Expense claim forms for Councillor Tony Smith 2013 to 2014 reveal mysterious Lyndale School meeting in February 2013
Councillor Tony Smith is a Labour Party councillor for Upton ward. He is the Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services. His expense claims relate mileage claims for travel to Cabinet meetings, the Youth Parliament meeting in November 2013, Council meetings, meetings of the Health and Wellbeing Board, meetings of the Schools Forum, meetings of the Children’s Trust Board, attendance at a social workers conference at the Floral Pavilion, the meeting of 5th February 2014 to consider the Lyndale School call ins, meetings of the Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee, a safeguarding meeting at Acre Lane, meetings with staff, training sessions and a meeting with parents and “Mr D” (or possibly “Ms D” or “Mc, D”) at Lyndale School on the 1st February 2013.
Some of his claims were not allowed, all seven disallowed claims relate to Cabinet meetings.
The meeting with parents and the mysterious “Mr D” (or possibly “Ms D” or “Mc, D”) on page 7 at Lyndale School on the 1st February 2013 comes as a surprise to me and this was three weeks before Wirral Council valued the land and buildings at Lyndale School at £2,696,103.00 and many months before the plan for closing the school became known to the public just before Christmas 2013.
Could the mysterious “Mr D” (or possibly “Ms D” or “Mc, D”) referred on page 7 be David Armstrong (Wirral Council’s Assistant Chief Executive/Head of Universal and Infrastructure Services)? Mr David Armstrong has responsibilities for school assets such as the land and buildings is on or does it refer to someone else? Who were the parents and the mysterious “Mr D” (or possibly “Ms D” or “Mc, D”) that Cllr Tony Smith met with at Lyndale School? What was talked about at this meeting and what was it about?
UPDATED 15:51 Lyndale School visitors’ book shows that Cllr Tony Smith, Julia Hassall and Dawn Hughes all signed the visitors’ book around the same time on that day. It is possible that Cllr Tony Smith is referring to parents + Mc (referring to Alison McGovern MP) and D (referring to Dawn Hughes).
Back in February 2014 David Armstrong denied he had visited the school and that anyone else in his team had gone to look at Lyndale School.
David Armstrong stated at a public meeting on the 27th February 2014 “I can honestly say Councillor Fraser that I don’t know the answer because I’ve deliberately because I don’t want it to confuse the debate and become a distraction, we have done no action whatsoever looking at the Lyndale site.
I said to Pat this evening after the parents spoke at the last meeting, I would very much like to have visited the school and have a look around, so I did talk to Pat but also to remind myself about the school as I was a mainstream teacher.
I deliberately haven’t done that because if I go to the school particularly with my current monitoring responsibilities everyone will think I’ve come to look at the building or look at the site or look at the land. I know the area that the site occupies but genuinely myself and no one else in my team that work with me would have come to look at the site. So I couldn’t actually quote that figure tonight.”
“I tried to explain, that I am known as the asset person in the Council and currently I have all the baggage and tags that go with that. There has been no work done on looking to dispose of the site.”
Below are the nine pages of expenses forms submitted by Councillor Tony Smith.
Updated 20/10/2014 Wirral Council provided a further six pages of expenses forms for Councillor Tony Smith which can be viewed here.
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