Why did 2 Wirral Council councillors take taxi journeys costing £83.60 each time?

Why did 2 Wirral Council councillors take taxi journeys costing £83.60 each time?

Why did 2 Wirral Council councillors take taxi journeys costing £83.60 each time?

                                              

Wirral Council Cabinet meeting at Birkenhead Town Hall Thursday 12th March 2015 Left to right Surjit Tour, Cllr Phil Davies and Joe Blott
Wirral Council Cabinet meeting at Birkenhead Town Hall Thursday 12th March 2015 Left to right Surjit Tour, Cllr Phil Davies and Joe Blott

This year, during the 30 day inspection period I requested the Eye Cab Limited invoices for the contract for taxis for councillors.

An option in the Eye Cab Limited Passenger Transport Contract to extend it for a further year was taken up by the Council which meant it ran to the 31st August 2017.

Wirral Satellite Cars (who have recently merged with Argyle Taxis to become Argyle Satellite) won the the contract to supply taxi journeys to councillors which started on the 1st September 2017. Major parts of the new contract have also been redacted on grounds of commercial confidentiality.

The Eye Cab Limited invoices supplied cover March 2016, April 2016, May 2016, June 2016, July 2016 and August 2016. Apologies if the text can be a little hard to read, but these were how they were supplied by Wirral Council.

These are for taxi journeys by Cllr Moira McLaughlin, former Cllr Steve Niblock, Cllr Tony Norbury, Cllr Irene Williams, Cllr Warren Ward, Cllr Stuart Whittingham, Cllr Phil Davies and Cllr George Davies.

Wirral Council has decided to redact from these invoices, the name of the Wirral Council employee that these invoices went to and the mobile telephone number for Eye Cab limited. Some of the start points and end points of these taxi journeys have also been redacted by Wirral Council who deem it to be unfair processing of personal data for the public to know the home addresses of councillors!

One matter that does stand out are two taxi journeys made on the 5th July 2016 and the 7th July 2016 costing £83.60 each (as Wirral Council received an invoice each time for a 70 mile round trip rather than just the mileage between points A and B). Both journeys are shown on the invoice as being related to Cllr Phil Davies and both relate to taxi journeys to Manchester Airport.

Wirral Council have pointed out that Cllr Phil Davies shared the taxi journey with the Deputy Leader of the Council Cllr George Davies and the purpose of it was travel to and from the LGA Conference held in Bournemouth between the 5th and 7th of July 2016.

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Election Result (Wirral Council, 2016): Bromborough: Labour hold (Warren Ward)

Election Result (Wirral Council, 2016): Bromborough: Labour hold (Warren Ward)

                                         









Bromborough Ward
 
Name of candidate  Description (if any) Votes  %
WARD
Warren Andrew   
 Labour Party 1,805  51%  Elected
NIBLOCK
Steve
 Independent 985  28%  Not elected
WELCH
Pete
 Conservative Party Candidate 442  12%  Not elected
LANE
Jennifer Anne
 Liberal Democrats 151  4%  Not elected
HOGG
Percy
 Green Party 131  4%  Not elected
HALLIGAN
Mark
 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition  60  2%  Not elected

There were 25 rejected ballot papers, the electorate was 11,384 and the turnout was 32%.

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Who are the 103 candidates in the 2016 Wirral Council elections?

Who are the 103 candidates in the 2016 Wirral Council elections?

                                             

Polling card Bidston and St James ward 2016 front
Polling card Bidston and St James ward 2016 front
Polling card Bidston and St James ward 2016 back
Polling card Bidston and St James ward 2016 back

The nomination period for anyone wishing to stand as a candidate in the elections to become a councillor at Wirral Council has been closed for some time. As usual elections in each of the twenty-two wards on Wirral are all being contested (ranging from two candidates in Seacombe ward to seven in Liscard ward).

All wards except Liscard will be electing one councillor, Liscard will elect two councillors.

Continue reading “Who are the 103 candidates in the 2016 Wirral Council elections?”

Which Wirral Council councillor made 38 taxi journeys in 6 months?

Which Wirral Council councillor made 38 taxi journeys in 6 months?

Which Wirral Council councillor made 38 taxi journeys in 6 months?

                                                       

Eye Cab taxi invoice Wirral Council councillors
Eye Cab taxi invoice Wirral Council councillors

Yesterday Wirral Council responded to my FOI request for the more recent invoices from Eye Cab Limited for taxi journeys by councillors.

These don’t include taxi journeys where councillors have paid for the taxi themselves and then claimed back the cost.

Sadly, due to a lot of missing pages (curiously always the ones with councillors’ names on them), plus a number of pages scanned at such low quality making them very difficult to read, I’ve requested an internal review.

There was an £85 taxi journey listed on page 5. By the price list published on my blog here it comes to a taxi journey of around 67 and a half miles.

Sadly the second page of the invoice that invoice from May 2015 that would state who undertook this unusually long journey is not supplied. The invoice itself is of such low quality it’s hard to read how far this journey was. However if you’re going on a journey that far why not take the train instead?

In fact if the journey was by a councillor then Wirral Council’s constitution states (members means councillors):

8. Travel and Subsistence

Travel Costs

8.1 Travel costs incurred by members in performing “approved duties” as specified in Schedule 2 to this Scheme shall be reimbursed at the prevailing public transport rates, provided that the use of taxis or members’ private motor vehicles may be permitted where public transport is either not available, or the journey by public transport would be likely to result in unreasonable delay.”

Sadly as Wirral Council didn’t respond properly to this FOI request it’s impossible to tell whether a councillor took this journey or not!

However over the 6 months of invoices where names were supplied, here are how many taxi journeys were undertaken by each councillor at the taxpayers’ expense. For shared journeys I’ve counted it as one journey for each councillor sharing the taxi:

Cllr Moira McLaughlin (38)
Cllr Steve Niblock (23)
Cllr Bill Davies (13)
Cllr Irene Williams (5)
Cllr Pat Williams (2)
Cllr Kathy Hodson (1)
Cllr Denise Roberts (1)
Cllr Phil Davies (1)

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Who are the 20 Pledge Champions and how has Wirral Council’s Cabinet changed?

Who are the 20 Pledge Champions and how has Wirral Council’s Cabinet changed?

Who are the 20 Pledge Champions and how has Wirral Council’s Cabinet changed?

                                               

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Wirral Council’s Cabinet meeting held on the 5th November 2015

Cabinet (Wirral Council) 5th November 2015 Councillor Phil Davies asks Surjit Tour to introduce the report on Cabinet portfolios and Pledge Champions
Cabinet (Wirral Council) 5th November 2015 Councillor Phil Davies asks Surjit Tour to introduce the report on Cabinet portfolios and Pledge Champions

Yesterday’s Cabinet meeting agreed changes to which area each councillor on the Cabinet covers and some minor changes to how each Cabinet portfolio’s description.

Instead of two Deputy Leaders at Wirral Council (Cllr George Davies and Cllr Ann McLachlan) there will now be only one Deputy Leader (Cllr Ann McLachlan).

You can read a list of the revised roles for each Cabinet portfolio holder on Wirral Council’s website.

I thought it would be useful to explicitly state each Cabinet’s former title and its new title (along with the councillor that now holds that role). Old titles are in italics. New titles are in bold. None of the councillors on the Cabinet have changed.

Councillor Phil Davies Leader of the Council Finance
Leader of the Council Strategic and Policy Oversight

Councillor Ann McLachlan Joint Deputy Leader of the Council Governance, Commissioning and Improvement
Deputy Leader of the Council Transformation and Improvement

Councillor George Davies Joint Deputy Leader of the Council Neighbourhoods, Housing and Engagement
Housing and Communities

Councillor Adrian Jones Support Services
Resources: Finance, Assets and Technology

Councillor Christine Jones Adult Social Care and Public Health
Adult Care and Public Health

Councillor Tony Smith Children and Family Services
Children and Families

Councillor Pat Hackett Economy
Business and Tourism

Councillor Bernie Mooney Environment and Sustainability
Environmental Protection

Councillor Chris Meaden Leisure, Sport and Culture
Leisure and Culture

Councillor Stuart Whittingham Highways and Transport
Transport, Technology Strategy and Infrastructure

In addition to those changes, Cabinet will now meet on Monday mornings at 10.00am starting in 2016.

Also decided were a number of Pledge Champions. The role of each Pledge Champion will be to make sure there is action on a specific pledge in the Wirral Council Plan: a 2020 Vision (formerly called the Corporate Plan).

Twenty councillors (all from the ruling Labour Group) were appointed as Pledge Champions (a role that Cllr Phil Davies pointed out at the Cabinet meeting doesn’t mean these councillors receive increased allowances). A list of who the Pledge Champions are (along with which pledge they are the champion for) was handed out at the Cabinet meeting and is below (but without the bullet points next to each pledge which was on the original). The pledges are in three broad themes of people, business and the environment.

20 PLEDGES

PEOPLE CHAMPION
   
Older People Live Well Irene Williams
Children are ready for school Walter Smith
Young people are ready for work and adulthood Phillip Brightmore
Vulnerable children reach their full potential Treena Johnson
Reduce child and family poverty Angela Davies
People with disabilities live independently Rob Gregson
Zero tolerance to domestic violence Janette Williamson
   
BUSINESS  
Greater job opportunities in Wirral Joe Walsh
Workforce skills match business needs Jean Stapleton
Increase inward investment Matthew Patrick
Thriving small businesses Denise Realey
Vibrant Tourism economy Matt Daniel
Transport & Technology infrastructure fit for the future Ron Abbey
Assets and buildings are fit for purpose for Wirral’s businesses Denise Roberts
   
ENVIRONMENT  
Leisure and cultural opportunities for all Christine Spriggs
Wirral residents live healthier lives Steve Foulkes
Community services are joined up and accessible Christina Muspratt
Good quality housing that meets the needs of residents Steve Niblock
Wirral’s Neighbourhood are safe Brian Kenny
Attractive local environment for Wirral residents John Salter
 

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