REVEALED: Minutes of the “secret” public meeting that privatised 7 of Merseyside’s fire stations

REVEALED: Minutes of the "secret" public meeting that privatised 7 of Merseyside’s fire stations

REVEALED: Minutes of the “secret” public meeting that privatised 7 of Merseyside’s fire stations


A long time ago, in a county far,
far away….

It is a period of strife.
The rebel Conservative
and Lib Dem parties,
have won their first General
Election victory against
the Labour government.

During the battle, rebel
parties managed to steal secret
plans to the Labour government’s
ultimate weapon, private finance
initiatives, a financial device
with enough power to
cause mass privatisation.

Pursued by no one,
John Brace races home aboard a train,
with the secret plans that show
the Merseyside people which Labour
councillors signed up to this.

A long time ago there was a public meeting of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. This meeting took place on Tuesday 21st September 2010. However you won’t find this meeting on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s website and even the minutes of this meeting are on the instructions of councillors are to be kept a big secret.

So for the first time, in an exclusive for this blog here are partial minutes of that meeting when councillors agreed to a massive PFI contract for many of Merseyside’s fire stations (Belle Vale, Birkenhead, Bootle & Netherton, Formby, Kirkdale, Newton Le Willows & Southport). Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority would pay the PFI contractor not just for rebuilding these fire stations, but for running these fire stations for many years after. The payments to the contractors made by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority increase each year under a formula linked to the rise in the Retail Price Index. The contracts that councillors agreed to at the meeting below make up the first three boxes on the left of the photo below.

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


This report contains EXEMPT information by virtue of paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972



21st September 2010

PRESENT: Councillors Tony Newman (Chair), Jimmy Mahon, Dave Hanratty, Sharon Sullivan, Les Byrom, Colin Strickland, Robbie Ayres, Barbara Murray, Ted Grannell, Denise Roberts, Linda Maloney, Lesley Rennie, Gerry Ellis, Martyn Barber, Steve Niblock and Eddie Clein.

Apologies for absence were received from: Councillors Jimmy Kendrick and Andrew Blackburn Independent Member Keith Pickup

1. Preliminary Matters

The Authority considered if there were any declarations of interest, matters of urgency or items that may require the exclusion of the press and public because of the possibility of the disclosure of exempt information.

(a) The following declarations of interest were made in relation to items of business on the agenda:

  • Councillors Linda Maloney and Robbie Ayres declared an interest in Agenda Item 3 – CFO/138/10 – PFI Project Final Sign Off, as they both sit on St Helens Council Planning Committee.

    Councillor Mahon also declared an interest to this item as he sits on Sefton Council’s Planning Committee.


(c) the following items of business required the exclusion of the press and public because of the possibility of the disclosure of exempt information:

  • Agenda Item 3 – CFO/138/10 – PFI Project Final Sign Off.
    This report contains EXEMPT information by virtue of paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Authority, held on 24th June 2010 were approved as a correct record and signed accordingly by the Chair.

3. PFI Project Presentation

It was requested by the Assistant Chief Executive & Treasurer that Mr Skarratts – Fire Brigades Union representative be permitted to stay for the presentation and discussion of this item.

The Assistant Chief Executive and Treasurer and Mr. Schofield – PFI Project Manager gave a Power Point presentation to the Authority explaining the history of the Project from conception to the current day.

During the presentation Members were asked if they had a preference when building work was to commence as the building trade closes down for two weeks over the Christmas period.

Resolved that:

(a) Members had no preference when the building work was to commence as it would seem pointless to start work mid December then to close it down again.

(b) Noted that Balfour Beatty had confirmed they would do their utmost to drive the work forward to catch up and meet the deadline.

4. PFI Project Final Sign Off

This Minute is EXEMPT under paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

Members considered Report CFO/138/10 of the Assistant Chief Executive & Treasurer concerning the Final Sign Off of the North West Fire & Rescue Services Private Finance Initiative Project.

Resolved that:

(a) The Final Business Case be noted and endorsed, and its submission to CLG be approved;

(b) Arrangements for the North West Fire & Rescue Services PFI Project be approved on the basis of the financial terms and general principles contained within the report;

(c) The execution of the following documents (collectively known as “the Agreements”) be authorised:

  • The Project Agreement and its Schedules, being the principal agreement to be entered into between the Authority, Cumbria County Council and Lancashire Combined Fire Authorities (“the Authorities”) and Balfour Beatty Fire and Rescue NW Limited (“Project Co.”);
  • The Direct Agreement, being the agreement entered into between the Authorities, Nord LB and Dexia (“the Funders”) and Project Co. (“the Direct Agreement”);
  • The Collateral Agreements to be entered into between the parties set out below:

    – The Authorities, Mansell Construction Services and Project Co.;

    – The Authorities, Border Construction and Project Co.;

    – The Authorities, Balfour Beatty Workplace and Project Co.;

    – The Authorities, Blue Sky Architects and Project Co.;

    – The Authorities, and any other principal building sub-contractors or relevant members of the professional team; and

    – Any other Collateral Agreements required under the terms of the Project Agreement.

  • The Independent Certifier Deed of Appointment to be entered into between the Authorities, Project Co., the Funders and Gleeds;
  • The Co-operation Agreement being the agreement being entered into between (1) the Authority, (2) Cumbria County Council, and (3) Lancashire Combined Fire Authority in relation to the relationship between the Authorities for the duration of the Project (“the Co-operation Agreement”); and
  • Any other agreements, certificates, acknowledgements, waivers, notices, letters or other documents incidental to the documents listed above or otherwise necessary or desirable in connection with the Project.

(d) The Assistant Chief Executive & Treasurer (Kieran Timmins), or in his absence, the Director of Finance (Ian Cummins), be authorised to certify that the following contracts are intra vires in accordance with the Local Government (Contracts) Act 1997:

  • the Project Agreement and its Schedules; and
  • the Direct Agreement

(e) the Chief Executive & Chief Fire Office (Anthony McGuirk) or the Deputy Chief Executive & Deputy Chief Fire Officer (Michael Hagan) or the Assistant Chief Fire Office (Daniel Stephens) or the Assistant Chief Executive & Treasurer (Kieran Timmins) or the Director of Legal Services and Monitoring Office (Janet Henshaw) or the Deputy Clerk (Sarah Bourne) be authorised to execute the Agreements under seal on behalf of the Authority and agree that their execution of the Agreements should conclusively demonstrate approval by the Authority of the Agreements in their final form;

(f) the Chief Executive & Chief Fire Officer (Anthony McGuirk) or the Deputy Chief Executive & Deputy Chief Fire Officer (Michael Hagen) or the Assistant Chief Fire Officer (Daniel Stephens) or the Assistant Chief Executive & Treasurer (Kieran Timmins) or the Director of Legal Services and Monitoring Office (Janet Henshaw) or the Deputy Clerk (Sarah Bourne) (“the Relevant Officers”) as appropriate be authorised to take all necessary action in connection with the agreements, in consultation with Dickinson Dees LLP, the Authority’s legal advisers in relation to this Project; and in consultation with the Chairman of the Authority, or in his absence, the Deputy Chairman of the Authority;

(g) the Authority will indemnify any of the Relevant Officers in respect of any claims and costs relating to the contract arragements, provided that the Relevant Officer has acted reasonably and within the ordinary course of their duties.

(h) the Authority request the PFI Project Team to monitor the use of local economy and report back.

(i) Members placed their appreciation on record to the PFI Project Team for seeing the project through for the Authority.

(j) the Chief Executive & Chief Fire Officer placed his thanks on behalf of Officers to the Authority for supporting the PFI Project.

(k) noted that Kensington Fire Station was now complete; and

(l) requested information regarding Toxteth Community Hubs to be circulated to Members.


Date of Next Meeting

Thursday 30th December 2010.

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Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

10 thoughts on “REVEALED: Minutes of the “secret” public meeting that privatised 7 of Merseyside’s fire stations”

  1. Hi John, quite honestly this beggars belief the “LABOUR” group agreeing to PFI contracts when it has been proven with the schools PFI contracts that the only winners are the PFI companies who over the term of the contracts earn upwards of up to 5 time the original cost of the buildings and the ratepayers as always pick up the massive costs. It just goes to prove the fire authority & the local councillors are incapable of running the show, I assume that one of the boxes may actually contain important stationary items, just a thought.
    I thought “LABOUR” wanted to keep things in house by owning the service & running them obviously this must be a new and secret policy.

    1. The Labour Group on Liverpool City Council (also in 2010) signed up to a PFI agreement for Liverpool Central library (see image below), so it’s not unheard of for a public body where Labour politicians are in control to sign up to a PFI agreement.

      Liverpool City Council Liverpool Central library PFI project cover page

    2. I have an electronic version of the contract that comes on a DVD and the total files for it are between 2 gigabytes and 3 gigabytes (partly because the pdfs are mainly pages of scanned images).

      When it’s printed off it does come to 3 boxes worth! This is an index of the files on that DVD, just listing the files in the 13 categories of documents comes to 30 A4 pages.

      I would upload the whole contract to this blog for people to read, but unfortunately it’s larger than the space I have left!

  2. G’day John

    The boys must be away on their annual junket to waste money because she is at it again today.

    In the local rubbish propaganda sheet

    Ms Muppet Meaden from Ur anus says

    “I’m shocked and horrified by the problems residents are experiencing.

    “This issue will not go away until it is fixed.”

    Is she referring to the whole “Kitchen Cabinet” John or just “Phil the Dill” “Ankles” and “Phil the Dill’s Ugly Twin Brother with the Comb Over from Hell” and Wirralgate.



    Ps I see she also had Clowncillor Doughnut on board as well you know the one that would sell his mother to be in the “Kitchen Cabinet”.

    C’mon John you must know by now where they areb going to waste money and forget to take the gifts with them, as they do.

    Beware of Wirral Clowncillors forgetting to bear gifts.

    Did the Chinese ever get them?

  3. I can only think this was kept secret as the councillors are on the board of these pfi contracts companies and thus earning another tidy little profit from our expence,

    1. If that was the case the councillor involved would have to declare a prejudicial interest and leave the room when the decision was made. These days not declaring a prejudicial interest and taking part in a decision when a councillor has a prejudicial interest is classed as a criminal offence.

  4. G’day John

    I wonder what Ms Muppet Meaden from Ur anus will have to say today in the boys’ obvious junket taking.

    I do wish “The Pretend Friend’s” long suffering would put her head above the parapet because I remember “Highbrow” telling me the first time he mentioned Wirral “Funny” Bizz to him she was there in that little club with the pigs heads on the wall and cheap cider and she was appalled.

    Another disgrace to the sisterhood at Wirral.

    She has never said boo to a goose since apart from waking him up in the chamber and she is a Kitchen Cabinet member too boot.

    Less of her till she puts her head up as you know John it is not always in the words.

    In the local rubbish propaganda sheet

    New card scheme for Birkenhead set to increase confidence of anxious shoppers

    It is in the photo John it looks like “Phil the Dill” is trying to beggar favour and jump ship before he gets dumped for “Wirralgate” “Wirral “Funny” Bizz and other crimes against the good people of Wirral.

    Can you see it boy can you see it?

    I have never seen it before.

    People like “Crabapple” and Clowncillor Doughnut” will be delighted.

    More spaces in The Kitchen Cabinet for those two wannabe nobody’s.

    He’ll be able to bring his school kiddies in to wash the Kitchen Cabinet dirty dishes.

    Have you seen it yet John?

    Have you seen it?

    “Phil the Dill” in a BLUE SHIRT AND TIE.

    What has happened to his other raggy red one?

    Is he finally coming out as a wannabe Tory?

    Is he finally wanting to get back at those bullies that did dreadful things to him at school.

    He would be better off trying for the Lib Dems but he knows that old goat wouldn’t support him.

    “Phil the Dill’s is going BLUE.



    Ps Maybe he just thinks he doesn’t suit red anymore clashing with his big, bulbous red face and head.

  5. Mr Brace, I think you may find, that PFI Agreements are suited to Companies already mentioned on your Blog, rather than the lower Order Kitchen Cabinet. I will again lay odds that you will find people higher up the pecking order involved and have been for sometime and any Brown Envelopes go via the Irish Coffee or Dutch Sandwich route.

    There are indeed many ways to put yours or others money away out of sight and it would appear now that Central Government or the Administration may well be Smelling the Coffee (not Irish). It is my sincerest hope that these people are dealt with in a Fair and Lawful way, rather than a Klu Klux Klan type way.

    The only way that this will happen is if they go to a Police Station, making an appointment first and admitting what they have done. I mentioned to the ” Pretend Friend ” he should be one of the first, closely followed by the ” Football Shirt ” By failing to do this, they are only making it worse for themselves.

    Lastly, the Bodies they left behind will indeed come back to haunt them and others and it would save a lot of time and money if they gave themselves up and took the Medicine sooner rather than later, as believe me the Medicine is on its way!!!!!!!

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