County Cllr Carl Les’s NYPA Mileage Irregularities

Whitby --> Featured --> County Cllr Carl Les’s NYPA Mileage Irregularities

County Cllr Carl Les’s NYPA Mileage Irregularities

County Councillor Carl Les’s NYPA Mileage Irregularities

– Corruption Buster TIM THORNE presents a first peep at the on-going audit of NYCC County Councillors’ Car Allowances and associated mileage claims – and strikes a rich vein.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Following up on the recent Real Whitby article analysing the mileage claimed by Councillors at North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) over a three year period, I’ve still not managed to get hold of any documentation from NYCC detailing that mileage, but I’m sure they will answer that Freedom of Information Request in due course.

In the mean time I’ve gotten hold of the mileage forms claimed by County Councillor Carl Les whilst a member of the North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA) for the financial year 2010/11.

For your information, according to County Councillor Carl Les’s Register of Interests, he also sits on a number of other bodies:

County Councillor Carl Les

Bodies

  • Member of North Yorkshire County Council
  • Member of Hambleton District Council
  • Ex-member of  the North Yorkshire Police Authority

In addition to these bodies, County Councillors Carl Les also sits as a director or similar position on a number of other bodies or companies, but none of them are declared in his Register of Interests. All bodies and companies appear to be linked in some way to North Yorkshire County Council or other local Authorities. Is he receiving salary, allowances or expenses from those too? I think we should be told.

Companies

  • Director of Hambleton and Richmondshire Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Member of the North Yokshire Police & Crime Panel
  • Director of Yorkshire Youth Limited
  • Director of North Yorkshire Youth Limited
  • Director of Advice North Yorkshire

There are numerous other directorships that are not current. If you know of any more current positions that are not listed, add them to the comments section, please.

Back to the mileage claims. There are five irregularities that immediately stand out on the form.

1) On 04/02/2011, whilst on NYPA business, County Councillor Carl Les attended a ‘Budget Briefing’ meeting at FHQ, Police Force Headquarters at Newby Wiske, which is 8 miles from his home at Leeming Bar. Instead of claiming the expected 16 miles for that round trip, County Councillor Carl Les claimed 43 miles.

2) On 11/02/2011, whilst on NYPA business, County Councillor Carl Les attended an ‘Estates’ meeting at FHQ, Police Force Headquarters at Newby Wiske, which is 8 miles from his home. Instead of claiming the expected 16 miles for that round trip, County Councillor Carl Les claimed 48 miles.

3) On 18/02/2011, whilst on NYPA business, County Councillor Carl Les attended a ‘P & PB’ meeting at FHQ, Police Force Headquarters at Newby Wiske, which is 8 miles from his home. Instead of claiming the expected 16 miles for that round trip, County Councillor Carl Les claimed 44 miles.

4) On 25/02/2011, whilst on NYPA business, County Councillor Carl Les attended a Seminar at FHQ, Police Force Headquarters at Newby Wiske, which is 8 miles from his home. Instead of claiming the expected 16 miles for that round trip, County Councillor Carl Les claimed 44 miles.

carl_les_map

5) On 07/02/2011, County Councillor Carl Les attended an NYPA meeting at County hall, Northallerton, which is 6.9 miles from his home. Instead of claiming the expected 13.8 miles for that round trip, County Councillor Carl Les claimed 48 miles.

carl_les_map_02

 

Quite obviously, questions need to be asked by the relevant authorities and answers need to be forthcoming about County Councillor Carl Les’s five claims to determine exactly what has occurred and why the claims are significantly higher than expected.

The five examples above all relate to a series of short-haul journeys; it is not yet known what other discrepancies may come to light as a result of a complete and exhaustive audit of all of County Councillor Carl Les’s claims during his tenure at various Authorities. (County Councillor Carl Les is one of seventy-two County Councillors at North Yorkshire County Council).

Questions also need to be asked about County Councillor Carl Les’s Register of Interests, and why so much is missing from the current Register on the NYCC website.

The answers, if forthcoming, will be published here on Real Whitby.

carl_les_mileage

 

 

About the Author:

Website Admin for the Real Whitby Website. All authors of the Real Whitby Website have access to publish on the website. Individual authors will usually sign off their articles with their own names.

17 Comments

  1. kathleen parker March 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    He must like taking the pretty route! Nowt but theft!

  2. Frank Chalmers March 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    What a thief!

    ‘Douche bag’ doesn’t even come close.

  3. Tim Thorne March 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    There might be a perfectly reasonable excuse for those five claims? It certainly wasn’t picking up another person and giving them a lift to meetings as there is a column in the claim forms for that eventuality.

  4. Brian Dodds March 17, 2013 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    It appears that he enjoys taking the scenic route, but claiming almost 3 times the mileage is somewhat excessive, I would say it bears further investigation to get some answers. The way I see it, anyone who is prepared to fiddle expenses in one place is usually doing the same in other places, it needs bringing out into the open, good job Tim, well sniffed out.

  5. Longbones March 17, 2013 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Interesting…

    Taking the first four journeys of 16 miles round trip each. The claims for each journey are very close and average out at 44.75 miles claimed for each journey.

    Clearly it can be assumed that this probably takes in the same destination (s) each time. Without knowing the times in each case, but knowing that the claim on each date is a Monday must mean that there is a pattern of regular habits here.

    It will not be rocket science for anyone in that community or locality to actually know what these 44.75 (averaged) miles trips are for. Being in the position of justifying my own mileage claims many moons ago, I used to clearly separate out the official Company mileage from the times I visited family etc. on the same circuit. If Cllr Les is making official visits and not indentifying them on his claim form then in my opinion he has left himself so wide open it is unbelievable. He will have been briefed on this matter so he should know. Maybe sloppy accounting, so as you, imply it is not wise to jump to the immediate conclusions.

    • Frank Chalmers March 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      Fraudulent claims are still FRAUD.

      “sloppy accounting”, that’s not quite such a different kettle of fish. In fact, if the accountant is incompetent, they need to be sacked and a competent one found immediately.

      There should be no excuse in this day and age for this sort of behaviour.

      These are the very people who say that we “plebs” have to follow the letter of the law – well, so should they.

  6. Nigel Ward March 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    One would reasonably expect a paragon of virtue with a history of sitting on Police institutions would be at considerable pains to be squeaky clean – and to be seen to be squeaky clean. These are his shortest journeys and, in the examples provided (Leeming Bar >< Newby Wiske Hall), there is no feasible alternative route, unless by bridlepath or footpath.

    In my view, the interesting question is this:

    Given that the NYCC Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN and her staff work at County Hall (likewise, Jeremy HOLDERNESS and his staff, who worked at the now-defunct North Yorkshire Police Authority FHQ at Newby Wiske) must inevitably have local knowledge of the distances involved, how could these claim forms ever have passed scrutiny?

    What scrutiny?

    But no doubt Carole DUNN, after an inordinately long silence, will announce that she has determined that Councillors have an "entitlement" to drive round and round in circles to crank up their mileage, just as they have an "entitlement" to accept two lots of Broadban Allowance for one and the same connection.

    That may come perilously close to aiding and abetting an act of fraud.

  7. Alan March 17, 2013 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    takes the scenic route or is it called taking the peeeeeeeeeeest

  8. Longbones March 18, 2013 at 9:47 am - Reply

    You are quite right Frank, but without further detail I have been generous in my observation. I certainly am certainly not supporting Cllr Les, as he should have known about this. Certainly in the light of proof that a crime has actually been committed, my posting would have been of the most illuminating kind.

    That being said – as Nigel has said, who passes these claims forms?

    It seems to be Conservative Councillors who have been in the Limelight for this sort of thing, and I like many others are sick and tired of this quasi Political Class. But who will take this forward? Who will challenge the “Untouchables?” The Police perhaps? Maybe even the Local or National Press, or is this sort of thing so endemic that it hardly warrants half a column inch on tomorrow’s chip paper?

    What sort of Society/Community are we handing on to the next generation?

    It’s all right for some – just try putting out your bin on the wrong day!

    Well done Tim and Nigel

  9. rod mathers March 18, 2013 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Longshanks

    Can you explain to readers how this can be anything other than a case of fundamental incompetence, amounting to a dereliction of duty, on the part of the Monitoring Officer, or the staff for whom she bears ultimate responsibilty?

    It seems to me, as a layman, that either the mileage irregularities have been overlooked, or condoned.

    The latter is presumably a criminal offence?

  10. Frank Chalmers March 18, 2013 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    From: Frank Chalmers
    Sent: 17 March 2013 17:50
    To: Cllr.Carl Les
    Subject: Information Request

    Dear Councillor Les,

    I’ve just seen an article: http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/county-cllr-carl-less-nypa-mileage-irregularities

    I would like an explanation from you. Immediately.

    A reminder: you are in public service, and there’s an election coming up.

    Clear, succinct and honest explanation sir, or your resignation and retirement from politics should be immediate and now.

    I’m an elector, and I am not happy.

    I trust this email is clear enough for you to be able to fulfil this polite but important request (before the end of the day on Monday 17th March 2013).

    In sincerity,

    Francis L. Chalmers

  11. Frank Chalmers March 18, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    From: Cllr.Carl.Les@northyorks.gov.uk
    To: Frank Chalmers
    Subject: RE: Information Request
    Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 14:37:05 +0000

    Dear Mr Chalmers,

    Thank you for your e mail and the accompanying web link which I have looked at. This has given me an opportunity to review and update my register of interests, namely that I have removed my membership of the Police Authority which went out of being in November last year.

    All the other bodies noted are either County Council appointments, and therefore not covered by the rules concerning declarations of interest, or are unpaid and therefore not covered. I am the Chair of the Crime Panel, which carries an allowance, which I do not claim. I am not a board member of NyNet although I attend board meetings as an observer.

    With regard to mileage claims as listed, these journies occurred at a time when the A 684 was closed, and those of us who live on the opposite side of the Swale from Northallerton or Newby Wiske have to make a much longer round trip to cross the river at Skipton Bridge or go via Scorton.

    I trust that this is an adequate explanation to your concerns, and that you would agree that the misleading comments on the web site you refer to should be removed.

    Yours sincerely,

    Carl Les

  12. Frank Chalmers March 18, 2013 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    In the interests of being open and transparent, I have no problem with publishing this chain of correspondence. After all, it concerns John Q Taxpayer (me included).

    From: Frank Chalmers
    To: cllr.carl.les@northyorks.gov.uk
    Subject: RE: Information Request
    Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 23:19:29 +0000

    Dear Councillor Les,

    Thank you for your prompt reply – it is gratifying to know that my emails are read and responded to, long may that continue.

    I do have some points I would like to raise with you, for your response, and will raise these now.

    In your email you mention about your opportunity to review and update your register of interests.

    Is it not the case that the new Standards regime, under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011, require updates of changes in member’s Register of Interests within 28 days of the occurrence of such changes? That being the case, you are clearly flagrantly in breach of the law and of the terms of the County Councillors’ Code of Conduct, would you not agree?

    You go on to mention about “other bodies”, including the NYP&CP, and how they are not covered by the rules concerning declarations of interest. Surely, this is not strictly correct, is it? Membership (and, of course, Chairship) of the North Yorkshire Police & Crime panel is declarable whether or not you claim any Allowances. Please clarify.

    Regarding the directorships of the limited companies listed in the article, is it not the case that the NYCC Constitution requires the avoidance of conflicts of interest, and as the prime duty of all company directors is to the company (not the Council). This explains the necessity for members to declare such interests and I am curious to know why it is that not all of your company interests (some more long-standing than the statutory 28 days) appear on your Register of Interests.

    I thank you for your quick summary of the closure of the A684, and how this forced a change of route. However, for the purposes of precision (and transparency), please delineate your precise route to (and from) Leeming Bar to County Hall and Newby Wiske Hall respectively, so that an open scrutiny of your claimed mileage can be readily undertaken.

    Please provide your assertion that there are no other discrepancies in your mileage claims during your tenure as a County Councillor.

    In summary, I do not feel that your explanation is exhaustive and I hope you will be able to provide full assurance on the points I have raised, by return.

    I have not heard or read it stated that the comments on the article for which I provided the URL are misleading. That may be your opinion. The matter clearly requires minute investigation. Only then will it be possible to say that comments may have been misleading.

    I look forward to your response, and thank you in anticipation of that response for your time.

    In sincerity,

    Francis L. Chalmers

  13. Nigel Ward May 1, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    @ Frank:

    May I ask if you had any response from Councillor Carl LES? If so, would you be willing to publish it here?

  14. Steve Old November 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm - Reply
  15. Steve January 26, 2014 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    At the top of the article, the link (County Councillor Carl Les) as been removed, I wander why? It now says this….
    Sorry, the page you were looking for could not be found.

    Here are some possible reasons why:

    You may have typed the page address incorrectly.
    The page may have been moved or deleted.
    You are trying to access a consultation which has now closed.

  16. […] Les has come under scrutiny in the past over expense claim and register of interrests issues (read here) which might lead some to question as to whether he is, in fact, the right person to be holding the […]

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.