective Plaid Cymru candidate for Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr at the next General Election.

The complaint follows criticism over how the council handled a whistleblower allegation of wrongdoing at the North Powys Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in Newtown, after reports accused the council of seeking to cover up irregular purchases by a former headteacher in 2021.

A whistleblower had reported the unusual purchases to the council.

On being told in September 2022 that no evidence of fraud could be found the whistleblower then took their concerns to Audit Wales.


The problem then became known to Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, who raised concerns about the handling of the complaint with the council’s chief executive Emma Palmer.

Under the council’s process of asking questions at anytime Cllr Vaughan has posed a series of questions about the problems at the PRU with the Liberal Democrat cabinet member for education, Cllr Pete Roberts.

But Cllr Vaughan has now been accused of bringing the authority into disrepute by disclosing confidential information.

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Cllr Vaughan said: “All I have done is support a whistleblower and raise concerns about the misuse of public funds.

“It’s very sad but nothing more than an attempt to silence those that scrutinise and seek transparency for Powys ratepayers.”

A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “We can confirm that the Ombudsman is investigating a complaint.”

The council has also been asked why the allegations were not reported to Dyfed-Powys Police at the time.

County Times: Council chief executive Emma Palmer.Council chief executive Emma Palmer.

A spokesman said: “An internal investigation into the allegations was carried out by the council’s anti-fraud team which found no evidence to support claims that theft or fraud had taken place.

“Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding between the council and Dyfed-Powys Police, the council’s own fraud investigators must secure evidence of criminal activities having taken place prior to referring a case to the police force’s economic crime team.”

The issues at the Newtown PRU were brought up at a meeting of the council’s Governance and Audit committee in January.

At that meeting several committee members had wanted to use the whistleblowing affair at the PRU as a case study with “lessons learned” presented back to the committee.

However, this was shut down by Ms Palmer who wanted to make it “very clear” that they could have their say on whistleblowing strategy and policy but not individual cases.

A review of the council’s whistleblowing policy is underway.