Consideration was given to a report presented by Michelle Buttery, Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, which confirmed the resignation of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, Shaun Wright, from office on the 16th September, 2014, rendering the office of Police and Crime Commissioner vacant.
Section 62(1)(a) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 required a Police and Crime Panel for a police area to appoint an ‘Acting Commissioner’ in these circumstances.
Under the 2011 Act, the decision for the Police and Crime Panel as to who should be appointed as Acting Commissioner made clear that that person should be a person who was already a member of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s staff at that point in time (Section 62(2) of the 2011 Act).
There were four options open to the Police and Crime Panel for ‘Acting Commissioner’ at this point in time:-
1. Tracey Cheetham, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, who was willing to be considered for approval by the Panel. She had tendered her resignation on the 1st September, 2014 and her one month’s notice would expire on 30th September, 2014.
2. Michelle Buttery, Chief Executive and Solicitor, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, a non-political appointment for this short, transitional period of time. The Chief Executive had ruled herself out on the grounds that her own role as Monitoring Officer would be compromised if appointed as Acting Police and Commissioner.
3. Steve Pick, Section 151 Officer/Treasurer (Chief Finance Officer under the 2011 Act) on a temporary contract since November 2012 (through the South Yorkshire Joint Secretariat arrangements prior to his current temporary contract). Mr. Pick was willing to be considered for approval by the Panel and this option would offer the Panel a non-political appointment for this short, transitional period of time.
4. A person yet to be appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner on a temporary contract, but who could be so appointed under delegated authority conferred on the Chief Executive and Solicitor and on the Chief Finance Officer under the Commissioner’s and Chief Constable’s current scheme of delegation within the Joint Corporate Governance Framework.
The Police and Crime Panel sought clarification on the four options and in doing so were happy to dismiss Options 2 and 4. Further information was sought on the current position with regard to Mrs. Cheetham and her eligibility under the terms of her notice, which were accepted.
The Chairman welcomed Mrs. Tracey Cheetham and Mr. Steve Pick individually to the meeting and invited them both gave an account of how they were best placed to take forward the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner in the interim period leading up to the election on Thursday, 30th October, 2014.
The Panel asked a range of questions to ascertain their suitability and experience in order to fulfil the role of Acting Police and Crime Commissioner and listened carefully to the responses received primarily around:-
· Managing the child sexual exploitation issues in Rotherham during the interim period.
· Handling the transition period between the former Police and Crime Commissioner and the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner.
· Relationships and ability to seek advice from the relevant people.
· Continuation of the vital work on the budget and precept and taking this forward.
· Contribution to the handover of a newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner.
· Practicalities and fulfilling all aspects of the role of the Interim Police and Crime Commissioner.
· Restoring public confidence in the post of Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Panel retired to consider legal advice and the role to which it was proposed the two candidates be appointed.
The Panel considered carefully all the information that had been shared at the meeting, the profiles of each of the candidates and the answers to the questions provided by Mrs. Cheetham and Mr. Pick before coming to a decision.
The Panel returned to the meeting to announce the decision they had made as part of their discussion.
Resolved:- That the proposed appointment of Mr. Steve Pick as Acting Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire (during this interim period) be approved.