Business group takes axe to local committee

    Bill Fox
    Bill Fox

    Infighting, unaccountability and a failure to honour commitments have been cited as just some of the reasons why the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have decided to axe their Kent and Medway regional committee.

    The decision to dissolve the committee, which is elected by regional members of the organisation, was made in July, but details have only come to light this week.

    An investigation had been launched about allegations of infighting, money being spent without approval, and members failing to declare interests.

    Although the investigation cleared the committee members of any wrongdoing, it did highlight a lack of clear decision-making and found work in the county was hampered by internal divisions.

    The FSB board subsequently decided to shut down the committee, leading to the dismissal of its Chairman Bill Fox, Treasurer Neville Gaunt and Education and Skills chief Paul Andrews.

    A further five members of the committee were also let go, alongside regional office administrator Sue Waldock.

    Its regional office, The Business Terrace in Maidstone, has since been closed, while the committee has been replaced by a smaller steering group chaired by a non operational director on the FSB’s national board, David Miles.

    THE FSB RESPONSE

    FSB Non Operational Director David Miles said: “The FSB is undergoing a national modernisation programme called ‘refreshing our roots’. As such, a Kent and Medway Steering Group has been constituted to replace the FSB Regional Committee.

    “The Steering group will have three main tasks – overseeing a continuing programme of activity in the region in the coming months so that FSB Kent and Medway is open for business; embodying that programme of activity in a business plan; and developing a plan to benefit all our members in the region.”