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.
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What are the new restrictions on what you can’t do in Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Knowsley, Liverpool and Halton from the 14th October 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic?

What are the new restrictions on what you can’t do in Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Knowsley, Liverpool and Halton from the 14th October 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic?

What are the new restrictions on what you can’t do in Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Knowsley, Liverpool and Halton from the 14th October 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic?

                                     

A protest outside Wallasey Town Hall in 2016 - protests of this size whilst the regulations are in force will only be allowed if a risk assessment has been carried out and all reasonable measures have been taken
A protest outside Wallasey Town Hall in 2016 – protests of this size whilst these regulations are in force will only be allowed if a risk assessment has been carried out and all reasonable measures have been taken

By John Brace (Editor)
First publication date: 13th October 2020, 12:46 (BST).

Tomorrow (Wednesday 14th October 2020) further public health restrictions come into force in Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Knowsley, Liverpool and Halton. The regulations are called the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Very High) (England) Regulations 2020 and are 27 pages long with a 13 page Explanatory Memorandum.
Continue reading “What are the new restrictions on what you can’t do in Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Knowsley, Liverpool and Halton from the 14th October 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic?”

£110,000 Community Fund grants scheme now open for expressions of interest from groups for waste prevention, reuse, recycling or carbon benefits projects in Merseyside and/or Halton

£110,000 Community Fund grants scheme now open for expressions of interest from groups for waste prevention, reuse, recycling or carbon benefits projects in Merseyside and/or Halton

                                                              

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Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority public meeting of 5th February 2016 (where councillors agreed to continue the Community Fund for 2016/17)

Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority 5th February 2016 agenda item 11 Community Fund 2016 17 L to R Unknown, Mandy Valentine (Assistant Director of Governance and Performance), Cllr Graham Morgan (Chair), Carl Beer (Chief Executive) and Peter Williams (Director of Finance)
Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority 5th February 2016 agenda item 11 Community Fund 2016 17 L to R Unknown, Mandy Valentine (Assistant Director of Governance and Performance), Cllr Graham Morgan (Chair), Carl Beer (Chief Executive) and Peter Williams (Director of Finance)

The author of this piece declares an interest as a customer of his business is employed by one of the Wirral organisations that received a grant from Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority in 2014/15 mentioned below.

Last Friday afternoon councillors on the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority agreed to continue the Community Fund for 2016/17 with an allocation of £110,000.

£57,000 has been set aside for regional (Merseyside and Halton) projects with a maximum award of £25,000 per a project in this category.

£48,000 has been set aside for district level projects (districts are Wirral, Liverpool, Sefton, St. Helens, Knowsley and Halton) with a maximum grant award of £8,000 per a project in this category.

Any unspent monies at the regional level will be reallocated to projects at a district level.

Three Wirral based organisations received grant funding last year (2014/15) through this scheme. You can read the full list of organisations that received grant funding for 2014/15 on Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s website. There is a detailed report about the projects including photos of some of the 2014/15 projects on Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s website (the last photo on the last page of that report includes a photo of former Mayor of Wirral Steve Foulkes and Birkenhead’s MP the Rt Hon Frank Field MP).

Tomorrow’s Women Wirral received £10,000 for their Inspiration Hall project.
Community Action Wirral received £19,982 for their Donate and Create Change project.
Wirral Change received £9,064 for their Too Good To Waste project.

This year the Community Fund is open again for applications from registered charities, not-for-profit organisations (including social enterprises), community, neighbourhood or voluntary groups, faith groups delivering community work, schools, colleges or universities.

It is a two stage grant application process with the first stage being an expressions of interest stage.

Applications are sought for projects that can deliver waste prevention, reuse, recycling and carbon benefits.

A link to the expression of interest form, guidance document and terms and conditions can be found linked from this page on Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s website. This page also has contact details for Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority in connection with applications for grants.

The deadline for the first stage (expressions of interest) for this two stage grant process is Wednesday 2nd March 2016.

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Did Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee really approve the accounts of the £6.9 billion Merseyside Pension Fund?

Did Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee really approve the accounts of the £6.9 billion Merseyside Pension Fund?

Did Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee really approve the accounts of the £6.9 billion Merseyside Pension Fund?

Pensions Committee (Merseyside Pension Fund) 15th September 2015 Left Peter Wallach Head of Pensions Right Cllr Paul Doughty Chair of the Pensions Committee
Pensions Committee (Merseyside Pension Fund) 15th September 2015 Left Peter Wallach Head of Pensions Right Cllr Paul Doughty Chair of the Pensions Committee

Below is a copy of my statutory objection to the approval of the accounts of the Merseyside Pension Fund (a £6.9 billion pension fund that form part of Wirral Council’s accounts) which go to Wirral Council and its auditors Grant Thornton.

It’s rather dull and technical, but in the interests of openness and transparency I am publishing it below. It relates to yesterday’s meeting of the Pensions Committee that can be viewed below. I was so cheesed off I made two spelling mistakes in the email (a corrected version is below).

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

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Wirral Council’s Pension Committee public meeting of the 15th September 2015 Part 1 of 2 (Merseyside Pension Fund)

I reckon receiving this email will probably be about as welcome at Wirral Council as someone breaking wind in an open plan office. However such is life! The press are independent for a reason!


Subject: Statutory objection to Pensions Committee approval of Merseyside Pension Fund Accounts for 2014/15

CC: Pat Philips
CC: Colin Hughes
CC: Surjit Tour
CC: Peter Wallach
CC: Joe Blott
CC: Tom Sault

CC: Cllr Paul Doughty
CC: Cllr Ann McLachlan
CC: Cllr George Davies
CC: Cllr Treena Johnson (email address unknown)
CC: Cllr Adrian Jones
CC: Cllr Brian Kenny
CC: Cllr Geoffrey Watt
CC: Cllr Kathy Hodson
CC: Cllr Cherry Povall
CC: Cllr Pat Cleary
CC: Cllr Anita Leech

CC: Cllr Nick Crofts (Liverpool City Council)
CC: Cllr John Fulham (St Helens Council)
CC: Cllr William Weightman (Knowsley Council)
CC: Paulette Lappin (Sefton Council)

CC: Cllr Jim Crabtree
CC: Cllr Ron Abbey
CC: Cllr Chris Blakeley
CC: Cllr Angela Davies
CC: Cllr David Elderton
CC: Cllr Phil Gilchrist
CC: Cllr John Hale
CC: Cllr Matthew Patrick

CC: Fiona Blatcher
CC: Heather Green
CC: Chris Blakemore

Dear all,

I am a local government elector in the Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council area and make this statutory objection to the Pensions Committee approval of the the Merseyside Pension Fund Accounts for 2014/15 (see Audit Commission Act 1998, s.16).

For the purposes of clarity to the auditor this is a statutory objection to a matter not in relation to a matter covered by Audit Commission Act 1998, s.17-18 but Audit Commission Act 1998, s.8.

As required I am sending a copy of this objection to the auditor, those I have contact details for on Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee (I do not have an email address for Cllr Treena Johnson), Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee and those tasked with corporate governance at Wirral Council such as the Monitoring Officer Mr. Tour,