Friday, 23 December 2011

Durham County Council: BINGATE update

Since my exclusive BINGATE post about [Durham County Council wasting money on waste bins on the 23rd November 2011 a number of others have since  published articles on the subject. Links below.

I am still waiting for a response to my Freedom of Information request in an attempt to identify if any councillors or officers enjoyed trips abroad as part of the tender process. The council has already exceeded the statutory 20 day deadline forcing me to request an internal review.

Council condemned over bin contract

Durham County Council condemned over bin contract

£4M Bins contract goes to foreign firm even though British bid is cheaper

Council slammed for awarding £4m bin contract to a GERMAN firm... even though British bid was £250,000 cheaper

Twin bin update

Council defends continental bins contract

Bin boss attacks £4.2m contract

Durham Council Offers £4m Bin Contract To Germans Despite Cheaper British Bid

German bins deal rubbished

£4.2m bin deal was not rubbish

The Northern Echo [link above] states that they exclusively broke the story on Monday 19th December 2011, nearly a month after I did :-)

Someone has also started a petition which is well worth signing if you want to protect British jobs.

Read all articles about Durham County Council on this blog

NHS boss on £25,800 a MONTH

THE boss of West Cumberland Hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary has been paid £129,000 for his first five months in post, The Whitehaven News can reveal today.

Dr Neil Goodwin is the full-time interim chief executive of the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust.

The figure was revealed following a request to the Trust by The Whitehaven News under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. It equates to around £25,800 a month – similar to a year’s salary for some senior nurses.

Dr Goodwin started work at the cash-strapped Trust – now said to be in financial crisis – in June. The figure provided by the Trust through FOI was the total paid up until the end of October.

Sean Gibson, a regional organiser with the health union Unison, said: “It is a sickening amount of money at a time when many of his staff will not have a pay rise this year or next. Does this represent value for money considering his Trust is spending £1.2million per month over and above their budgets?

My comment: When will this madness end?

Read the full story from the source Whitehaven News

Thursday, 22 December 2011

2011 Public Authoirty Watcher's awards: The winners are.....

1st place Elected Representatives, Councillor 80 posts, Dodgy elected representatives 68 posts, Councillors 42 posts, MP 29 posts.

2nd place Watchdogs, Watchdogs 47 posts, Care Quality Commission 17 posts, Data Protection 17 posts, Local Government Ombudsman 12 posts

3rd place Police, Police 80 posts

Runners up, Andrea Hill 24 posts, NHS 25 posts, , Wirral Council 12 posts, Birmingham City Council 10 posts, Whistle-blowers 10 posts, LGA 10 posts, Social Services 10 posts

Councillor told to apologise for inappropriate expenses claims

A COUNCILLOR has been told to make a written apology after inappropriately claiming £350 in expenses.

Conservative councillor Barry Lobbett, who represents Bedworth North on Warwickshire County Council, inappropriately claimed more than 880 miles of travel expenses last year and has now been publicly reprimanded for the claims by the council’s standards committee.

Coun Lobbett had made £350 of inappropriate claims - including for Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council duties, for electioneering and for getting to and from a council officer’s retirement party. Conservative county council leader Alan Farnell demanded his colleague repay the cash. During further investigation Coun Lobbett insisted he misunderstood the rules.

My comment: That's what all people say when the are caught fiddling their expense . However, only elected representatives can get away a mild slap on the wrist. Any of his constituents who did the same would probably face the sack or even jail for fraud.

Read the full story from the source Coventry Telegraph

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Police Sergeant illegally evicts family from their home

A POLICE officer has narrowly avoided jail after throwing a mother out of her home.
Sergeant Christopher Hine unlawfully evicted the woman, who was renting a bungalow from him.

A court heard off-duty Hine, 50, his partner and two other men turned up to remove Catherine Baxter from the property. She was dragged out in tears, as shocked neighbours looked on.

Hine – Humberside Police's wildlife crime officer – has been given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, ordered to carry out 200 hours of work in the community and pay £1,400 costs.

My comment: A Police Sergeant who doesn't obey the law. Surely that is a sacking offence even if he escaped a jail term.

Read the full story from the source This is Hull and East Riding

Read all articles about the Police on this blog

Gedling Borough Council hounded mentally-ill pensioner over unpaid tax-bill

A MENTALLY-ill pensioner was hounded by a “blinkered and aggressive” council that ran up a bill totalling £200,000 by chasing a debt of just £1,900.

The council spent £50,000 in legal costs alone. But now a judge has ruled Gedling wrongly ignored the fact that Mr Evans was vulnerable. As a result, the legal action has been quashed.

Now the council must also foot the bill of £70,000 in trustee fees, plus Mr Evans’s legal bill of £80,000 — a total of £200,000, which is more than 100 times the original debt.

The bill relating to the failed prosecution of Mr Evans’s case will not be paid by local taxpayers. The council says it has an insurance policy to cover such expenses.

My Comment: Wow, I didn't know you could insure yourself against stupidity.

Read the full story from the source Dispatch

Read my earlier post on the subject

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Watchdogs: A system that is rotten to the core

The seriousness of this scandal cannot be overstated, for what we are witnessing is the systematic betrayal, not only of successive generations of children, but also of universities and employers who can now have little faith in the credibility of their qualifications.

From exam boards to the watchdogs who are meant to guard standards, the modern taxpayer-funded education system has been exposed as rotten to the core.

This crisis over exams has come about entirely because of politics and people in the sector acting for commercial gain. During Labour’s 13 years of rule, there was insidious collusion between the exam boards and government to mislead the public into thinking that standards were on the rise.

My comment: Over the last few years all Public Service Watchdogs, Ombudsmen and Commissions have manipulated the truth rather than improve standards within the bodies they are supposed to be watching. 

It is now practically impossible to identify a Public Sector Watchdog, Ombudsman or Commission that is now fit for purpose. All they do is mislead the public with manipulated reports to help the Government and the bodies they are supposed to be watching bury the truth . 

Essentially Public Sector Watchdog, Ombudsman or Commission have now become part of the problem not part of the solution.

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 and all articles about the Local Government Ombudsman on my dedicated blog

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Another not fit for purpose (now ex) councillor

Nathan Bale, 31, the former constituency office manager of North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson, was given a two-year community order by magistrates in Bodmin who heard that he became "fixated" with child pornography after initially accessing the sordid material out of "morbid curiosity".

The former Lib Dem member of Cornwall Council, resigned for "health reasons" after his arrest in June.

Until his resignation Bale held the Bude North and Stratton seat on Cornwall Council for the Liberal Democrats. He took the seat in the June 2009 election, winning 72 per cent of the vote - the largest majority on the council.

My comment: The list of not fit for purpose Councillors and MPs just gets longer and longer.

Read the full story from the source The Independent

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Darlington Borough Council officer jailed for £100,000 construction scam

The former head of a local authority asbestos department has been jailed for his part in a £100,000 building scam.

Michael Skirving was part of a racket in which two other men, Martin Dougherty and James Burns, submitted bogus invoices to the council for work that was not carried out.

They were all handed prison sentences, along with Graeme Storey who told lies to police during the investigation.

The four men from Hartlepool were jailed at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.
Dougherty’s business MBN Roofing and Builders was paid £75,000 after submitting 15 fake invoices for work on jobs in Hartlepool, Billingham and Middlesbrough.

Skirving emailed Dougherty with instructions of what to put on the paperwork.
Burns submitted invoices through his James Print and Design firm totalling £33,000 for the supply of a cherrypicker in connection with work in Owton Manor, Hartlepool.

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said: “This case illustrates that dishonesty and fraud will not be tolerated by the council.

My comment:  But it was tolerated by the council long enough for them to defraud over £100,000.  It took 15 FAKE invoices before the council woke up. What if they hadn't been greedy and stopped earlier, would it have still been detected? Surely 1 fake invoice should be detected within days if they had their eye on the ball.

 Read the full story from the source The Construction Index