Posted by: John Brace | 14 June 2016

Disclosure of 46 pages of PFI contractor’s banking details by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service described as “oversight”

Disclosure of 46 pages of PFI contractor’s banking details by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service described as “oversight”


The author of this piece is an Appellant in a First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) case involving Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority.

Today, the eighteen councillors on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority met. One of the decisions they agreed was a constitution which includes the following (Members means councillors), “Members should avoid public criticism of individual Officers, as it is unfair and oppressive.”

Last year during the 2014/15 audit, I requested the North West Fire and Rescue PFI contract. This is the PFI contract with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority for the Belle Vale, Birkenhead, Bootle/Netherton, Formby, Kirkdale, Newton-le-Willows and Southport fire stations on Merseyside as well as fire stations in Lancashire and Cumbria.

After Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority insisted I provide them with a blank DVD, a copy was provided to me on DVD which contained the entire contract. The contract (apart from 46 pages in section 4.7 (Bank account mandates and specimen signatures)) was published on this blog.

When it was published on this blog in October 2015, a former press officer working for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Lyndsay Young phoned me asking me to remove the contract from my blog. I explained why I wasn’t going to do so and alerted her to the 46 pages of bank account mandates and specimen signatures that I had not published.

Last week Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s Audit Sub-Committee met and discussed the Corporate Risk Register which included the risk of data loss and the possibility of regulatory action by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). I requested a press officer be present for this meeting so I could ask for a quote from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service about its disclosure of this information. This request was denied.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service refused to comment (in part because of criticism in an article published that day about how Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority was managed and led) and instead asked us to speak to their solicitor on Tuesday 14th June.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan (bottom left) tells Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority's Audit Sub-Committee 9th June 2016 about the risk of data being compromised

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan (bottom left) tells Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s Audit Sub-Committee 9th June 2016 about the risk of data being compromised

After Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan’s glowing comments at that meeting about the efforts Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service had taken to prevent data loss at the Audit Sub-Committee meeting, I emailed the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services’ auditors Grant Thornton alerting them to this and also asked the contractor Balfour Beatty for a quote.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s position changed from their original “no comment” to an email requesting that the information be destroyed or returned (offering to pay any costs of doing so).

Louise McCulloch, Head of Media & PR for Balfour Beatty kindly gave us the following quote, “Last year, information relating to [the] North West Fire and Rescue (NWFR) [contract] in which Balfour Beatty has an interest, was inadvertently shared with an individual as part of a response to their request to the Fire and Rescue Authority under s 15(1)(a) of the Audit Commission Act 1998.

The Authority made NWFR fully aware of the oversight immediately. NWFR has taken the necessary steps to ensure no adverse impact.

NWFR has asked the Authority to request the individual destroy or return the information which has no public interest, which Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has done.”

The 46 pages of disclosed information contain details of sort codes, account numbers, specimen signatures and names of those authorised to use various Barclays Corporate bank accounts connected to the PFI fire stations project run by Balfour Beatty.

Clearly this information should not have been disclosed to me, but it is worrying that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service seemed to only realise this had happened after I told them first in October 2015 and again in June 2016!

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  1. I am appalled by the lack of Financial Control &management. Financial information was lost that should not have been lost. The Authority know that the data had been lost because it asked for you to destroy the data.

    Somebody is incapable of doing the job for which they are paid. That person should be censured.

    • What is more worrying is that they didn’t know I had this until the second time I told them (plus their external auditors and Balfour Beatty).

      If the information had been disclosed to someone else by accident you probably wouldn’t have heard about it.

      Do you think I should report the breach to ICO?

  2. G’day John

    With issues like this and Wirral “Funny” Bizz and all the other nonsense I have heard over the past five years I wonder how this country could cope or account for anything if the OUT VOTE wins.

    Watch “The Shyster” or his minion mumble and fumble in front of a judge and you will understand.



    They look good when they are bullying with 65 muppets supporting their incompetence by keeping their gobs shut.

    In their own perverted way in their own perverted world of Clown Hall.

    • The EU referendum result was discussed (briefly) as a financial risk by Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee on Monday.

      Indeed just the uncertainty about the result is causing some issues.

  3. I bet the members of all these Committee’s and Sub-Committee’s plus the Corporate Risk Register are earning more money that the guys who put the fires out!

    • Well yesterday they scrapped one of their committees to save a bit of money.

      The functions of the former Performance and Scrutiny Committee now come under the Audit Sub-Committee.

      So it’s been renamed to the Audit & Scrutiny Sub-Committee.

      I wonder how much renaming the Audit Sub-Committee to Audit & Scrutiny Sub-Committee cost!?

      The Deputy Chief Fire Officer does earn more than the firefighters yes.

      However it’s not comparing like to like to compare a councillor on these committees (or sub-committees) part-time to a firefighter (full-time).

      For example the Audit Sub-Committee met three times in the last year. Its last meeting (last week) was just under 33 minutes.

  4. G’day John

    Talking of cock ups and incompetence.

    I have been to the tribunal (courthouse) over Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant Wirral Waters on a few occasions to see “Highbrow” batter Wirral “Funny” Bizz.

    I wonder whether it will happen again on Thursday were the judgey person will say he hasn’t received some of the documents.

    Just sayin




    I don’t think exists anymore and is just accepted.

    • James,

      Thank you for your concern about the hearing tomorrow.

      As I am a party to the matter and it is sub judice, I decline to comment further.

  5. G’day John

    Woke up early like a kid on Xmas morning as I will see you and “The Shyster” where he belongs.

    That courthouse over Kev and Stella’s Stinking Stagnant Wirral Waters were he becomes a little nothing.

    It is great to see him in a place where he can’t just tell people to keep their gobs shut and bully the little person.

    It is like a lie detector test mumbling and fumbling at the “beak” like he is scared
    to speak and it looks like his blood pressure goes through the roof.



    John not exactly sure what you are trying to find out from the said documents but I bet something suss comes out of the member docs.

    Win, loose or draw John you will be the winner because this lot could not lie straight in bed and Ecca should do the right thing by the public that pay his big fat buffoon wages.

    • Hi,

      I have written a blog post about the 6 A4 pages of the Headteachers’/Teachers’ Joint Consultative Committee meeting and the name of the LGA Associate Tutor that was disclosed too.

      Oh and apologies I incorrectly told you earlier today it didn’t involve Cllr George Davies. He was at the meeting of the Headteachers’/Teachers’ Joint Consultative Committee in question held on the 28th February 2013. His name is on page 1 of the minutes.

      Unfortunately I got a bit stressed to do with the hearing and as there were 3 Wirral Council councillors at that meeting (Cllr Tony Smith, Cllr George Davies, former Cllr Pat Williams) and 3 Wirral Council councillors who sent their apologies (former Cllr Tom Harney, Cllr Paul Hayes, Cllr Adrian Jones) it just slipped my mind as he wasn’t mentioned in the body of the parts of the minutes disclosed to me (apart from in the list of people who were there)!

  6. G’day John

    Getting more excited as seeing “The Shyster” in his shiny arsed suit kowtowing to his expensive barista from London is a sight to behold.

    I usually out of sheer and absolute disgust at the law at “The Shyster’s” level I usually wear old shorts and a sometimes clean t shirt.

    Today John in deference to you I will smarten myself up.

    If it is one of the regular “beaks” that I’ve seen whilst “Highbrow” has been destroying every Wirral “Funny” Bizz argument he might even make reference to me being smarter than usual.




    • I appreciated your colourful attire today at the Tribunal. It gave me something interesting to look at amongst all the suits!

      It was also good to see "Highbrow" too.