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Posted by: John Brace | 18th March 2015

Incredible: Cllr Jones answers that councillors are "trusted" to exercise their judgement over when to use taxis

Incredible: Cllr Jones answers that councillors are “trusted” to exercise their judgement over when to use taxis

                                                                  

Hackney carriage by Ed g2s

Hackney carriage by Ed g2s

Hackney carriage by ed g2stalkOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

On Monday I wrote Was there no available public transport when Wirral Council councillors took taxis?.

On Monday evening I asked Councillor Adrian Jones about councillor’s use of taxis during the public question time section of Council meeting. Below is a transcript of the answer he gave to my question (apart from one small section that is unclear) along with a transcript of my supplementary question and answer.

JOHN BRACE: Thanks, as you said my question is to Councillor Jones.

Each year Wirral Council is required to publish annual totals of what councillors have claimed in travel expenses. Due to contracts with various taxi firms invoicing Wirral Council directly thousands of pounds of expenses weren’t included in the list for 2013/14.

The Members Allowance Scheme states that the use of taxis (or councillors’ own cars) for attending meetings is only permitted where public transport is either not available, or the journey by public transport would be likely to result in unreasonable delay.

For the taxi journeys made by councillors that were not included in the annual published lists for 2013/14 and those made since can you confirm:

(a) each journey was taken where there is no available public transport (or taking public transport would lead to unreasonable delay) and if not will councillors involved be refunding Wirral Council and

(b) what changes will be made so that the expenses for such journeys made in 2014/15 will be included next time the annual lists are published? Thank you.

CLLR ADRIAN JONES (CABINET MEMBER FOR SUPPORT SERVICES): Thank you for your question John.

The Council’s Members Allowance Scheme is detailed in part six of the constitution and paragraph 8(a) deals with travel costs but I’m sure you already know that.

The roles and personal circumstances of Members varies widely as do demands and expectations of their constituents and this has to be followed by considering which journey for Wirral that Members do.

Some Members for various reasons have no reason to use taxis in order to carry out some of their duties. It’s the responsibility of those Members concerned to determine when to use a taxi and in doing so Members are trusted to make a judgement that is consistent with the Members Allowances Scheme.

Members in exercising that judgement will take account of a number of factors such as the public transport arrangements available at the time in question, including the frequency of service, the length of time between connections and the consequent time it’ll take to get to and from their destination.

This is also balanced against other factors including personal and family circumstances, other conflicting commitments including a Member’s employment, other engagements and appointments to be attended that day and also for safety issues, health and safety issues that may arise at a particular time such as late night travel and …

The Council has negotiated competitive prices and entered into contracts with a local taxi company to provide transport for Members in accordance with the Members Allowances Scheme. The taxi company submits its invoices and the details of the Members that used the taxis each month directly to the Council for payment. The advantage of this arrangement is that the cost of transport by taxis is always at the negotiated rate and is a more efficient way to manage the service.

Now these costs have not been published on that basis previously, however in future the cost of Member’s taxi journeys undertaken pertinent to these taxi contracts will be published on the Council’s website as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year.

I will just add John that I’ve no doubt in targeting your question to the use of taxis you may be thought to have missed the big picture as the use of private cars is also charged to the public purse and that’s a point that will go over on both sides of the room.

Various councillors: Hear, hear.

Mayor: Do we, are we allowing the press a supplementary? You want a supplementary? OK.

JOHN BRACE: Thank you for that answer Councillor Jones.

The information about taxi journeys made by some councillors was provided to me on the 23rd January 2015 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Since that time I have made four further FOI requests that have not been answered at all within the statutory twenty days, there are a further six that have not been responded to and only this morning I received an email from the Information Commissioners Office that said they would be drafting a decision notice about the Council’s failure to respond to an internal review request that was made on the 12th of November last year.

Will he apologise tonight for the way that this Council is ignoring my requests made under the Freedom of Information legislation and send me a written answer before the elections in May as to what is happening to improve Wirral Council’s performance when requests for information are made using the Freedom of Information Act legislation?

CLLR ADRIAN JONES: I’ll ask for a report as on why your question wasn’t answered and I’ll get back to you soon.

JOHN BRACE: Thank you.

——————————————————————————————————-

In answer to Councillor Jones’ point about use of councillor’s own cars to attend meetings being part of the bigger picture I refer him (and readers) to the fact I published all these (for 2013/14) last year:

Here are some links:

Expense claim forms for Councillor David Elderton (Wirral Council) 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Phil Davies (Wirral Council) 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor George Davies (Wirral Council) 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Mike Hornby (Wirral Council) 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Andrew Hodson (Wirral Council) 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Sylvia Hodrien 2013
Expense claim forms for Councillor John Hale (Wirral Council) 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Ann McLachlan 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Brian Kenny (Wirral Council) 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Stuart Kelly (Wirral Council) 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Cherry Povall, JP 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Moira McLaughlin 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Tony Smith 2013 to 2014 reveal mysterious Lyndale School meeting in February 2013
Expense claim forms for Councillor Harry Smith 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor John Salter 2013 to 2014
Expense claim forms for Councillor Pat Williams 2013 to 2014
Expense claim form for Councillor Phil Davies (Wirral Council) 2013 (continued) £241.10 claimed in 1 week!
Expense claim forms for Councillor George Davies (Wirral Council) 2013 (continued)
The 6 “missing” pages of Cllr Tony Smith’s expenses claims shed more light on Lyndale School matters
Expense claim form for Councillor David Elderton (Wirral Council) October 2013
11 more pages of Wirral Council councillors’ mileage claims (Elderton, Hornby, Kelly, Povall, Salter, H Smith and P Williams)

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Responses

  1. G’day John

    Still raging with almost four years of them supporting the thieves that are Wirral “Funny” Bizz.

    Blatant thieving barstards. That nobody can deny.

    I will change the subject so my blood pressure doesn’t get as high as the purple headed people eater that is “The Dunny Chain Wearer” or the recently looking pinker “Phil the Dill”. Or is that just his growing bigger balding white pate making him look like a red?

    It would be interesting to know how they match up against the other hopeless councils they were competing against in the LGC Awards nonsense in regard to answering FOI’s?

    Taxi for “The Pretend Friend” before he falls asleep.

    They only shout hear hear at him to keep him awake.

    Ooroo

    James

  2. In a world far away there is a group of politicians who knuckle down and work together for the benefit of their electorate. They ignore political doctrine and sniping at each other,its not Wirral it must be Discworld!

    • “Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.”

  3. Reblogged this on Karl Mercer for Independent Councillor of Seacombe and commented:

    Seacombe Cllr Adrian Jones answers that councillors are “trusted” to exercise their judgement over when to use taxis.

    Thanks to local blogger John Brace for keeping an eye on our councillors.

    • Thanks for reblogging this.

      Just stating that councillors are “trusted” to only use taxis in accordance with the rules is not quite the same as an answer to part (a) “can you confirm each journey was taken where there is no available public transport (or taking public transport would lead to unreasonable delay) and if not will councillors involved be refunding Wirral Council?” is it?

  4. Question dodging with plenty of ballast there to steady the ship and distract the attention

  5. G’day John

    Changing the subject.

    From the garbage paper from over Stell’a Wirral waters.

    This year’s speakers include a representative from Sydney’s £3bn Barangaroo South waterfront urban renewal project. The project will see a former container wharf transformed into a new financial and residential district for Australia’s capital city. Other speakers will be coming from Barcelona and Cape Town.

    How long my man has Canberra had a wharf?.

    Stella must be involved.

    It’s “The Phil the Dill” speak for I will just talk any old crap.

    They really do take scousers for fools.

    Ooroo

    James

    • Sorry, I could not resist this one, still got my sense of Laughter though
      Mr Griffiths does not want to sign a ” Canberra and Dili Friendship Agreement ” then?

      • Reps your back

        Would luv a game of golf with the lads it is just I think their morals and ethics are fit only for the sewer.

        Ooroo

        James

        Ps I bet he wouldn’t invite the ladies.

        • Sorry , I also forgot Faulty Towers and The Swedish Mission

  6. G’day John

    Back to my favourite topic Wirral “Funny” Bizz.

    Please explain the point of 66 clowncillors if the officers can just tell untruths to the public in private and publicly ala 8 October and just get away with it?

    £50,000.00+ for a report. Shows criminality.

    An auditor report they won’t show. Bev was honest that is why she didn’t fit.

    Pay off an internal auditor of 38 years and have the audacity to show his croc of shit.

    “Phil the Dill” gets a question in the chamber and doesn’t answer it.

    DCLG finished an audit report almost 18 months ago and they won’t show it.

    So John what is the point of 66 clowncillors that are just obedient servants of dishonest officers?

    Being a clowncillor can only be an obedient officer arse licking ego trip surely?

    Ooroo

    James

    Lets not forget “The Raving Loony” that said at one meeting the worst scandal in his forty years and the on 8 October was so far up the officers derrieres they actually went white instead of their bulbous purple headed swine features. Is he back on his medication John?

  7. G’day John

    Sorry I forgot to mention the clowncilloresses how rude of me.

    Their contribution in this Wirral Bizz robbery is erm erm erm erm erm

    The bird that obviously spends all her days in the hair salon said to a whistleblowers friend that she would be there on 8 October and sort them out.

    She didn’t show maybe she was making “The Dunny Chain Wearers” play lunch sandwiches or cleaning his shoes and dunny chain.

    Ooroo

    James

    Ps I would like to think but unlikely that they just refuse to be involved in The Kitchen Cabinet untruths and shenanigans but I sense they are just treated with disdain.

  8. G’day John

    My last rant for the morning.

    Did you ever meet the master criminals that got away with super profits illegally that were Wirral “Funny” Bizz?

    The ones that gave Invest (In thyself) Wirral the runaround and now all the senior officers.

    The idiots have left the village comes to mind.

    They are now sunning themselves and no doubt pickling their livers in sunny Portugal. Probably with Stella.

    They could not do simple sums.

    Probably £200,000 has been spent protecting these idiots.

    Why?

    Ooroo

    James

  9. G’day john

    I won’t give your blog a bashing today I just battered Wirral Leaks.

    Do you have anyu idea when Ecca is due to arrive?

    Keep up the wonderful work my man.

    Ooroo

    James

    Have you been watching Banished?

    Answers a lot of questions.

    • In answer to your two questions, the new Chief Exec is expected some time after Easter. No I haven’t been watching Banished.

  10. G’day John

    Thanks for that.

    Keep an eye out for a new update on Wirral Leaks.

    THE UNIVERSE WORLD AND GLOBAL WIRRAL WHISTLEBOWERS AWARDS 2015

    (TUWAGWWA)

    aka

    The Useless Wankers At Gra’s Wasteful Wirral Awards

    It was a great night John.

    Sorry you missed out on an award John but probably for the best as “Highbrow” wants to nominate you for a Queens thing.

    Ooroo

    James


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