Wednesday, 25 April 2012

#QuackCWaC Council Rich list 2012

Total remuneration 2010/11 Percentage shows increase on 2009/10 remuneration

 1) Mr S Robinson Chief Executive £235,000 7.80%
 2) Deputy Director Children's and Young People Services  £152,585 0.10%
 3) Director of Community & Environmental Services £136,162
 4) Director of Regeneration and Culture £136,568 1.54%
 5) Director of Resources  £151,363 0.07%
 6) Head of Achievement & Wellbeing £101,772 12.05%
 7) Head of Legal & Democratic Services £101,798 6.60%
 8) Head of Facilities and Assets Management  £104,451 0.00%
 9) Head of Finance £102,301 21.97%
10) Head of ICT & Customer Services £102,296 2.79%
11) Head of Social Care Provision £101,496
12) Head of Planning and Transport £107,528 11.39%
13) Head of Policy, Performance, Partnerships £105,094 22.17%
14) Head of Strategy & Commissioning £100,696
15) Head of Procurement £107,584 2.67%
16) Head of Regulatory Services £103,841 1.83%
17) Head of Safeguarding £106,843 25.17%
18) Head of Strategic Housing and Spatial Planning £101,803 0.15%
19) Head of Waste Management and Street Scene £102,133 -0.10%
20) Director of Area and Community £108,670
21) Director of Environmental Services  £134,253
22) Head of Individual Commissioning and Prevention £117,896

Cost of the 22 posts 2010/11 is approx £2,622,123

23) Shared Director of Adult Social Care and Health £72,089 -52.67% 

Compare the list above with the 2009/10 rich list list here.

Cost of the 13 posts 2009/10 is approx  £1,684,426 

My comment: There was a significant increase in numbers during 2010/11 over 2009/10 plus some rather significant increases in total remuneration for some. Well above inflation and something the staff who have had their pay and conditions recently cut should be incensed about.

There were 13 known job titles with a remuneration above £100,000 during 2009/10. During 2010/11 this has risen to 22. It would have been 23 but one of the jobs is now shared with another council. More than a 50% increase in £100K fat cats in QuackCWaC Council from 2009/10 to 2010/11. 

Check out the Tax Payer's Alliance figures for the council here

Friday, 20 April 2012

CWaC Council leader's declaration of interests in the student village

Freedom of information response from Cheshire West and Chester Council (20th April 2012)

"Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I am able to provide you with the following response.

Members who declare prejudicial interests are not involved in the decision making process.  I can confirm that Councillor Mike Jones’ other two interests are a business relationship with Bell Developments and his long term friendship with the family. 

For your ease of reference, the minutes of the Council and Executive meetings where Councillor Jones has declared his interests can be found via the following link: "

My comment: This link above appears dead but you can check all Mike Jones' declarations of interest for the last few years here

In terms of the minutes available so far, Mike Jones only appears to have ever formally declared one interest in relation to the student village since the council was formed. Minutes are intended to be a true and accurate record.
Please let me know if you can find any other declaration of interests which has been formally declared and minuted and I will add them to this blog post. 

I have tried but as usual #QuackCWaC Council website is still not up to scratch

I am reliably informed that Mike Jones has previously stated in writing that he has made declarations [of interests] at a number of meetings including Executive regarding his prejudicial interest on four accounts.

We now know what those four interests are

  1. His father lives within area with a lot of student accomodation.
  2. His daughter works for Bell Developments. 
  3. He has a long term friendship with the Bell family.
  4. He has a business relationship with Bell Developments.
We also know number 1 was declared on the 28th July 2011at a council meeting.

Can you help identify when and where the other three were formally declared and minuted?

UPDATE 1: I have received the first response to my question, however, this does not refer to a formal declaration if interest, just a response to a question in which he states he would automatically declare a prejudicial interest if and when the time came.

It relates to an answer given by Mike Jones in response to a question posed by a  Mr Andrew Thomas during public question time at an Executive meeting on the 9th March 2011.

"..I wish to make it absolutely clear to everyone, that should we receive such and application from Bell Developments, I would automatically declare a prejudicial interest – simply because I have known the principals of this company for many years and my daughter works for them.

Consequently, it follows that I would play no part in either determining the application, nor would I seek to exercise any influence over those involved in doing so."

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Motions to Council

Agenda Item 9) Notice of Motion - Web casting of meetings

“Openness and transparency should be at the heart of any authority. It is vital that democratically elected Councillors openly show complete transparency of the business conducted by this authority
on behalf of those who elect us.

Probably the most innovative project this and other Councils have brought forward in recent years is that of the live webcasts of full Council and committees. This superb innovation gives our electorate
the chance to see our Council at work and to observe how we come to our decisions on their behalf. This is particularly important when meetings are held in places where some residents of the Borough
cannot attend in person due to the distance and poor public transport links.

It is however vital that this medium is used in an open and transparent way and that webcasts should be viewed unhindered as any interference could bring the whole Council into disrepute.

This Council resolves that no live webcast can be ended or subsequently edited without being proposed by a member and seconded by a member at full Council or and then put to a two thirds majority vote.  This is the only democratic way to assure the residents of Cheshire West and Chester that the webcasts are open and transparent and not subject to the influence of any political party.”

Agenda item 10) Notice of Motion - Appointment of Council Leader

"This Council notes the decision taken by Council on 19th May 2011 to appoint the Leader for a four year term of office.

This Council also notes that as a result of Cllr Jones’ position as Leader of this Council his business activities have generated press coverage which has included a number of letters, front page articles in local newspapers as well as coverage in national media such as Private Eye.

This Council believes the appointment of the Leader should be decided annually as a matter of good practice to enable members to appraise the performance of the Leader and to assess the value added to the work of the Council by the post holder. In this way, Council can protect itself from the risk of reputational damage, and establish year by year that the best person holds this essential and highly visible post.

This Council also accepts that to address the many concerns expressed and to restore public confidence it is essential to hold an open and independent enquiry into the allegations made against the current Leader of the Council. It further believes  the Leader of the Council should vacate his position while this enquiry takes place."

My comment: These motions are intended for the forthcoming council meeting to be held at 6.30pm on the 26th April 2012 at Wyvern House, Winsford. 

Agenda item number 9 is a motion about the council stopping or later editing their webcast when anything they don't like crops up. It would appear They can't handle the truth and if they can't stop a speaker they will either stop their webcast or edit them later. Example from one council executive meeting here and at a later meeting those at meeting say about 20 seconds were cut including the statement "I wouldn't trust you to run a bath let alone a council." 

Agenda item 10 is a motion about the council leaders business and the council's payments to that business. More information here, here and here. Up to now the council have suggested this is a personal matter but that just doesn't ring true. If it was why did their CEO write to Private Eye about their article regarding the leader? 

Furthermore, the council has paid the leader's company under at least three different supplier codes in a number of different ways. When questioned about this at the last meeting both the CEO and leader of the council refused to answer a valid question about the issue.  

FOI to #QuackCWaC Council: Not 1, not 2 but 3 ASC Developments paid

Freedom of information request to #QuackCwaC Council

Under the FOI, with respect to the following supplier(s) please confirm that payment for all contracts during the lifetime of CWAC was to one company and one company only by reference to the firm's registration number with Companies House or some other means of unambiguous identification.

For example, by confirming payment was made into the same account with the same account number on each occasion, if that is the case. Stating that each company has the same business address or proprietor would not be sufficient.

The company or companies are: ASC Developments Chester Ltd (supplier ID 80135), ASC Developments (supplier ID 127426) and A S C Developments (supplier ID 482).

Freedom of information response from #QuackCwaC Council 

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I am able to provide you with the following response.

ASC Developments Chester Ltd (Supplier ID 80135) – 30 invoices paid to this supplier.

o   29 invoices were paid by BACS to 1 account number ending 6061.

o   1 invoice was paid by cheque. The Cheque was requested by Graham Seddon of Private Sector Housing via a TM11CR (cheque request form). The cheque was sent to: West Cheshire Healthy Homes, 21A Meridian House, 37 Road One, Winsford Industrial Estate, Winsford. CW7 3GQ.

ASC Developments (supplier ID 127426) – 7 invoices paid to this supplier.

o   4 invoices sent via cheque to the supplier i.e. ASC Developments, Unit 4/5 Facit Glen Industrial Estate, River Lane, Saltney, Flintshire. CH4 8RH. These invoices were all sent to the Purchasing and Exchequer section via TM11CR (cheque request) forms, which were raised by Jean Dunn, Private Sector Housing.

o   3 invoices were paid by cheque and sent to Graham Seddon, Private Sector Housing, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port. CH65 0BE. These invoices were sent to the Purchasing and Exchequer section via TM11CR (cheque request) form by Graham Seddon, Private Sector Housing.

A S C Developments (Supplier ID 482) –  4 invoices paid to this supplier.

o   All invoices paid by BACS to 1 account number ending 6061.

We only have a Tax registration number (VAT number) for one of these suppliers (482) which is 896 1189 77. However, the invoices that we can see on the system i.e. the ones that have not been requested via a TM11CR form, state the same VAT number on their invoices.

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can request a review by writing to:

My comment: I wonder if there are any more ASC Developments yet to be identified? With the FOI request only asking for information regarding the three above there was no obligation on #QuackCWaC to say if there are any more.

Friday, 13 April 2012

#QuackCWaC Council's £184 million pensions black hole

Earlier this year the Taxpayer's Alliance revealed that employer contributions to local government pensions, paid for by taxpayers, are equivalent to £1 for every £5 raised in Council Tax.

Despite that huge amount being paid into council pension funds, their new research out today shows that CWaC Council are still in deficit by a massive £184,912,000 equivalent to £565 for every single resident.

While the value of the funds' assets may rise, they are "severely underfunded" according to the OECD, facing a lasting black hole in their finances for which ultimately taxpayers are on the hook for.

My comment: A little remiss of #QuackCWaC Council not to mention this when they were telling residents how well they have done over the last three years. 

Read the full story from source Taxpayer's Alliance PDF download.