Accountability failures by local government highlighted in report by Research for Action and High Court Judge

Accountability failures by local government highlighted in report by Research for Action and High Court Judge

Accountability failures by local government highlighted in report by Research for Action and High Court Judge

                                 

By John Brace (Editor)
and
Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)

First publication date: 28th April 2021, 05:48 (BST).

The three boxes on the left comprise the PFI fire stations contract
The three boxes on the left comprise the PFI fire stations contract

A 40 A4 page report published today (28th April 2021) by Research for Action titled Democracy Denied: Audit and Accountability Failure in Local Government looked at the experience of those who have tried (during a 30 working day period each year) to inspect the financial records of councils, as well as the experience of those who have asked questions of auditors or made objections using rights in the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (in England) or the Local Authority Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (in Scotland). The report concentrates on requests to inspect, as well as related rights to ask questions to the auditor and/or object to the auditor. The report is mainly about requests in relation to PFI (Private Finance Initiative) schemes or LOBO (Lender Option Borrower Option) loans.
Continue reading “Accountability failures by local government highlighted in report by Research for Action and High Court Judge”

Why did the Mersey Port Health Authority reject consignments of peanuts and soft drinks?

Why did the Mersey Port Health Authority reject consignments of peanuts and soft drinks?

Why did the Mersey Port Health Authority reject consignments of peanuts and soft drinks?

                                          

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Mersey Port Health Committee (Liverpool City Council) 10th October 2019

Chris Lomas (right) Mersey Port Health Committee 10th October 2019
Chris Lomas (right) Mersey Port Health Committee 10th October 2019

The Mersey Port Health Committee (which has councillors from Wirral, Liverpool and Sefton on it and oversees the work of the Mersey Port Health Authority) met on Thursday afternoon in the West Reception Room at Liverpool Town Hall.
Continue reading “Why did the Mersey Port Health Authority reject consignments of peanuts and soft drinks?”

What was the “Atlantis – Motorways of the Sea” project and how was the £264,912.50 grant funding the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority from INEA for it spent?

What was the “Atlantis – Motorways of the Sea” project and how was the £264,912.50 grant funding the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority from INEA for it spent?

What was the “Atlantis – Motorways of the Sea” project and how was the £264,912.50 grant funding the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority from INEA for it spent?

                                            

266 Merseytravel LCRCA invoice March 2019 Atlantis Final Reconciliation Page 1 of 3
266 Merseytravel LCRCA invoice March 2019 Atlantis Final Reconciliation Page 1 of 3

AGRESSO Document Page 1 of 3

266

PROFORMA INVOICE

Payment by BACS

Name Sefton MBC

Address Corporate Finance & ICT
Magdelen House
Trinity Road

Post Code L20 3NJ
Continue reading “What was the “Atlantis – Motorways of the Sea” project and how was the £264,912.50 grant funding the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority from INEA for it spent?”

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority decides to freeze Mersey Tunnels cash tolls for 2016/17 at 2015/16 levels, reduce Fast Tag tolls in 2016/17, not charge tolls on Christmas Day 2016 and no tolls for emergency vehicles

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority decides to freeze Mersey Tunnels cash tolls for 2016/17 at 2015/16 levels, reduce Fast Tag tolls in 2016/17, not charge tolls on Christmas Day 2016 and no tolls for emergency vehicles

                                                              

Councillors on the Merseytravel Committee met on Thursday afternoon to decide on a recommendation on Mersey Tunnel tolls for 2016/17. Their recommendation was accepted at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority that met the following day on Friday morning.

You can view video of the Merseytravel Committee meeting on Youtube below (starting at agenda item 6 (Mersey Tunnel tolls).

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Merseytravel Committee meeting 4th February 2016 starting at agenda item 6 (Mersey Tunnel tolls) (1m45s)

You can view video of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting on Youtube below (starting at agenda item 10 (Mersey Tunnel tolls 2016/17) below.

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The decision made was that cash tolls would be kept the same for 2016/17 as they were in 2015/16. The cash toll levels decided for 2016/17 are shown below.






Vehicle Class2016/17 Cash toll
1£1.70
2£3.40
3£5.10
4£6.80

The price for Fast Tag tolls was reduced for 2016/17. Below is a table of 2016/17 Fast Tag tolls compared to 2015/16.






Vehicle Class2016/17 Fast Tag toll2015/16 Fast Tag toll
1£1.20£1.40
2£2.40£2.80
3£3.60£4.20
4£4.80£5.60

There were also other changes agreed for 2016/17. Tunnel tolls will be waived for all classes of traffic between 10 pm on Christmas Eve (24th December 2016) to 6 am on Boxing Day (26th December 2016). All designated emergency vehicles will no longer have to pay tolls in 2016/17.

These were the votes on the Mersey Tunnel tolls decision at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting.

FOR THE PROPOSAL (4)
Mayor Joe Anderson (Liverpool City Council) FOR
Cllr Phil Davies (Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council) FOR
Cllr Andy Moorhead (Knowsley Council) FOR
Cllr John Fairclough (Sefton Council) deputy for Cllr Ian Maher (Sefton Council) FOR

ABSTENTION (1)
Cllr Rob Polhill (Halton) ABSTAIN

Reacting to the decision, John McGoldrick representing the Mersey Tunnels Users Association stated that “the [Liverpool City Region Combined] Authority would still be making a massive profit from the Tunnels and that most users of the Tunnels would not be seeing the reductions in tolls promised last year.”;

During the meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Cllr Phil Davies (pictured below) said,

Cllr Phil Davies speaking about Mersey Tunnel tolls for 2016 17 at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting on the 5th February 2016
Cllr Phil Davies speaking about Mersey Tunnel tolls for 2016 17 at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting on the 5th February 2016
“Yeah, I’d just like to say a few things about this. I welcome the recommendations of Merseytravel yesterday and the recommendations in this report.

Errm, I think I just need to record the fact that I’ve been involved in the errm the Task Group that’s been looking at this so, this issue errm, but I clearly wanted to, to hear what the outcome of the meeting is today was and I do endorse the approach.

I mean from each err, errm, we did make a commitment in the devolution deal that we gain control of the finances of the Mersey, Mersey Tunnels, errm and certainly you know, wearing my Wirral hat, I think this is definitely a big move forward, errm.

You know, the id.., the fact that the errm the cash toll has been frozen for a further year is great news but even more importantly the Fast Tag, which is effectively a local discount, is being reduced by 20p. So that would mean that errm, there’ll be a 50%, 50p discount per a journey, using the Fast Tag which if you’re travelling, if you’re travelling each day, it could be a saving of £5 a week.

So I think this is err, you know if I can use the expression, I think this is the kind of devolution dividend deal if you like, the deal that was signed with government, I think it will help local people who use the Fast Tag and local businesses. Errm and I really think this is a good demonstration of the value we’re getting already from the devolution deal but finally Chair I’d like to say I’m hoping in future err years we can go even further.

I think we need to do err more work, err more, I know there are more discussions errm err going on with government about us gaining even greater control over the finances of the Tunnels. Certainly from a personal point of view, I’d like to see us continue to drive down the costs of the err tunnel tolls for residents particularly local users, but I do welcome the recommendations in the report. Thanks Chair.”

 

Just for clarity, the discount for Fast Tag users (compared to cash tolls) for 2016/17 is not 50% as stated by Cllr Phil Davies. It’s (to the nearest percent) 29% for class 1, 29% for class 2, 29% for class 3 and 29% for class 4.

The new tolls for 2016/17 will come into effect on Sunday 3rd April 2016. If you wish you can apply for a Fast Tag on the Mersey Tunnels website here.

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