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Posted by: John Brace | 16th June 2015

Wirral Council spent £6,950 for 10 days of IT support for councillors & £7,498.48 on a family planning course

Wirral Council spent £6,950 for 10 days of IT support for councillors & £7,498.48 on a family planning course

                                  

Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

As one of the new requirements of The Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015 Wirral Council are required to publish certain types of information specified in the Local Government Transparency Code 2015.

Wirral Council published on the 14th May 2015 details of contracts, commissioned activity, purchase orders, framework agreements and any other legally enforceable agreement of between £5,000 and £10,000 on the data.gov.uk website here.

The first contract that caught my eye was one for £6,950 with Odgers Interim (which if you remember a previous blog post of mine is an organisation that provides agency staff). The title of the contract is “consultancy support of Windows 7 & ICT Services” and its description is “10 Days Consultancy in Support of Windows 7 & ICT services to Elected Members Total £6,950.00”. Elected Members means councillors.

Wirral Council also spent £5,000 with England’s Golf Coast Limited for “Annual Membership to England’s Golf Coast”, £6,812.30 with an organisation called Assist Managed Services for a week of cleaning up New Brighton in July 2014, £5,000 with a company called O’Neill PR based in Macclesfield for “Tourism PR at the Open Golf Championship 2014”, £5,854.45 for catering at a wedding on the 16th August 2014 to a Skelmersdale based catering company (although this will have been recharged to whoever paid for the wedding), £8,000 to AMION Consulting Limited for “Development of a vision for Wirral’s tourism strategy to sustain and grow the Borough’s visitor economy” described as for “developing a vision for Wirral’s Tourism businesses a 5 year strategy for the Borough’s visitor economy”, £9,847.80 to Huck Nets Limited for a piece of play equipment called a Birds Nest Tree at Diamond Farm, Saughall Massie, £7,498.48 to Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for a “Family Planning Course”, £7,597.13 for a “Viking Playship” from Hags-SMP Limited, £6,510.00 to H&G Healthcare Limited for 100 “flu vaccination vouchers” in October 2014, £6,533.99 to AECOM Limited for a “Wirral Docks Bridge Feasibility Study” and £9,570 to Exterion Media (UK) Ltd to “supply poster sites for the Wonders of Wirral Spring Campaign”.

Whereas I’m generally a fan of increased transparency involving Wirral Council, in the description field published on the data.gov.uk website about a payment for £9,275.74 to Autism Initiatives, Wirral Council have included the full name of the child or adult with autism. In the context of services provided by Autism Initiatives this would also be classed as “sensitive personal information”. Also in two payments to West Kirby Residential School (a special school) for school fees, Wirral Council have revealed the name of two children by the information published on the website. Again in the context this would be classed as “sensitive personal information”. Maybe Wirral Council needs to think again whether it is being too transparent in these sensitive areas?

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Responses

  1. Mr Brace, I appreciate your message in this particular Blog in relation to the Children, however I am at this stage interested in the Bridge Feasibility Study and Computer Consultancy Fee’s. Is the Bridge Part of the Wirral Waters Scheme? Besides other Evidence it is further proof of Full Participation of the Wirral Waters Scam and I would Call upon the Council to Habeus Corpus (Produce the Body) of Stella Shiu, aka other names and the other Connections she has to the Isle of Man, via an Pension/Investment Scam in Hong Kong 2008 (Details Available) and Secondary over a period of 4 years my Computer has been Mirrored and attempts have been made by Scammers to gain access to my Computer by and I will give you 3 Guesses who they were. Your Move Scumbags!!!!!

    • I know there’s a section 106 in place with Peel over the Wirral Waters scheme (as far as I know it doesn’t cover the bridges). The money for replacing the dock bridges is coming from a Department for Transport grant.

      See this item in the Forward Plan. Cabinet is expected to make a decision on that matter next month.

      • Mr Brace, around the Eastern Float Area? Bring in the Police and Administration, naff right off FOI Requests?

    • Mr Brace, I might know the Chap who grows the Marrows in Northampton as well, he looks like a Chap I once worked with. Might be wrong!!!!!!!!! Probably has relations who buy wild flower seeds

  2. BirdsNest is clearly down as a Technical contract. Where did you get the info’ that this was to supply a children’s bird nest play facility at Diamond Farm, Saughall Massie?

    • Technical refers to Wirral Council’s Department of Technical Services (who were the bit of the Council that paid for it), I got the information from here (which comes originally from Wirral Council).

  3. I’ll try again! BirdsNest is clearly down as a Technical contract. Where did you get the info’ that this was to supply a children’s bird nest play facility at Diamond Farm, Saughall Massie?

    • As mentioned in the previous comment, these words link to the source of the information.

      As it contains contracts between £5000 and £10000 for most of the last financial year, you may need to scroll down to find that particular item as it’s near the bottom of the list.

    • In case those links don’t work for you here is a link directly to the file.

    • Sorry, there’s obviously a delay in my blog being posted and my receiving responses. I looked at this hours ago, but can;t see anything to suggest that the nearly £10,000 Wirral Technical Services paid to BirdsNest for technical services actually paid for a children’s play facility at Diamond Farm in Saughall Massie? If this is true though, I’ll be popping in to play myself. It looks great!

      • The payment was to a Huck Nets Limited for a piece of play equipment called a Birds Nest.

        • Thank you, but how do you know it was for Diamond Farm in Saughall Massie? That info’ isn’t on the spreadsheet you’ve linked to.

          Diamond farm is a working farm in Saughall Massie. I’ve seen cows escape by crossing a brook, but, I honestly don’t think they’re that agile to be able to negotiate a Birds Nest Tree. Snook a peep today and have to say, I was more than disappointed to not see cows jostling for their turn. Maybe they were in maths,

          Puddydale Park in Heswall have recently got a Birds Nest tree though, so if the poor cows of Saughall Massie have no-where to play, they could always go there.

          • If you scroll to the left or the right on the part of the spreadsheet to Huck Nets Limited you’ll find Diamond Farm, Saughall Massie is mentioned twice.

            Are you saying there is no birds nest at Diamond Farm?

            In about a fortnight the public can request such contracts during the audit. I will request a copy of the invoice and any associated contract to clear this up.

            If there’s no birds nest at Diamond Farm, why did Wirral Council make a mistake on the location (twice) and if no birds nest is at Diamond Farm where did the money go?

            • I snook a peep. It’s a privately owned, working farm, so, obviously, I,,like any other member of the public couldn’t simply just walk in there!

              If there does happen to be a Birds nest tree there though, this would be strange to say the least.

              Curiouser still if Wirral Borough Council paid nearly £10,000 for a children’s play facility on private land in Saughall Massie’s greenbelt!

              • Wirral Council also publish lists of payments over £500 each month. There’s a payment on the November 2014 list to HUCK NETS (UK) LIMITED for £11,817.36 (which is the £9,847.80 amount plus 20% VAT).

                Further details are:
                invoice number 1522684, the department is Regeneration, Housing and Planning, cost centre C3284 and description Contractors – Main .

                I’ll request a copy of the invoice and the contract during the audit to try and clear this up!

                • Hmm…Thank you kindly

                  • The period when the public can inspect the accounts usually starts the beginning of July, then the Council has 20 working days to respond to requests.

                    So in theory I should have it cleared up by the end of July (although with some of my requests last year it took the Council till October to provide the information)!

                    • So this info’ wouldn’t be made available through a usual FOI request?

                    • You could make a FOI request. However if you make a FOI request they have 101 reasons they can give you refuse it from:

                      It’ll take us longer than 18.5 hours to have an Indiana Jones style adventure through the Council’s bureaucracy to find the Filing Cabinet of Doom that contains the invoice, copy it and send it to you.

                      or

                      Despite the fact the company lists the price of a bird’s nest on its website that due to “commercial sensitivities” we cannot give you the information as it might be used by the company’s competitors to gain a commercial advantage

                      or

                      Thank you for your request. As the bird’s nest was not delivered to Diamond Farm, we are conducting an investigation therefore refuse your request under section 30 (investigations)

                      or

                      information on this matter is already available to you by other means by the information on the data.gov.uk website (section 21)

                      or

                      a refusal on section 36 (that it would would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs).

                      Or they do send you a copy of the invoice, heavily blacked out like this:

                      Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard £25,698 31st March 2013 Page 1 of 2 14

                    • Aha (chuckle). Thank you

                • Pardon the pun, but I’ve done a bit of digging! Diamond Farm is owned by E A Reed and Sons who also run a small plant hire business.

                  Wirral paid them £30,000 (item 191) in December ’14 to refurbish the Puddydale play area in Heswall, so I’m guessing this is where the Birds Nest Tree went. Hope this helps.

                  Out of interest, if the same Wirral department paid the same company the same amount, on the same day, with the same transaction number twice and this totals over £5,000, should this appear on the data.gov.uk website?

                  • Thanks for that.

                    Wirral Council publish the list of payments made over £500 to suppliers for 2014/15 on their own website here.

                    I can’t find the specific payment to E A Reed and Sons for ~£30,000 you refer to, but I think payments are listed on that list by when Wirral Council make the payment rather than the date on the invoice.

                    • OK. This is how I am (and am not) understanding this.

                      Item 191 on Wirral Council’s Procurement Information (supposed to be between £5 000- £10,000, but includes figures well above this?) is a request for a quote from E A Reed & Sons for the redevelopment of Puddydale Park.

                      The start date is 24/11 and end date 09/12. Wirral received a quote of £30,000 from E A Reed and awarded it,.Wirral then paid the £11,817 to HucksNet for the Birds Nest Tree on 27/11, to be delivered to E A Reed (seems quick to me, but again, not a clue how these things work?)

                      In January, the total Wirral paid E. A Reed (3 separate payments) was £29, 298.72 . Could they have completed the work under budget? Otherwise no monthly payment comes close to this . .

                      .

                    • Probably Wirral Council ordered the Birds Nest, then needed to get quotes for a contract for refurbishment of the play area, with the Birds Nest to be delivered to the successful contractor. Why they didn’t have the Birds Nest just delivered straight to the play area I really don’t know though.

                      Yes the work could’ve been completed under budget. Various parts of the Council have underspends and overspends at the end of the financial year.

                    • Maybe it was a 7am -9pm delivery slot, there was the likelihood that it would pour down with rain and that the neighbours weren’t in?

  4. Thank you, the links work. It’s item 63.

  5. Then we wonder why Wirral has no money, and services have been cut,
    The large amount of people employed by WBC and yet they still have to employ/pay for consultancy from outside the area, consultiation thats a great word to describe ” think of a number and then double it, thats our fee!”

    I see the Town hall in Seacombe is having more work done on it, hate to think of how much this lots costing us!

    • Mr Brace, Keef666 may not be a total right off, the first paragraph is very good, some interesting bits in the second and third paragraph

  6. Mr Brace, I strongly suspect/believe also, that off the Books Payments for other things are being made by this Council and I believe hidden and those payments are being kept quiet (Evidence also available) Certainly more than enough to support a Serious Investigation and bringing in the Administration.

  7. G’day John

    Well Keefie lets hope that is the exterminators in ridding the kitchen “Cabinet” of the lice, vermin and scum amongst them.

    They will need some potent stuff.

    Ooroo

    James

    • Mr Griffiths, the reason I ask for the Administration to come in, is that the Kitchen Cabinet and others cannot conduct anymore independent reviews/investigations, do you not think they have done enough (Evidence, also available)!!!!!!!!


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