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!


Tori Blare said...

Wonderful, Well done Tony, patience paid off.

Anonymous said...

Once again the craven Echo have failed to run with this story. This is a mega bucks extortion racket aided and abetted with insider corruption at the highest level. The 'Echo' Arena and the 'BT' conference centre logo deals are other scandals that needs to be investigated. Come on you opposition coucillors get the Fraud Squad involved you owe it to the voters!

fagan said...

You've got to pick a pocket or two!

The Tonys said...

No, but if that's true we expect that story might find its way even into the craven Echo.

Anonymous said...

The Craven Echo's parent company suffering from reduced profits due to all the people in Liverpool giving up on it!

Anonymous said...

The Daily Telegraph are running a campaign to highlight wasted and mis spent public money.

An issue raised so far is a Councillor who was awarded a place on a free USA leadership course but spent £7,000 on flights and expenses instead.

Another where a Council ended up paying thousands in costs on defending 2 planning appeals which they knew and were told they hadnt a hope with before but continued to fight "on a point of principle"

If any readers know of any other instances of needless waste that they think others should know about then they should email the details to

Anonymous said...

the whole LDL thing is massively wasteful. I've known of a number of staff on council teams furious because they were no longer allowed to buy simple IT equipment through well know supplliers and instead had to buy through LDL meaning in one case a flat bed scanner which should have cost £150 cost £300.

oh and lets not forget COC £100k per year bill.

Anonymous said...

Why are Capital of Culture paying LDL 100 grand a year? What for?

Elliot Ness said...

Don't forget that by being made to go through LDL to sell tickets what should have been profits from events turned into break even at best or losses once the LDL mark-up for answering the phon and admin went on...on top of the 100k!

The computers they force LCC to buy and all the I equpmentis the most basic no frills "My Mums" cra nowhere near worth the cost, probably worth 40% of the charge and th service charge for each pc is at least twice the value of the equipment at about 2k per year. It's compulsory. In other words no better than an Al Capone protection racket.

We should be told said...

I am interested by the tale anonymouse states regarding "a Councillor who was awarded a place on a free USA leadership course but spent £7,000 on flights and expenses instead"

Would this be the same course a certain ex-culture company orange chap, known for the large payoff he trousered, went to Harvard for and openly boasts about on the website promoting his new company?

JP said...

What goes around comes around!

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

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