Friday, 30 September 2011

Plymouth DWP Benefits Office worker fiddled benefits

A WORKER at the agency which tracks down benefit cheats defrauded more than £12,000 from his employers.

Trusted member of staff Mark Goldsmith-White, aged 30, paid Department for Work and Pensions money into his own account, Plymouth Magistrates' Court was told.

He siphoned off a total of £12,280 on 22 occasions over nearly six months.

Goldsmith-White, of Pottery Road, Devonport, admitted fraud by abuse of position intending to make a gain between January and July.

My comment: Double standards or what.

Read the full story from the source This is Plymouth

Read all articles about the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on this blog

Wiltshire taxpayers fund council chiefs’ luxury hotel stays

TOP bosses at Wiltshire Council spent thousands of pounds on luxury hotels, flights and a private members club using a credit card funded by the taxpayer.

The figures have been released for the first time by the council after a Government ruling to make local authorities more transparent about how they spend public money.

Chief executive Andrew Kerr has enjoyed a £135-per-month membership of the Royal Overseas League, which has a private clubhouse in London just 400 metres from Buckingham Palace. The total bill for his private membership came to £936.85.

My comment: Why the hell are taxpayers picking up the bill for Wiltshire Councils CEO to be a member of the Royal Overseas League? 

Read the full story from the source This is Wiltshire

Councillor Michael Westerman found guilty of stealing

The mayor of Keighley has quit after being found guilty of stealing from the town’s rugby league club.

 A spokesman for Keighley Town Council said Councillor Michael Westerman, who has completed five months of his year-long term of office, had stepped down for “personal reasons” – but was staying on as a town councillor.

He was convicted on Tuesday of stealing players’ wages from the Keighley Cougars rugby ground.

My comment: Yet another not fit for purpose councillor.

Read the full story from the source Keighley News

Read all articles about Keighley Town Council on this blog

Gosport councillor cautioned for assault on political rival after meeting

POLICE have cautioned a councillor for assaulting a political rival after a council meeting.

Gosport councillor Dave Smith was arrested yesterday in connection with an attack on the town’s Lib Dem leader, Cllr Peter Chegwyn.

The assault took place after a meeting of Gosport Borough Council’s policy and organisation board on Wednesday night.

Cllr Chegwyn was left with minor cuts and bruises to his face, head and left arm after the fracas which was caught on CCTV.

Officers at Fareham police station yesterday cautioned Cllr Smith on a charge of assault by beating.

My comment: No matter what the another councillor calls you you shouldn't resort to fighting. Dave Smith was in the news earlier this year which may explain why other councillors were making derogatory remarks about him.

Read the full story from the source The Portsmouth News

Read all articles about Gosport Borough Council on this blog

Councils spend £1.2m taxpayer's cash on award events

Councils are spending more than £1.2 million a year on awards ceremonies, it has been revealed.

The bill for events such as Loo of the Year and the British Parking Awards was disclosed in figures assembled by campaign group the TaxPayers' Alliance.

Glasgow City Council was the biggest spender on tickets, accommodation, travel and catering in 2010-11, with a total layout of £83,000.

The total bill across the UK is likely to be higher than £1.2 million as many councils responded to freedom of information requests by saying they could not provide data.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "Awards ceremonies help to recognise and share good practice in the public sector, and they present excellent opportunities to heighten the city's profile.

My comment: I wonder if Glasgow held an award event for spending the most on award events?  I also wonder if they got an award for the most staff suspended for defrauding a council.

Read the full story from the source This is London

Read all articles about Glasgow City Council on this blog

UPDATED  30/09/11: Taxpayer's Allience pinhead of the year award

"Meanwhile, the TPA’s inaugural Pinhead of the Month is Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, on the back of the new TPA research released today which reveals that in the last year his council spent almost £83,000 on hosting and attending awards ceremonies – more than any other council in the United Kingdom. So now Cllr Matheson has an award of his own. We hope that he will reflect on the fact that many councils now recognise that using taxpayers’ money to organise or attend costly awards ceremonies is unjustifiable and that if he wants to put on these kinds of events, then he should seek private sponsorship to minimise the cost to the public purse."

My comment: Councillors love a good jolly at the taxpayer's expense. 

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Cornwall PCSO charged over sex claims

A police community support officer has been charged with misconduct in public office over two alleged affairs with vulnerable women he met while at work.

Peter Bunyan, who is married with children, is alleged to have been seeing the two women at the same time for ten months. One of the alleged affairs is said to have lasted more than three years.

Bunyan, who was suspended about six months ago after a complaint, is also accused of sending "sex texts" while on duty to a third woman in order to start an affair.

The former car park manager, who has worked as a police community support officer in Cornwall for nearly eight years, is also accused of illegally accessing computer records on the three women.

The case was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which managed the inquiry conducted by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Bunyan has also been charged with three offences of misconduct, one in relation to each of the three women, of accessing their computer records without "legitimate reason". Those offences are alleged to have been committed between October 2009 and January this year.

My comment: Not a good advert for Police Community Support Officers.

Read the full story from the source This is Cornwall

South Ayrshire Council blunders over mega money waste deal

BLUNDERING council chiefs have blown a money-spinning recycling contract.

Bosses at South Ayrshire were set to seal a deal described as one of the council’s “best ever”.

But a legal cock-up has put the lucrative offer at risk.

At the moment, the council shells out cash for every tonne of waste which is collected and removed for recycling.

But the new deal would have seen it profit by up to £250,000 per year.

My comment: You can always rely on a council to cock something up. Why should they worry the taxpayer always picks up the bill for their incompetence. 

Read the full story from the source Ayrshire Post

Friday, 23 September 2011

Is hospitals watchdog up to the job?

HEALTH bosses in Worcestershire have questioned if a national watchdog is up to the task.

The Care Quality Commission is the national health and social care watchdog which makes sure hospitals and care homes are performing well enough.

It was the CQC which published a damning report into two wards at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch in May which raised “major” concerns about patients having enough to eat and drink.

But the tables were turned at a board meeting of NHS Worcestershire at Kidderminster Town Hall when health chiefs asked if the CQC was itself fit for purpose.

My comment: Read all articles about the Care Quality Commission on this blog and I think you will agree with me that they are not fit for purpose.

Read the full story from the source Worcester News

Read all articles about our failing Watchdogs on this blog.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Wirral Council: Foulkes in hell!

A summary of the problems in Wirral Council. 

Please click on the title link for the full story.

Wirral Council not coping with disability cuts

Wirral has recently closed five local respite services and intermediate care homes as part of a project to outsourse its care to an independent organisation. It has also introduced a new charge of £4 a week for people who use local telecare services, which enable people to live independently with the help of technology. The council currently takes into account 75 per cent of a person’s income when working out how much they will contribute towards the cost fo their care. They are considering whether this should be increased to 100 per cent of a disabled person’s income.

My comment: Typical council, they can't run a service properly so they decide to outsource it. Problem is that many councils aren't fit to negotiate their way out of a paper bag let alone a large outsourcing contract. One only has to look at Barnet Council for further evidence of this. Why an earth pay senior staff who are so incompetent at running a service you have to consider outsource it. Sack the idiots concerned and employ someone who can do the job they are paid to do.

Wirral council must learn lessons

"THE details of a damning report into how a Merseyside council is run should make disturbing reading for us all."

Steve Foulkes says he welcomes the “highly-critical” report by Anna Klonowski Associates “because it is the ultimate wake-up call which gives all of us the chance to change.”

My comment: So Steve Foulkes admits he WAS sleeping on the job, otherwise there would be no need for a wake up call. Do we want councillors let alone leaders sleeping on the job?

Wirral Council leader under pressure

"Council leader Steve Foulkes admitted the authority had allowed a catalogue of failings to continue without being addressed."

Cllr Foulkes said: “As the investigation proceeded it became more and more evident that the problems were much wider and that there were serious weaknesses in the way we [my emphasis] manage and run the council.”

Jeff Green said he commissioned the report “because the former Labour-led administration had consistently refused our calls for an independent inquiry". He added: “Cllr Foulkes and his previous administrations have allowed the public service culture of the council to become warped into one of back covering, secrecy, intimidation and machination.”

My comment: £250,000 spent on consultants to tell them the they are a crap council! Most people who live on the Wirral could have told them that for free. 

Whistle-blower Martin Morton says findings show council's 'catastrophic failure'

"The former social services employee who blew the whistle on his bosses said there has been a "catastrophic failure" by the council.

Martin Morton's revelations in the Globe in 2008 triggered a chain of events that led to an independent consultant making a devastating assessment of his ex-employers."

The consequences of those revelations are beginning to rock the council to its foundations - and they are not yet fully played out as two further reports into the scandal are due to be published.

Mr Morton told the Globe: "I've experienced 11 years of denial.

 I have been consistently told by councillors, and I quote, that there has been "no hidden wrongdoing" and that council officers dealt "honestly and competently" with my concerns.

He continued: "For different reasons I am also astonished that (town hall watchdogs) Standards for England have decided not to investigate the role of councillors in this scandal. [My emphasis]

"They did comment that following the completion of the Anna Klonowski review that Wirral Councils standards committee should consider its findings.

My comment: Typical of most councils, deny the truth, try and bury the truth and hope it all goes away. Which it may well have done without Martin's tenacity. Who in their right mind would think it right that the council standards committee is fit for the purpose let alone impartial when it comes to considering the findings of an investigation into their own council? Only a Watchdog and idiots!

Wirral Council Leader, what care scandal? what recession? I'm off to China

Council leader Steve Foulkes is due to fly out to Jiangsu Province in the next couple of weeks, with senior council officers, to sign the twinning agreements.

Update: Steve Foulkes has decided not to go after all so he can take charge of the aftermath of the scandal. 

My comment: I hope he doesn't intend trying to sweep anything under the carpet, I think most would have preferred he wasn't going to China because he had resigned.

Whistleblower says Wirral council ordered care packages delay

Wirral Council's policy on organising care packages advised social workers to wait four weeks unless their line managers issued a waiver, according to Andy Campbell, who was employed by the authority as an assistant support officer in its adult social services department between August 2009 and August 2011.

When Campbell joined the council as a support worker in August 2009, he had little knowledge of adult social care. He was given one week's training before being asked to assess people's eligibility for care packages, he said.

When he first questioned the apparent policy on delaying care packages, he was told the orders came "from above". Colleagues advised him not to talk about it. [my emphasis]

My comment: Yes there was more than one whistleblower.

Wirral Council pays out more than £335,000 in bed-blocking fines

Wirral are in the top 10 council areas which paid the most in bed blocking fines over the last three years, according to a BBC survey.

The councils were fined for delaying discharges as they were unable to provide adequate facilities for patients on leaving hospital.

My comment: If they hadn't wasted this money maybe they wouldn't have had to play delaying games with adult social care in order to save money. Council logic?

Wirral Council may do a South Tyneside Council re Twitter

A Twitter imposter has taken on the identity of Wirral Council leader Steve Foulkes and set up a social network page claiming to post his views.

Councillor Foulkes has warned that action could be taken against the person responsible for Twitter account ‘Foulkes World’ – if it is found to be politically motivated.

Extract from a Wirral Globe reader's comment: "Prosecuted for what ? Was Foulkes prosecuted for overseeing a corrupt administration which screwed over disabled adults to the tune of a quarter million quid...nope...yet he's getting his knickers in a twist over a spoof twitter account."

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

Social care no place for secrets

IF SOCIETY’S wrongs are to be righted, if the problems that continue to simmer away undetected in many spheres of life are to be disclosed and resolved, then the importance of the whistleblower should not be underestimated.

In some misguided sections of society, those who “grass”, or “inform” to the police, are derided and cast into the wilderness.

This is an attitude which needs to change – and the case of Martin Morton, who spoke out about the scandal of vulnerable adults in the care of Wirral social services being outrageously overcharged, should help establish firm guidelines for how such incidents are treated in the future.

It was alleged that Mr Morton was bullied out of his job at Wirral council after attempting to highlight the wrongs perpetrated on needy service users, which again indicated how many people prefer to “cover up” rather than wash their dirty laundry in public. 

My comment:  Credit to Mr Morton for hanging on in there until he was vindicated. Where is the government support for whistleblowers?

Read all articles about Wirral Council on this blog or read all articles about our failing Watchdogs on this blog

FOOTNOTE: Where were the watchdogs? 

Mr Morton’s claims of bullying, cover-ups and maladministration have now led the independent inquiry to conclude that the authority needs a root and branch change in its culture.

The council was in the grip of a “corrosive” and “inward-looking culture where the needs and rights of residents had become submerged under its bureaucratic machinations. Read the full story here.

Check out the Local Government Ombudsman's view of Wirral Council

2010/11  34 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2009/10  166 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2008/09 43 complaints 1 finding of maladministration reported by LGO.

2007/08 87 complaints  1 finding of maladministration reported by LGO.

2006/07 95 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2005/06 100 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2005/2011 525 complaints against Wirral Council and only 2 findings of maladministration reported by LGO. Now I call that a statistical impossibility unless your objective is to hide the true level of council wrongdoing or like Foulkes you were asleep on the job!.

UPDATED 22/9/11: Council responds to critical report

Reacting to the report, Leader of the Council, Councillor Steve Foulkes said:

"An Independent Report was commissioned last year by the then Leader of the Council to investigate what had happened over a particular issue in a particular department. As the investigation proceeded it became more and more evident that the problems were much wider and that there were serious weaknesses in the way we manage and run the Council which make it likely not only that mistakes will happen, but that they could happen again if immediate action is not taken to put things right."

My comment: In summary, to save you reading all the spin, the two people responsible are not going to resign they are staying to sort the mess out they helped create. Just what does it take to get rid of a councillor and a CEO?

Read all the spin from the source Wirral Council 

Read all articles about our failing Watchdogs or all articles about whistle-blowers on this blog.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

This sums up all Watchdogs not just the CQC

Care watchdog chiefs ‘will not resign’, despite new criticism

The leaders of England’s care watchdog say they have not considered resigning, despite facing heavy criticism from MPs over their organisation’s performance.

Members of the Commons health committee published a damning report this week, criticising the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for its “distortion of priorities”.

My comment: All watchdogs in this country have distorted priorities, they prefer to ignore or bury complaints about the organisations they are supposed to be watching and ignore any complaints about their own organisation rather than do the job they are paid to do. 

However, you can't blame them because the Government, in their wisdom :), decided to make them virtually unaccountable. 

Note how difficult it is to get rid of one of them if they refuse to resign. If you know of any watchdog that has ever been sacked please let me know. 

The Government shouldn't have to wait for an incompetent watchdog to resign, they should have the power to sack them without any compensation for loss of office.

Read the full story from the source The Fed on Line

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

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Leicester Councillor 'misused position' to get data

The chairman of Leicester's Labour Party misused his position as a councillor to gain information about a member of the public, a probe has found.

Patrick Kitterick obtained the information about former Liberal Democrat city councillor Carlym Sandringham, who was hoping to stand as a Labour candidate in May.

After an internal investigation, the committee found Coun Kitterick had misused his position to gain the information.

However, he was not disciplined because, the panel ruled, he had not gained from the move.

Coun Kitterick said: "I did not misuse my position. I requested information that would have been available to any member of the public under the Freedom of Information Act.

My comment: Yet another not fit for purpose councillor. Firstly he has been found GUILTY of misusing his position to gain the information and secondly you can't get personal information via the Freedom of Information Act and even the dumbest councillor should know that.

Read this and you will understand why his colleagues think they can get away with anything.  "Who cares if we are challenged for using it [council newspaper] for political purposes? We have 52 councillors so why not?"

Read the full story from the source This is Leicestershire

Read all articles about Leicester City Council on this blog

Friday, 16 September 2011

Devon County Council paying consultant £186,000 a year

The Conservative-led authority is forking out £15,500-a-month plus expenses for Malcolm Vede, interim assistant director for in-house provider services, who was recruited last April.

The package far outstrips the near £150,000 salary of the county council's chief executive Phil Norrey who took a pay cut amid calls for restraint on packages for county hall bosses. Political opponents said the spending was "outrageous" and would anger taxpayers.

Coun Barker confirmed that the fee paid to the recruitment agency was £750 per day and that the total bill over the last 15 months was £232,500.

He added: "In addition a contribution towards accommodation of £800 per month is paid (£12,080 for the above period).

"Other payments made during this period are in respect of travel costs whist on Devon County Council business (£2,225) and a one-off fee for securing accommodation (£223).

My comment: Total cost for 15 months?  £232,500 + £12,080 + £2,225 + £223 =  an eye watering £247,028

Read the full story from the source This is North Devon

Wirral Council Leader, what care scandal? what recession? I'm off to China

WIRRAL Council is hoping a pair of “sister city” agreements with two of China’s wealthiest cities could boost jobs and prosperity across the borough and the rest of Merseyside.

Council leader Steve Foulkes is due to fly out to Jiangsu Province in the next couple of weeks, with senior council officers, to sign the twinning agreements.

My comment: Right in the middle of a care scandal of epic proportions and whilst most other councils are cutting back on twinning agreements to save money during the recession we have Wirral Council leader and a few officers jetting off to China. Sounds like a complete Foulkes up to me!

Read the full story from the source Liverpool Daily Post

UPDATED 17th September 2011: The move comes just a week before the council is due to consider a planning application by Peel – the company behind the £4.5on Wirral Waters project – for an International Trade Centre (ITC).

Cllr Davies also paid tribute to Peel, who he said “have been instrumental in opening doors for us” in developing the links.

A report by interim director of corporate services, Kevin Adderley, also said a request had been made for a “sister city” relationship from nearby Jiang Yin.

The report from Mr Adderley, which was approved by the council leader under delegated powers, called for Wirral “to begin discussions relating to the development of sister city relationships with Jiang Yin”.

Read the full story from the source Liverpool Vision

My comment: I have submitted a Freedom of Information request in an atempt to identify the cost of the trip and who is picking up the bill. 

UPDATED 14th October 2011: Response to my Freedom of Information Request.

1) How much is the trip costing in total?

Total cost of trip was £6428.20

2) how many members and how many officers are going?

Deputy Leader and 2 Officers

3) are any other bodies contributing to the cost and if so who
 and how much?

No other UK bodies. Accommodation and food when visiting Suzhou, Taicang were paid for by local Chinese government.

4) how long is the trip for?

12 days

5) when did the scrutiny committee scrutinise the planned visit.

Not required as a report is going to Cabinet outlining visit. A Cabinet
resolution in 2010 permitted visits abroad as long as report taken to
subsequent Cabinet on return.

My comment:  "A Cabinet resolution in 2010 permitted visits abroad as long as report taken to subsequent Cabinet on return." How convenient, no scrutiny before spending taxpayers money and all the recipients of the taxpayer funded flights have to do is report to the Cabinet on their return.

Read all articles about Wirral Council on this blog

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Copeland Council spend £7,725 on a new logo.

It has already made its debut on various documents, but the re-brand has brought criticism.

The council’s chief executive Paul Walker responded: “The council has not updated its corporate image for many years, it was time to do so.”

My comment: No it wasn't you idiot, we are in the middle of a bloody recession. The only consolation is that it didn't cost more. Here's a more meaningful logo for you at no cost to the taxpayer. 

Here are more ways Copeland Council waste taxpayer's money.
Copeland Councillors refuse a special allowance cut
Copeland council taxpayers bill for a £75,000 loan to Rugby Football Club
Copeland Council £2000 on a jolly and £90,000 on consultants 
Read the full story from the source Whitehaven News

Read all articles about Copeland Borough Council on this blog

Whistleblower says Wirral council ordered care packages delay

Wirral Council's policy on organising care packages advised social workers to wait four weeks unless their line managers issued a waiver, according to Andy Campbell, who was employed by the authority as an assistant support officer in its adult social services department between August 2009 and August 2011.

When Campbell joined the council as a support worker in August 2009, he had little knowledge of adult social care. He was given one week's training before being asked to assess people's eligibility for care packages, he said.

When he first questioned the apparent policy on delaying care packages, he was told the orders came "from above". Colleagues advised him not to talk about it.

Ed Mitchell, legal columnist for Community Care and editor of Social Care Law Today, said: "The courts will afford a council a reasonable period of time to put a care service in place as they recognise that services cannot be conjured up out of thin air. But a policy of not even beginning the process of securing services until a set period of time has elapsed cannot be considered lawful." 

My comment: This isn't the first time a whistleblower has exposed the truth about the goings on in Wirral Council. The last time they were forced to apologise and offer the whistleblower his job back.. more here. Plus they are one of the top councils having to pay bed blocking fines.. more here. Looks like Wirral Council don't give a fig about care for the vulnerable... more here.

The question is when will someone connect the dots and sort out Wirral Council? 

Read the full story from the source Community Care

UPDATE 16th September 2011: Wirral Council leader warns senior officers will be 'held to account' over cash cut advice.

WIRRAL Council's leader has warned the town hall's most senior officers they will be held to account for their advice over massive cash cuts.

My comment: Didn't take the leader long to start arse covering and blaming officers for doing something HIS scrutiny committees should have ensured couldn't and didn't happen. Typical reaction when the sh*t hits the fan, blame someone else! Another not fit for purpose councillor.

Whilst it is rumoured that officers control Wirral Council with an iron grip, one must still blame councillors, especially the leader for allowing it to happen. However, Wirral Council is not alone in letting the unelected tail wag the elected dog, it appears to be a growing trend across the country.

Read the full story from the source  Wirral Globe

Read all articles about Wirral Council on this blog

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

'Box-ticking care home watchdog put elderly at risk'

The elderly are being put at risk because the Government’s watchdog is too busy ‘box-ticking’ to inspect care homes, MPs warn today.

They accuse the Care Quality Commission of putting form-filling ahead of ensuring vulnerable residents are safe.

One of its jobs is to register every care home, hospital, GP surgery and dentist in England and Wales and in doing so make sure each meets safety standards.

In a scathing report, the health select committee said there was a significant distortion of priorities at the commission, which meant it was too busy compiling this register to inspect more care homes.

My comment: The CQC are not the only watchdogs who prefer spin and form filling instead of fulfilling their basic function.

A comment by a reader of the original article just about sums them up.  

"I have been in healthcare for 35 years and have never experienced anything like the CQC. Everybody knows bureaucracies can be remote and inefficient , but the CQC brings this to a whole new level. Until one actually deals with them it would be difficult to imagine anything so bizarre and useless. They threaten legal action, sing their praises in PR emails, fiddle while Rome burns, and they do it with no insight. I feel contempt for the CQC as someone they a supposed to regulate. I feel extremely sorry for anyone they supposed to protect.  Direct experience, Bristol, 14/9/2011 12:37 "

My comment to the above:  I could say the same about the Local Government Ombudsman. Until one deals with them it is difficult to imagine anything so bizarre and useless. Fiddling their statistics whilst Rome burns councils get away with murder. I also feel contempt for the LGO and feel extremely sorry for anyone they are supposed to protect.

Others say the same about the Parliamentary and Heath Service Ombudsman. So it must be a watchdog thing.  

Read the full story from the source Mail on Line

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

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Liverpool Council 'bans' all staff from speaking to Liverpool dailies

Liverpool City Council has been labelled “barking mad” after it took the controversial decision of apparently banning council staff, including press officers, from speaking to the city’s two biggest newspapers.

The directive came from chief executive Ged Fitzgerald and Labour council leader Joe Anderson, who has also reportedly banned his Labour councillors from speaking with the Liverpool Echo and the Liverppol Daily Post.

The council insisted it was trying to build an “open and transparent” organisation but said stories designed to “bring down the reputation of the city and the council are not accepted and need to be challenged”.

A council spokesperson told Press Gazette that it had “withdrawn cooperation” and is no longer “working proactively” with either paper, but would still handle enquiries from journalists and give statements where necessary.

Keaveney [The leader of council’s opposition Liberal Democrat group] said it also runs counter to the principles of “democracy, Freedom of Information and openness”.

My comment: Typical council, they want local press to print their spin but don't like it when they print anything negative, what most people would call the truth!

Read the full story from the source Press Gazette

Read all articles about Liverpool City Council on this blog

Monday, 12 September 2011

Man hurt as Flintshire council bickers over uncovered manholes

A MAN left in agony after falling down a manhole is stunned the problem took so long to fix.

But the manholes remained uncovered for more than three months because of a dispute over who owns the land.

Daniel Woolley, 35, suffered a broken wrist after falling down the hole in an alleyway which runs parallel to Chester Road West in June.

“What if a child had fallen down it? They could have suffered a very serious injury.”

Members of Shotton Town Council said maintenance of the manholes was the responsibility of Flintshire Council. But council bosses said it is down to Shotton Town Council to replace the covers, which are believed to have been stolen in May.

Shotton West councillor Ann Minshull said: “It is ridiculous the amount of time they have been gone.

Cllr Dave Evans said: “I’m getting really frustrated with this. We don’t want to be speaking about this for 20 years to come still wondering who owns the land.

“Flintshire Council is fobbing us off and we shouldn’t accept that.”

Clerk Susan Cartwright said the town council had a map which proved the land belonged to Flintshire Council and decided to send it to the authority.

A spokesman for Flintshire Council said it had now received legal confirmation that its housing department was the owner.

My comment: Someone could have been killed and for months all Flintshire Council was worried about is whether they were responsible! What a bunch of incompetent idiots.

Read the full story from the source The Leader

Read all articles about Flintshire County Council on this blog

Prison officer arrested over drug allegations

A PRISON officer has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs into a young offenders’ institution.

The Ministry of Justice last night confirmed that an unnamed officer at Deerbolt Young Offenders’ Institution, near Barnard Castle, is being questioned by police over the alleged supply of Class A drugs.

 The officer, who lives in County Durham, was detained at the Category C training prison on Friday. He has been suspended while investigations continue.

My comment: Waiting for the outcome before commenting.

Read the full story from the source Darlington & Stockton Times

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Shamed Waveney district councillor quits Tories - but will stay on council

Andrew Draper, 37, who represents Worlingham ward and lives in Carlton Colville, has issued a statement today saying he will remain on the council as an independent councillor.

Draper pleaded guilty to drink driving and kicking out at a police officer when he appeared at Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court last week - prompting calls for his resignation. He was banned from driving for two years and told to pay fines, costs and compensation of more than £800.

My comment: Compare the fine to the sentence most others would get for assaulting a police officer. In any event do Worlingham residents really want a criminal as a councillor?

Read the full story from the source EADT24

UPDATE 5/10/2011: Waveney: Council unable to take action against shamed councillor.

A WAVENEY district councillor convicted of drink driving and assaulting a police inspector will face no action from the authority - after a committee “condemned” his conduct but found it was powerless to do anything.

Today the council’s assessment sub-committee, which looked in to two allegations against Mr Draper, revealed it was “appalled” by his actions but powerless to act. It now plans to write to parliament to urge the government to “rectify this ridiculous gap in the law.”

My comment: If a Council can't get rid if a drunken driver who kicks Police Officers   then the system need changing. They are right to ask the Government to rectify this ridiculous situation.   

Read the full story from the source Evening Star