What were the reasons behind the 24 hour RMT strike over guards on the Merseyrail network?

What were the reasons behind the 24 hour RMT strike over guards on the Merseyrail network?

What were the reasons behind the 24 hour RMT strike over guards on the Merseyrail network?

                                           

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RMT strike (Merseyrail and Northern Rail) 3rd March 2018 outside Liverpool Lime Street

RMT strike 3rd March 2018 Merseyrail Northern Rail strike Liverpool Lime Street
RMT strike 3rd March 2018 Merseyrail Northern Rail strike Liverpool Lime Street

Saturday (3rd March 2018) saw another one day strike by RMT on both the Merseyrail and Northern Rail train networks, both strikes are over the issue of guards and public safety.

Pictured above was the protest outside Liverpool Lime Street train station, Liverpool on a cold and snowy morning.

Out talking to the public yesterday in both Liverpool and Southport, I was told by a number of people who instead of taking the Merseyrail train journeys they would normally, they were instead taking buses.
Continue reading “What were the reasons behind the 24 hour RMT strike over guards on the Merseyrail network?”

What is in 13 Merseytravel/Liverpool City Region Combined Authority contracts and hundreds of pages of invoices relating to the 15/16 financial year?

What is in 13 Merseytravel/Liverpool City Region Combined Authority contracts and hundreds of pages of invoices relating to the 15/16 financial year?

What is in 13 Merseytravel/Liverpool City Region Combined Authority contracts and hundreds of pages of invoices relating to the 15/16 financial year?

Councillor Steve Foulkes (Labour) (right) speaking at a recent meeting of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee (28th July 2016) while Councillor Pat Cleary (Green) (left) listens
Councillor Steve Foulkes (Labour) (right) speaking at a recent meeting of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee (28th July 2016) | Councillor Pat Cleary (Green) (left) listens. Cllr Steve Foulkes is Merseytravel’s Lead Councillor for Finance and Strategy.

Merseytravel and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority were the last public body to respond to my request to inspect and receive copies during the 30 working day period which was originally supposed to run starting on the 1st July 2016.

Interestingly the public notice for Merseytravel published on their website and the public notice for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority published on Merseytravel’s website, a Julie Watling (Merseytravel) stated in response to a FOI request on the 8th August 2016, that “This notice is not unfortunately on our website at this present time.”.

This was interesting as the 30 working day period isn’t allowed to start until the public notice is published!

However the FOI request went to an internal review and Julie Watling of Merseytravel responded on the 11th August stating that, “However I had been mistakenly informed that the information was not on the website, when in fact it was available at the following links:-”

Merseytravel public notice 15/16 FY

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority public notice 15/16 FY

But then, is it reasonable to expect an organisation to know what’s published on its own website and to answer Freedom of Information Act requests accurately or am I asking too much?

Which is the correct answer?

However the information (or to be more accurate part of the information) I requested arrived in the post yesterday (postage around £6.20 as it was special delivery guaranteed by 1pm) with a covering letter from a trainee solicitor and DVD.

Below is what was on the DVD. I did get a further email yesterday with a contract that had been mistakenly left off the DVD too.

Although the internal review clears up the issue about the public notice on Merseytravel’s website, for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority it should’ve been published on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s website, not Merseytravel’s.

So part of my objection I sent to the auditors yesterday still stands.

The invoices are split by the thirteen accounting periods that Merseytravel used during the 2015 2016 financial year, although why spoil the surprise when you can read for yourself below?

There are some interesting matters to be gleaned from the invoices and contracts, however I don’t have the time at present to blog about them in detail.

Invoices 2015 to 2016 financial year (Merseytravel and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority).

11.3 MARCH3-810124407-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2016

11.2 MARCH2-810124324-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2016

11.1 MARCH1-810124215-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2016

10 FEBRUARY-809164910-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2016

9 JANUARY-809164746-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2016

8 DECEMBER-809164624-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2015 2016

7 NOVEMBER-809164505-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2015

6 OCTOBER-809164348-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2015

5 AUGUST-810123950-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2015

4 JULY-809164206-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2015

3 JUNE-809164104-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2015

2 MAY-809164000-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2015

1 APRIL-809162613-0001 Merseytravel LCRCA invoices 2015

Contracts

1 contract with BLACC Consulting LLP (50 pages)

2 contract with Arriva Merseyside Ltd (14 pages)

3.1 Subsidised Bus Service Contracts (42 pages)

3.2 Subsidised Bus Service Contracts (148 pages)

4. Rolling Stock Project Engineering Consultancy Service Agreement Halcrow Group Limited (38 pages)

5. contract with Bircham Dyson Bell LLP (15 pages)

6. Deed to confirm the Consolidated Concession Agreement relating to the services for the carriage of passengers by railway to be provided by Merseyrail Electrics 2002 Limited (348 pages) (this was an additional contract not originally on the DVD received by email from Merseytravel on the afternoon of Thursday 11th August 2016)

7. TOC Related Services for the Design, Supply and Installation of Passenger Improvements at various Stations as part of the National Stations Improvement Programme (Merseyrail Electrics 2002 Limited) (25 pages)

8. Local Growth Fund (LGF) for Liverpool City Region Sustainable Transport Enhancement Package (Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council) (62 pages)

9. Funding Agreement for Liverpool South Parkway Real Time Information (Merseyrail Electrics 2002 Limited) (26 pages)

10. Merseytravel Consultancy Services Framework Agreement 2015-2019 For Consultancy Services (Various Lots) Kenyon Fraser Ltd (68 pages)

11. Framework Agreement for Consultancy Services for the Design of Travel Marketing Literature Kenyon Fraser Ltd (80 pages)

12. Lease for Mann Island HQ, Liverpool with Commerz Real Investmentgesellschaft mbH (acting on account of its open-ended fund Hausinvest) (74 pages)

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What were the 9 most viewed stories on this blog over the last week?

What were the 9 most viewed stories on this blog over the last week?

                                                      

ICO Information Commissioner's Office logo
As nearly half of the stories this week are about freedom of information requests the logo above is of ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) who are the regulator

It’s time again to look back at the 9 most viewed stories of the last week (with a few comments on each of them).

1. 5 different versions of one political cover up but which one will you choose?

The BIG/ISUS issues rumble on with a government minister making sure an audit report isn’t provided in response to a FOI request.

2. Isle of Man company cancels plans for ICT College in Birkenhead

Wirral Council is forced to go back to the drawing board on plans to lease the Conway Building and Hamilton Building in Birkenhead as Isle of Man based International Centre for Technology Ltd pulls the plug on the project.

3. Incredible: FOI reveals “the Council are seeking to draw a line under matters in relation to Mr Morton”

A FOI request reveals a behind the scenes email about how to manage Martin Morton.

4. Why after 2 years, 9 months and 13 days have Wirral Council U-turned on refusing a FOI request for minutes of the Safeguarding Reference Group?

Another story about a FOI request and a long running battle to persuade Wirral Council to produce minutes of a meeting about safeguarding.

5. Does fire safety construction flaw at PFI school affect Wirral schools?

A story about how a flaw at one of Merseyside’s school built using PFI led to fire safety problems, are any of the PFI schools on Wirral affected?

6. Is this what an “open and transparent” Council looks like?

A question answered by a number of blacked out pages from the BAM Nuttall Highway Services contract.

7. Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan tells councillors “90 working days” are lost each year in responding to FOI requests

Continuing a theme running through a number of these stories about freedom of information requests, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan gives his view on freedom of information.

8. Cllr Foulkes on Mersey Ferries “we cherish that service and want to maintain it”

Cllr Foulkes responds to the campaign to save Woodside ferry terminal.

9. Why is Merseytravel spending £57,000 + VAT to monitor this blog?

The top story in last week’s round up details how much Merseytravel spend on media monitoring.

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Why is Merseytravel spending £57,000 + VAT to monitor this blog?

Why is Merseytravel spending £57,000 + VAT to monitor this blog?

                                      

Yesterday I wrote a story headlined, "Will the 20 councillors on Merseytravel mothball the Mersey Ferry terminal at Woodside?".

Of course as Wirral Council (from council tax on Wirral residents and other sources) is budgeted to send Merseytravel £26.264 million this year, you may wonder how Merseytravel has been spending this money?

Below is an invoice to Merseytravel for £19,000/year + VAT (part of a 3 year deal) with Vocus UK Ltd (a company that monitors the media). Part of that is spent on monitoring this blog and arguing with me if they read something that they don’t like! Of course Merseytravel could subscribe to this blog via email for free, but instead the public sector spends this large sum instead.

I realise £19,000 + VAT a year is a drop in the ocean as far as budgets are concerned, but some would think that when there are cuts to be made that this sort of spending should fall in the discretionary category, but then for Merseytravel management possibly managing their reputation is not something that would be put forward for cuts?

Merseytravel Vocus UK Ltd invoice £22800 March 2014 thumbnail
Merseytravel Vocus UK Ltd invoice £22800 March 2014 thumbnail

Just out of interest here’s what Merseytravel get for their money (unless people are really interested in this topic I won’t publish the whole contract).

The Merseytravel signatures on the below documents are Frank Rogers (Interim Chief Executive and the Lead Officer for Transport/author of the Mersey Ferries report in yesterday’s story). The other signature is of Louise Outram who is Merseytravel’s Head of Legal and Committee Services. As usual the thumbnails link to higher resolution versions of the documents.

Merseytravel Vocus subscription agreement 2013 £4226 page 1 of 2 thumbnail
Merseytravel Vocus subscription agreement 2013 £4226 page 1 of 2 thumbnail
Merseytravel Vocus subscription agreement 2013 £14857.50 page 2 of 2
Merseytravel Vocus subscription agreement 2013 £14857.50 page 2 of 2
Merseytravel Vocus UK Ltd subscription agreement 2014 to 2017 £57000 thumbnail
Merseytravel Vocus UK Ltd subscription agreement 2014 to 2017 £57000 thumbnail

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