Saturday, 30 April 2011

Named: the highest NHS fat cat earners

Earnings for trust chief executives rose by 121 per cent under the last Government, outstripping increases for all other groups of health workers, By contrast, nurses' earnings rose by only 68 per cent.

At least 650 NHS managers earn in excess of Mr Cameron's salary, according to the latest figures – including 46 with an income of at least £200,000 in 2009/10.

My comment: Question: Why did nurses pay only rise by 68% whilst fat cats rose by 121%. Answer: The fat cats were in charge and the government of the day didn't put a stop to their greed. 

Read the full story from the source Telegraph

Read all articles about the NHS on this blog

Healthcare watchdog seeks £250K PR team as hospitals shed jobs

Public health quango seeks £250K PR team as hospitals shed jobs... while weary staff get 'behaviour codes'

A healthcare watchdog plans to spend nearly a quarter of a million pounds on new communications staff – as hospitals prepare to shed thousands of jobs. The Care Quality Commission, which regulates health and social care in England, is advertising for seven roles.

Successful candidates will report to director of marketing and communications Jill Finney, who is thought to be on a six-figure salary package.

Meanwhile, staff at Greater Manchester's largest hospital trust could have 'good behaviour' codes included in their contracts.

My comment: Typical public sector behaviour, let's not spend taxpayer's money improving front line services let's spend it on more PR staff instead. 

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about Watchdogs, all articles about the NHS or all articles about the Care Quality Commission on this blog

Friday, 29 April 2011

Essex County council's £6.6m mileage expenses bill revealed

TAXPAYERS have paid out £6.6 million for Essex county council workers to use their own cars in the past year, the Chronicle can reveal.

Essex was the only authority out of 434 in the UK to withhold the figures in a recent report by spending watchdog TaxPayers' Alliance – even though it had already released them for a Freedom of Information request from the Essex Chronicle.

The mileage claims total 16.5 million miles and place Essex as the fifth highest spending council behind Lancashire, Hampshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

Fewer than a third of staff receive car allowances meaning claims could reach £126 per week per person.

The figures reveal that total employee expenses and training cost the taxpayer £15 million in the past year, including £174,000 on food.

My comment: Essex executive scrutiny committee chairman Tom Smith-Hughes said: "Some departments with essential user allowances have massive budgets, like social services, £500 million a year." So that makes it acceptable then does it?

Read the full story from the source This is Total Essex

Read all articles about Essex County Council on this blog

Salford City Council Children's Services: Catalogue of failings

A crisis-hit children’s services has admitted a catalogue of failings – including breaches of confidentiality, giving false information and even taking away a child’s pet rabbit.

The department, part of Salford council, has revealed a surge in complaints – mostly to its safeguarding section, which protects at risk youngsters.

Complaints rose to 110 in 2009-10, from 84 the previous year. In 34 cases, the council admitted being in the wrong. A further 16 were partly upheld.

My comment: Proof that taxpayer funded watchdogs, such as the Local Government Ombudsman and Ofsted, are not effective at reducing council wrongdoings. 

Read the full story from the source  Manchester Evening News

Read all articles about Salford City Council on this blog

HM Revenue and Customs boss lets US bank save around £20m.

Papers seen by the Eye reveal that Hartnett personally “shook hands” on a deal over a long-running dispute concerning a tax avoidance scheme going back to 2002,

... once again does the hard-up British taxpayer make a gift to one of the world’s richest corporations thanks to the generosity with its money of Britain’s top taxman.

My comment: Burning the taxpayer at both ends - we have public authorities burning taxpayer's money at one end and HM Revenue and Customs failing to collect what was due at the other end. Compare their treatment of a US bank that doesn't want to pay their tax with that of a British taxpayer who has.

Read the full story from the source Private Eye

Read all articles about HM Revenue and Customs on this blog

Union reps bankrolled by council tax

Councils which are slashing frontline services have used at least £35million of taxpayers’ money to pay the wages of full-time union officials.

Figures released under Freedom of Information laws show at least 132 councils have paid for hundreds of union representatives, who provide no public service. Some are on more than £50,000 a year.

Ministers accused local authorities of preferring to keep on union representatives to ‘peddle’ propaganda against deficit reduction measures than maintain libraries and other valued facilities.

The total salary bill over the three year period for full-time union reps was £35million, while a further £2million has gone on the cost of providing additional council resources.

My comment: And there was me thinking union members funded union officials. In addition, why does Sheffield Council need 18 full time union officials at a cost of over £500,000? All paid for by the taxpayer rather than their members.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Politician ordered to hand over his Twitter details

A POLITICIAN has been handed a court order in a town hall search for a controversial anonymous blogger.

Last night, the Chronicle revealed how South Tyneside Council launched a two-year legal battle attempting to unmask the person who runs the “Mr Monkey” blog.

The blog claims to “expose” what goes on behind the scenes at the authority, and has levelled many unfounded accusations at council leader Iain Malcolm and other councillors and council officers.

Now Coun Ahmed Khan, deputy leader of the Independent Alliance, is the subject of a subpoena which the council has issued to Twitter. The social network site must hand over all the personal details of his two accounts, his personal one and councillor account. 

[Coun Ahmed Khan] “I cannot help wondering whether this legal action is an attempt to expose council whistleblowers, rather than unmask an anonymous blogger.”

A council spokesman said: “The council has a duty of care to protect its employees and as this blog contains damaging claims about council officials, legal action is being taken to identify those responsible.”

My comment: Someone touched a nerve!

Read the full story from the source Chronicle Live

Read all articles about South Tyneside Council on this blog

Thursday, 28 April 2011

After taking 848 DAYS off sick in five years, WPC calls it quits.

A woman police officer who took 848 days off sick in five years has resigned.

Hinah Parekh, 43, claimed that racist abuse from fellow police officers was making her unwell and signed off with depression and stress. She managed an average of only five shifts a month from her job at Belgravia police station in Central London.

However she did not take her case to an employment tribunal and senior officers finally launched disciplinary proceedings.They found that she had worked 327 days out of a potential 1,175 since 2006. Ms Parekh then resigned before she could be sacked.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman today confirmed that Ms Parekh left the police after she learned she faced disciplinary proceedings for unsatisfactory attendance.

My comment: Why did it take 848 days before someone decided to do something? Was it the recent press about the public sector sick note culture? She would certainly up the average days off per person.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Ambulance Service: 'If you don't stop shouting we won't send an ambulance'

Desperate parents ring 999 three times as they wait for emergency service.

An angry mother has described how she was warned by 999 operators that an ambulance would not be sent to help her collapsed daughter unless they stopped shouting.

Paula Rudd had to wait an hour and fifteen minutes for an ambulance for her daughter Georgina who had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Mrs Rudd, who is medically trained, said her daughter had a grey complexion and complained of feeling sick, having a pounding head and neck pain.

She said: 'Anyone who has a daughter who is unconscious for nearly an hour would be hysterical.'

My comment: Wonder how the operator expected the parents to behave having waited so long for an ambulance? Not a good advert for the ambulance service is it?

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about Ambulance Service on this blog

Three police community support officers on a day out fishing

Enjoying the sunshine, three police officers perch next to a lake while they supervise a teenager on a fishing trip.

Two of the officers seem more interested in checking their mobile phones and chatting than keeping an eye on the bored-looking tearaway.

Police say the publicly funded expedition was organised to help officers bond with the community and ‘get young people involved in positive activities’.

Cash-strapped Hertfordshire Police found the resources to send three police community support officers – nicknamed Blunkett bobbies after the Labour home secretary who introduced them – on the jaunt to a lake in Hemel Hempstead.

My comment: Nice way to spend the day at taxpayer's expense.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Four police community support officers abandon post to visit brothel

Four police community support officers have been booted out of Scotland Yard after they secretly visited a Soho brothel while on duty, the Daily Mail can reveal.

The quartet abandoned their positions guarding potential terrorist targets in the sensitive ‘government security zone’ in central London.

Then, wearing uniform, they met up at a vice den located five doors from a Metropolitan Police ‘community safety office’ and, according to sources, asked after an Eastern European ‘model’ who plied her trade there.

My comment: At least a 'proper' Policeman did their job and caught them out. 

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Aberdeen City councillor quits after embezzlement charges

An Aberdeen Councillor who is due in court in connection with an embezzlement charge has resigned. Scott Cassie, 60, had already resigned from the local authority’s Liberal Democrat group. He was the former planning convenor and represented the Airyhall, Broomhill and Garthdee ward.

My comment: Quote by Frank Herbert - Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it.    

Read the full story from the source STV

UPDATE 28/4/11: A former Aberdeen councillor has pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of pounds from a sports society. Scott Cassie, 60, who resigned as a councillor this week, admitted taking £13,500 from Kaimhill Outdoor Sports Society.

Read the full story from the source BBC News

Read all articles about Aberdeen City Council on this blog

£9BN public sector sick pay bill

FRESH anger at the culture of absenteeism in Britain’s bloated public sector erupted last night after it was revealed that state employees take an average of more than 12 days off sick every year.

New figures showed that civil servants, teachers, nurses and other public sector staff take 20 per cent more unscheduled days absent than their counterparts in the private sector, costing taxpayers nearly £9billion annually.

 [A contractor makes a comment beneath the article " was widely accepted that a set amount of 'sick leave' was taken each year. I frequently heard people saying they had unused 'sick leave' they needed to use up!"]

My comment: Whether they like it or not anyone who has ever worked in the public sector knows that is true. 

Read the full story from the source

NHS chiefs run up £13m bill on wining and dining

NHS bureaucrats have blown £13million on lavish dinners and hospitality for themselves, it emerged last night.

Freedom of Information requests reveal strategic health authority staff are enjoying away days which cost more than a luxury meal at the Ritz.

It comes at a time when NHS managers are claiming they are so short of funds that thousands of nurses and doctors will lose their jobs.

Last year alone, the average spending by SHA chiefs on ‘hospitality for conferences, meetings and staff away days’ was £361,113 each. 

My comment: Flash cars on the taxpayer and now lavish away days. NHS in the round: Nurses make me better their bosses make me sick?

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about the NHS on this blog

Don't our Police have any common sense or better things to do?

A pub singer has been arrested on suspicion of racism for singing the classic chart hit Kung Fu Fighting.

The song, performed by Simon Ledger, 34, is said to have offended two Chinese people as they walked past the bar where he was singing.

The entertainer regularly performs the 1974 number one hit, originally by disco star Carl Douglas, at the Driftwood Beach Bar in Sandown, on the Isle of Wight.

But after one of the passers-by reported his routine on Sunday afternoon, Mr Ledger was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated harassment.

‘We were performing Kung Fu Fighting, as we do during all our sets,’ he said. ‘People of all races were loving it. Chinese people have never been offended by it before.

My comment: This is the best bit "Officers later called Mr Ledger while he was eating in a Chinese restaurant to arrange a meeting". 

Read the full story from the source  Mail On-Line

UPDATE: 29/04/11 Singer held over Kung Fu song freed.

My comment: "He was released with no further action due to insufficient evidence to prove that any criminal offence had been committed." Oh what a shock, NOT! 

Read  the full story from the source Eastbourne Herald

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Eastleigh council's 'violent' list leaked

A Hampshire council has begun an investigation after a list of people described as potentially aggressive got into the public domain.

Eastleigh Borough Council said the list was used to help protect the health and safety of its staff.

A photographer who discovered his name was on the list said the information was both inaccurate and out of date.

My comment: Many councils hold inaccurate information about people, as the photographer above has just found out, however, following Clift V Slough Borough Council councils need to be more careful about the accuracy of any personal information they hold and the people they allow access to it.

Read the full story from the source BBC News

Who watches the watchdogs?

Officials at the public spending watchdog who squandered taxpayer funds on top restaurants and gym equipment could be forced to return the money after ministers launched an inquiry.

A Government source said: "We will be looking at this situation very closely but it appears to warrant an inquiry."

In common with many public bodies the Audit Commission uses Government Procurement Cards for low value transactions or where a purchase order is impractical.

Thousands of other public sector workers have access to procurement cards, spending around a billion pounds in recent years, raising warnings that mass misuse of taxpayer funds could have taken place.

My comment: All watchdogs, commissions and ombudsmen are essentially unaccountable. All they have to do is produce a few reports for government officials to read. The only tool the government has in circumstances like this, should persuasion fail to remedy the situation, is to shut them down altogether. Remember John Bourn, the Government's spending watchdog scandal

Read the full story from the source The Telegraph, or read my earlier post for more background information.

Warrington council wrongly destroyed planning records

Warrington council has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman for illegally destroying planning applications. The ombudsman said the destruction of approved applications and plans prior to 1996 was "an extraordinary and inexcusable act of maladministration". Planning authorities have had a statutory duty to hold them on record, for people to view, since 1947.

Ms Seex recommended that Warrington council apologise to the residents, pay them each £5,000 in recognition of the negative impact of the development on them and for their time and trouble at having to pursue the complaint.

My comment: The Local Government Ombudsman can do no more than give councils a mild slap on the back of the legs no matter how bad the maladministration leading to injustice because councils can ignore their recommendations with impunity, Trafford is a good example. So just what purpose do they serve? We need watchdogs with real teeth not ex council officers providing a faux system of administrative justice.

Read the full story from the source BBC News

Read all articles about Warrington Borough Council on this blog

Manchester City Council offer £400 taxpayer funded tours of a supermarket

Obese families will be given guided tours of supermarkets to teach them how to buy healthier food. The free ten-week healthy eating course is being offered to adults living with overweight children in poor areas.

Council and NHS mentors will urge their pupils to stop buying fatty foods and replace them with fruit and vegetables and give them lessons in keeping a balanced diet, according to the Daily Mirror.

The course normally costs £400 but is being offered free by NHS Manchester and the city council to reduce health problems later in life. Almost a quarter of 10 and 11-year-olds in Greater Manchester are dangerously heavy.

My comment: Not long ago councils were selling school playing fields, reducing the number of play grounds, banning competitive sports and doing other idiotic elf 'n' safety inspired things such as converting traditional egg and spoon races to egg and spoon walks.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about Manchester City Council on this blog

Monday, 25 April 2011

Perks for judges

IN the past year judges claimed £32 MILLION in expenses, which included air fares, first-class rail travel and even 20p a mile if they cycled to work, as well as accommodation and other general costs.

THE top 11 judges in the country sit in the newly established Supreme Court in the Middlesex Guildhall in Westminster. It cost £57.6 MILLION to set up, with almost £100,000 spent on artworks alone and has annual running costs of £6 MILLION.

LAST year the taxpayer paid £611,000 to kit out judges in their fancy courtroom clothes.

Last year the total pay bill for all judges in England and Wales came to £290 MILLION. 

My comment: I note the gravy train and those still on board are still running rings around the taxpayers. Where's the fat controller? 

Read the full story from the source the Sun

Read all articles about the Judiciary/Judges on this blog

NHS desk workers driving top-of-the-range taxpayer funded rental cars

Strategic Health Authorities around the country have spent a staggering £1,000,000 every year since 2007 on the luxury cars. They included a Jaguar XF, Mercedes CLS, Audi A5 Coupe and BMW 330 for staff who needed the vehicles to get around.

Shockingly, one 'pen pusher' was allowed to hire a £37,000 Porshe Boxster - costing taxpayers thousands of pounds. The details emerged as the NHS faces biting cuts around the country, with many patients complaining of appalling care.

Spending on bureaucracy has soared 50 per cent since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007. But spending on cancer has increased by just 30 per cent.

My comment: Sack the idiots who authorised the cars. Simples!

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line and the Sun

Read all articles about the NHS on this blog

Audit Commission dined out in Michelin-starred restaurants on taxpayer credit cards

Thousands of pounds has been blown at Michelin-starred restaurants by the government's spending watchdog, it has been revealed.

They spent in excess of £20,000 of taxpayers' money on credit cards in the last two years on fine meals and luxury products. Officials also bought cinema tickets, doughnuts, luxury chocolates from Thorntons and goods from HMV - at a cost of £1,300 to the taxpayer.

The department have previously been criticised for spending £53,000 on 224 luxury office chairs - including four four ‘eye-catching’ Omni swivel chairs, each costing £854.

My comment: All public sector watchdogs and ombudsmen operate a 'do as I say not as I do' policy. Every single one of them is not fit for purpose, a drain on taxpayers and unaccountable. They should all be replaced with more effective bodies.

Read the full story from the source  Mail On-Line

Read all articles about Watchdogs or all articles about the Audit Commision on this blog

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Kent Police accused of a cover-up

Police have been accused of a cover-up over two officers who allegedly drove off from a brutal assault saying: ‘It isn’t our shout.’

Despite two investigations spanning almost 18 months, Kent Police say they have not been able to identify the officers who drove off.

Mr Cox claims the force has admitted only three patrol cars were in the area that night. ‘The police have tried to cover their tracks,’ he said. ‘First they tried to claim the officers were from a different force and then they claimed there were no electronic trackers in the cars.’

Kent Police said: ‘Numerous inquiries were conducted force-wide to identify the officers involved. Despite all the efforts, they have not been identified. 'This was an isolated incident from which lessons have been learned.’

My comment: I for one am tired of the 'Lessons have been learnt' meaningless mantra spouted by all public bodies when caught out doing wrong. 

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Child protection cases will be heard by telephone in Tenerife

A High Court judge responsible for handling Britain’s most sensitive emergency court cases over Easter will be conducting hearings by phone from his holiday 1,800 miles away in Tenerife.

Last night the Judicial Communications Office (JCO) insisted Sir Nicholas could deal with cases by email and telephone.

But judges and lawyers expressed concern that it could cause a problem if an urgent matter needed to be dealt with in person and were surprised at the move by such a high-ranking duty judge.

My comment: No wonder people don't think modern day judges have their feet on the ground when they can hear cases whilst laying on a sun lounger in another country.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about the Judiciary/Judges on this blog

'Tragic decision' by Kent county council let sex abuser foster girl

Kent county council allowed a single man in his 50s to privately foster a 14-year-old girl without carrying out the checks that would have revealed him to be a dangerous convicted paedophile, the Observer has learned.

The "tragic story" of the council's "deplorable breach of duty" has emerged from a high court judgment delivered behind closed doors last month, which has just been made public. The extraordinary case would have stayed secret had not the judge, Mr Justice Baker, decided in view of the "alarming matters" that emerged during the hearing to allow the "unusually extensive and troubling" wider issues it raises to be publicised.

The judge said the council had "manifestly failed to comply with its obligations under private fostering provisions." 

My comment: No doubt nobody got the sack and the council will get away with it by offering the usual "lessons will be learnt but never are" crap. Good for the judge in making this public because most council mistakes are kept secret by family and similar courts.

Read the full story from the source  The Guardian

Read all articles about Kent County Council on this blog

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Woman threatened with prison for breach of gagging order

Parliament is being urged to intervene in the case of a heavily pregnant woman who was threatened with prison for naming her local council during a public meeting in the House of Commons.

The woman is subject to a sweeping family court order which makes it an offence to identify her, or the council involved, or any council staff involved, or to say what the case is about. It makes it illegal for her to seek publicity for the case, or for anyone else to approach her for information about it.

It is an example of the kind of gagging order which family courts have the power to issue, to protect the vulnerable, but there are fears that they can also be used as a convenient device for local officials who do not want controversial decisions to be subjected to public scrutiny.

"With the judges acting to reduce freedom of speech it becomes even more important to protect freedom of speech in Parliament," he said yesterday. "Citizens should be allowed to raise problems with MPs. The names of the local authority and the mother have to remain unspoken because of injunctions. But it is my intention to reveal this using parliamentary privilege when Parliament reconvenes next week. People need to know what is being done in their name. The truth must come out."

My comment: Something is seriously wrong with justice in this country if councils can use family courts, a modern equivalent of a court of star chamber, to block public scrutiny of their decisions. Justice needs to be seen to be done! Something you don't get with family courts or ombudsmen.

Read the full story from the source The Independent

Woman gets compensation over arrest horror

A WOMAN has been compensated by Essex Police who locked her up for a crime she didn’t commit – despite them having CCTV footage proving her innocence.

 Beverley Bennett, from St Peters Road, Chadwell St Mary, was held in a police cell for six hours on suspicion of stealing petrol from her local garage, even though staff told police the thieves were male. Her car, parked by police in a lay-by, had been stolen.

 Beverley said she was “absolutely furious” at the whole ordeal – and that it has shaken her faith in the police.  She added: “I was on my way to pick up my terminally ill mother for a hospital appointment when I was pulled over. “The police don’t care about people’s lives, they just want to make an arrest.”

She wanted to sue the police for her ordeal, but said most solicitors weren’t interested as it involved the police. Eventually she found someone in Liverpool willing to take on her case, and settled out of court for £2,000. 

Essex Police still haven’t caught the real thieves. A spokesman said: “This was human error and the member of staff concerned has been spoken to.”

My comment:  Very difficult finding a solicitor willing to take legal action against any public authority. In any event I think the member of staff needed more than a talking to.

Read the full story from the source Thurrock Gazette

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Battering for council fish and chip nannies

Stoke-on-Trent City Council that needs to make £33million of cuts has come under fire – for wasting money giving chip shops advice on frying fish and shaking salt.

Staff from Stoke-on-Trent City Council are visiting 45 chippies to deliver new salt shakers that dispense a third less salt and telling them what oils to use for healthier eating.

Campaigner Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This is an insulting, ­unnecessary and absurd distraction from the work of delivering front-line services.

“Councils should work harder to deliver for the taxpayer, not police our fish and chip restaurants.”

Last month Stockport Council in Greater Manchester was slammed for asking chippies to remove salt shakers from counters and table tops to reduce salt intake.

My comment: I don't add salt to any food but reserve the right to make the choice myself and not be forced to do what some council do gooder wants so they can hang on to a none job by looking busy at a time of public sector cuts.

Read the full story from the source

Read all articles about Stoke-on-Trent City Council and all articles about Stockport MB Council on this blog

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council: Dog killers

Family's heartbreak as 'big softie' dog is put down by council just TWO HOURS after it was let out by burglars.
  • 4pm: Dog is startled by burglar and runs out of the house.
  • 6pm: Council catches it and puts it down without notifying owners.
Despite the fact he had a microchip implant which would have identified him and his owners to vets, he was put to sleep.

A spokesman for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council said they sympathised with Lennox's owners but they had acted in the interest of public safety.

My comment: The council officers concerned are idiots. Once the dog was captured, it was no longer a threat to public safety. I hope the owners sue the council because it is obvious that killing the dog within hours of capture without so much as notifying the owners wouldn't increase anyone's safety? More likely they wanted to wrap things up so they could finish for the day and couldn't be bothered checking for a microchip or trying to identify the owners. Check out the timing of events!

Read the full story from the source  Mail On-Line

Friday, 22 April 2011

Chief Constable's BMW is targeted by thieves

Chief Constable Stephen Otter has been given crime prevention advice after having his police radio stolen from his company car.

Thieves raided a number of "personal items" and his Devon and Cornwall Police issue Airwave radio – worth £350 – after Mr Otter had parked his BMW estate outside his Exeter home two weeks ago.

Mr Otter immediately reported the incident after returning to his car the next morning to find the contents of the glove box had been strewn around.

"I don't know how they got in," Mr Otter told the Western Morning News. "I am absolutely certain I locked it because I always do. It just shows that nobody is immune from crime."

The chief constable said there had been a spate of vehicle-related crime in his street over the last couple of weeks.

My comment: In his position I wouldn't admit I'd left the car open either. Especially when he knew there had been a spate of vehicle-related crimes in his street. I like the bit where he states "It proves that police officers and chief constables don't live in a bubble."  I wonder how many people in his area drive a company BMW and leave it parked overnight in a street known to be a hot bed of vehicle-related crime?

Read the full story from the source This is Cornwall

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Thursday, 21 April 2011

£450 or £95,000... cost to police authorities of doing same job

DERBYSHIRE Police Authority spent only £450 producing a leaflet outlining its work – but the exercise cost others tens of thousands of pounds.

Thames Valley Police Authority spent £95,470, West Midlands Police Authority £84,752 and Surrey £84,935 on the leaflet detailing their work over 12 months.

My comment: More taxpayer funded spin. Good for Derbyshire Police Authority only spending £450.

Read the full story from the source This is Derbyshire, to check out your Police Authority spend click here.

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Flintshire council chief may face no-confidence vote

A NORTH Wales council chief executive faces a possible vote of no confidence as the row over next-day vote counting following the Assembly Election took another turn yesterday.

The six councils in the north of the country have decided to dispense with tradition and not begin counting votes for the May 5 poll until 9am the following day.

Mr Attridge [a councillor] said: “I was calling on the chief executive of Flintshire County Council to count the constituency votes as soon as the ballots close, at 10pm on the Thursday evening. That’s in his jurisdiction as a chief executive as the returning officer for Flintshire.

“It had cross-party support across the chamber, so the vote was won. The chief executive still refused. He said he was standing by his North Wales chief executive colleagues and he wouldn’t be changing his mind. “I have no other option but at the next opportunity call a vote of no confidence in the chief executive of Flintshire.

My comment: I thought our councillors made decisions which the CEO carried out. In this case the CEO is ignoring the wishes of the council. So what is the purpose of our elected representatives if a none elected CEO can ignore them and do his own thing? Never mind a vote of no confidence they should sack the CEO without further ado and get someone in that can follow orders. Preferably one that doesn't need to spend £millions on consultants because he and his staff need outside help to do the job they are paid to do! 

Read the full story from the source  Wales On-Line

Read all articles about Flintshire County Council on this blog

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Police fake it to draw pension early

POLICE officers faked mental illnesses to retire early and claim millions of pounds in gold-plated pensions, a leading psychiatrist has claimed. Dr Derek Summerfield, who worked for the Met Police from 2001 to 2004, said he witnessed a “culture of entitlement”.

Up to 180 officers a month reported having stress‑related problems, he said. In 2003, picking up a pension on grounds of mental health made up 46 per cent of all ill health retirements.

My comment: I wonder why it took him 7 years to blow the whistle?

Read the full story from the source

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Cumbrian councillor rape case adjourned

THE case against an Eden councillor accused of raping a boy has been adjourned until next month. The offences are said to have taken place over three years when the alleged victim was aged between 12 and 14. He has been remanded in custody.

Read the full story from the source News & Star

Read all articles about Eden District Council on this blog

Carmarthenshire Council meeting public gallery 'attack' probed

POLICE are investigating an allegation that an assault took place in the public gallery at Carmarthenshire Council.

Blogger Jacqui Thompson reported the alleged incident to police following Wednesday's full council meeting in County Hall, Carmarthen.

"I asked why and was told it was because they thought I was 'filming' — I wasn't. "I had my phone in my hand to use Twitter if there was anything to tweet but had not raised the phone to film at all. The events that followed led me to make a complaint to the police."

My comment: Like Brent this council doesn't appear to subscribe to open government or democracy. 

Read the full story from the source  This is South Wales

Read all articles about Carmarthenshire Council on the blog

Fire chief charges taxpayer £20,000 to move home

- and it's not even to the county where he works.

A fire chief charged taxpayers almost £20,000 in decoration and removal costs – while planning cuts to frontline services. The public cash helped David Johnson move to the county of Suffolk, even though he heads the Essex brigade.

The fire chief and his senior colleagues clocked up tens of thousands of pounds in other expenses – including billing taxpayers for gentlemen’s clubs, lavish hotels and lobster dinners. Mr Johnson’s moving costs included £3,704.60 for new carpets, £3,466.93 for floor tiles and £324 for Laura Ashley curtains.

My comment: Another public official burning taxpayer's money.

Read the full story from the source  Mail On-Line

£4m... and officials came up with a play park that doesn't even have a slide

The local council said the playground had been designed to encourage toddlers to ‘use their imaginations’. But Emma Jones, 35, who went to the opening last week with her toddler son Ben, was unimpressed.

‘The play area is a huge disappointment – in fact, it’s rubbish. We’ve waited two years for the park to reopen and after spending £4million expected something more than a tiny swing and the train and chickens from the old park,’ she said.

Mrs Jones, from nearby Burntwood, said she had already heard of one child falling and banging its head while using the climbing rocks. ‘It beggars belief that someone thought it was a good idea to have jagged rocks in an area for such young children,’ she added.

‘Telling toddlers to use their imagination is a joke. Are they supposed to imagine a slide and a roundabout.

My comment: Well most people can only imagine what a competent council is.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Cutbacks council spends £1.2m on free phones for two thirds of staff

One of the country’s most controversial councils has handed out free mobile phones to nearly two out of every three of its own workers, it was revealed yesterday.

More than 7,000 town hall staff in Manchester have been given mobiles, with the bill of more than £1.2million a year paid by the taxpayer.

The number of mobiles for council workers went up by nearly a third last year and the cost of providing them rose by more than ten per cent, according to details released under freedom of information rules.

My comment: Bet I can guess who got the Blackberries. 

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about Manchester City Council on this blog

Monday, 18 April 2011

Warren Bradley Liverpool City Council stands down

A party spokesman said: "Mr Bradley has stood down as leader of the Liverpool Liberal Democrat group."

Mr Bradley's decision to stand down is connected with allegations that he witnessed an election nomination for his teenage son Daniel for the May 5 contest. The Liverpool Daily Post reported his son has said he did not want to stand and that his own signature on the form is "a fake".

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "We can confirm that Warren Bradley's resignation has been accepted with immediate effect.

My comment: Witnessed his son signing an election nomination form which his son denies signing, isn't that illegal? And who did he witness faking his son's signature? :)

Read the full story from the source

Read all articles about Liverpool City Council on this blog

Councillor in breach of planning laws over gifts sold in Horncastle tearoom

A CONSERVATIVE councillor – and brother of Justice Secretary Ken Clarke – could face enforcement action after investigators caught him breaching planning laws for a second time.

Michael Clarke, a member of the East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) standards committee, has been allowing his wife to sell collectibles and fine china inside his tearooms, despite instructions preventing the premises being used for anything else.

My comment: Councillors don't appear to think the rules apply to them, was he a member of the double standards committee? :)

Read the full story from the source This is Lincolnshire

Read all articles about East Lindsey District Council on this blog

Councillor reports man who called him 'scruffy' to police

A councillor reported a man to police for calling him scruffy during a meeting.

Liberal Democrat Martin Eakins was so incensed by the remarks that he demanded officers had a word with the ‘offender’ – former councillor Mike Kane.

A police community support officer was sent to Mr Kane’s home. Mr Kane said: “I couldn’t believe it. I was sitting in my living room and was just about to go to bed when there was a knock on the door and there was a PCSO. “I didn’t know what was wrong. When the officer told me that I’d been reported for making inflammatory remarks, I was absolutely speechless. “It just seems a major overreaction for a couple of remarks made at a public meeting.”

Coun Paul Murphy, chair of the police authority, has demanded an explanation from the chief constable. He said: “This is not an appropriate use of police resources and I will be writing to the chief constable to express my concerns.”

My comment: More proof that the Police will do the bidding of a councillor/council whilst ignoring more serious complaints from members of the public.  Councillor Martin Eakins you are an idiot, is this democracy in action Liberal style and can I now expect a visit from the Police? The question is why are the Police so keen to become public sector lackeys? There are a few more examples on this blog. 

Read the full story from the source Manchester Evening News

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Barking and Dagenham Council crazy waste of money

Yellow lines are normally used to stop motorists parking on the road - but now they have been painted on a pavement in a town centre to show pedestrians where to walk.

Two lines stretch for 100m (328ft) down a high street. Other yellow lines have been painted around trees, a post box and cash points. The path has caused confusion for residents in Ripple Road, Barking, east London, who cannot see the point of it.

‘We have all managed until now to walk along the path without tripping over things in the way, so why do we suddenly need guidelines?’ said 49-year-old Martin Harris. ‘It’s completely over the top and another sign of health and safety gone mad.’

My comment: Health and Safety gone mad at the taxpayer's expense. They must have money to burn so one can only conclude that no services will be cut in Barking and Dagenham.

Read the full story from the source

Read all articles about Barking and Dagenham Council on this blog

Darwin Council to pay £40k compensation over wind turbine

BLUNDERING council planning officers have paid £40,000 compensation to a farmer after making him tear down a wind turbine.

My comment: Should really read "Blundering council planning officers have used £40,000 of taxpayer's money to compensate a farmer for their mistake". 

Read the full story from the source The Citizen

Named and shamed: Council bosses who refuse to freeze pay

Paul Walker, chief executive of Labour-run Hartlepool council, whose inflation-busting £10,000 pay rise, a jump of more than six per cent, takes his annual pay to £168,000.

In Middlesbrough,  chief executive Ian Parker has been awarded a £7,344 rise to £162,988.

And Newcastle, has found the money to pay chief executive Barry Rowland an extra £5,000, taking his pay to £165,000.

‘This reveals how the vested interests of some chief execs are taking precedence over protecting frontline services,’

My comment: Probably trying to catch up with Andrea Hill, CEO, Suffolk County Council.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

£2m credit card spending spree by Treasury

Treasury civil servants under Labour used taxpayer-funded credit cards to drive go-karts, make chocolate and buy furniture for Ministers’ offices.

Sources revealed that in September and October 2008 a Treasury card was used to pay £1,300 for two £650 days out at a go-karting track in East London. Civil servants also spent £2,740 on testing their chocolate-making skills at London-based firm MyChocolate. In 2008, £3,300 was spent on a John Lewis sofa for a junior Treasury Minister, who has not yet been identified.

The revelations come after it emerged the taxpayer footed a £1,400 bill for Speaker John Bercow's washing machines. 

My comment:  I can understand washing machines for Bercow because that's one man who desperately needs to clean up his act. Will anyone ever get the sack for spending taxpayer's money like this? 

Read the full story from the source  Mail On-Line

'Vague' council posts created as front line cut

WELSH councils are making appointments to newly-created “non-jobs” as many of the nation’s front-line posts are axed, Wales on Sunday can reveal.

As the cuts take hold, we have learned Welsh councils are actually employing more people, including some in positions like “walking and cycling officer”.

[These include Anglesey Council, Caerphilly council, Cardiff council, Conwy County Borough Council, Denbighshire County Council, Torfaen County Borough Council]

The posts are part of 4,000 new jobs council chiefs across the UK have deemed necessary since last May’s general election but which have been branded “vague” and “non-essential” by critics.

My comment: Save bin men, nurses and essential front line staff before recruiting people to do none essential jobs. 

Read the full story from the source Wales On-Line

Portsmouth councillor failed to mention lucrative job as a consultant

A SENIOR Lib Dem councillor looking into her authority’s spiralling consultancy bill failed to declare she was getting paid at the time – as a consultant.

Scrutiny management committee chairwoman Cheryl Buggy was asked to examine whether the mushrooming consultancy bill should be slashed.

Now she faces calls for an investigation after it emerged that at the time she chaired the probe she had a training contract with Portsmouth City Council.

The review was launched after the council’s consultancy bill rose from £4million to more than £5million in two years. In its conclusions the committee said the council should set up an internal site for staff to “advertise their skills” but it warned against cutting back consultancy.

My comment: They just don't get it do they? 

Read the full story from the source

Read all articles about Portsmouth Council on this blog

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Whistle-blowers, compromise agreements, bullying and pay offs

Why are so many Councils now bullying and/or paying off potential whistle-blowers? We have Suffolk County Council paying out an average of £43,000 per month to keep potential whistle-blowers quiet. Cheshire West and Chester Council and Brent Council using compromise agreements as a means of silencing potential whistle-blowers. Whilst Wirral Council bullied a whistle-blowing social worker out of their job. (Only to offer it him back when they realises he was telling the truth.) And the list probably goes on and on.

Begging the question, why is our Government not protecting potential whistle-blowers so the truth about Local Government can come out?

Probably the same reason why we still have he same pathetic Watchdogs and Local Government Ombudsmen, because our Government doesn't want the truth to come out about how bad Local Government actually is. In essence I believe our Government couldn't handle the truth if it came out and prefer instead to let Local Government bury the problem for them at the taxpayer's expense.

Read all articles about Wirral Council, all articles about Brent Council, all articles about Suffolk County Council, all articles about Cheshire West and Chester  Council or all articles about whistle-blowers on this blog. Also visit my blog dedicated to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Suffolk County Council legal department to be investigated

An independent inquiry is to be held into Suffolk County Council's legal department following the death of its acting head.

David White, who had worked for the authority for more than 20 years, was found dead in Butley Woods, near Woodbridge on 4 April. Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

Jane Storey, interim council leader, confirmed an inquiry had been launched following concerns about staff welfare. Mr White's death came days after the departure from the council of monitoring officer Eric Whitfield and director of resource management Graham Dixon.

An anonymous letter was sent to Mrs Storey and other senior councillors, including chairman Eddy Alcock and leaders of opposition parties, calling for more support for staff in the legal department during a difficult time.

My comment: I thought it was the CEO's job to support their staff through difficult times and develop a positive working culture? I smell a case of neglect, bullying and coercion by top management!

Read the full story from the source BBC News

Read all articles about Suffolk County Council on this blog

Council choice attacked after doctorate lies

A SWANSEA Valley council has been criticised after co-opting a member who had once falsely claimed to hold a PhD.

Members of Clydach Community Council this week chose Peter Morgan to take over the position of councillor for the Craigfelen ward, following the resignation last month of political veteran Sylvia Lewis after 25 years of service.

The former councillor, who handed in her notice over concerns about the authority's finances and the way it was run, criticised the council for their choice of replacement because of Craigfelen resident Mr Morgan's personal history.

Mr Morgan had been forced to resign as secretary of the Clydach Labour Party in 1997 after he admitted falsely claiming to hold a PhD, which he used on official Labour Party letters signed by him.

My comment: What next, a contestant on 'I'm a celebrity' with a food down his underpants.

Read the full story from the source This is South Wales

NHS bosses see their bonus pot double in 5 years

NHS chiefs have seen their bonuses double in the last five years even though tens of thousands of front-line workers face the axe to save money

Some officials at the Department of Health on six-figure salaries are receiving performance-related awards that exceed the average nurse’s wage.

The payments are being dished out despite the fact that up to 40,000 posts in hospitals and health trusts will go over the next year as part of attempts to save billions.

My comment: Turkeys don't vote for Xmas so few Public Authority senior managers would reduce their own numbers or remuneration. They always cut front line staff. Evidence of this can be seen with Local Authorities across the country.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about the NHS on this blog

Taxpayer funded trips abroad hijacked for personal use

Minister Baroness Warsi uses taxpayer-funded official visit to Pakistan to slip off for family wedding. She was on an official visit to Pakistan, supposedly to discuss immigration and see the devastation wrought by last year's floods.

But Cabinet minister Baroness Warsi astonished her hosts by slipping away in the middle of the day to attend a family wedding – with her security entourage in tow.

The Tory party chairman did not pay for the cost of this security when they made a 160-mile round trip to a luxury hotel to join her nephew and 350 guests for a lavish party.

My comment:  This begs the question - was the official visit timed to coincide with her personal obligation or was her personal obligation timed to coincide with her official visit? Either way whole think stinks because it appears to have been planned well in advance.

This won't be the first time a taxpayer funded trip has been invented or rearranged by the office of a public official to cover flight and hotel expenses for a private function abroad. 

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Claim that reporters paid police to be probed

A criminal investigation into claims journalists paid police officers for information is being considered by Scotland Yard, it has been confirmed.

Read the full story from the source BBC News

My comment: They should also look into why the Police dropped the original investigation into the phone hacking by the News of the World. 

The Met's John Yates has previously told MPs that there were only a small number of victims, based on what he said was legal advice that the police would have to prove that messages had been intercepted and also listened to before being heard by the recipient.

But Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has now said that was not the advice given to detectives. He says advice from his prosecutors was at best provisional and "did not limit the scope and extent of the criminal investigation".

Read the full story from the source BBC News

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Friday, 15 April 2011

Drink-drive ambulance driver is banned

AN AMBULANCE driver has been banned from the road after he admitted drink-driving when he was involved in a seven-vehicle crash while answering a 999 call from Spondon.

Four people were injured in the accident on the A52 near Bardills Island, near Stapleford, on October 23. Fire crews from Highfields station were called out and freed two people from vehicles. Firefighters were at the scene for about an hour.

My comment: Driving a high speed emergency vehicle whilst two and a half times over the limit is indefensible.

Read the full story from the source This is Derbyshire

Read all articles about Ambulance Service on this blog

Council Mileage Allowances

Most drivers can claim a tax free allowance from their employers if they use their car for work. When they do, HMRC recommends that this is done at 45 pence per mile (in 2009-10 the rate was 40 pence per mile), although many employers pay less than this.

But the TPA has discovered, that most councils have been paying well above the HMRC rate – paying as much as 65 pence per mile for a 1.2 litre engine car. That's a huge difference.

Lancashire paid out the most in mileage allowance payments in 2009-10 – a total of nearly £8.8 million. 

My comment: Whilst staff should be reimbursed for using their car on official business why are some councils paying 25p a mile more than other councils? However, it could be worse, Surrey Police for example also pay mileage allowance for staff to travel to and from work as a extra perk.

I wonder if the HMRC are taxing council staff for their 'above the HMRC advised rate' mileage allowance and Surrey Police staff for their 'private mileage perk' as they should be doing? 

Read the full story from the source Taxpayer's Alliance

Read all articles about Lancashire County Council on this blog

Wirral Council apologise and offer whistle-blower his job back

THE leader of Wirral Council has made an unprecedented apology on behalf of the authority for "ripping off" vulnerable people in its care.

He also promised swift disciplinary action against those responsible for bullying a social worker out of his job - and has even offered him his position back.

Mr Morton had raised his concerns several times with his managers, but he was ignored, bullied and driven out of his job.

The "overcharging policy" he exposed of elderly and vulnerable people living in homes at Bermuda Road, Curlew Way and Edgehill Road, all in Moreton, went on for seven years.

The council was forced to admit its errors and repaid 16 care home residents £250,000. 

My comment: Bullying whistle-blowers, getting staff to sign compromise agreements or buying their silence is common practice with many councils.  This is one of the reasons we need real watchdogs with real teeth and not those who suck up to councils and allow this sort of practice to exist. 

Notice, as with other council scandals and the MPs expense scandal, something is only done when the press get involved. What the hell was the council's scrutiny committee doing, why didn't their monitoring officer do something and where were all the watchdogs when this whistle-blower needed help?

Read the full story from the source  Wirral Globe

Read all articles about Wirral Council or all articles about whistle-blowers on this blog.

Brent Council ban 400 yard Easter Parade

Every year the Christians from different churches get together to march a 400-yard route to celebrate Easter. But this year their Good Friday parade has been banned – because it breaches health and safety laws.

Previously organisers of the parade in Willesden, north London, had only needed to inform police of their route. But new red tape means they now need permission from Brent Council.

Brent Council hosts a Diwali street celebration every year. Last November it boasted it had held the biggest Diwali event in the country, after more than 60,000 people turned out.

And in July last year the council appealed to the Muslim community to notify it of any Eid events so it could promote them free of charge. But it did not do the same for other religious festivals.

Last night former Home Office minister – and devout Christian – Ann Widdecombe said: ‘Don’t Brent Council know about Easter? These processions will be taking place all over the country on Good Friday, it’s part of our tradition. ‘It’s ridiculous and petty that a group cannot walk 400 yards. Why should they need special permission to do that?’

My Comment: As soon I realised Brent Council were involved I was no longer amazed by this article.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line 

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Gosport Borough Council acccused of wasting public money

GOSPORT Borough Council hired a Spanish firm to collect its bins – despite the deal costing £740,000 more than the cheapest bid, The News can reveal.

Urbaser has won a £24m contract to run Gosport’s refuse collections over the next 10 years. It was the second-cheapest offer on the table, but £74,000 a year more than the lowest bidder Verdant – the Kent-based firm which had been collecting the town’s waste.

That means over the 10-year contract, taxpayers will have to pay £740,000 extra.

My comment:  If you were a councillor would you want a free holiday in Spain or in Kent? No hay nada como unas vacaciones gratis en EspaƱa para asegurar un contrato. Will the council fine people for putting their Tapas in the wrong bin?

Earlier this year the Tories came under fire for sending a delegation – including Cllr Chris Carter – on a £988 taxpayer-funded trip to Madrid to see Urbaser in action.

Read the full story from the source Portsmouth News 

Read all articles about Gosport Borough Council on this blog

Public sector fraud 'on the rise'

Fraudulent activity in the public sector is rising as a consequence of the coalition government's spending review, it has been claimed.

Workers within the organisations were found to be responsible in 53 per cent of recorded cases, up from 39 per cent two years ago. 

My comment: That's over a 35% increase in two years by my calculation. 

Read the full story from the source Integral Search & Selection

Inspector Undies

A TOP COP dubbed "Inspector Undies" has been fined £1350 for sending threatening messages to a junior policewoman he was having an affair with.

Lovesick Tom Halbert, 49, was a married dad-of-two when he started an affair with probationer Emma Louise Laou. The affair lasted nine months - at a time when he was off work due to "mental health difficulties". But when Ms Laou rejected him, he couldn't accept it.

One of the messages he left stated: "You've got two minutes to phone me back or if you don't I'm going to destroy you." As well as the "destroy you" message, he left another threatening to invoke Regulation 13, which relates to the dismissal of probationers, if she did not contact him.

Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday heard he was now seeking early retirement on medical grounds - but would resign from the force if that proved unsuccessful.

My comment: Anything you say may be taken down... - "Knickers" :) 

Read the full story from the source Daily Record

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Does anyone believe this LGA bullshit?

The first coherent picture of how the cuts are affecting services up and down the country came out last week, with the publication of the LGA’s survey of council finance directors.

It showed that councils were cutting the costs of senior and middle management while protecting services for the most vulnerable.

My comment: Tell that to the front line staff losing their jobs whilst their fat cat managers are still troughing out at the taxpayer's expense. 

Read the full story from the masters of spin known as the LGA

Police officer is suspended over charges of misconduct

A DERBYSHIRE police officer is to appear in crown court over alleged misconduct in public office. Pc Jasbir Dhanda faces 11 charges.

A spokesman for the CPS said: "A file of evidence relating to this case has been reviewed by a senior crown prosecutor from CPS East Midlands, who in March advised Derbyshire police to charge Mr Dhanda with six counts of misconduct in a public office and five breaches of the Data Protection Act.

Read the full story from the source This is Derbyshire

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

LGA assert Andrea Hill is in the top 50 Key influencers

Councillors and key Local Government Group figures are on the Local Government Chronicle’s list of the top 50 most influential leaders in local government.

Kensington and Chelsea’s Derek Myers was the highest placed council chief, at number three on the list, and Blackburn with Darwen’s chief Graham Burgess was named number four. Suffolk boss Andrea Hill; Hampshire’s chief Andrew Smith; Hammersmith and Fulham leader Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh; mayor of Hackney and chair of London Councils Jules Pipe; Lambeth leader and deputy chair of the LGA Cllr Steve Reed; and Leicestershire leader and LGA deputy chairman Cllr David Parsons were all in the top 10. The LG Group’s Rob Whiteman, Helen Bailey, Cllr Gary Porter and Cllr Robert Gordon also featured in the top 50.

My comment:  If the LGA  are talking about the above individuals ability to influence people's beliefs that they are all a bunch of overpaid incompetents then they may well be right.

Read the full story from the source LGA News Spin

A £60K Storm in Andrea Hill's teacup

A COUNCIL run by one of Britain’s highest-paid bosses came under fire yesterday for spending nearly £60,000 on tea and coffee for staff.

Suffolk County Council has spent £59,095 on refreshments in council offices since January 2010 despite threatening to cut public services to save money.

Cllr Cann said: “It is normal in most businesses for employees to provide their own tea and coffee-making facilities.

My comment: I'll drink to that - after buying it myself of course. Not only is Andrea Hill dipping her bread in the taxpayer funded gravy she is also dipping her taxpayer funded  biscuits in her taxpayer funded tea.

Read the full story from the source

Read all articles about Suffolk County Council on this blog

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Suffolk County Council: ‘I’m staying put’ – Andrea Hill

Speculation about her position has been rising following the events of the last fortnight.

The departure of director of resource management Graham Dixon and monitoring officer Eric Whitfield on March 31 was followed the next day by the retirement of council leader Jeremy Pembroke.

Mrs Hill took on Mr Dixon’s responsibilities, but there has been speculation within Endeavour House that if the new council leader has a different outlook to Mr Pembroke then Mrs Hill could come under pressure to stand down.

However she told the magazine: “It’s not my intention to leave Suffolk CC. I’m working hard to deliver the best public services to the people of Suffolk.

My comment: If I was paid over the odds I would also hang on as long as possible, however, that may be more difficult than she thinks now the council leader who recruited her has announced his retirement.

Read the full story from the source EADT

Read all articles about Suffolk County Council on this blog

The gravy train chugs on

Civil servants slammed for spending £1bn on credit cards in 2009... spent a further billion last year.

PM David Cameron even hit out at scheme during the first-ever televised leaders' debate in the run-up to last year's General Election. He expressed his outrage at the 'hideous waste' after it emerged in April 2010 that public sector bosses and quango chiefs spent a record £1billion on the credit cards on fine dining and posh wines.

My comment: So why has he done nothing about it? 

Read the full story from the source  Mail On-Line

Bungling police threaten unborn baby with ASBO

A woman about to give birth to her first child was left bewildered after Lincolnshire police sent a letter threatening her unborn baby with an ASBO. Charlotte Childs, who is 36 weeks pregnant, and her husband Damien were invited to attend a meeting with local police to discuss their son's bad behaviour.

The letter was addressed to the parents or guardians of the boy and accused him of being one of a group of youths running riot in the area. To add to the confusion, the letter, which was dated 8th April, also asked the couple to attend a meeting on 28th March.

The mix-up has been blamed on a clerical error by Lincolnshire council.

My comment: Mistakes do happen but what if the Police had broken down the door in the middle of the night because they thought the unborn baby was armed and dangerous? This could have easily happened if any of the youths were seen carrying a weapon. Especially since the couple did not attend the arranged meeting with the Police on the 28th March because they didn't get the letter until the 8th April.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line Best comment about the Daily Mail article by Tag, Expat Abu Dhabi,  "Ok, George, go to your womb now."

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Police ignoring four in 10 crimes

FOUR in 10 crimes are ignored by Britain’s biggest police force, according to figures released yesterday.

The Metropolitan Police admitted it did not investigate 361,180 incidents last year – 43% of 824,495 reported – after a Freedom of Information request.

Funny how the Police can find the time to do the bidding of councillors but can't find the time for serious crimes. Probably a case of he who pays the piper calls the tune. Pity they don't appear to realise it's the taxpayer and not Local Authorities who actually pay their wages because one day taxpayers may just say enough is enough. Maybe elected Police Chiefs are the answer then the electorate can kick them out when they waste their time and resources sucking up to councillors instead of protecting the rights of the public to attend council meetings.

Read the full story from the source Mirror News

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Girl, 16, killed after social workers said they were 'powerless' to intervene

A cannabis-smoking delinquent was free to rape and strangle a 16-old-girl after social services admitted they were 'powerless' to stop him.

There are emails from social services saying if something's not done, that this boy is going to end up killing someone.

They were powerless to do anything about it. They tried to get him evicted. They tried Asbos on him. They tried to get him help with all his behaviour problems. They worked with police, they tried everything.

My comment: If Social Services and the Police are powerless to stop people like this from raping and murdering girls then something is seriously wrong with this country. 

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

25 abused children die under the noses of social workers

Twenty-five children have died and dozens more been seriously injured despite being known to social services, an Ofsted report reveals.

Vulnerable youngsters are let down in ‘too many’ cases by professionals who fail to listen to the concerns of grandparents, neighbours and even fathers, it says.

Local authorities and other agencies failed to learn lessons from the Baby P scandal, the report shows.

My comment: Why should Local authorities and other agencies improve if the worst that can happen is that the odd member of staff loses their job. The problem lies with Toothless watchdogs who can only write retrospective reports and make recommendations. We need watchdogs who kick arse not suck up to the authorities under investigation! Don't forget that Ofsted gave Haringey a good report just before the shit hit the fan with Baby P and then, and only then, did they back-pedalled like crazy to save their own reputation.

Read the full story from the source  Daily Mail

Medway council red tape stops Royal Wedding street party

A street party organiser scrapped her plan to celebrate the royal wedding after being told the event would need to be insured for £5million.

Hayley Mills said she was also put off by the amount of council red tape she faced, including safety rules banning bunting higher than 5m (16ft 6in).

She said: ‘You have to nominate a person to take responsibility for virtually everything – health and safety, food safety and people’s behaviour.

‘There’s a huge burden on the person who organises it. It all sounds good at government level but at local level, it doesn’t seem to work.’

Mrs Mills revealed her anger with Medway council in Kent yesterday as David Cameron urged authorities not to let bureaucracy stop street parties on April 29.

The red tape facing Mrs Mills was ‘a bit daft’, said Chris White, chairman of the Local Government Association’s culture board.

My comment: Typical Council jobsworths who only back peddle when the press exposes their stupidity.

Read the full story from the source Metro

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Anglesey councillor falsely claimed incapacity benefits

An Anglesey councillor has been fined £750 and told to pay £115 costs after admitting falsely claiming incapacity benefit at Holyhead magistrates court.

Thomas, a farmer of Pentraeth, failed to declare his full allowance as a councillor on two claims.

My comment: Why is it that when councillors and MPs are caught fiddling they call it a mistake whilst every body else are found guilty of FRAUD.

Read the full story from the source BBC News 

Read all articles about Anglesey Council on this blog

Unlawful gagging clauses?

Cheshire West & Chester Council and Brent Council have both imposed restrictions which prohibit former employees making requests under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection acts.

My comment: Both Councils have been caught out in the past by bloggers when they tried to push the envelope of 'legality'. 

Read the full story from the source Paul Cardin

Read all articles about Cheshire West & Chester Council on this blog and more articles about them on my dedicated CWaC Council blog

Public Authorities being monitored by the ICO

The Information Commissioner’s Office is currently monitoring the following authorities’ timeliness in responding to requests for information:

Barnsley Metropolitan Council
City of London Police
Cornwall Council
Department for Education
East Lancashire NHS Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Highways Agency (an Executive Agency of the Department for
Kent County Council
Kirklees Council
London Borough of Southwark
NHS South West London (Wandsworth Borough Team – formerly
NHS Wandsworth)
North East Lincolnshire Council
North Somerset Council
Nottingham City Counci
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
Surrey County Council
Surrey Police
Waveney District Council

The monitoring period will run from 1 April to 30 June 2011.

My comment: Then only a slap on the wrist if they don't improve. Not much of a disincentive to stop them flouting the law. Can you imagine if a speeding motorist was given three months to improve and then, only if they haven't improved, being told off! Why don't we have public sector watchdogs with real teeth? 

Read the full story from the source ICO list (PDF)

The discredited House of Commons

Can you imagine working for a Company that has a little more than 600 Employees and has the following employee statistics…

29 accused of spouse abuse
7 arrested for fraud
9 accused of writing bad cheques
17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
3 have done time for assault
71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
14 arrested on drug-related charges
8 arrested for shoplifting
21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
84 arrested for drink driving in the last year

Collectively, this year alone, they have cost the British tax payer £92,993,748 in expenses!!!

Which organization is this?

It’s the 635 members of the House of Commons, the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of the population of Britain in line.

What a bunch of bastards we have running our country – it says it all…

My comment: Ditto to what a bunch of bastards we have running our country. I would imagine the statistics for councillors are even worse. No wonder our elected representatives don't want effective watchdogs and prefer to keep their toothless ineffective watch lap-dogs such as the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman.

Read the full story from the source Amper's Rants

Read all articles about MPs on this blog

Monday, 11 April 2011

Barnet council paid £1.2m for 'illegal' security

A security company paid more than £1 million by a London council will be investigated by a government watchdog after it emerged that it was not properly licensed. MetPro Rapid Response worked for five years for Barnet council - including having contact with children.

MetPro was criticised for filming anti-cuts protesters by using "covert" jacket lapel cameras at a stormy budget meeting at Hendon town hall last month.

The company, which styled itself on the police, offered "arrest and detention" of intruders, despite having no special powers.

MetPro, based in Southgate, went into liquidation with £400,000 debts. 

My comment: As far as Barnet are concerned why did they accept the word of MetPro without any prudent validation? As far as MetPro are concerned they were just bullyboy dickheads pretending to be something they weren't. Which makes Barnet's problems about their failure to validate all the more relevant. I wonder if any of the councillor's family or friends were involved with MetPro?

Read the full story from the source  This is London

Read all articles about Barnet Council (London Borough) on this blog

Devon County Council puts sensitive data about children put online

SENSITIVE information relating to children in Devon has been accidentally published online, in breach of data protection laws.

Devon County Council is currently examining dozens of documents which had been made available on its website to assess the amount of damage done.

The authority took the action after the Echo made it aware that it had published financial details relating to children who had been excluded from schools in the county as well as children with special educational needs (SEN).

A reader, who asked not to be named but has been campaigning for tighter data protection regulation, said: "This information should never have been accessible within the public domain and searchable from any computer in the world.

"In my opinion it is shameful incompetence and local government authorities should be better at self-policing."

My comment: Couldn't put it better myself.

Read the full story from the source This is Exeter

Read all articles about Devon County Council on this blog

Sunday, 10 April 2011

kick out the reckless spendthrifts on our councils

Britain's 205 councils have created a total of 4,148 new posts in the year since last May. That means that each council has created an average of 20 new positions. Many of them are of a sort whose utility is hard to demonstrate at any time: with nurseries, libraries and other services that are actually used by local people being closed, they appear outlandishly extravagant.

Most people are only too well aware that, far from being "vital", much of what local government does is not worth doing. And it is not only in refraining from creating posts such as wood-fuel development officers that local authorities could reduce their expenditure. Town hall chiefs, and their armies of executives, assistants and flunkeys, could also cut their own excessive pay.

My favourite comment from readers of the Telegraph article came from Matt Smith: The coalition approached controlling the councils in the wrong way. It was evident that legislation is urgently needed to control councils and redetermine how exactly they spend taxpayers' money, but Pickles just used the blunt instrument of cuts in an attempt to force them to get rid of non-jobs. So these cynical organisations are now cutting services such as road repairs, litter, sports centres and libraries, while the vast majority of the best paid bureaucrats are keeping their ridiculous jobs. 

My comment: Couldn't have put it better myself.

Read the full story from the source The Telegraph