Saturday, June 28, 2008

The rottweiller and LDL - theft on a grand scale......

HENSHAW'S rottweiller Dr David McElhinney has been accused of ripping off the people of Liverpool - by a local government watchdog.

McElhinney's Liverpool Direct Limited is now revealed as charging the city council an extra £15million a year - but no-one knows what for!

"It is not clear what these charges are for," says the local government improvement agency, the IDeA in stark and unequivocal terms.

The report reveals that McElhinney's LDL partner, British Telecom has pocketed a staggering £57million in management fees from LDL in the last two years alone.

While McElhinney's LDL empire has alone trousered an astonishing £123million from the city council for 'operating costs' in the same two years.

(Not all of this has been spent on a private shower for McElhinney, of course, eds)

“The basis of billing is opaque and management information does not include any cost information. The lack of transparency on billing and the value for money in the core contract have raised doubts about the value for money overall, ” says the IDeA, with breathtaking understatement.

It adds: "The spirit of the partnership is not working to the advantage of Liverpool City Council”.

You can say that again.

Full marks to the Liverpool Daily Post for lifting the lid on the LDL scandal by publishing details of the leaked IDeA report.

The IDeA have been brought in to run the rule over the worst council in the country - and come up with solutions for improvement.

They have now demanded an urgent review of the LDL operation.

McElhinney's transfer from the city council to become chief executive of LDL - secretly mastermined by Henshaw before he was forced to quit - is also questioned by the IDeA.

“The arrangement for seconding a Liverpool director to run this contract further blurs lines and loyalties - and should be addressed.”

The rottweiller's reaction to this devastating indictment of his personal empire was typical - he lied.

He immediately tried to publicly deny that the IDeA had called for an urgent review of the LDL contract with the city council.

Then he tried to bully council staff into issuing a statement refuting the independent and impartial findings of the IDeA.

This time, however, the rottweiller could find no allies who were prepared to cover-up and justify the systemic corruption at the heart of LDL.

What is utterly remarkable about this grand scale rip-off and larceny, of course, is that it comes 18 months after Colin 'Cover Up' Hilton promised to sort out the LDL joint venture with BT, after admitting that it had cost the city council millions of pounds.

A secret report by KPMG - which Hilton steadfastly refused to make public - had made 37 separate recommendations to tighten up the deal with LDL.

Hilton, who is being paid £250,000 a year as chief executive of the worst council in the country(plus Performance Related Pay at 15 per cent every year), promised to implement all the recommendations in full by March of this year.

Hilton, who is on the LDL board, has clearly failed to do so - at least according to the IDeA report.

The other Lib Dim member of the board, Councillor Peter Millea, also appears to have been completely incapable of getting a grip on things in the interests of council taxpayers.

Any suggestion that McElhinney, a Liverpool FC season ticket holder, has exerted any improper influence on Millea, also a Liverpool FC season ticket holder, is completely without foundation.

It would be unthinkable that McElhinney could have 'bought off' Millea with any favours or inducements.

But the explanation for Millea's apparent silence is still a complete and baffling mystery. What has he been doing to safeguard the interests of the people of Liverpool?

Meanwhile it is worth reminding ourselves of Henshaw's role in this daylight robbery of council taxpayers's money.

You will remember that he was the architect of the LDL joint venture with BT and that he brought McElhinney with him from Knowsley to force it through in Liverpool.

This is what Henshaw, now in charge of the North West's National Health Service, had to say about LDL and the joint venture with BT:

"Liverpool was in a fairly desperate state of circumstances in ’99. We had the third from worst record in terms of quality of service and delivery, and we charged the highest council tax in the country.
And here we had to really look at the future and transform ourselves radically into a whole new wayof delivering public service.
A number of local authorities are making use of BT’s ability
in business transformation. What we are using, are technology platforms as a core part of that transformation agenda. And so with BT you are getting that expertise and depth on telecoms’ game, but also a huge growing support in terms of what you need to do in business transformation. For me they have been a massive addition to our
weaponry here in the recovery of Liverpool and the transformation of the city council. I think it’s a pretty compelling offer.
HR was in a muddle like the rest of the business, and what we needed
to do was do that full scale transformation, moving it from a very high cost intensive transactional business with HR people around the organisation in separate pockets, into a basically web enabled system self serve intranet based operation, and BT were hugely supportive of using the platforms that we were building with them, as well as offering expertise and help in just moving the business away from the old model tothe new construct. They’ve gone through a lot this themselves they are still in journey and transformation so we did a lot of listening to them about the problems they’d faced.
BT have been a very powerful partner with us, the technecological platforms they’ve got, the skills, the depth and all that is I think is well spoken about and well researched and well evidenced. But what’s been most important with this joint venture we have with BT has been the collaborative nature of that relationship. We each work to our strengths, we bring strengths to that relationship.
And it’s very much founded on the outcomes rather than process of the engagement.
We’re basically doing over a million transactions a month both in revenue, benefits and other associated areas. This is one of the essential bits you’re judged by as a local authority. If you aren’t getting this right, you aren’t doing the basics right. So this has been an absolutely central part of the recovery agenda, and it was a mess. Now that was actually quite challenging, major risk management challenges there about stopping the systems for well over 6 weeks we thought at one stage and actually keeping services levels at least going whilst we fixed everything and built the new platforms.
BT have bought a huge expertise in technology, a huge understanding of big mass transactions systems, but equally we’ve bought something to the party and I think it was a very good illustration of both a contractor BT and a client working together seamlessly.
Here we were sitting down facing what was quite an attractable
problem in terms of quality of business and cost space.
But by working together and bringing expertise from both sides of the equation, we’ve found a solution which was tailored to Liverpool and which we were now rolling out elsewhere. BT is very supportive here, we had a very very carefully planned project, very very carefully evaluated, very good risk management analysis on it and we did a very good job of this. We turned around far quicker than we thought, anticipations
were at the high end of our expectations in terms of the timescale, most
importantly the business didn’t collapse. We actually kept on, not at the higher levels, but the business carried on and confidence wasn’t shaken amongst our customers. And within a matter of weeks, we were back up again and recovering to really high performing top quartile type performance was being achieved.
We’ve moved the performance of the authority up dramatically from a
very poor rating to a good rating, knocking on the door of excellent. And we’ve also massively reduced the cost space of the business taking £120 million out over five years. Head counts down from 23,500 to 19,000, but overall this is now a high performing quality business that’s delivering the quality of service to our customers that wasn’t the case in the
past." Sir David Henshaw

What utter, self-serving bollocks this little man talks.

Other interesting stuff here: More bollocks from Henshaw about LDL

LDL "save millions for Liverpool" - you couldn't make this stuff up. But they do!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The secret phone monitoring conspiracy....(Part 2)

Colin Cover Up's illegal monitoring of Joe Anderson's mobile records doesn't stop there.

Other people's phone records have also been monitored, we can reveal.
And other forms of secret surveillance may also have been carried out by the council as part of a number of internal investigations.

The questions Cover Up must now answer are:
  • how many other phone records were monitored?

  • do they belong to councillors, employees, ex-employees - or all three?

  • who are they?

  • have they been informed that their mobile phone records have been monitored?

  • who authorised this?

  • what other monitoring of individuals has the council carried out?

  • what action is now being taken against those who carried out these illegal actions?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cover Up monitors Anderson's mobile - and breaks the law for a second time....

Colin Cover Up has broken the law for the second time - by monitoring Labour leader Joe Anderson's private phone calls and publishing their details.

Mr Hilton, CBE, the city council's £250,000-a-year chief executive (plus Performance Related Pay at 15 per cent, eds) has fallen foul of Labour Leader Joe Anderson just days after it emerged that he was routinely breaking the council's own rules.

Now it transpires that he has routinely broken the law of the land too.

Astonishingly, Cover Up has broken the Data Protection Act by authorising the monitoring of Anderson's phone calls as part of an internal inquiry into the leaking of details about the Paul McCartney 'Liverpool Sound' concert at Anfield.

Anderson was amazed to find that investigators had covertly monitored the calls he had made on his council mobile phone (which he pays for) without seeking either his permission or authority, as part of their report.

The city council has now admitted it has broken the law - and Acting City Solicitor Ken Unworthy has been forced to issue a grovelling apology to Anderson for breaching Human Rights legislation, as well as the Data Protection Act.

Anderson meanwhile has already complained to the Information Commissioner who, readers may recall, found the council guilty of breaking the law over publishing details of mobile phone records exactly a year ago.

Legendary Liverpool Solicitor Rex Makin is also now chipping into the fray on behalf of Anderson, scenting blood.

Well, the slow-to-learn-its-lesson city council under Cover Up and 'new broom' Bradley has now done exactly the same thing again!

Regular readers will recall that back in April, Sir Paul Macca gave the incompetents at the Culture Company an ultimatum to hand over the organisation of his gig to his events company.

The Daily Post and Radio Murkeyside followed up the Liverpool SubCulture report. The Furious Fireman then angrily denounced the leak on Roger Phillips, fearing that making public his cock-up's would cost him more votes in the May local elections.

Anyroadup, the Furious Fireman then forced Cowardly Colin Cover Up to authorise an internal investigation into who had leaked all the confidential details.
(Hey, the blog could potentially earn a distinction in this year's Academy Alliteration Awards! eds)

Councillor Anderson, who has of course, a fine, noble and upstanding record of ensuring the Liverpool public know exactly what the Lib Dims have been up to, was interviewed by the council's po-faced internal audit team during their leak inquiry.

And their official leak report has now been officially leaked, unofficially.

(You really couldn't make this stuff up, could you? How funny is that? eds)

The leak report is unable to come to any definite conclusions at all about who leaked the details of the Macca ultimatum (of course not, eds)

But, with an amazing burst of political insight, it points a trembling finger at Councillor Anderson on the basis that Labour might just have had something to gain from embarrassing and exposing the Lib Dims in the run-up to the May local elections.

(Blimey. Shades of Inspector Clueless here. Impressive investigatory skills and fantastic powers of deduction being demonstrated. Might have had something to gain eh? - do you really think so? eds)

However, the council report reveals that it secretly monitored Anderson's mobile phone calls and publishes how he phoned certain numbers.
And that's not the slightest bit funny.
Indeed it infringes the Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act.
We think the Information Commissioner may well take a very dim view of the city council's repeated law-breaking.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Doing anything remotely interesting the week beginning July 14th??????

SADLY, Pete Price is going on his jollies in July, so we won't be treated to his truly amazing radio show on City Talk-but-no-one-listens.

However, all is not lost.
As Pete informs us on his rather excellent blog, his place as "dj" is going to be taken by The Harbarrowboy, fresh from the hacienda.
This could be fun....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just when you thought it had all gone quiet....another leaked report on Colin Cover Up

Chief executive Colin Cover Up has repeatedly broken the city council's own rules to appoint squads of headhunters - at a staggering cost to council taxpayers of more than £500,000.

That's the damning conclusion of an internal audit report into the appointment of Executive recruitment agencies, which has been leaked from a meeting of Cover Up's own Executive Management Team.

And it also warns that the city council may have acted illegally in their appointment procedure for a new City Solicitor, because it broke the council's own rules.

(Illegally appointing the top legal eagle, eh? You couldn't make this stuff up! eds)

The report accuses Cover Up, aka the £250,000-a-year Mr Hilton, CBE, and his team of highly paid Executive Directors, of breaking the council's own rules in engaging agencies to fill top positions.

It tells how the city council has engaged two recruitment agencies Veredus and Gatenby Sanderson since April 2006 at a mind-boggling cost of £445,000.

Veredus were originally taken on to handle the appointment of two senior positions in the Regeneration portfolio.

The leaked report says:
"But it appears that another portfolio has used their services without following the quotation procedures. In 2006/7 a total of £208K was paid to Veredus with £39K being paid to them in 2007/8."

(What? The worst council in the country forked out a quarter of a million quid to headhunters to fill just three posts? Are they certifiably insane? eds)
The leaked report says that Gatenby Sanderson were also taken on to recruit four 'executive positions', but:

"they have been used to fill at least one additional position for which quotation procedures were not followed. Having spent £53K on Gatenby Sanderson in 2006/7, a futher £145K was spent in 2007/8."

(This is mind-blowing. Are they totally out of control and above their own law? eds)

Hilton again failed to obey proper procedures when he appointed yet another recruitment agency, Rockpools to handle the appointment of a new City Solicitor (in a failed attempt to replace Ken Unworthy - but that's another story, eds)

The cost of that has yet to emerge but easily takes the total bill past half a million smackeroos....

The picture painted by the report is of Cover Up lolloping around the Municipal Buildings doling out public money here there and everywhere, without so much as a by-your-leave.

And breaking every council rule in the book into the bargain.

Presumably the Fireman was on a freebie in Las Vegas at the time, or making a speech about how things have got so much better in the last ten years?

The council's Standing Orders say that for expenditure below £100,000, three separate quotes need to be obtained.

Hilton routinely ignored this and gave away contracts to recruitment agencies without following established rules and procedures.

We wonder how many other contracts he has given away and to whom?

The internal report says that the 'three quotes' rule must be obeyed except in emergencies, or where competitive prices cannot be obtained.

It adds:

"In such circumstances it is the Head of Corporate Procurement who decides whether the procurement can be made, not the the Chief Officer (Cover Up)."

In other words, Cover Up old fruit, you exceeded your authority well and truly - do not overstep the mark again. Shades of the evil Sir Diddy, aka Sir David Henshaw.

(Editor's Note: What should happen now, of course, is that Hilton should summon himself to his own office in the Municipal Buildings and read himself a letter, from himself, suspending himself from duty, pending an investigation into these 'procurement irregularities.'

Then, in the time honoured tradition, he should strip himself of his mobile phone, blackberry and council pass; force himself to empty all the council paper clips from the pocket of his smoking jacket and then escort himself off the premises past his open-mouthed colleagues.

He should only pause on the way out, as he passes the rottweiller McElhinney's Jaguar, to quietly advise himself "not to let this drag out, in your own interests."

Then he should ban himself from talking to any of his colleagues, speaking to the media, or visiting any council premises.

He should send himself threatening letters hand-delivered by taxi-courier to his own home late at night, summon himself for medical examinations on a whim and carry out an extraordinary campaign of harassment and attempted intimidation against himself.

If Cover Up thought any of these corporate bully-boy tactics were part of an incredible abuse of power and morally indefensible, he could always start his own blog, or something, to expose those responsible - ie, himself.

But of course, none of that could possibly happen in Liverpool. It would be utterly unthinkable.

Although it would make a suitably surreal plot for our colleague, Prof Chucklebutty.)

Meanwhile, the internal leaked report concludes:

"EMT are reminded that the Contract Standing Orders apply to all officers and must not be circumvented under any circumstances."

Interesting choice of word.

The Executive Management Team are then advised to "consider their position" (some cheeky auditor's invitation for them to resign, eds) "in relation to the City Solicitor Post given that the Contract Standing Orders have not been followed in procuring the services of Rockpools."

What all this means is that Cover Up has been astonishingly reckless with public money, wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of council taxpayers dosh and flagrantly breaking all council rules into the bargain.

And he will brazen the whole thing out with no action being taken against him by the weak and cowardly Lib Dims. Perhaps Cover Up will, however, order a leak inquiry? He has it all to do now.

So an everyday story for the city council, then.

Memo to the city council leak machine: Thanks very much for leaking this report - it confirms our worst suspicions - and we know there is more still to come. If you would care to provide further detail about the other sensational matters mentioned in previous missives, we will be happy to reproduce them here in full for our adoring public. However, can we make a special request? The latest leak passed to us was on a single A4 sheet of paper - that's the ideal length, because we are extremely busy with other matters at the moment and we can't be arsed ploughing through the usual council report gobbledegook of 97 pages of tedium. Keep the next few leaks similarly short and snappy and to the point. You can email further leaks to, or, or Any of those will get to the right people one way or another. Ta very much.

How the council use Ripa to spy on you....

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