It emerged at the Lochgelly Community Council meeting for March, that Mossmorran has been offering and providing gifts and events, to community representatives that serve on the Mossmorran Community Liaison Group.
This may also extend to local representatives that serve on other Mossmorran groups, such as the Mossmorran & Braefoot Bay Independent Air Quality Monitoring Review Group.
This came to light when Councillor Hood, noted at a MCLG meeting, that some of the members were thanking Mossmorran staff for the gifts they received over the Christmas period. The Community Councillors debated the ethics of the situation, the question was raised whether or not this compromises the integrity of the members that serve on the MCLG.
To give an idea of what kind of gifts and items have been offered to our Community representatives, we have listed the offers, that we can confirm, below:
- In 2008/2009 a Community Councillor (not representing Lochgelly) received a leather bound jewellery box while attending a Christmas party hosted by Mossmorran, which they accepted. We were notified, that all party attendees received a Christmas gift, but we cannot confirm this, neither can we confirm who accepted and who refused the gifts.
- In 2011, Lochgelly Community Council Chair, was invited to attend a Rugby match, with 1 guest, a taxi would collect and return the attendees. The chair refused the gift.
- In 2011, Lochgelly Community Council Chair, was invited to attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo with 1 guest, they would have access to exclusive Box Office seats, a paid for meal beforehand, with a taxi collecting and returning the attendees. Again, the Lochgelly Chair refused the gift.
This is just a small sample of the gifts that we were able to confirm as being offered, and we have heard of other gifts that were given/offered to representatives.
Lochgelly Community Council
The current Community Councillor Chair for Lochgelly stated at the March meeting that they have refused any gifts offered.
Community Councillors questioned the ethics of Community Representatives accepting gifts, and are striving for Lochgelly Community Council to remain transparent in all dealings with Mossmorran. The Community Council stated, that they will not accept any corporate hospitality gifts that are intended solely for Community Councillors.
The Lochgelly Community Council discussed making Freedom of Information requests to other groups to discover the scale of the situation.
Other Community Councils
We know that members from Cowdenbeath, Lumphinnans, and Auchtertool Community Councillors have representatives at the MCLG, and it would be interesting to know what their stance is on receiving individual gifts from Mossmorran.
Are these gifts accepted? Do the representatives notify the other Community Councillors that they receive gifts, or have been offered gifts? Do they document in the minutes all offers of gifts from Mossmorran for public transparency and scrutiny?
We contacted Mossmorran to ask for a public response regarding the corporate hospitality, what gifts and events were offered, who accepted gifts, etc. When we made contact, we made the error of treating Exxon/Mobil and Shell as part of the same company, in our initial email to Mossmorran, which explains part of the response received from Mossmorran, displayed below;
On rare occasions we offer corporate hospitality to some of our most regular business partners and community contacts, but this is occasional and of a relatively low-cost nature and is fully compliant with all relevant legislation, such as the UK Bribery Act and the US, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Given the importance of a good ongoing relationship and regular inter-action between the plant and the community, this should not be surprising. It is not our practice to disclose the names of those who attend our events. This hospitality is done as ExxonMobil and not jointly with Shell. We have no knowledge of any joint entertainment with Shell. We are also unaware of any gift of significant value provided by ExxonMobil as part of one of these events.
This confirms that gifts are offered to Community Representatives, and is not in breach of any UK or US law. However, it does raise questions about whether or not this compromises the integrity of local Community Representatives.
Ethical Conduct – Your Opinion?
What is your opinion, should local representatives be accepting gifts from Mossmorran? Should local representatives, provide public disclosure of the gifts offered, and the gifts accepted or refused? Please let us know what you think about this issue in the comments below, and if anyone that has further information that they would like to share with us, please contact us. Any emails received are kept confidential.