Duplicitous, Devious & Dumb ‘Double-Dipping’ Denials

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Duplicitous, Devious & Dumb ‘Double-Dipping’ Denials

An ‘In My View’ article – by Nigel Ward

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

ACTS OF CORRUPTION in public life occur in a wide variety of forms; from the large-scale, complex and sophisticated machinations of a group of influential elected members and/or paid public servants working in concert to systematically siphon off literally millions of pounds of the public purse (as in the John Poulson case), to the lone activities of the single individual exploiting an opportunity to obtain an advantage (pecuniary or otherwise) that may even be felt by that individual to be no more than the privilege that comes with exalted position.

It is a mistake to regard these latter corrupt acts as any the less reprehensible, because (in common with the former) they rest on a witting betrayal of the public trust.

The case of the ten SBC and NYCC ‘two-hatted’ Councillors presently facing charges of ‘double-dipping’ their Broadband expenses may be a case in point.

The Whitby Gazette of Friday 31st August 2012 features, on page 3, an article entitled “Councillor denies ‘double-dip’ claim”, which is not presently available on the Whitby Gazette website – which is unfortunate, but – on past form – unsurprising. No matter. The sharp end of the article states this:

  • Coun Plant. Who is now seeking legal advice, says he uses SBC equipment and the paid allowance but doesn’t have any NYCC supplied equipment and doesn’t take advantage of that scheme. He said: “I deny the allegation and following legal advice can make no further comment, so as not to jeopardise the ongoing investigation.”

The statement is carefully worded.

Please note that in his denial, Councillor Plant only denies using equipment from NYCC; he does not deny that he gets an Allowance from NYCC in addition to allowance he admits receiving from SBC; nor does he admit that the NYCC Allowance includes an integrated Broadband component in the order of £500+ per annum. He does not admit it, but that is what has occurred.

Firstly, no part of the complaint concerns itself with “equipment”. This is a total – and very skilful – red herring, distracting attention away from the real issue – the money.

The complaint is, in fact, only concerned with receipt, from SBC and NYCC, of Allowances (not equipment) paid for Broadband connectivity.

Broadband connectivity. Nothing else.

Regarding Councillor Plant’s outright denial of the allegation, it is essential to start from a clear grasp of the distinct elements of the allegation.

The SBC part of the equation is not in dispute. SBC pays a discreet Broadband Allowance of £255 per annum, completely separate from, and in addition to, the SBC Basic Allowance.

Eight of the defendants in the ‘double-dipping’ complaint have admitted receiving this payment of £255 per annum. (Two accepted lesser amounts).

The NYCC part of the equation is slightly more complex – but only slightly. Allow me to explain.

All Councillors’ Allowances are subject to the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Members’ Remuneration, in order to facilitate regular updates to allow for inflation, changes in technology and the prevailing state of market fluctuations (including Broadband costs).

In the past, NYCC paid a Broadband Allowance separately from the Basic Allowance, as follows

2005/06 – £444

2006/07 – £462

2007/08 – £474

2008/09 – £489

From 2009/10, it was determined, on the recommendation of the Independent Panel on Members’ Remuneration, to integrate the Broadband Allowance within the body of the main Basic Allowance – which increased, proportionately, to reflect the inclusion of the Broadband Allowance.

For convenience, and looking at the annual increases in the NYCC Broadband Allowance as shown above, I think it is reasonable to suggest that the Broadband Allowance for 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 must average out at circa £500+ per annum – an interpretation which is borne out by the overall increase in the Basic Allowance.

Let us be clear. This £500+ per annum from NYCC is to pay for exactly the same services as the Broadband Allowance of £255 per annum from SBC.

NYCC have made it absolutely clear that all Councillors – including Councillor Joe Plant – were informed, by means of a Guidance document, that they may elect to “renunciate all or any part” of the NYCC Basic Allowance, thus avoiding the pitfall of receiving money for the same Broadband connectivity twice (from NYCC and any other authority – in this case, SBC).

Some Councillors are claiming that they were “unaware” – (where have we heard that before? Oh, yes, in the case of the forged Companies House 288a document appointing Councillor Jane Kenyon as Company Secretary) – of the opportunity to “renunciate” the Broadband increment of their NYCC Basic Allowances.

In law, ignorance is never a defence. In any event, having been provided by NYCC with the Guidance document, they cannot plausibly claim to have been “unaware” that taking a total of £500+ from NYCC in addition to the £255 from SBC would be ‘double-dipping’.

In any case, four of the ten ‘two-hatted’ Councillors involved in the ‘double-dipping’ were present at the Meeting of 17th December 2008, at which the ‘new’ system was explained in detail – namely:

  • Councillors Andrew BACKHOUSE, John BLACKBURN, David JEFFELS and Brian SIMPSON

Seven of the ten ‘two-hatted’ Councillors involved in the ‘double-dipping’ were present at the Meeting of 16th December 2009, at which the ‘new’ system was adopted (and presumably they actually voted on that Resolution) and therefore must be expected to have thoroughly understood the ‘new’ system on which they voted, namely:

  • Councillors Andrew BACKHOUSE, John BLACKBURN, Bill CHATT, Mike COCKERILL, Joe PLANT, Peter POPPLE and Brian SIMPSON – and for any one of them to now deny that they were indeed aware of the opportunity to “renunciate all or any part” of the new composite Basic Allowance is plainly not credible.

(In fairness, Councillors Blackburn and Jeffels accepted only £54.96 of the £255 available from SBC).

  • [Also present at that meeting, incidentally, was County and Borough Councillor Jane KENYON, whose innocence in the matter of the NYCC/SBC ‘double-dipping’ was underlined in the recent Scarborough News article (attracting well over 100 comments from readers – plus many more hastily deleted, presumably for having the audacity to mention that, though innocent of the NYCC/SBC ‘double-dipping’, many other issues remain un-investigated). The truth is that Councillor Kenyon is the subject of a similar allegation that she received the Allowance for her Broadband connectivity not only from the North Yorkshire Police Authority (2009/2010: £847.22, 2010/2011: £712.15, but, following the onset of my enquiries on this topic back in March, has made no claim for 2011/2012), as well as the £500+ per annum Broadband increment within the NYCC Basic Allowance.]

They must all have been completely aware they could avoid ‘double-dipping’ simply by opting to “renunciate” either the £500+ per annum Broadband increment of their NYCC integrated Basic Allowance, or to forego the SBC £255 per annum separate Broadband Allowance (or, indeed, the £700+ per annum from the NYPA) – or, conversely, to forego the SBC £255 per annum Broadband and accept only the NYCC integrated Broadband component of £500+ per annum. Under no circumstances was it right and proper to accept both.

Nevertheless, they all wittingly did accept both – totalling over £750 per annum (or, in the case of Councillor Kenyon, £1,250+ per annum) – knowing that it was in their power NOT to accept Broadband money from both sources

Some may consider that an unnecessary and superfluous payment to ‘two-hatted’ Councillors, each to the tune of a mere £500+ per annum, is too trivial to matter. Not so.

Councillors are elected for a four-year term-in-office. That £500 per annum aggregates to £2,000 per term-in-office, per Councillor

There are ten of them at NYCC/SBC alone. The £2,000 mentioned above multiplies out to £20,000 – to say nothing of the cost of the investigation and the damage done to the reputation of both Councils.

I have had no response to my request for information regarding ‘two-hatted’ Councillors from the other six District/Borough Councils within the NYCC area of governance. I can only guess at the total number of Councillors whose ‘double-dipping’ amounts to £2,000 each over the four-year term. Extrapolating from the example of SBC, it seems plausible that the grand total could be in the region of approaching £100,000.

And that accounts only for Broadband ‘double-dipping’, sometimes involving duplicated expense claims for travel expenses – as, for example, in the little-publicised matter of Councillor ‘Bill’ Miller’s double-entry book-keeping spree at Newby & Scalby Parish Council in February last year, when a “lack of information in minutes, in which those receiving awards were not named, was also discovered in the audit.” Our thanks to the Scarborough News for exposing the way in which the Public Record was manipulated, thereby concealing the wrong-doing even from other Councillors. No charges were brought.

I must make special mention, too, of NYCC/SBC/EPC Councillor Brian Simpson – one of the seven actually present when the ‘new’ system of integrating the NYCC Broadband Allowance into the NYCC Basic Allowance was adopted, and thus in no position to plead ignorance, even if a plea of ignorance held any validity, which, as I have explained earlier, it does not.

Councillor Brian Simpson, having recently published a ‘Personal Statement’ of denial on his own website, has now seen fit to remove that denial. I reproduce it here in the public interest:

Personal Statement

A recent news story regarding internet allowances for Council members has caused both confusion and given a false impression of how things stand.I strongly refute any suggestion that I have acted either improperly or fraudulently in my role as both a member of the County Council or the Borough Council.

I would like to make it clear that I have never physically claimed any internet expenses from either Scarborough Borough Council or North Yorkshire County Council.

Both Councils paid an internet allowance automatically to their members be it part of basic allowance or a separate allowance.
I have NOT received any allowance that I am not entitled to. I have spoken to both the County Council and Borough respective legal services and I am confident of a positive outcome to recent concerns raised by a member of the public.

Cllr Brian Simpson

Clearly, Councillor Simpson is apparently so supremely confident that he has since thought better of his initial determination to deny any wrong-doing; again, one suspects ‘on legal advice’. Given that the Public Record shows that Councillor Simpson has indeed accepted Broadband money from both Councils, the sentence I have NOT received any allowance that I am not entitled to” clearly asserts that he thinks that he is entitled to have done so – that ‘double-dipping’ is perfectly acceptable. Not to me, it is not.

Returning to Councillor Joe Plant (best known as Councillor Jane Kenyon’s protegé and co-host at her regular ‘surgeries’ at Whitby Library) and his outright denial of the ‘double-dipping’ allegation, it is difficult to imagine why he has not simply held up his hands to say “It’s a fair cop, Guv!”

The Public Record presents no ambiguity on the matter; the Councillors were either personally aware of the conditions attached to the Allowances system, or had been made aware through the medium of the Guidance document. Nevertheless, they took the money. That is ‘double-dipping’. Case made.

Like the other nine ‘double-dippers’ (ten, if one includes Councillor Kenyon), Councillor Plant could (and in my view, should) return the money and publish a open and contrite apology for having taken unfair advantage of his position – and pray fervently that the matter goes no further.

The NYCC, SBC and NYPA Monitoring Officers also face an unenviable situation. By rights, they should report to the North Yorkshire Police Major Fraud Investigating Team, whose remit it is (in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service) to determine whether or not the fact that the ‘double-dipping’ has indeed taken place constitutes a criminal offence, suitable for prosecution.

That said, the reader may feel it is difficult to imagine the North Yorkshire Police Major Fraud Investigating Team bringing charges against a figure so close to home as the Chair of their Police Authority.

Me too!

In closing, readers who find my particular style of investigative journalism (exposing corruption, in the public interest, and holding to account errant elected representatives and paid public servants) are directed to the many other interesting articles and images available here on Real Whitby. Enjoy!


Related reading:

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/double-dipping-an-update-by-tim-thorne

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/local-councilors-broadband-expense-claims-by-tim-thorne

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/bad-apples-in-my-view-by-nigel-ward

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/bar-simpson-scarborough-cllr-brian-simpson-in-spat-with-constituenc-residents

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/councillor-brian-simpson-eastfield-hes-at-it-again

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/jane-kenyon-some-things-you-may-not-know


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.

42 Comments

  1. Roundup | Nominedeus September 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    […] More can be found at THE REAL WHITBY […]

  2. Derek Robinson September 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    This is typical of the whole political spectrum at the moment,the fact that the majority of these councillors are conservative ,there should be some questions to answer for Tom Fox,Robert Goodwill and David Cameron.
    Please do not hold your breath waiting for this to happen and dont hold out that the Whitby Gazette will do any investigating it could not even publish the names of ALL the councillors who are double dipping one prominent name was missing from the article )I wonder if the readers can guess which one).
    In closing I would send a message to the people of Whitby who are as appalled as Iam ,to get of your backsides and do something about it (Its YOUR money they are getting for supposedly representing YOU).

  3. Jane Swales September 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

    This is a very straight forward situation.

    Unless these people can produce receipts showing that they have set up TWO SEPARATE Broadband facilities (one for SBC and one for NYCC) then they are THEIVES.

    Worse than than that, that have STOLEN from their employers – US!

    They should then be thrown out, disbarred from ever seeking office, and PROSECUTED. No discussion necessary.

  4. Tim Thorne September 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Once this Broadband double claiming has been sorted out then its onto the next lot. In Scarborough there are husband and wife teams of Councillors. Council Leader Tom Fox and his wife have both claimed the SBC allowance in the same financial year. This year they were joined by Conservative Group Leader Derek Bastimann and his wife Lynn. They’ve been asked to pay it back, but they just delegated the response to a senior officer of SBC. You couldn’t write it…

    More on both here:

    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/local-councilors-broadband-expense-claims-by-tim-thorne
    http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/double-dipping-an-update-by-tim-thorne

    • Jane Swales September 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      So that makes 15 out of 50 at SBC, plus the Billy Miller/Brian Watson double-act at Newby parish. And that must be considered a sub-total. How many more are there?

  5. admin September 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    A frightfully long and elaborately worded article. As always this concerns me as the idea of Real Whitby is to bring Real Issues to the people. I’m sure a lot of people wont read much further than the first few lines before being beaten by the language used and the length of the article.

    Without wanting to upset Nigel too much I do worry this type of article goes over most readers heads.

    I was tempted to read no further than the first paragraph. However I did read on as I wanted to understand just what is being said here.

    In brief I feel those who are chasing up this double dipping story should put a very simple and specific question to Mr Plant and anyone else who denies claiming 2 broadband allowances (or more) for the same single broadband connection.

    As Nigel rightly points out, it appears to me (on reading the given information) that Mr Plant, aided by our local paper The Gazette, is attempting to put up a smoke screen around the “Double Dipping” claims by speaking about equipment. In all the articles I have read, no-one has ever claimed Mr Plant, or any of the other councilors is claiming for 2 sets of equipment.

    The simple question is (and this applies to all councillors who sit on Both Scarborough And North Yorkshire Councils) – “Have you claimed a broadband allowance from both councils ?” If the answer is no, then you can hold your head up high and say I’m fine, nothing to worry about.

    Infact please let us know and we will publish your letter on the site for all our readers to see.

    If the answer is yes, then you should admit to a mistake and pay back the money, at the same time remembering that council taxes are increasing, council salaries are decreasing and council jobs and services to vulnerable members of our society are being cut.

    If you have claimed twice for broadband, then you have made a profit from the council and taken away money from people and services who require it. However you look at it, this is not good.

    • Al Roberts September 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

      Although Nigel’s article may be regarded as frightfully long and elaborate, unfortunately that is the way local authorities appear to operate by couching their official statements, reports, correspondence etc, perhaps in an attempt to provoke the reaction you quote, “I’m sure a lot of people wont read much further than the first few lines before being beaten by the language used”.

      Rightly or wrongly Nigel has, by adopting that same strategy of council gobbledygook, wrongfooted these authorities who cannot respond in any way without incriminating themselves, hence their silence.

      While it would be desirable to ask questions in simple terms if I may, with respect, use your suggested simple question as an example of how it would be welcomed by the authorities.

      1. “Have you claimed a broadband allowance from both councils ?” If the answer is no, then you can hold your head up high and say I’m fine, nothing to worry about.
      I suspect that the answer to a question as simple as this would indeed be “NO”, and so in your estimation they could “hold their head up high and say Im fine”

      If however the question was “Did you receive a broadband allowance from both councils?” I suspect that this would elicit a different reply of, YES.

      Sorry if I appear pedantic however I do believe that absolute accuracy is the only strategy Nigel can and does use to find a chink in the armour of ambiguity that councils rely upon.

      • admin September 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        I would agree fully that Nigel has become a scholar of “Council gobbledygook”. This has taken him a great deal of his personal time, and as you rightly suggest it is a good way to correspond with council members fully conversant in “Council gobbledygook”. HOWEVER, another skill is much needed here, The Skill of Translating “Council gobbledygook” into Laymans terms. If the Average reader of Real Whitby understood “Council gobbledygook” then they could easily speak to the council themselves, and also fully understand what Nigel is saying. However most people, 90%+ will not have a clue what is being said. As you and others rightly point out, this is a very clever tactic of councils and politicians as a whole, they seek to baffle you with bullshit and make the systems and consultations so bloody difficult to understand that all but the most dedicated of individuals will drop out of the process. My concern here is that we are publishing our articles in “Council gobbledygook”, thus perpetuating situation where, people dont understand, get fed up, and drop out. Indeed I am interested in many of the political issues, yet I dont read many of Nigels articles for the very reason they are written in the gobbledygook that I find so difficult to take on board. Again myself and Nigel have discussed this at length. What the answer is, I havent a clue. We have with Real Whitby, an opportunity, never before known in the town, an opportunity to take political issues into the front rooms of Whitby people via our website and social media pages. The site has a good readership of between 15,000 and 20,000 unique individuals a month. In the right hands, this is a very powerful tool. Make no mistake about that, The council, its elected members, The Police Force, The Masons, and most importantly the people of the town are coming here to read what is being said. Whilst the former may understand “Council gobbledygook” the latter wont, Somehow we must find a way of translating these articles into something that laypeople will understand and want to engage with. If we get it wrong then we have missed a great opportunity. Food for thought ??

  6. Ron L September 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Admin – Why worry about upsetting Mr Ward?
    He is only using the site to serve his own political agendas and to conduct his own personal vendettas.
    If he was not allowed to post his venom on here you might get more ‘Real Whitby’ people contributing.

  7. admin September 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Hi Ronnie, I actually believe in most of what Nigel is saying. I’m wondering how you could possibly see it any other way. If a councilor is claiming twice for something then surely that is wrong ? How could you possibly justify a situation where people claim £1000+ for broadband when you and I both know Broadband only costs between £200 and £300 a year. How could you argue that taking this money from the council is acceptable ? To me anyone who thinks that is acceptable in the current economic climate is quite frankly, Morally bankrupt. I do believe that many elected councilors are taking the proverbial and this needs addressing. Its not what Nigel is saying I have concerns about, its how it is presented that worries me. Long drawn out articles with use of elaborate language and grammar is going to go way over the head of Joe average on Baxtergate. I fear they will leave the page within the first paragraph. These are the people who need to know what the people they elected are actually up to. I accept your point of view and see it is one that others may well subscribe to. However I dont and when I go out for a drink in town on an evening or to visit friends, they have nothing but praise for the site and Nigel. These are the people I care about and these are the people this site is aimed at.

  8. Sarraceniac September 5, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I suppose that if Ron L had his way people who have the misfortune not to actually live in Whitby shouldn’t be allowed to give their views here and I suppose that, as the site is really geared towards Whitby, he has a point. The trouble is Mr.L. that we are all part of the Borough of Scarborough, whether we like it or not and unfortunately the greater Borough council not only has a rather cliquey and out for itself, in the sense of the members, make-up but also is supposed to work for all of us. This is nothing new, even before the greater Borough council was created the town of Scarborough was run by an ‘elite’ of businessmen most of whom were sea-front traders of questionable ethics. The voters of Scarborough and Whitby really are not dissimilar in that most of them just want a quite life and as long as those in office do not do anything too financially outrageous and don’t encourage too many nasty young people, who have no idea about entertaining themselves with afternoon tea and light classical music on the sea front, to settle in the town then that is OK with them. Of course these people couldn’t see that in the 2000s the very insularity of the Borough would make it a haven for genuine disreputables. Maybe they thought that if they ignored them then they would go away?

    Whitby town has managed to keep just enough independence to encourage things like the regatta, the folk festival and the Goth weekends. They would be unheard of 20 miles south of you. Needless to say though it looks as if the ‘I can make a few quick bucks’ brigade are trying to hijack at least some of these events. As I have admitted before on your pages, I know little of the internal politics of Whitby but as I read ‘Real Whitby’ I am finding out that there are really not many differences between the two towns when it comes to strange behaviour from civic leaders. I have known for years that the tax payers of Scarborough are being taken for a ride, I can also produce evidence. But when I tried putting that evidence on SN’s web-site I found key postings mysteriously being removed without any notification. None of it was libelous or untrue, I just couldn’t make some points or even ask some questions. This is true for many people who wanted to point out some immoral (in the loosest sense) behaviour. Like Ms. Gerada is now, I was once a member of Eastfield Parish Council but if I questioned behaviour of some of our Borough or County representatives it was never mentioned in SEN’s reports. After I resigned in disgust at their behaviour, which Ms. Gerada has now discovered for herself, I only went back as a member of the public once. That was when the Chief Constable at the time, the famously clean Della Cannings, came to answer questions accompanied by a certain inspector from Scarborough. When I started to ask my question I was told by the chair, a certain Brian Simpson that this was not relevant and Ms. Cannings then said she would get the accompanying inspector to write to me with a full report. I’m still waiting. About 10 years I think.

    Now, in view of Whitby’s connections with the North Yorks. police authority and reports on this site, my question (I think it was about showers) was clearly relevant, if not to EPC, then to all voters in the Borough except perhaps Cllr. Simpson and his clique. So I certainly want to thank you all for giving us a voice. As John Donne said ‘No man is an island’ and as David Cameruin said ‘We are all in this together’. I think Mr Donne actually meant it.

  9. Ron L September 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Admin – I have no desire whatsoever to detract from any of the praise you receive for the site. I think it is great and I visit it every day.
    I was a visitor to the site long before I started to comment.
    Anyone searching the site in depth will soon realise that there seems to be a bit of an obsession, (from Mr Ward), towards Councillor Kenyon.
    As you state, the way some of the items are presented is a concern.
    It looks like a personal vendetta and a witch hunt in many instances.
    What if someone started a web site called for instance ‘Unreal Whitby’ and used it as a personal vendetta mechanism against Mr Ward?
    Would he like that? I think not?
    I’m sorry admin, but the site has been hijacked by a few agitators and is the worse for it.
    Also, for the record, I have twice referred issues to Councillor Kenyon that I thought she would be able to assist me with in her role as a County Councillor.
    In both instances, both my wife and I, and the other residents of Whitby involved, were highly satisfied with her professionalism and her handling of the issues.

  10. Richard Ineson September 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Many people with whom I come into contact, share Nigel Ward’s concerns about the conduct of certain Councillors and the conduct of Council and Police Authority business. Nigel does not seem to be, in my view, conducting a personal vendetta or pursuing his own political agenda, he is asking questions concerning the probity of elected representatives of the people and the conduct of Council and Police Authority business, in doing so, he is doing every resident of the area a service. As has been said many times, if the people to whom he refers have any explanation of their conduct, why do they not put it before the public? They have as much right to put their case, here, on this site as anyone else, and they can be sure that it will not be blocked or edited in any way. The ball is in their court.

  11. admin September 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    @ Ron L And Richard. This is my own personal belief. I am not saying this is right or wrong. I actually agree with you both. I do believe that Nigel could quite easily be perceived as Vindictive. This in no way means I believe he is being Vindictive, infact if I thought he was then he would no longer be publishing anything on Real Whitby. However, perception is another matter entirely. Myself and Nigel have discussed this at length on many occasions. The Difference in perceiving Nigel’s articles as “Vindictive”, or “In The Better Interest Of Whitby People” is a very fine line, and once crossed to the wrong side, will be a very difficult one to readdress, I am concerned that the line may have already been crossed, but time will tell on that one. I believe that what Nigel has published is 100% factual and correct, indeed he is very meticulous in his research. My concern is, that if the debate becomes more about peoples perceptions of the author rather than the content of his articles, then the battle is all but lost. In direct Response To Ron L, I am very pleased you enjoy the site and I am happy to have a contributor who comes at things from a different perspective to the usual brigade on here. What I must say is that you appear to not have replied to the questions I put to you in my last comment. Indeed this article is about the rights and wrongs of accepting sums of money around the £1000 per annum mark for a broadband connection that we know only costs around £300. It would be good if you could perhaps let me know what your thoughts are on this particular matter ?

  12. Ron L September 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Richard Ineson – Have a good look through his posts relating to Jane Kenyon.
    Sorry Richard, but in my view, and people I come into contact with, they have vendetta written right through them.

  13. Ron L September 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Admin – A very good reply to myself and Richard.
    I agree that the issues relating to the broadband charges warrant investigation but surely the relevant authorities, in these times of austerity, will investigate and act on the issue if they deem it important enough to do so?
    Wouldn’t raising a complaint to the relevant Ombudsman bring the matter to a conclusion, one way or the other?

    • Tim Thorne September 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      As one of this site’s ‘agitators’ I don’t hold out much hope that the civil servants (who report to local politicians) investigating other local politicians will ultimately come to a conclusion that all of the Councillors involved haven’t done anything wrong.

      Perhaps the Ombudsman would give a different decision, but I don’t have any faith in the system that would give me any hope they would. I know a better way to test this out, get a group of people selected at random from the electoral register, call them the standards committee, get them to listen to the evidence and let them decide for us.

      As for the Jane Kenyon stuff, Nigel asks some very searching questions about the Chairman of the Police Authority. Reading this website it appears she either may have helped cover up a crime or failed to report that crime out of loyalty to that person who committed it. If the person in charge of the Authority has gotten away with a crime and the Police Force decided it would be best not to air that laundry in public at this time, then it is outrageous to suggest Nigel is in any way vindictive. We need to have faith in the higher echelons of our Police Force.

  14. admin September 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    You would hope so. I struggle to know if its the council at fault for designing the system, The councilors for taking the money, or both. Whichever, you would hope that it wont be allowed to happen in the next financial year.

  15. Derek robinson September 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Hi to one and all it is great that so many local people are now joining the debate a debate that is being held on the real Whitby website(because the gazette is burying its head in the sand)I have been following the debate with interest and the odd comment and I respect every contributors comments,the issue for me is not about individual councillors but if you look at the amount of factual information that has been revealed(from the public record) the requests to both councils monitoring bodies and those of the police authority the freedom of information requests that have been made (and not been complied with despite it being a legal requiremnt)and references to the relevant ombudsmen detailing the allegations against both elected and unelected people,nobody has as yet given an answer or looking at it from the other side none of these bodies has come out in support of the councillors this just does not make any sense to me at all you cannot just keep burying your head in the sand the allegations are serious enough to warrant an instant reply or an instant denial.
    So it is great that so many people are taking part in the debate maybe it will get the ball rolling,,sorry for the long rambling post ,but keep the debate going

  16. Petra September 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    How a person can not say Nigel’s posting are not relevant and vindictive is beyond me. Who pays for these Councillors? We do, the folk of the Borough of Scarborough. That includes those from Whitby just as the voting of Whitby Councillors effects us in Scarborough.

    Nigel along with others have uncovered information which others appear to want to remain hidden.

    You only have to look at the amount of deleted comments on The Scarborough News to realise that something is not right. More so when the comments that went were copies of information regarding the policies of NYCC broadband payments. Nothing that could effect a fair and thorough investigation although having them hidden enables those involved to get away with saying I didn’t know.

    Nigel’s posting are factual and thorough and I say keep up the good work because I don’t want anyone making decisions on my behalf if they have been involved in practices worthy of the type of people I avoid. and take my money whilst doing so.

    • admin September 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      Hi Petra, you mention comments going missing from the Scarborough Evening News Site. Could you give us some more information, maybe we should run an article on it. Has anyone inquired why the comments have been removed ?

  17. Sarraceniac September 6, 2012 at 5:48 am

    @admin. Yes. I have had some of my comments about the dealings at Eastfield, Not just about Cllr. Simpson but also Cllr. Proudfoot’s company trying to stop a new store opening on Eastway, deleted and so I queried it with the admin. ‘No answer,’ was the stern reply. If I could post some of them again I would do so and send you copies but unfortunately my registration on the SN site seems to have been lost. I did ask a friend of mine, a retired solicitor, to look over a couple of the early ones and he said ‘Legitimate political comment and not libelous by any standards’. Oh and on Nigel Ward’s apparent ‘obsession’ can I just say that I also give the impression of being obsessed, in my case with Eastfield Lib-Dems but that is not true. I just know them best so that is who I complain about most. Nowadays I actually don’t like anybody in politics very much.

  18. petra September 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Admin, most noted comments deleted were on the investigation into the double amount of expences claimed by some Councillors. One from a person who has been commenting for years and pointed out that 4 Councillors were at the meeting which approved the changes in the way NYCC band there expences. I emailed Johnstone press headquaters in Edinburgh. Who quickly passed it on to Asquith who sent me this email.

    Dear Mrs Howden Thank you for your message A number of comments have been blocked for a variety of editorial reasons. Could you please remind me of the nom de plume you were using. Editor

  19. Nigel Ward September 7, 2012 at 8:43 am

    For the avoidance of doubt; my articles are based entirely on an examination of the Public Record – I have all the facts at my fingertips. My critics do not. They are merely speculating, without foundation.

    My articles thus far have addressed only a very few of the matters (and people) presently under investigation. Many elected members and paid public servants are presently under investigation. My strategy as to the order in which these matters are exposed is entirely a matter for me – certainly not a matter for those who have had no sight of the evidence. I should have thought it obvious that Lord Maginnis of Drumglass would not lend his support to the exposure of corruption in North Yorkshire if it was on a personal or vindictive basis.

    Misplaced loyalty to those guilty of wrong-doing is only a short step away from collusion. It makes good sense to suspect the motives of those who continue to repeat absurd speculations without having examined the evidence. Read the articles carefully. If I had stated falsehoods, I would (quite rightly) be sued for libel.

    Any allegations arising from matters of Public Record are made not by any specific individual; rather, they are made by the Public Record itself – that is the reason for keeping a Public Record; so that concerned members of the public may scrutinise the actions of elected representatives and paid public servants, not on the basis of wild speculation, but on the basis of the recorded facts. If those facts expose wrong-doing, concerned members of the public are absolutely justified in bringing discrepancies to the attention of the authorities. In my view, they should be encouraged to do so. Most reasonable people are able to recognise that fact.

    It should be remembered, for example, that it was Councillor Kenyon who first made the allegation that her signature on the Companies House 288a document had been forged. The record shows that the NYMNPA Complaint Determination Sub-Committee of the Standards Committee concurred with NYCC Deputy Monitoring Officer Stephen Knight in his view that Councillor Kenyon’s claim was true – the signature had been forged. Their Decision Notice, signed off by the chair – Colin Langley – is the Public record of that fact.

    The record shows, too, that the sole credible suspect of that forgery must be her partner, ‘Bill’ Miller – because the Companies House document is countersigned by him – and nobody else has been recorded as ever having laid hands on the document. To point this out publicly cannot be characterised as ‘vindictive’.

    Facts cannot be ‘vindictive’ – only people.

    Repetitive groundless speculations that pursuit of justice is ‘vindictive’ are, quite simply, ludicrous – and may be construed as being ‘vindictive’ in themselves.

  20. Sarraceniac September 7, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Well said Nigel.

  21. Stakesby Legs September 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I’ll second that. Great work. Keep it up, Nigel.

  22. Jon Risdon September 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    It is very easy to lose sight of the basics in these situations, and especially when party affiliations are thrown into the mix, the whole picture can become very muddy.

    Greed is a reprehensible human characteristic; nearly all of us [and I would not dream of claiming that I am immune] demonstrate it at various times, but it is possible to recognise it and work to avoid it; unfortunately, in public life, it seems to have become institutionalised and, as with racism in the police force, until there is a consensual will to eradicate it, it will continue.

    It should not be seen as a right for individuals to publicise wrong-doing on the part of public officials: it is a duty, and accusations of ‘victimisation’ or ‘vendetta’ will only ever be possible, however inappropriate, when those accused of impropriety refuse to answer charges, whether official or public. When public officials realise how much they are degrading all of humanity by their behaviour and adopt an approach to their work of honesty & integrity, there will be no need for ‘finger-pointing’ or ‘whistle-blowing’; you don’t have to be religious to work out the difference between right and wrong, whether you’re a prince or a pauper, but hiding behind a wall of silence and claiming ‘official’ protection is wrong, pure & simple.

  23. Ron L September 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    “Me Thinks He Doth Protest Too Much.”

    • F L C September 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      @Ron L.

      It might be just me, but reading through the comments you have put on this page, and others on this site, it seems to me that you have an ‘agenda’ (or vendetta?) of your own.

      An agenda against Nigel Ward.

      I can’t say I always agree with what Nigel has to say, but then no one always agrees with what I say too.

      I do agree with Nigel wholeheartedly, that these people working for the public should be scrutinised and examined very closely. Especially where there seems to be evidence of wrongdoing. Most especially when the “authorities” refuse to investigate when evidence is brought to them…

      I don’t see any vendetta on Nigel’s part. I do see a need to conduct an investigation into questionable behaviour and practices of people who are allegedly “upright” and “responsible”.

    • Stakesby Legs September 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      Uncalled for comments removed by Admin. This is your first and only warning. Anymore and your gone.

  24. rhajibuhga September 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Better to protest to much, than in the case of Kenyon & Co not to protest at all.
    Their silence speaks volumes.

  25. admin September 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Round and round and round. You’ll go on forever you lot. A simple solution. Take each article in Isolation. Each article addresses one or 2 specific points (albeit in a very long winded format) ask a very simple question, is the article asking questions that the public should be concerned about and feel should be answered. Ronnie already confirmed above that someone should look into the broadband expenses scenario, which is the issue raised in this article. Now go through each article and ask the questions. As far as I can see, all are justified. Also remember when getting drawn into these debates. Long drawn out responses, trying to prove your right and others are wrong do you no favours at all. To those reading from the outside it begins to look like a playground slanging match. Never argue with a fool as those looking on will have trouble understanding who the fool actually is. I have removed unpleasant and insulting comments from Stakesby Legs. If there is any more of it they will be added to the sites comment blacklist. Its uncalled for and not welcome. Grow up.

  26. Ron L September 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you Admin.
    You are handling things well and in a neutral manner.

  27. Ron L September 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    F L C – I have no agenda against Nigel Ward.
    I have an opinion and that opinion is that Mr Ward is an agitator and a trouble maker.
    If he was not causing trouble in Whitby, he would be causing it elsewhere.
    Have a look at the ‘Free Whitby’ video that is available on You Tube.
    Anyone watching that must think that Whitby People are a right bunch of doyles if they think that is representative of the general Whitby population.
    Come on people, wake up, I am obviously not a member of The Nigel Ward fan club because I was born here and have lived here all my life and I understand what Whitby is all about,
    Mr Ward does not.
    Are ‘Real Whitby People’ going to be misled by this so called ‘Activist”.
    Ignore him and he might just up sticks and go and spread his propaganda somewhere else.
    Hopefully away from this fine town of Whitby in this fine County of Yorkshire.

  28. Sarraceniac September 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Agree Ron. That is the way to deal with things that are against editorial policy or are getting out of hand. Not to just mysteriously disappear comments as if they never existed. Ah well, back to planet earth.:o

  29. Sarraceniac September 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Whoops. Sorry, agree with the 5.02 p.m.posting. The 5.21 one seems to be sending us round in the same circles.

  30. Ron L September 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Peter – yes he is an agitator and a trouble maker.
    Over to you.

  31. Ron L September 7, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Admin – that must have been some comment from ‘Stakesby Legs’ !

  32. admin September 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Peter – yes he is an agitator and a trouble maker.

    Can I just highlight that this is an opinion, a personal perspective, a comment, a personal belief. Not necessarily a fact. People should be aware that as admin I get masses of emails and phonecalls asking me to remove comments that don’t agree with articles on the site or aren’t 100% provable beyond doubt. I find this very tiresome indeed and at these times I often think of pulling the plug on the politics section. I really cant believe how some grown ups behave. My belief is that everyone is entitled to an opinion. So long as your not rude, threatening or abusive you are allowed to disagree with Nigel, myself or any other site author and contributor. I may not agree with Ron’s comments but he is fully entitled to his own opinion and to express it. I will close this to comments now as we have deviated a long way from the original topic, and most importantly I want to watch the football with my children rather than reading petty arguments on here.

  33. Ron L September 7, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Blah

  34. Ron L September 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Blah, Blah !

  35. […] For those that don’t remember a number of Council Member elected to both Authorities have been receiving monies from both Authorities for Internet & Broadband Expenses. Some have received in excess of £750 per annum or £60+ a month for something that costs most of us considerably less. There are other articles which flesh it out further here, here and here. […]

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