Jacqueline Collins – Legal Adviser to PCP

Jacqueline Collins is the current Director of Legal and Democratic Services for Rotherham Council and is also the Legal Adviser to the South Yorkshire Police & Crime Panel.

This page focuses on my interactions with Ms Collins in her PCP role.

My first dealing with Ms Collins was on the 18th Jun 2014 when I contacted her regarding Shaun Wright(PCC). I had been trying to make contact with him for 18 days via telephone, email to register a complaint against the Chief Exec.  Ms Collins informed me that 18 days was too premature for the PCP to become involved and that was the view of both her and the Chair of the PCP. Over the next couple of weeks I was still unable to make contact with Shaun Wright so I attempted to speak with Ms Collins regarding this.  We agreed a convenient time to discuss my concerns and this was set for the afternoon 4th July. On the morning of the 4th July, the Deputy PCC Tracey Cheetham contacted me to inform me that my concerns would be reviewed by an outside PCC. Due to this I postponed by call with Ms Collins pending the outcome.

I received two letters from Tracey Cheetham dated 18th July and 29th July which were the outcome of the external PCC review, however the letters did not confirm one specific point that was subject to this review. I attempted to get this information from Ms Cheetham but she refused to answer the question.

On the 14th August, I contacted Ms Collins asking that she gave Ms Cheetham a friendly nudge to answer the one outstanding question. With no response I sent chaser emails on the 18th & 21st August.

Ms Collins responded on the 24th August with the most puzzling of responses. It would appear that Ms Collins doesn’t understand the complaints procedure that she oversees or she doesn’t realise that Tracey Cheetham is the Deputy PCC.

Your current concern would appear to relate to Ms Cheetham and not to the Police and Crime Commissioner.
As you are aware the Police and Crime Panel has no jurisdiction to consider complaints relating to the Commissioner’s staff. Therefore your complaint as it is currently described does not fall within the Panel’s remit.If you have a complaint that does relate to the conduct of the Commissioner I will be happy to consider that.

       PCP Complaints Procedure

I pointed this out to Ms Collins who then responded on the 27th August with

I apologise for not considering that your earlier e-mails as a complaint regarding the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.Could you please clarify the exact nature of your complaint and I will then consult with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Police and Crime Panel.

I responded to Ms Collins again outlining the basis of the complaint and refered her to previous emails on the subject. I also asked for confirmation that the complaint was indeed recorded as I had not had confirmation.

Ms Collins was then on leave until the 8th Sept so I next chased the matter on the 10th Sept. This went unanswered until the 17th Sept when I received this.

I am acutely aware that I have not been able to respond to a great deal of  correspondence relating to the Commissioner and his office, as I would like and I apologise for the delay in responding to you.
However I do need to have the opportunity to consider your correspondence before replying.

I chased again on the 2nd & 9th October and received the following on the 10th.

I have contacted the Chair and vice Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, for their views with regards  to your complaint.
When I hear from them I will contact you further.
I do apologise for the delay in dealing with this matter but I am sure you will appreciate that there has been an  unprecedented increase in issues regarding the former Police and Crime  Commissioner.

I left it 2 weeks before chasing again on the 28th October & 5th November. I then received a letter on the 6th November.

        

I asked for some copies of documents relied upon in the decision process and following receipt of those I submitted two direct and reasonable questions to Jacqueline Collins. These questions were submitted on the 26th November.

1) The record of complaint indicates it was recorded on the 6th June 2014 – can you tell me why I only received the record of complaint on the 6th Nov 2014 when the procedure states this should be done within 5 days ? I asked on a number of occasions for confirmation that the complaint had been recorded but you always seemed to avoid answering. 

2) Looking through the minutes of the PCP meetings, it would appear that recorded complaints are mentioned in the minutes – can you advise at which PCP meeting my complaint got a mention ?

After much chasing I finally got a response on the 15th Dec to the 2nd question, that is my complaint (which has already been reviewed and decided not to proceed on) will be ‘considered by the panel at it’s next meeting on the 30th Jan 2014′

The first question remains unanswered, to date all I have received is confirmation that I should have received a response within 5 working days but no explanation as to why I didn’t. I have pressed Jacqueline Collins for a response but her latest response simply states ‘I have been as helpful as I can in responding to your enquires but I now have no further information to provide on the matter.

The question now is why is Jacqueline Collins refusing to answer the question of why she did not comply with the complaints procedure she penned herself !