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Cormac incident: Council Leader agrees to establish independent inquiry to look into the issue - details awaited

A week after I wrote to all councillors detailing the evidence of further untruths from Cormac about the health and safety incident, the Council Leader, Julian German, has now written to members saying that he will establish an independent inquiry into the matter. This is his email:

"Dear Colleagues,

Earlier in the week I advised you that I would be considering the next steps to take in relation to Cllr Egerton’s email. I want to begin by assuring you that as Leader of the Council I have taken this matter extremely seriously and when this issue was first raised with me, I immediately sought assurance from the Chief Executive in relation to the actions taken by the Council. 

I also sought further assurance direct from the Chairman of the Corserv Board and I have also been provided with an independent review of the health and safety of the company.

It is also worth reminding members that this matter has not been dealt with in isolation and that the Health and Safety Executive has been involved. As Members will be aware, the HSE, amongst other roles, regulates health and safety in the workforce. They have the power to impose enforcement sanctions, including instigating prosecutions where it is considered that employers have failed to comply with their health and safety obligations. I have had sight of various correspondence, but there are two pieces of correspondence in particular that I wanted to bring to Members’ attention. 

First, in an e-mail dated 27 April, the HSE confirmed a public statement to the Council, which said: “Concerns were raised to us about the conduct of this company in relation to this matter. HSE investigated the concerns raised by Councillor Egerton fully in line with our procedures and wrote to Corserv Cormac Limited reminding the company of its legal obligations for reporting incidents. The HSE investigation into this matter has now concluded.”

Second, the HSE also wrote to Corserv and confirmed that they would not be taking any enforcement action.

I also understand that Mr Richards had access to and utilised appropriate legal advice in relation to this issue.

I am very sympathetic about what happened to Mr Richards and empathise with the impact this has had on him and his family. I have also listened to the concerns raised by Councillors and understand the strength of feeling on this matter.  There are, however, matters of detail in Cllr Egerton’s e-mail that do not accord with the Council’s records or view on this issue.

Since Cllr Egerton’s most recent e-mail I have discussed the issue further with the Chairman of Corserv, Peter Andrew and he has agreed that Corserv will seek to progress an independent review into this matter. Peter Andrew stated; "I would like to extend my sympathy to Mr Richards and his family regarding this incident and its impact on his health. Whilst Corserv and Cormac have reviewed this case many times, I fully support an independent review to see if further light can be brought to the incident in order to bring the matter to a close for Mr Richards. I will of course act on any recommendations that come out of the review."

Therefore my proposal is to have an independent review. An independent person (or persons) will be appointed to undertake this review and I will engage with Group Leaders on the selection. It is proposed that the independent review will consider whether there are any gaps in the original examination or any aspects which benefit from further examination of:

  • The incident itself.
  • The actions taken by the companies, the Council and relevant third parties since the incident.
  • Conclusions that can be drawn on the circumstances relating to Mr Richards’ injury and the actions taken.

Cornwall Council and Corserv will abide the conclusions of the review and any recommendations it makes.

I will keep members updated as we progress.

Best wishes, Julian"


We now wait to see who is appointed to lead the inquiry and what its terms of reference will be. I will be making strong representations to ensure that it is wide-ranging and covers the actions of all those involved in this nearly four-year saga.

See my email that finally brought about the change of stance by the Leader


November 2020

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