In 1972 the then Tory Home Secretary Reginald Maudling was forced from office as a direct result of the John Poulson Corruption Scandal. Maudling’s involvement with Poulson’s Leeds based firm of architects, at that time the largest international practise in Western Europe, was to lead to the jailing of former Chair of Durham County Council Andrew Cunningham. Others jailed as a result of the Police investigation that was to follow the winding up of Poulson’s company after the latter was declared bankrupt, and the firm’s books fell into the hands of the receivers, was Cunningham’s Newcastle counterpart T. Dan Smith.
In spite of the fact that Poulson’s company had clearly been involved in widespread corruption throughout local government and a number of inter-connected departments, comparatively few people were actually jailed. Something which is perhaps surprising considering the amount of corruption on planning related issues in particular that has been exposed time and time again in the pages of ‘Private Eye’ magazine’s ‘Rotten Boroughs’ column.
So why have so few people been prosecuted, and what have been the effects of the continual failure to act by those in authority within government administrations at local and national level since? It is hoped that the postings that shall appear here in the weeks and months that follow will provide at least some of the answers to these all important questions.