Wednesday, July 23, 2008

COVER-UP'S SECRET PHONE SURVEILLANCE (CONT) - LETTER FROM JOE ANDERSON TO LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCILLORS.....

From: Anderson, Joe (Councillors /Municipal Buildings)

Sent: 06 July 2008 17:08

To: /*The Liberal Democrat Group Councillors; /*The Labour Group Councillors; /*The Liberal Group Councillors; /*The Green Group Councillors

Cc: Kenworthy, Michael

Subject: Monitoring of phone calls

Importance: High

Dear Councillor

Re: Secret searching of Councillors phone records.

I feel I have no other option but to write to every Councillor of the City and set out what I consider to be a grave breach of the Council’s policy and procedures and probably actions which have broken the law. I believe this is an issue that affects us all and I am asking for your support.

Some weeks ago I, along with others, was asked to co-operate with an inquiry being run by the Council and I was also asked that, if required, would I agree to my Council e-mail traffic being looked at. Like all Councillors, my email traffic contains information and correspondence of a highly confidential nature, particurlarly involving casework issues and politically sensitive material. However after some consideration I agreed to this and was interviewed by Internal Audit.

I asked for a copy of the findings of the investigation and received a copy of the report in June. I was totally shocked and disgusted to see the Council had not only inspected my Council email facilities, but had also monitored my telephone calls (which included both Council and private) and reported on them within the report itself . The details included who I had phoned and how many times, the information also included the telephone numbers of who I had phoned. The Council commented on the number of times I had called a particular member of the press. I have of course demanded to know who gave the permission for this to take place and I have also demanded to know who else has had there phone records checked in the past.
Whoever gave the instruction for my private telephone records to be checked has, at least:

I. Exceeded the powers of their office
II. Acted outside of the Council’s own policy and procedures
III. Invaded my privacy as Leader of the main opposition (possibly others)
IV. Probably broken the Data Protection Act
V. Almost certainly breached the Officer/Member protocol
VI. In all probability infringed my civil liberties (and possibly others)
VII. Clearly abused their power as an Officer of the Council

I have sent as a number of FOI questions about whether others have in the past had there e-mails or phones secretly monitored. I have also sent of a complaint to the Information Commissioner and asked whether the law has been broken. The City Solicitor has also referred the Council to the Commissioner and apologised (some comfort to me and you).

There has been much public concern about Council's apparently misusing surveillance powers which do exist against members of the public. In this instance it seems that a Councillor has been targeted for an inproper intrusion into private records, by the Council. If the Council behaves like this against the Leader of the Opposition, goodness only knows how it would behave in relation to a backbench Councillor or a member of the public. We as Councillors rely upon our Officers to behave in a proper manner. If they do not, the bond of trust is destroyed and elected members are unable to carry out their duties properly - the end result is that the public are not well served.

I hope you will agree with me that firm action needs to be taken. To this end, I am going to move an amendment to the Motion before Council on the 9th that demands a full and independent investigation into this matter the investigation should look at the following:

Ø What other members have had their records checked?
Ø What Policy has been used to undertake these outrageous secret searches?
Ø What other occasions have e-mail, telephone records been checked since 2005?
Ø What reports have Councillors seen on secret searches?
Ø Who authorised the search of my phone calls?

I believe this is as serious incident as I have ever witnessed in public life. Democracy is precious to all of us and we must defend our rights as elected Councillors including our civil liberties, right to privacy and respect. We can not accept any Officer viewing themselves as above the law and acting in such an unacceptable manner.

This is not a political issue. I am calling on Councillors from each Party to support my actions and demand an independent inquiry as only this can restore trust. We must then take decisive action against those who have behaved in such a way.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Joe Anderson

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ooohhh!

Anonymous said...

another cracker from you Tony Well done indeed

Only in Liverpool and China

JP said...

Its a pity someone didn't do this 2 years ago. Maybe, Hasitall and The Dog would have been stopped in their tracks there and then.
This clearly shows that democracy is blocked in Liverpool and the public have no say in the running of the City.
When will someone step in and put an end to this dictatorship?

Dr X. Laughing Sandwich said...

This behaviour is endemic within the Executive Board of the council and that of LDL. It has been cultivated and necessitated by a conspiracy of covering up greed, incompetence and the unbelievable criminal squandering of public monies.

The reality is that a group of controlling officers in Liverpool who are on salaries way out of proportion to other Local Authority Executive officers or even Executives of private companies, or for that matter, the parliamentary cabinet and the prime minister himself. It is a group who have awarded themselves huge bonuses and performance related pay and a group will do anything that they need to do in oder to protect their positions and hide their incompetence and deceit.

A group who upon realising how big a salary gap they had created between themselves and the next level of management beneath them, set about inventing two or three entirely new management tiers in the 75k to 195k income brackets. Under cover of making fit the council management fit for purpose, the real objective was to justify their own salary levels by creating a visible rising structure. The result of this new tier? Their Achievements? Well we only have to look at each consecutive appalling and damning judgement of each and every audit and the resulting laughingstock that is Liberal-democrat run Liverpool.

This group who were complicit in renewing contracts that had clearly been shown to be at worst totally corrupt and at best a mockery of the concept of Best Value, who spoon-fed misleading and falsified information about services to either stupid or completely gullible councillors to convince them that this was the way forward aided and abetted by a few Elected Members with their own agendas and who were in the pockets of LDL. All set about driving this forward and treating the backbenchers like fools.

To achieve this, they deliberately ran services into the ground disposing of key jobs through a voluntary severance scheme that had no proper funding, refusing to fill vacant posts and starving key services of finances with the aim being to make the remaining staff look incompetent or incapable and therefore ripe for absorbing into Liverpool Direct. Then LDL set about recharging the council at least three times the original cost of providing the same services and a call centre service more interested in external lucrative contracts than doing the job they were supposed to do.

A wonderful new service, who took on and then bullied untrained young people to work from scripts dealing with the jobs once done by qualified experienced staff that had deserted in their droves unable to stomach any more. And the line they were given was to keep the public away from getting the help they needed if it was likely to be one that would involve a cost.

A group that initially under Henshaw but also to everyones genuine and deep sorrowful dismay under Hilton, with the support of Storey and Bradleys cabinet allowed the sinister Team Liverpool to drive these changes through, tolerating no opposition or questioning of how this would improve services, bullying staff into submission. Using the Big Lie technique presenting lies masquerading as reports. and presenting financial projections and alleged savings that did not add up from day one. Anyone who questioned this found their life was made hell and they either shut up or left.
They allowed Team Liverpool to play a never ending game of relocation with staff teams and services so that they could charge the council tens of thousands of pounds for each and every unnecessary but highly lucrative move. No questions asked or reasons given and any challenge seen as not being a team player or not being progressive. For over four years they shifted and moved often the same teams and staff around form building to building, floor to floor and crammed people into hot desk offices, where they often had to wait 2 hours of a morning to access a computer. They have given the council rooms in buildings which the city council own and charged them for the use of their own premises, the list could go on and on.
Enough has already been written about the financial joke that is the IT service and cost of personal computers and IT equipment.

This is the group that has at the same time presided over the worst financially controlled council in Britain. The group who still take their performance related pay and bonuses and massive golden handshake or silencing deals when they have become either so incompetent that they cannot be maintained in post or that they threaten blackmail.

The group who to get themselves out of the financial mess they have created, and still maintain their high earnings, look each and every time to cutting back services to the most vulnerable need groups and front line staff.

They would never consider cutting the stranglehold and financial abyss that is Liverpool Direct because without them, they would never have achieved this level of pay, self importance and the idea that they can do as they damn well want, when they want because nobody is able to or prepared to stop them or challenge them.

Joe Anderson, if you don't see this then you must be blind. If the decent Lib-Dem back benchers who have been treated with contempt by their own party leaders don't see this then you will be tarnished for years to come with the accusations, rightly or wrongly of corruption or incompetence or both.

So of course they would go to these extremes to protect themselves, and it is about time everybody woke up to the fact that this council has become a disgrace to public office and public services and the decent hard working staff with any sense of the reality must be sickened and ashamed, and would probably be ready to comply with any genuine public enquiry. We have seen the result of whistle blowing and handing over dossiers of evidence. Nothing! Because those called to or expected to investigate it are a part of the problem.

The demand should be made now to central government for a full public enquiry into the political and officer led management of this city and immediate intervention powers used to take control. Without this, there is no current credible way forward.

Tony Parrish47 said...

see above. fine comment.

Anonymous said...

As an erstwhile linksman myself, I am concerned about the effect of the proposed Council restructure on the hapless bean counter's handicap! I am referring yo his golf handicap rather than his more famous inabillity to do "sums".
I certainly hope that the next time he's at the top of his backswing on Hillside Golf Club's first tee he's not tormented by unwanted thoughts of redundancy.

Anonymous said...

That would be when he plays with Mr Watkinson erstwhile District Auditor of this Parrish would it?

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

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