Local Councilors Broadband Expense Claims By Tim Thorne

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Local Councilors Broadband Expense Claims By Tim Thorne

Here are those Councillor Broadband expenses in full. The sources for the information are listed below if you wish to confirm them against my figures.

Councillor

2010/11

2009/10

2008/9

2007/8

2006/7

BACKHOUSE G A (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

BACKHOUSE G A (NYCC)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

BACKHOUSE G A (TOTAL)

£756.23

£756.23

£744.00

£729.00

£717.00

BLACKBURN J S (SBC)

£54.96

£54.96

£54.96

£54.96

£54.96

BLACKBURN J S (NYCC)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

BLACKBURN J S (TOTAL)

£556.19

£556.19

£543.96

£528.96

£516.96

BROADBENT E (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

BROADBENT E (NYCC)

N/A

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

BROADBENT E (TOTAL)

£255.00

£756.23

£744.00

£729.00

£717.00

CHATT W (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

CHATT W (NYCC)

£501.23

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

CHATT W (TOTAL)

£756.23

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

COCKERILL M J (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£233.06

£0.00

COCKERILL M J (NYCC)

£501.23

N/A

N/A

N/A

£0.00

COCKERILL M J (TOTAL)

£756.23

£255.00

£255.00

£233.06

£0.00

JEFFELS D C (SBC)

£54.96

£54.96

£121.64

£255.00

£255.00

JEFFELS D C (NYCC)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

JEFFELS D C (TOTAL)

£556.19

£556.19

£610.64

£729.00

£717.00

JEFFERSON J (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

JEFFERSON J (NYCC)

£501.23

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

JEFFERSON J (NYPA)

£0.00

£0.00

N/A

N/A

N/A

JEFFERSON J (TOTAL)

£756.23

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

KENYON J M (SBC)

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

KENYON J M (NYCC)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

KENYON J M (NYPA)

£712.15*

£847.22*

N/A

N/A

N/A

KENYON J M (TOTAL)

£1,213.38

£1,348.45

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

MARSBURG P (SBC)

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

N/A

MARSBURG P (NYCC)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

MARSBURG P (TOTAL)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

PLANT J N (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

PLANT J N (NYCC)

£501.23

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

PLANT J N (TOTAL)

£756.23

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

POPPLE P (SBC)

£245.00

£54.96

£54.96

£54.96

£54.96

POPPLE P (NYCC)

£501.23

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

POPPLE P (TOTAL)

£746.23

£54.96

£54.96

£54.96

£54.96

SIMPSON B (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

SIMPSON B (NYCC)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

SIMPSON B (TOTAL)

£756.23

£756.23

£744.00

£729.00

£717.00

TINDALL W H (SBC)

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

£0.00

TINDALL W H (NYCC)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

TINDALL W H (TOTAL)

£501.23

£501.23

£489.00

£474.00

£462.00

*There is an FOI request outstanding for the details of the ‘Telephone & Broadband’ expenses claimed by Miss Kenyon as part of her NYPA work. It may well be that the expenses are solely for telephone calls, but if that is the case this article will be updated to reflect that when the FOI request has been answered.

Councillor

2010/11

2009/10

2008/9

2007/8

2006/7

FOX T W (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

FOX R (SBC)

£255.00

£255.00

£255.00

£227.58

N/A

FOX HOUSEHOLD TOTAL

£510.00

£510.00

£510.00

£482.58

£255.00

Source: http://www.scarborough.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=12242

Source: http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=11138

Source: http://www.nypa.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=736

Those figures don’t make for pleasant reading at all. There are just so many things to complain about here. Why on earth are Councillors claiming two allowances? Is that a crime? Why are Local Authorities giving credence to the completely out-of-touch deliberations of the so-called Independent Renumeration Committees and implementing their recommendations? Why are NYCC Councillors being given an allowance of £500 quid a year when the real cost of a decent broadband connection is under half of that? Why do these Civil Servants let the waste of public funds continue unabated? Didn’t it strike anyone that two Councillors living at the same address and both claiming the same allowance from the same Local Authority is not right? Is that fraud? Why did that legitimate complaint about Councillor conduct get ignored?

The basic allowance reflects the expectation that Members make available a broadband connection so that they can receive information from the County Council and othersby email, and more generally make use of the IT facilities provided to them.

Source: http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=12696&p=0

The claiming of expenses for Broadband by Councillors started in 2001/2 for North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and 2003/4 for Scarborough Borough Council (SBC). In June 2001 Broadband eventually hit Scarborough’s Prospect Road exchange and the take up of Broadband started. And not before time, seven years of dial up and ISDN was soooo frustrating! Prices for ADSL Broadband were generally £30 a month for a 512Kbps line to start, but as the underlying technology changed and BT completed the upgrades of their wholesale ADSL networks, prices dropped and speeds increased rapidly with people able to get Broadband for less than £10 a month today and in most cases 20 times faster than the original 2001 512Kbps headline speeds.

In 2001 NYCC agreed to pay £285 a year for ICT Expenses which were paid as part of the Councillor’s Basic Allowance. That figure remained static until 2005/6 when it was raised to £444 upon the recommendation received from their Independent Renumeration Committee (IRC). It is known at this time that the basic allowance DID include the Broadband Allowance or ICT Portion because a couple of Councillors have refused to take that part of the allowance for whatever reason. This was documented in their yearly Statement of Accounts for Members which is listed as a source above. Each year since 2005/6 the Broadband Allowance was raised in step with the Basic Allowance. In other words, as broadband prices were rapidly decreasing through the last decade NYCC and their IRC didn’t keep the Broadband Allowance in check with reality.

In 2009/10 NYCC made a change to the Broadband Allowance. No longer would the ICT portion be a separate element that could be refused, it was now a composite part of the Basic Allowance. It should be noted that the ICT portion was valued as £489 in 2008/9 in the Annual Report. No longer will NYCC define the ICT portion in monetary terms, therefore I have increased value of it in line with the rise in the Basic Allowance as NYCC have done in years gone by to arrive at the value of £501.23 for 2010/11. I believe it is still possible for an elected member to renounce any part of the Basic Allowance they wish, but I currently can’t find the documentation on their website.

Doesn’t it smack of arrogance that at the height of the current recession NYCC Councillors ended up with a pay rise way above the rate of inflation on the recommendation of their Independent Renumeration Committee all whilst NYCC employees were beginning to face years of pay freezes? As Orwell pointed out some people are indeed more equal than others.

I hate to say it but the approach of Scarborough Borough Council to same expense payment seems almost professional by comparison. Each elected member may claim up to £255 a year for Broadband which is probably about the right price for a business grade Broadband connection. That figure has been the same since 2004/5.

When you look down the list of expense payments for SBC Councillors you can see that the majority claim the full amount for Broadband. Some claim nothing. Some claim £54.96, but the majority claim the full amount. Do you really believe that all those Councillors use the Internet solely for SBC business? It begins to look as if the SBC Internet Allowance is being treated as a perk rather than the expense it should be. If a Councillor only uses the Internet for Council business I am perfectly happy for them to claim the allowance. If the Councillor is part of a household that uses the Internet then why on earth are they claiming the full amount from the tax payer? Isn’t that dishonest?

When you dig a little deeper into the SBC figures you will see the current Council Leader, Tom Fox and his wife who was also an elected member for one term, were both claiming the Broadband Allowance for an address they share. Not being the type of person to keep quiet about this I made a complaint to the relevant department at SBC. I received the following in reply:

The Committee determined to take no action on the complaint in relation to Councillor Tom Fox as under the Member’s Allowance Scheme Council has determined on the advice of the Independent Remuneration Panel that a fixed sum of money be provided toward the telecommunications and internet connection costs of each member.

Source: http://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=16454

When you look more closely at the payments made by SBC to elected members for Internet Allowance you will see that in fact sixteen of the fifty Councillors didn’t claim the full amount. The dismissal of this quite legitimate complaint is obviously politically motivated. Good to have friends on the relevant committees I guess!

Are Local Authority finances just one big cess pool?

Update: Comment posted October 19 2012

Just had a look at the figures regarding one of the Councillors listed. Cllr David Billing should not be on this list. I’ve mistakenly put in that he received a full allowance from NYCC in 2009/10. He did not. He received a part allowance for 66 days from NYCC and he also claimed a part allowance from SBC for the other 299 days, so was only ever claiming from one Authority whilst being a dual-hatted Councillor.

Sir, my apologies to you for getting this wrong. Your conduct in the matter of Broadband allowances has been completely above board and I apologise for getting it wrong. I’ll ask the site admin to get the article updated and add an apology further up the page.

By |2013-11-12T13:41:20+00:00April 9th, 2012|Categories: Featured, Letters, News, NYCC, Time Counters|Tags: , , , |31 Comments

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31 Comments

  1. J.G.Harston April 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    “Why on earth are Councillors claiming two allowances?”
    Because they are members of two authorites. When I was a member of a unitary authority I noticed that my salary was the same as somebody being a member of both North Yorkshire *and* Scarborough, which is what the job is essentially the equivalent of. A unitary authority is both a county council and a borough council.
    I would expect the broadband allowances to be proportional to the different authority salaries. NYCC is 9K, SCC is 3.5K, so I would expect NYCC’s internet allowance to be about 3 times SBC’s internet allowance.
    When I was a councillor we could claim for telephone calls made from home, but we had to take in an itemised telephone bill with each and every claimed line highlighted and added up.

    • Tim Thorne April 10, 2012 at 12:37 am - Reply

      “I would expect the broadband allowances to be proportional to the different authority salaries.”

      I would expect the allowances to be proportional to the outlay for such services and not be linked to their basic allowance. The expenses listed are solely for Broadband allowance and not inclusive of telephone calls with exception of Miss Kenyon’s NYPA expenses which will be determined when the relevant FOI request is answered.

      I would expect that all Councillors have purchased a single broadband connection for their home and not three different ones, one for the work associated with each authority and possibly another for home use. Obviously if they’ve got two or three different phone lines each with broadband running across then then my article is well wide of the mark and it will be removed.

      While it is technically possible to connect to more than one ISP over your phone line, the configuration of the BT Wholesale network is such that you can only connect to a single ISP over a single phone line. I hope this clarifies your concerns.

      • J.G.Harston April 10, 2012 at 1:02 am - Reply

        You get three times as much to be a NYCC councillor than a SBC councillors, so presumably (ha?) NYCC is three times the work, therefore you’re using the internet three times as much. So, it would be logical that the internet allowance from NYCC be three times that from SBC.
        The thing with internet access is that it is usually billed flat rate. It doesn’t matter how much you use it, the bill is the same. My current internet access is about £30 a month. It was £30 a month three years ago when I was a councillor. Ironically, I was actually using it less as a councillor because I did most of my work in the Town Hall.
        Anyway, I’d expect a sensible scheme to be something like: SBC say “we think you’ll use 15% of your internet access for council work, so we’ll pay for 15% of the costs. What you use the rest of it for is entirely up to you”. NYCC say “we think you use 45% of your internet for council work, so we’ll pay 45% of the costs. What you use the rest of it for is up to you.”
        So, if you’re both a SBC and a NYCC councillor you’d be using 60% of your internet for council work, so you’d get 60% of it paid for: 15% from SBC for the 15% you use it for SBC work, and 45% from NYCC for the 45% you use it for NYCC work.
        Put that into real figures, and a sensible scheme would be £162 per year from NYCC and £54 a year from SBC for a £360 per year internet connection.

        • J.G.Harston April 10, 2012 at 1:07 am - Reply

          PS: We keep refering to Internet Access, but the report above talks about “IT Expenses”. So, presumably, that includes printer paper and ink, etc. When I was a councillor councillor’s home IT was used as an excuse to dump the IT Department’s printing budget on councillors. So instead of cheap mass printed documents printed on cheap specialist equipment in the Town Hall, the cost was dumped onto slow, inefficient, expensive home printers in councillors homes. The IT Dept could say “hurrah! we’ve reduced our spend by X pounds” – and hide the fact that the Members Support Section now had an additional expense of 3X, 4X, 5X instead for exactly the same outcome.
          “Ooo, nothing to do with us, gov, as long as we’ve moved it out of our budget”.

          • Tim Thorne April 10, 2012 at 11:49 am - Reply

            “So, presumably, that includes printer paper and ink, etc.”

            No. Such consumables are provided by the Authority upon request by the elected member. The allowance is solely for Internet access.

        • Nigel Ward April 10, 2012 at 8:25 am - Reply

          @JGH: You state, “You get three times as much to be a NYCC councillor than a SBC councillors, so presumably (ha?) NYCC is three times the work, therefore you’re using the internet three times as much. So, it would be logical that the internet allowance from NYCC be three times that from SBC.”

          What rot. My son pays £9.99 per month for his broadband and works it so hard it glows. He is not charged extra per kilobyte.

        • Tim Thorne April 10, 2012 at 11:54 am - Reply

          “The thing with internet access is that it is usually billed flat rate. It doesn’t matter how much you use it, the bill is the same.”

          Generally that’s not the case. When you buy a package there will be a limit to the amount of data transferred across your line in a billing period. If you exceed it you either get no more service for the rest of the month, get reduced access speed for the rest of the month or the opportunity to buy more data to see you through to the end of the month.

          “Put that into real figures, and a sensible scheme would be £162 per year from NYCC and £54 a year from SBC for a £360 per year internet connection.”

          I don’t think those figures are too unrealistic. They are certainly better than the current scenario when a Cllr. is able to receive a figure for broadband which is well in excess of his or her outgoings for Internet access. It needs to change quickly.

  2. J.G.Harston April 10, 2012 at 12:00 am - Reply

    PS: I’m cancelling my telephone and internet later this month because I can’t afford the £35 a month it’s draining. I’ll have to spend every day in the library going through job vacancies instead.

  3. Nigel Ward April 10, 2012 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Let me put this in perspective.

    ‘Cllr A’ travels to London. He claims for his air-fare – £xx.

    On the same day, at the same time, ‘Cllr A’ claims for train-fare – £xx.

    But he is only paying out for one journey.

    IS THAT FRAUD?

    Unless thes Councillors have installed one broadband connection for work with one Council, and another broad band connection for work with the other Council, then it surely is fraud.

    If they have installed to separate broadband connections, they need to be sectioned!

    • Stakesby Legs April 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      This looks cut and dried. Can we expect charges? Criminal charges? It’s just like the MP scandal last year. Organised filching and everyone turns a blind eye. Get em locked up.

  4. Just 66 votes April 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    … But then, turkeys won’t vote for Christmas. I hope Eric Pickles is reading your latest rant. The people of Whitby and Scarborough voted them in so we only have ourselves to blame.
    Best deal today for YO22 area today seems to be BT Broadband with anytime phone calls plus broadband for £162 for 12 months. Also why on earth are council papers still sent out by post at vast cost when the councillors all have broadband plus laptops given to them by the council? And are councillors serving two authorities supplied with two computers and two printers to conduct their council business? And if they have laptops why can they possibly need IPads?
    It’s nothing short of a racket which is probably being duplicated by councils right across the country.

    • Nigel Ward April 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      @J66V: “It’s nothing short of a racket”.

      A CRIMINAL racket. I am absolutely sickened by the way the Officers slam the door on any legitimate attempt to expose Councillors guilty of wrong-doing.

      Only a massive public outcry will dislodge this seige-mentality. But I have now seen evidence that the cover-up is directed by one particular person with a finger in too many pies. I have confidence, however, that Lord maginnis’s investigators will expose the whole ring. The writing is on the wall.

  5. Real Whitby April 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    An area of concern regarding this, is have you definitely checked that the councilors don’t have separate lines and thus separate broadband connections. Yes it may sound mad but I know of at least 1 ex councilor who used a separate line from his home line for council business, hence separate ADSL too so he could not be accused of being up to no good.

    • Nigel Ward April 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      Interesting point – though stretching credulity somewhat. May I suggest that Real Whitby emails each of the ‘two-hatted’ SBC/NYCC Councillors and asks them the direct question:

      “Do you maintain separate lines and broadband access for your separate Council duties?”

      Give it a go, Glenn. They sure as hell won’t answer me.

      Cllrs Backhouse, Blackburn, Chatt, Cockerill, Jeffels, Jefferson, Marsden, Plant, Popple and Simpson. Email addresses on the SBC web-site, here:

      http://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?FN=ALPHA&VW=LIST&PIC=0

      Three of those have already clammed up on me.

      • Real Whitby April 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm - Reply

        The one individual I am thinking of was a councilor sometime ago, he was an inlaw whose home I spent a lot of time at. In the time he was on the council he definitely had 2 phone lines. If he did it, its not beyond the realms of possibly that others have too. Im always skeptical when its comes to peoples level of honesty with regards to money but its just a point I felt was significant to Tim’s story, and im guessing you have similar thoughts ?? Hence your emails which so far have gone unanswered. Perhaps the silence is a sign of guilt ? who knows !!

        • Nigel Ward April 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm - Reply

          Be my guest, Glenn. They certainly will not respond to me.

          cllr.andrew.backhouse@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.John.Blackburn@scarborough.gov.uk
          Cllr.Bill.Chatt@scarborough.gov.uk
          Cllr.Mike.Cockerill@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.David.Jeffels@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.Janet.Jefferson@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.Penny.Marsden@scarborough.gov.uk
          Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.peter.popple@scarborough.gov.uk
          Cllr.Brian.Simpson@scarborough.gov.uk

          Dear Cllrs Backhouse, Blackburn, Chatt, Cockerill, Jeffels, Jefferson, Marsden, Plant, Popple and Simpson,

          Please would you be so good as to declare your broadband arrangements. For clarity, do you, as Councillors for both SBC and NYCC, maintain two separate telephone lines with two separate (and separately billed) broadband facilities – or do you conduct all of your Council ITC activities using one and the same broadband facility? Thank you.

          Kind regards, etc.

          Copy and Paste. And then publish here.

        • Nigel Ward April 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm - Reply

          Here you go, Glenn. They will certainly not respond to me.

          cllr.andrew.backhouse@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.John.Blackburn@scarborough.gov.uk
          Cllr.Bill.Chatt@scarborough.gov.uk
          Cllr.Mike.Cockerill@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.David.Jeffels@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.Janet.Jefferson@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.Penny.Marsden@scarborough.gov.uk
          Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk
          cllr.peter.popple@scarborough.gov.uk
          Cllr.Brian.Simpson@scarborough.gov.uk

          Dear Cllrs Backhouse, Blackburn, Chatt, Cockerill, Jeffels, Jefferson, Marsden, Plant, Popple and Simpson,

          Please would you be so good as to declare your broadband arrangements. For clarity, do you, as Councillors for both SBC and NYCC, maintain two separate telephone lines with two separate (and separately billed) broadband facilities – or do you conduct all your Council ITC activities using one and the same broadband facility? Thank you.

          Kind regards, etc.

          And post here.

          • admin April 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm - Reply

            To be perfectly honest I have no real desire to get involved in emailing councilors. Im off to play pool with the lads at half eight. My comment is made based on a factual situation I observed and does offer another way of looking at this. Like Tim says, its highly unlikely that these people have 3 separate lines, but in the one and only situation I can personally speak of, I do know a councilor who put at least 1 separate line in to separate out council and personal business. I cant really say any more than that. Please continue with the debate.

          • Nigel Ward April 12, 2012 at 7:14 am - Reply

            @Peter:

            Has anyone had the courtesy to get back to you at all? Or have they all claimed the ‘right to silence’?

            It would be helpful to publish any correspondence here . . .

            • Stakesby Legs April 12, 2012 at 7:54 am - Reply

              “Whilst there is an expectation linked to that allowance that I make available a broadband connection, there is no specific element included in that allowance for the cost of broadband so I do not claim, as such, an amount for broadband from the County Council.”

              of course you do, councilor plant. the broadband money is in with the basic allowance. you said it yourself. And you take it from the other lot too, even tho you “did not think it was acceptable to the tax payer to do so”! give me an alien evry time.

          • Sarraceniac October 20, 2012 at 9:09 am - Reply

            Here you are Nigel. I thought it better to ask only Brian Simpson as I am a constituent of his and it appears that he has not directly been asked about this by a tax-payer since Peter asked him in April, when his answer was slightly different:

            Dear Mr redacted,

            The matters which you refer to have been addressed by a recent standards committee investigation where I and other members were cleared and found not to have breached any code of conduct regarding broadband matters.

            For all other inquiries I refer you to the monitoring officers of both Scarborough Borough Council & North Yorkshire County Council.

            I have no further comments on the matter.

            Kind Regards

            Brian

            Cllr Brian Simpson

            Eastfield Ward

            Cabinet Member for Democracy, Neighbourhoods,

            Stronger & Safer communities

            He doesn’t seem to grasp (our Cabinet member for ‘DEMOCRACY’ OXYMORON ALERT!!!) that I am not bothered about what his peers think about it. I am interested in morality not so much dubious legality. I want to know what is happening to my money and how it is being spent. You know, the money that keeps him in the manner to which he has become accustomed. He is using the old political trick of blustering and then stone-walling.

            He has ‘no further comments’. Will he have ‘further comments’ next year when he has to re-stand for his County seat? I’ll ask him then. Publicly.

    • Tim Thorne April 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      “An area of concern regarding this, is have you definitely checked that the councilors don’t have separate lines” I can’t say 100% that all Cllrs. have provisioned separate lines. I do know that some have not made separate arrangements. I just can’t see anyone having three separate Internet connections to keep the work partitioned.

  6. Nigel Ward April 13, 2012 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I have this morning emailed SBC Leader Cllr Tom Fox and CEO Jim Dillon. I bvelieve they have a duty to pass the matter to the police:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Nigel
    To: Cllr.Tom Fox ; Jim.Dillon@scarborough.gov.uk
    Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 8:50 AM
    Subject: DOUBLE-DIPPING COUNCILLORS?

    Councillor Tom FOX – Leader – SBC
    Mr Jim DILLON – CEO & HPS – SBC

    Tom, Jim,

    I am sure you are by now aware of the growing public outrage over the so-called ‘double-dipping’ elected members – Councillors of both SBC and NYCC – who have apparently accepted moneys claimed from NYCC as part of the Basic Allowance (which indisputably contains an integral element of payment for the provision of Broadband facilities), whilst at the same time claiming Broadband Allowance of up to £255 from SBC or the same service. In some case, this practice seems to have been in operation for two years – in some cases longer.

    Clearly, claiming moneys from the District Authority that have already been disbursed by the Primary Authority is fraudulent.

    Since you both have a duty to uphold the law, and since fraud is contrary to the law, it is evident that you now have no alternative but to conduct a full investigation and pass all details of suspected offences and offenders, together with all available evidence of any suspected offences, to the Fraud Squad (or equivalent department) of the North Yorkshire Police. Please confirm, by return, that this process has been set in motion.

    I have appended an email (available in the public domain) purporting to be from Cllr Joe Plant (SBC & NYCC), the import of which no doubt Lisa Dixon will be happy to explain to you.

    In the interests of transparency (and accountability) I have copied this present email to the press. I reserve the right to publish any and/or all of my correspondence with any and/or all recipients into the public domain.

    Please do so. Thank you.

    Kind regards,

    Nigel

  7. pete budd April 13, 2012 at 11:45 am - Reply

    A functioning council could negotiate for cheap rates from an Internet provider for it’s members

  8. Tim Thorne August 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Those Mercury-like messengers of the Gods are quick on the case. I’m impressed they are only a few months late:

    http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/community/local-focus/councillors-to-be-investigated-over-internet-expenses-claim-1-4837225

  9. Nigel Ward August 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    DOUBLE-DIPPERS NAILED:

    Ms Moira BEIGHTON – Senior Lawyer – NYCC

    IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

    Moira,

    I am disappointed to have heard nothing from you in response to my email of 31st July 2012.

    I am waiting to hear from your Investigating Officer. Please have that person contact me before close-of-play on Friday 17th August 2012.

    You will now take note, please, of the following information.in relation two my double-Council ‘double-dipping’ complaints:

    The following text is an extract from the Minutes of an NYCC meeting on 17th December 2008. It provides conclusive evidence that FIVE of the elected member against whom I have complained were present. I have marked their names in bold red type for ease of recognition.

    NORTH YORKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
    Minutes of the meeting of the County Council held at County Hall, Northallerton on 17 December 2008.

    PRESENT:-

    County Councillor Peter Sowray in the Chair.
    County Councillors County Councillors Michelle Andrew, Val Arnold, Andrew Backhouse, Arthur Barker, Keith Barnes, William F Barton OBE, Bernard Bateman MBE, David Billing, John Blackburn, John Blackie, Eric Broadbent, Elizabeth Casling, Gordon Charlton, Geoffrey Cullern, Gareth Dadd, Mrs M-A de Courcey-Bayley, John Fletcher, John Fort BEM, Graham Gatman, Ron Haigh, Tony Hall, David Heather, Michael Heseltine, Robert Heseltine, Bill Hoult, Margaret Hulme, David Ireton, David Jeffels, Jane Kenyon, Michael Knaggs, Andrew Lee, Carl Les, David Lloyd-Williams, Steve Macaré, Patricia Marsburg, Brian Marshall, J W Marshall, Shelagh Marshall, Chris Metcalfe, Leslie Parkes, Stuart Parsons, Caroline Patmore, Chris Pearson, Paul Richardson, John Savage, Caroline Seymour, Steve Shaw-Wright, Brian Simpson

    And what was approved at that meeting?

    “That the scheme of allowances (attached at Appendix B to the report) and list of approved duties (attached at Appendix C to the report) be approved for 2009/10.”

    I trust that the Standards Committee will recognise that Council Minutes are not susceptible to challenge in law. It is therefore the case that the five named Councillors – Andrew Backhouse, David Billings, David Jeffels, Brian Simpson, John Blackburn – may not even plead the (albeit invalid) mitigation of ignorance. Ergo, they are hereby shown to have wittingly ‘double-dipped’. Case closed.

    This is fraudulent.

    By the same token, it is also clear that Cllr Jane Kenyon (whose name I have highlighted in green bold type, above) was present, too, and therefore also aware of the terms of the new Basic Allowance package and the option to ‘renunciate’ all or any part of it (including that increment from which Councillors were to finance their Broadband facilities). Similarly, case closed.

    Clearly, this also constitutes ‘double-dipping’ in respect of her NYPA IT/etc allowance.

    Please confirm for me that the criminal offence of these thefts has now been reported to the North Yorkshire Police for investigation and prosecution.

    Yours, with kind regards,

    Nigel

  10. Tim Thorne October 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Just had a look at the figures regarding one of the Councillors listed. Cllr David Billing should not be on this list. I’ve mistakenly put in that he received a full allowance from NYCC in 2009/10. He did not. He received a part allowance for 66 days from NYCC and he also claimed a part allowance from SBC for the other 299 days, so was only ever claiming from one Authority whilst being a dual-hatted Councillor.

    Sir, my apologies to you for getting this wrong. Your conduct in the matter of Broadband allowances has been completely above board and I apologise for getting it wrong. I’ll ask the site admin to get the article updated and add an apology further up the page.

  11. […] incorrectly added due to a problem with my maths (ahem). I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Cllr Billing for my error in the comments section on the Real Whitby […]

  12. Cliff Street October 20, 2012 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Some people clearly fail to see when they’re flogging a dead horse.

    So far as it is possible to establish, from publicly available sources of information, the broadband wheeze, unprincipled as it may be, does not appear to amount to fraud.

    Nobody is going to admit otherwise and while some very able people, as well as others who seem less astute, are allowing their attention to be constantly drawn back to it, more critical issues are being neglected.

    • Sarraceniac October 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      More critical than the honesty and integrity of our civic leaders? That is as important to some of us as the manipulating of the economy for dogma (as opposed to economic) reasons.

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