Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Old credit card habits die hard

In 2009 Cheshire County Council and a number of Borough Council were replaced by two new Unitary Councils,  Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire East Council. Many of the Councillors and staff are now with the new Councils. The information and photo above are located on Cheshire County Council's Facebook page.

I have been informed that Tom was the old Director of the Environment at Cheshire County Council – before Steve Kent took over the post for CWAC

Saturday, 28 May 2011

CWaC Council Fly-Tipping 'On The Rise' As Charges Soar

Cash-strapped councils are hiking up prices for bulky waste disposal - with fears it has sparked a rise in fly-tipping.

A survey of 148 council boroughs across the UK reveals the price of skip permits has risen by as much as 650% over the past five years.

Over the past couple of years fly-tipping has fallen in some boroughs but it is predicted to soar again as the increased costs of waste disposal and cost-cutting initiatives have an impact.

Experts suggest there is a direct link between fly-tipping and the cost of waste disposal.

A survey conducted by AnyJunk found skip prices in Bradford rose by 100% between 2009-2010, in Glasgow by 89% and in Bristol and Bath by 67%.

Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "I don't think increased prices should give anyone a reason to fly-tip. 

My comment: Can you imagine a private company saying that increasing their prices should not be an excuse for customers try an alternative. 

What does one reporter say to another? If you are looking for someone to make a stupid comment about an issue ring CWaC council :)

Read the full story from the source SKY NEWS

A comment by Sky reader 'apache2009' sums up the issue.

"The comment by David Lennon of Cheshire West and Chester Council, !I don't think increased prices should give anyone a reason to fly tip" says it all really.

Councils seem to believe they can increase charges by 100%, or more, and people will simply say, OK we don't mind.

GET REAL! Most people have a finite amount of money to spend and are likely to have far more important things to spend their money on (such as feeding their children, and keeping a roof over their heads) than on tipping charges.

I forcast fly-tipping will increase exponentially unless there is a reversal of these ridiculous charges.

How much does it cost to clear up after fly tippers? I suspect a lot more than would have been raised if the rubbish had been disposed of "legally", so the system is inherently flawed and self-defeating."

CWaC Council spending on Credit Cards

Councils have spent tens of millions of pounds on taxpayer-funded credit cards with local authority executives and councillors treating themselves to first-class travel to foreign destinations and stays in five-star hotels, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

An investigation by The Daily Telegraph has uncovered details of apparently questionable spending decisions by councillors and local government officials, with more than £2 million spent on travel over the last three years, including flights to Thailand, Kenya and Bermuda.

A total of another £500,000 was spent on gifts such as Tiffany jewellery, Gucci products and pure silk ties, while online shopping sprees racked up bills of more than £300,000 at Argos and £150,000 at Amazon.

Hospitality bills totalling £2.6m were paid on the cards, including dinners at Claridges, one of Britain’s most expensive hotels, hog roasts and champagne receptions, as well as tens of thousands of pounds spent booking tables at award ceremonies.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, charged with overseeing local authorities and cutting waste described the spending as “wild”.

Details of Cheshire West and Chester's spending over £500 on credit cards.

My comment: Which includes £2878.50 for Hotel Accommodation at the Old Swan Hotel on the 25th June 2009. Paid for on the Chief Executive's & Leader's Office card. Which begs the question how many were accommodated, for how long and for what reason

Investigation so far suggests that it may have been an advance payment for the LGA Harrogate Conference 30th June 2009 to 2nd July 2009, the Swan Hotel was one option on the LGA booking form. Although there was a Queen concert on the 25th June 2009 :) 

The LGA offered accommodation for less than £40 a night, the Swan Hotel was the most expensive at £145 per night. Another possible question should the LGA conference turn out to be the reason for the spend.

Details of all Councils spending over £500 on credit cards.

Read the full story from the source Telegraph

UPDATE 31st May 2011: On the same day I received an acknowledgement for my FOI request CWaC Council visited my blog twice before lunch for a total of 48.5 minutes. :) I wonder why they are still using the old Cheshire County Council branding. PS I have captured quite a lot of these visits over the years, I must add up the total time one day.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Please investigate loss of postal votes

ALONG with other readers of the Guardian, I did not receive my postal vote documents, so I called in at my local polling station only to be told that nothing could be done, and I could not cast my vote.

Having read the article, Guardian, May 11, it started me wondering just how many people had been affected, and what has happened to the missing post?

 The Royal Mail is legally bound to deliver letters to their destination even if they are late.  So how come my documents have not as yet landed on my doormat?

My comment: I doubt CWaC Council will investigate because they prefer to bury any problems rather than expose them to public scrutiny.

Read the full story from the source  Northwich Guardian

Defamation claim against Sheriff of Chester

THE Sheriff of Chester has been reported by his own council to the Standards for England local government watchdog.

Labour’s Cllr Reggie Jones wrote a letter to the Press and brought a motion before Cheshire West and Chester Council criticising the Tory-led authority following a district auditor’s report which examined the handling of the sale of County Hall and purchase of HQ.

My comment: Not only do Cheshire West and Chester gag ex employees now they are trying to gag elected representatives. The reason why Eric Pickle decided to scrap the Standards for England local government watchdog was because councils were using it in attempt to silence any criticism rather than for legitimate reasons. Read more about an earlier political spat about the sale of County Hall and the purchase of HQ. Stoke on Trent are another insecure council trying to gag elected representative.

Read the full story from the source Chester Chronicle

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

CWaC Council, full of crap as usual

Cheshire West and Chester Council promotes benefits of ‘real’ nappies.

This week, May 16-22, is Real Nappy Week, and in light of this, to give parents the opportunity to get on board with the scheme, Cheshire West and Chester Council is offering them one month free nappy laundry service worth £45 and a maximum of £25 cashback on reusable nappy purchases.

My comment: As Usual CWaC Council is behind the times.  "Town halls have spent £3million in the past five years trying to persuade parents to use washable nappies.

The taxpayers’ money was poured into ‘real nappy’ campaigns even though the notion that re-usable nappies are better for the environment was discredited years ago. Councils have continued to sink funds into nappy campaigns despite overwhelming evidence that they are pointless.

Cash has gone on employing ‘real nappy’ officers, press and broadcast advertising campaigns, and subsidising vans to pick up dirty nappies and deliver freshly washed ones back to mothers.

 Among the councils subsidising nappies, Southend in Essex, Pembrokeshire , Gloucestershire, Norfolk and Lancashire. One council, Stroud, ran a nappy campaign for 18 months up to April 2009, offering mothers £30 worth of washable nappies free of charge. Only one mother took up the offer."
Read more from the source Mail on Line

Read the full story from the source  Ellesmere Port Pioneer

Monday, 9 May 2011

CWaC Council watching me watching them, ha, ha

CWaC & Stoke-on-Trent: Councils with more than gagging orders in common

Stoke-on-Trent Councillors Asked To Sign ‘Gagging Order’. Newly elected councillors in Stoke-on-Trent are being asked to sign what is effectively a gagging order that prevents them ‘criticising’ the City Council.

Cheshire West and Chester Council now also use gagging orders/agreements. What is the common denominator? Answer - Steve Robinson (CEO) and many other senior staff used to work for Stoke-on-Trent

I wonder if Stoke on Trent cock up elections as well? Both CWaC and Stoke are guilty of wasting money to identify ways in which to save money.

Read the full story from the source Public Authority Watcher

UPDATE: On my earlier question, I wonder if Stoke on Trent cock up elections as well? The answer is YES

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Residents fury as postal votes fail to arrive

RESIDENTS were fuming when their postal votes did not arrive in time for them to have their say in the local council elections or referendum.

Duncan Penn, from Kingsmead, said: “Today is polling day, but for some off us voting by post we haven't received our postal vote forms because of a printing error.

A Northwich woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “Mine never arrived and I’m not the only one – there were six people in one street in Eddisbury and one woman who had hers but her husband didn’t have his, the council sent another but it was for her and not her husband.  “I’m absolutely disgusted."

My comment: Just how many times are CWaC Council going to make a hash of elections before they do something about it and sack the person responsible? This is not a one off mistake, it now appears to be the norm with CWaC! I was under the impression that the CEO was given extra pay to organise elections, it that is true then it's about time they replaced the CEO or at least demanded their money back.

Read the full story from the source Northwich Guardian

Tory majority slashed in West Cheshire and Chester Council

THE Tories were returned to power in West Cheshire – but with a substantially reduced majority.

In May 2008, elections for the new unitary Cheshire West and Chester Council saw the Conservatives storm to a massive majority of 38.

But with four Members deciding to stand as Independents and one for UKIP this time, a further eight losses – all to Labour – narrowed that margin to just nine.

Council Leader Mike Jones said: “It was inevitable there would be some reaction to the Government’s highly necessary, but painful, cuts, and we expected to lose some seats in marginal wards.

My comment: Mr Jones' excuse does not stand up to close scrutiny. No, No, No Mr Jones, the real reasons are that your council (and the previous one that your 'gang' controlled) was too keen to insult constituents, pay a councillor allowances even though they lived in New Zealand, charge homecoming parade soldiers for cups of tea, ignore the impact of a significant increase in student numbers , pay thirteen staff over £100,000 per year, spend £20Million on shiny new headquarters whilst ignoring the needs of Northwich, gag ex employees in an attempt to keep potential whistle-blowers quiet, gripe about the cost of FOI, sell off the family silver, fail to deliver on promises, cut grants but consider silly schemes, waste money identifying ways to save money, keep appointments from proper scrutiny, spin the truth, cause confusion, over charge the elderly for home help, bodge a class 3A road and if that wasn't enough you cocked up elections on not one, not two but on three separate occasions. You reap what you sow Mr Jones, you reap what you sow! 

Read the full story from the source Liverpool Echo

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Another CWaC council election cock up

Northwich Guardian article time and dated 3:35pm Thursday 5th May 2011.

Cheshire West and Chester Council advice for people who have not had their postal vote.

VOTERS are worried that they may not get chance to have their say in today's local elections because their postal voting packs have not arrived.

A spokesman for Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) confirmed that some residents had not received their packs and advised them to travel to the council's Chester HQ before 5pm.

My comment: At 3.35pm an article is published about voters needing to travel to Chester HQ before 5pm to pick up their voting packs. Yet another CWaC election cock up. Can't they do anything right?

Read the full story from the source  Northwich Guardian or more about their other election cock ups here and here.

An extract from a comment on the Northwich Guardian article hits the nail on the head. "We have postal votes for a reason we are both disabled, and my mother is unable to leave the house she is 92 and has early onset alzheimers, and I work full time - we CANNOT get to Chester. This council is a joke.."

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

CWaC councillor claims allowance whilst in New Zealand

The CWaC councillor received an annual allowance more than £17,000 ' even though she spends three months every year in New Zealand'. Tory Jan Mashlan, from Northwich, has come under fire at Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC).

She sent apologies for full council meetings held last December, and in February and March, according to the town hall's online attendance record. But she says she's been able to keep in touch with local people by email while she's 12,000 miles away on the other side of the world.

Council leader Mike Jones refused to accept her resignation, saying her absences are a 'non-issue'.

My comment: If the council leader thinks this is a none issue he is clearly not fit for purpose and should be voted out at the next election, which is tomorrow! If the council leader is not your councillor consider voting against your councillor if they were one of those who selected him as their leader. Remember this is the councillor who insults critics and the council which wanted to illegally charge for Freedom of Information requests, use dodgy compromise agreements to silence potential whistle-blowers, promised to do better organising elections then failed, wasted millions on shiny new headquarters, charged homecoming solders for tea and coffee, failed to manage the growth of student numbers, has 13 staff on over £100,000 per year...... and the list goes on.

Read the full story from the source Mail On-Line

In addition, note what Jan Mashlan says Mike Jones told her 'Cllr Jones said he would rather I stayed until the next election then it won't cause a by-election.' and then the reason given by Cllr Mike Jones 'I didn't want her to resign because I didn't want to lose her expertise

UPDATE 5th May 2011: Council switch to damage limitation mode with the help of their friends at LocalGov.