Scilly Spring: Islands’ Tinpot Dictator Philip Hygate Suspended

Guido stuck his infamous cross-hairs on the face of Philip Hygate at the end of last week, and last night the loathed Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Council was suspended from his post. The allegations against him have been mounting up over the last few months, but it started with this story from May. Radio Scilly caught his departure:

The island’s tinpot dictator opened the floodgates by blocking the local school from becoming an academy, and now Hygate is not only facing an investigation into the circumstances behind that move, but a broader inquiry into his entire twenty year tenure. Starting with his alleged illegal surveillance of council staff and residents. Representing the very worst aspect of local government and vested interests, you have to wonder how many other Philip Hygates there are across the country… 

Local Council Boss Accused of Employee Surveillance Operation

Guido smells blood on the Isles of Scilly. Regular readers will remember back in May when he broke the news of the local council throwing the rule book out of the window to try and stop the island’s school becoming an academy. The Department for Education is investigating on the ground and the mainstream media has been chasing the “the climate of fear in paradise” saga. It seems things are coming to a head…

A school employee is accusing the locally loathed council Chief Exec Philip Hygate of placing her house under observation and threatening her family. Hygate has lawyered up and has been spotted leaving the Town Hall late at night clutching bundles of documents. The police have been called in under S1 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Scilly Spring: Dictator Raiding the Cash Reserves
DfE Investigation Under-way

Guido understands the Department for Education inquiry into the Scilly school scandal is gathering pace and there will be “boots on the ground” shortly. The revolution that is rocking the South West is progressing nicely, with the locally loathed tin pot dictator/council chief executive Philip Hygate forced onto the airwaves this morning to deny he is overseeing a “climate of fear” on these once pleasant archipelago. His defence for why he should remain in his jobs was laughable. Jobs that is, not job – he’s also the checks and balances arm of the council. As monitoring officer,  Hygate gets to investigate the numerous complaints about himself. Apparently the job is “a burden” and yet he felt by carrying out the role himself he was saving the council money. His concern for saving cash wasn’t quite so evident when he rammed through a 20% pay rise last year.

Just as Gaddafi told his people: “I am not going to leave this land. I will die as a martyr at the end. I shall remain, defiant”, Hygate is digging in. We all know how it went for the Colonel, though at this rate Hygate will be facing cuffs rather than a bullet.

In a new development tonight, in what is the local government equivalent of fleeing across the border to Niger with a truck full of gold, the embattled chief exec is demanding £40,000 for the 100 days of unclaimed holiday that he’s been building up for years as something of a rainy day fund. The rules state that a maximum of 5 days can be accrued. Councillors will vote on the matter at 6pm tonight. That would be nice stash to fall back on were he forced to flee to the mainland… 

Read the whole saga that Guido broke in May, leaving the BBC, Guardian and Telegraph chasing, here.

Small Guido Win as Gove Launches Formal Investigation

This silly-season Guido decided to run on some rather niche, but important, local stories while Westminster was quiet. As a result the Department for Education have launched an investigation into the school scandal that shook the Isles of Scilly and Guido brought to central government’s attention.

Guido also understands that the Isle of Scilly council are set to face another investigation by the Information Commissioner for consistently refusing to acknowledge or act on Freedom of Information requests. Not least his own…

The days remaining for this tin-pot banana republic run by locally loathed council Chief Executive Philip Hygate seem numbered.

The £100,000-a-year dictator is at the heart of the whole mess.

Scilly Spring Latest: Island Rebels Boosted By Email Leaks

Back in May, Guido brought you a crystal clear example of vested interests blocking reform. The fight put up by the Isles of Scilly council against their local school becoming an academy was a perfect microcosm of the problems faced up and down the country.

We wrote“The headteacher of the only school on the Isles of Scilly was hastily suspended yesterday, without explanation, after it emerged that he was venturing to the mainland and travelling all the way to London to discuss potential Academy status for his school.” 

It only took three and a half months of stonewalling, illegal FOI blocking and digging, but finally the proof we knew was there has found the light of day. Many laughed when we ran our original posting but the Telegraph and the BBC finally caught up, picking up on the culture of fear on the islands.

We were first and bang on the money, as today’s leak to a Cornish local paper proves. The locally loathed Council Chief Executive Philip Hygate has been caught red-handed illegally circumventing the school governors and attempting to suspend the Headteacher himself. Just as we reported. His position as the islands’ well-remunerated überfuhrer is looking pretty shaky this afternoon. Meanwhile, Guido understands the islanders’ wish for an elected Mayor is not out of the question…

The Scilly Spring – Islanders Demand an Elected Mayor

Last week Guido brought you the news of a council chief executive who was so desperate to stop the only school in his control from becoming an academy, that he suspended the headteacher without following due process or presenting any evidence for an alleged financial irregularity.

Until Craig Oliver went to town on Norman Smith, the story was one of the highest ranking of the week as residents of the Isles of Scilly flocked to the comment section to vent their frustration at the nation’s smallest Unitary Authority and its loathed leader Philip Hygate. The problems blighting this tiny archipelago are a fascinating microcosm of the problems that blight all of government. Namely, vested interests, concentrated power and incompetence. 

Word has reached the mainland that a few brave islanders viewed the suspension of the popular headteacher as the last straw. Last night a public meeting was held. More than two hundred attended – 10% of the population – despite reports of intimidation from the Council and threats not to attend. One would-be revolutionary told Guido it was a “we the people” moment, with islanders overwhelmingly signing motions including scrapping the post of Chief Executive and replacing it with an Executive Mayor. It was apparently “the most mild mannered revolution of all time.” Guido understands that at least one Minister has a holiday booked on Scilly this summer, perhaps he should take Hilton, Gove and Pickles with him…

Islanders’ Desperate Plea to Gove After Academy Stitch Up

Vested interests in the education world know no bounds in their opposition to academies, but this one is a corker. The headteacher of the only school on the Isles of Scilly was hastily suspended yesterday, without explanation, after it emerged that he was venturing to the mainland and travelling all the way to London to discuss potential Academy status for his school.

The islands are run by the locally loathed Chief Executive of the Unitary Authority, Philip Hygate. In a remarkable display of efficiency Hygate is also the Director of Education (as well as the Returning Officer and the Standards Officer etcetera.) The headteacher, who has turned the school around, is thought to be warming to the idea of academy status and the freedom this would grant him, but it’s known that Mr Hygate would rather cut his hands off than lose control of the school and, more importantly, its budget. He, and he alone, has the power to call in auditors and is claiming to have discovered an “irregularity” in the school’s books. He appears to be accusing the head of embezzling funds, much to the bafflement of the residents. The local media is reporting:

“Police Sergeant Colin Taylor confirmed during the afternoon yesterday that there had been no ongoing investigation or complaint made about any member of the Five Islands School staff.”

Islanders are close to mutiny. One sent a carrier pigeon to Guido this afternoon exclaiming:

“This must be the last straw. The Chief Executive appears to have gone mad with power. This kind of operation has his prints all over it. Rather than allow the Headteacher to decide what’s best for the schoolchildren he has set in motion a chain of events which has one simple objective: prevent academy status and retain the power and the budget for the Council.  What we need now is for Michael Gove to come to these islands, talk to the people and get to the bottom of a rotten system.”

Hygate was being buttered up in Downing Street just last month and Guido has made the Department of Education aware of the stitch up. Gove to the rescue?



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Quote of the Day

Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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