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FOI: The ‘Accidental Director’ – Swindon Council Director who ‘Didn’t Know’ about other Directorship

My FOI request (below) is related to the Swindon ‘WiFi’ scheme, which is a ‘public/private’ partnership between Swindon Borough Council & Digital City (UK) Ltd*. (*Digital City (UK) Ltd was formerly known s ‘DM56 Limited’ until its name was changed to Digital City (UK) Ltd.

History:

Members of the www.talkswindon.org forum have asked Swindon Borough Council to explain why its Director of Business Transformation, (Mr Hitesh Kumar Patel), became a Director of Digital City (UK) Ltd just before the Council lent the company £450,000 of public money, but publicly denied he was a director of the company.

Moreover, although Mr Patel did not inform Swindon Borough Council during his 5 months tenure as a Director of Digital City (UK) Ltd, he regularly updated his ‘LinkedIn’ profile, publicising and describing himself as a: “Main Board Director, Digital City (UK) Ltd (Wireless industry) November 2009 — Present (5 months)”

Readers may be interested in this Talkswindon forum discussion topic which carries ‘before’ and ‘after’ screenshots of Mr Patel’s LinkedIn profile.

Mr Patels ‘hidden’ Directorship of Digital City was publicly questioned by a member of Swindon Borough Council ‘Cabinet’, (Councillor Peter Greenhalgh) on the 10th March 2010. Mr Patels directorship of Digital City was implicitly denied at this meeting although Companies House records show that a TM01 ‘Termination of Directorship’ form was submitted to Companies House on the 12th of March 2010, thus bringing Patel’s directorship to an end.

Forms 288a and TM01 can be viewed here http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=5398.msg34392#msg34392

To date, Cabinet members at Swindon Borough Council have repeatedly failed to answer many basic and reasonable questions about the Swindon WiFi scheme apparently preferring to simply ignore the question and the questioner.

‘Political embarrasment’is one possible reason for their behaviour, which unfortunately leaves those interested in the ‘business’ dealings of our elected representatives and council little choice but to submit Freedom of Information requests to get answers to simple and reasonable questions.

We would obviously prefer Swindon Borough Councils default position to be one of transparent and open engagement with the electorate.

Unfortunately this is not their position and, although a televised House of Commons ‘Adjournment Debate’ on the Swindon WiFi scheme highlighted many concerns about this scheme and its architects, getting accurate and believable information about this scheme is usually like pulling stubborn teeth.

The Parliamentary debate video can be viewed here: http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=5452.0

This freedom of information request, annotations and responses can be viewed here:

Company Number 6990831 – DM56 Limited (a.k.a Digital City (UK) Ltd – Directorship held by Mr HITESH KUMAR PATEL

Text:

Dear Companies House,

My freedom of information request relates to the directorship held
by Mr HITESH KUMAR PATEL of Company Number:6990831 – DM56 Limited,
(now known as ‘Digital City (UK) Ltd’), between the 15th of
September 2009 and the 12th of March 2010:

My request:

1. When the 288a form bearing Mr Patel’s signature and address was
received by Companies House, what steps did Companies House take to
confirm with Mr Patel, DM56 Limited and any other individual,
company or public body that Mr Patel’s Directorship of DM56 had
been recorded at Companies House?

2. Please supply copies of any correspondence, (including
information packs/advice), sent by Companies House to Mr Patel, his
representative(s) and other individuals and bodies in relation to
Mr Patels directorship of DM56/Digital City (UK) Ltd between
15/09/2009 and 13/03/2010

3. After the 12th of March 2010 did Mr Hitesh Kumar Patel contact
Companies House to inform them that he ‘did not know’ he was a
Director of DM56 Limited/Digital City (UK) Ltd between 15/09/2009
and 13/03/2010?

4. Is Companies House aware of any reason why Mr Hitesh Kumar Patel
might not reasonably assume that he would become a Director of DM56
Limited/Digital City (UK) Ltd by signing form 288a ?

5. After receiving form 288b terminating Mr Patel’s directorship of
company number: 6990831, has companies house received any
correspondence from Swindon Borough Council, or agents acting on
the Councils behalf, regarding Mr Patels Directorship of DM56 or
Digital City (UK) Ltd ?

5. Please supply copies of any relevant documents pertaining to
points 3, 4 & 5

Yours Sincerely

Geoff Reid


Also see a related blog post – Swindon Borough Council: Chief Executive Investigates Colleagues Secret Directorship of WiFi Firm

Posted on
Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
Filed under:
Swindon WiFi.
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One Comment to “FOI: The ‘Accidental Director’ – Swindon Council Director who ‘Didn’t Know’ about other Directorship”

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August 19th, 2010