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Posted by: John Brace | 10th August 2015

Why did Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority pay a PR company £250 a day?

Why did Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority pay a PR company £250 a day?

                                                          

Peter Rushton Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority fire station merger consultation meeting Greasby 10th November 2014

Peter Rushton Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority fire station merger consultation meeting Greasby 10th November 2014

On the right of the photo above is Peter Rushton. He’s chairing a public consultation meeting in Greasby last year, one of the public meetings held to consult with the public on the closure of West Kirby and Upton stations and a replacement fire station at Greasby. It’s a still from this video I took of the public consultation meeting.

He introduces himself as “I’m Peter Rushton from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service”. What I don’t think the public knew then (or perhaps know now) is that Peter Rushton had a contract with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority through his service company Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited.

His contract has a secrecy clause which states:

"Publicity

10.8 Neither the Authority nor the Supplier shall publicise in any media or public announcement information regarding the terms of the Contract, or the Service supplied, without the prior written consent of the other party in either case such consent not to be unreasonably withheld."

 

However I’m skipping ahead a little here and I’d like to briefly make a point about how this contract was awarded. The contract originally for six months (although it was later extended for a further six months) was for a value of £12,500 and started on the 8th April 2014.

Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited was only incorporated a fortnight before being awarded the contract. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s constitution at the time required that for contracts of this value that two written quotations had to be obtained first. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s constitution required there to be a report if this isn’t the case and 3.3 of their contract standing orders detailed the procedure to be followed:

"For procurement projects under £172,514 for Goods and Services and £4,322,012 for Works, the Head of Procurement or their nominated deputy, and a Director must approve any exemption, prior to any commitment being given by the Authority to any supplier. The Chief Fire Officer will keep a register of exemptions granted detailing the nature and value of the contract, the circumstances justifying the exemption and the name of the contractor awarded the contract."

 

However what was the contract actually for? That’s detailed in an attachment to the contract. A day was defined earlier in the contract as meaning 7 hours of work.

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited page 11

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited page 11

Contract Ref: RFQ/15/14

ATTACHMENT 1

SPECIFICATION OF SERVICES

Background

  1. MFRA is in the process of merging 8 fire stations into 4 as part of a major service reengineering exercise to deliver large scale savings. This will necessitate a large programme of internal and external consultancy.

Project Scope/Deliverables

The service required is to deliver professional communications expertise, a communications strategy and support to the following people during the process:-

  • CFO and Exec team
  • Director of Strategy and Performance who leads the restructured corporate communications team in house

It will include devising and over-seeing the implementation of a comprehensive communication strategy with all stakeholders to effectively help deliver 4 fire station mergers.

The work will require (but is not limited to) attendance at the following meetings which may take place outside normal office hours:-

  • Internal PO briefings
  • Public consultation meetings both open and facilitated
  • To chair open public consultation meetings
  • Briefings with stakeholders in the area including MPs, councillors
  • IRMP meetings

The services will also provide for the following:-

  • Play a leading role in delivering two events
  • Long Service & Bravery Awards
  • The official opening of the Joint Control Centre
  • Assist Principle Officers on all PO Briefings
  • Provide strategic communication advice to Principle Officers

Plus any other duties in relation to the station merger programmes as requested by the Director of Strategy and Performance.

Timescales and fees

Timescales
The Services will be provided over a maximum of 8 days per a calendar month for a period of six months from the commencement date with an option to extend on the same or different terms which would be agreed between the parties prior to any extension period.

Times, days and hours of the service to be agreed between the parties in advance of any attendance.

Fees

  1. The daily rate for the provision of the Services is £250 plus any pre-agreed expenses.
  2. Total fee is £12,000 + expenses.

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited page 12

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited page 12

Contract Ref: RFQ/15/14

ATTACHMENT 2

FEES AND INVOICING SCHEDULE

  1. Peter Rushton will undertake the activities as per the Specification in Attachment 1 during the period 8th April 2014 to 7th October 2014 based on a commitment of 8 days per a calendar month. For the avoidance of doubt, the Authority shall only be charged for days actually undertaken by the Supplier.
  2. 48 days will be undertaken during the six month period at the standard day rate of £250. The total value of this contract (including any pre-agreed expenses) is therefore £12,000.

  3. The Authority will apply a ceiling to the Travel & Accommodation Expenses Rates payable to the Supplier of £500 for the six month period. Expenses must be approved by the Authority in advance of being incurred and shall be payable at the Authority’s approved rates in force at the time of Contract award. The Supplier will be required to provide copies of relevant accommodation and travel receipts.

  4. Consolidated invoices shall be presented every 4 weeks clearly detailing the dates on which activities were undertaken and itemising any expenses claimed which were incurred during the same 4 week period.

  5. The Authority shall pay the Supplier the sums due under the Contract, on 30 day payment terms, from receipt of a true and valid invoice.

All invoices should be submitted to:

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority
Exchequer Services Department
Bridle Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L30 4YD

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited page 13

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited page 13

Contract Ref: RFQ/15/14

AS WITNESS the hands of the parties

Signed by and on behalf of the Authority (In Caps): MERSEYSIDE FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY JANET HENSHAW

Signature: (Janet Henshaw’s signature)

Date: 08/04/2014

Signed by the Supplier (In Caps): PETER RUSHTON CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Signature: (Peter Rushton’s signature)
Date: 08.04.2014


The six month contract was then extended for a further six months (see below).

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited addendum page 1 of 2

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited addendum page 1 of 2

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited addendum page 2 of 2

Contract Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited addendum page 2 of 2

Finally, the last report to the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority on the outcome of the consultation to close Upton and West Kirby fire stations with a new fire station at Saughall Massie mentioned many of the expenses that related to the consultation, but nothing was in that report about this contract. If the cost of this contract had been included in the report, there should’ve been an extra £6,250 mentioned in the report (£25,000 divided by four is £6,250).

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Responses

  1. He didn’t chair the Saughall Massie or Hoylake meetings.

    • Yes he didn’t chair the Saughall Massie or Hoylake meetings. That’s because both meetings happened after his contract had ended on the 7th April 2015.

      The Saughall Massie meeting was held on the 20th April 2015, the Hoylake meeting was held after that.

  2. I may be mistaking him for some-one who looks like him, but, I’m sure I spoke to him at the Hoylake meeting. He was Director of Communications for MFRS in 2008- don’t know about after that.

    • It’s the same Peter Rushton. There’s still a picture of him on this page on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s website from when he was Director of Corporate Communications at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

      Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited also had a (which is different to the above contract) six month £50,000 contract with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority for “provision of professional communication and consultancy services” (otherwise known as public relations).

  3. There’s a £50,000 Contract too. Same dates: 8/4/14 to 7/10/14. This one’s RFQ, not MFRS Agreement Under Exemption?

    • Yep, that’s a different contract with the same company. RFQ means the Request for Quotations procedure was used in deciding who was awarded it.

  4. G’dayJohn

    Why would a man the age of Adrian Jones a supposed honorable gentleman and ex-mayor of Wirral shaft a mate that he knows would run rings around him in any debate at council or court room over Wirral “Funny” Bizz?

    He well and truly sucked in Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro and shat all over their friendship.

    He was appalled by the £2,000,000.00 fraud and so was his wife and that was almost four years ago and he has done nothing positive to help his whistleblowing friend.

    What drives a man to show such criminal type behaviour at his age with a growing family that should be totally ashamed.

    Unless they were brought up to be deceitful as well.

    He offered a lawyers name for an industrial issue that was as useful as a chocolate teapot.

    He arranged an audit by and independent investigation ha ha ha by the council auditors that they new would not complain if they just ignored it.

    They are still the council auditors and did not say boo to a goose at Gra Gra’s farce of a public meeting in to Big, ISUS and Working Neighbourhoods..

    He face to face with “Highbrow” talked shit about due process and it being no use picking the bones of corpses and other absolute bullshit.

    He is a disgusting, dishonorable person and a disgrace to his country, alma mater and family.

    Ooroo

    James

    Was it just John because he was dunny chain wearer 2008/09 about the time of Working Neighbourhoods and ISUS and has the dirt on someone or someone has the dirt on him?

    He is a disgrace.

  5. Do you think a FOI request would be likely to result in a copy of the register of exemptions? Or is this a certain ‘NO’?

    • You could try making a FOI request for it. It’s never a certain no. There have been plenty of FOI requests I’ve made in the past that I thought would be refused which haven’t been.

  6. Mr Brace, Sorry been a little distracted of late, but am getting back to my old self again. It is indeed disturbing that a man with a “Pecuniary Interest”
    In getting any kind of Result should chair any meeting. As for him stating he was Peter Rushton from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, as employed by them under a Contract of Employment (implied) rather misleading I would say.
    I am also aware Mr Griffiths talks of Jones, he should also be looking at others in the meeting of the 8th October 2014, again set up by our two Intrepid Cowboys or Double Act Adders and Lambert. I sincerely doubt that
    any FOI would achieve any form of answer that would get anywhere near the truth of matters.
    I cannot for the life of me understand why these people have been allowed to get away with so much against the people of Wirral. I would hope that it will not be allowed to go on much longer ” Police and Administration “

    • G’day Reps

      I presume you are talking about clowncil officers and not clowncillors and am fully aware that Humpty Dumpty is one of the main players in Wirral “Funny” Bizz.

      “Highbrow” was there from the start give or take minute or two and he has a memory like an elephant.

      Ooroo

      James

      Anybody else?

      The also seem to forget the NOKIA that nice lady gave us all about the affair.

      Or, was it a Raspberry?

      • By the way Reps

        Why do they all paint themselves with the same stinking rotten brush as Adderley?

        Tickle my tummy Basnett!

        Set up a date for me Humpty!

        Ooroo

        James

        Will they all cough up before they go down with his ship in Kev and Stella’s Stagnant Wirral Waters?

        You can bet the skipper the BLINKING INVISIBLE CEO won’t be on board.

        Stay on the naughty step says “Phil the Dill” to his obedient do nothing boss Ecca.

  7. Was the extended contract the same and for another £12,500?

    • Yes, although obviously for a different six month period. £500 of the £12500 was only if expenses were claimed.

  8. It’s bloody relentless isn’t it. Slime from this ear, slime from that and still, despite the obvious public reaction to this Game they play with our money that’s sees us all howling, ‘the barstards’, the wheel continues to spin rewarding them the Players of The Game, these massive financial rewards which, as Stephen has implied, are moreorless a criminal pecuniary advantage that ultimately gets us to pay for bloody something we didn’t want, bloody need or indeed ever bloody asked for.
    It’s a bucket of sludge and it stinks and I pray nightly to the God who gifted me this eczema that they all develop an unpleasant ailment that requires them to beg us for our forgiveness and seek public redemption for ever thinking that it was legitimate, good and godly to ever sit down around the bloody table and agree to feather their own nests because they knew somebody who knew somebody who was open to the suggestion that our method of publicly funded governance was ripe for the exploiting and kicking the arse out of it.
    The worst thing is, once detected by some investigative journalist like JB, they simply carry bloody on and not give the entire matter a single backward glance. They’ve no honour, no shame, no pride and, if I had my way and I had access to fifty bloody gallon of accelerant, a clipper lighter and twelve bales of hay, they’d have no bloody rotten home to carry on dwelling in whilst they continue their relentless pursuit of our bloody money.
    The bastards! It’s simply not good enough. Something’s gotta give because I’m finding it harder and harder to absorb the scale of corrupt practices that have now infested every single tier of public services.
    Self entitlement. Greed and no sense of right and wrong. It’s all so depressing and worse, there’s no bloody sign this Game will end anytime soon.

  9. Hi Bobby, Corruption is all around you and your quite right it will continue to grow unless somebody does something about it. I will have one more try this Tuesday, having spoken to somebody today, who said I must follow the proper process, pardon my french what a load of crap!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Stephen my dear and good friend, it’ll end. It’s inevitable that it will. Sadly, just like the MP’s expenses scandal or even cultural changes that have brought about so many investigations into historical abuse of little children, it’ll only end when one of these ‘suits’ fall, become overwhelmed by worry and fear, become affected by medication their doctor prescribed to deal with their mental health and they throw themselves on the sword and bring about a major investigation into why it was possible to misappropriate such large sums of money from the public purse.
    You, me and everyone else with a mind to still think knows that its wrong that all these things are being done by public servants and hopefully, sooner rather than later, a CPS Solicitor who ended up with the CPS because he or she couldn’t make it in the private sector because they were incompetent and useless will glance through a file of evidence and recommend a prosecution because the evidence was overwhelming that a position had been used to gain an advantage of a future financial reward to the detriment of the rate paying public.
    It’ll end pal! Its inevitable and when it does, all these suits who’ve moved about beneath the banner of Common Purpose and sucked the public service teat dry will meet their fate.
    Truly, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. I wouldn’t want the worry of waiting for one of these bottom feeding, parasitic passionate bastard tics to fall down and take with them the whole pack of cards which will eventually come a tumbling down.

  11. Bobby, Thanks for your kindness. I am aware of 1. The DWP and CPS. 2. I am also aware of the NHS. 3. I am aware of the continued Collusion of the Care Homes and Council and using the NHS system. 4. I am aware Corrupt Payments in Wirral Adult Social Services. 5. I am aware of Collusion of Fraudsters in the Council and Members of the Public – Section 16 Theft Act 1968, now repealed, now covered under the Fraud Act 2006. 6. I am aware of the Theft/Fraud against Central Government by the Combined Authority and its members and a lot of other matters. Everybody has choices and I doubt very much whether anybody will cough or own up of their own Volition to what I consider a ” Few Bob More ” .

  12. Bobby/Mr Brace,
    At this moment in time, I am being watched by Camera on behalf of my neighbor by your local Private Detective Agency Rotherhams, I have been approached, threatened and abused by these people one person in particular, in an attempt to cover up funnily enough a Section 16 Theft Act 1968 offence in the first instance.
    For those not in the know, section 16 referred to a Pecuniary Advantage, obtained by way of Deception. It is now covered by the Fraud Act 2006. Rotherhams have been aware for sometime of the fact that the persons committing Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Fraud and Perverting the Course of Justice.
    I would say since 2013, when the DWP and Council left off with me picking on me. All manner of offences have been committed against me and my family before they left for pastures new and nothing has been done to help me.
    I am waiting for these people to give a summons letter or whatever and when I receive this instead of going to the police this time, I will attend Court and ask the Judge for Arrest Warrants or for him to instruct the Police to do a proper investigation.
    I am losing my family slowly but surely because of these people, it is not necessary if these people are detected and prosecuted and I would advise Bobby, that should they be dealt with, they and I will lead the Police to the Scumbags responsible for this Corruption!!!!!!

  13. If the comments above are for general consumption, then why are they only discernible to people who understand such opaque language. If they are not, then cant you just email each other? I would love to know what you are all on about, but what is the point of writing in tongues on a forum like this?
    Regards,
    Frank

    • Some of the comments are off-topic based on the story being about payments made by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority to Peter Rushton Consultancy Limited for public relations work relating to the fire station mergers.

      I did for a brief stage have it set up so that all comments had to be approved by myself before being published, however this turned out to be very time consuming.

      If people want to express themselves in opaque language, that’s up to them. Some people want other people to read and reply to their comments rather than just email one person.

      I try and make myself as clear as I can but I would guess that you’re referring to other people commenting rather than my own comments.

      If you reply to a specific comment by clicking on the reply button to the right of the comment you wish to be elaborated on, the person who wrote it should receive an email with your reply and could be prompted to clarify what they meant in more understandable language. Sadly the world of both local government and politics in general has its own jargon and three letter acronyms.


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