“Me Too!” – a mystery of many parts . . .



“Me Too!” – a mystery of many parts . . . First Published in September 2012

An ‘In My View’ article – by Nigel Ward

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Every community produces citizens who are willing to interest themselves in scrutinising the integrity of the administration. Those who do, do so on behalf of the whole community. To characterize their voluntary work in the public interest as ‘trouble-making’ is fatuous.
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Before embarking on this opening episode of the “Me Too!” mystery, readers may find it helpful to review my Notes on Anonymous Sources of Information that appear beneath the article. It will become apparent why I mention this as the article progresses. Hopefully, my Notes will be helpful and informative.

I first took an interest in the Extended Schools “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme (which, to remind readers, was a 2008 Labour Government initiative providing ring-fenced funding to enable deprived children to engage in extra-curricular learning opportunities (horse-riding, photography, dance, learning to swim, etc) following an article in the Whitby Gazette in November 2010, entitled “Activities launch for youngsters”, in which Councillor Joe Plant was quoted as saying:

  • “The free school meals and the Me Too vouchers are there for you and to help you. In the simplest terms use them or lose them.”

Councillor Joe Plant was promoting the scheme as part of his position as Chair of the NYCC Young People Scrutiny Committee, who had oversight of the initiative. (The Young People Scrutiny Committee meets six times a year, and the Chair receives an additional £4,632 in Allowances – that is £772 per meeting – plus a few photo opportunities with the Gazette. Nice work if you can get it. (As a Conservative Councillor and Kenyon protégé, you probably can get it). It makes one wonder what is the primary motivation for some people seeking election.

I soon learned that the scheme had aroused some confusion as to which children would qualify as being sufficiently ‘deprived’ as to merit receiving free “Me Too!” Vouchers. Would discriminating between children risk ‘stigmatising’ the poorer families?

This was quickly resolved when it was recognised that certain areas are officially classified as ‘deprived’, and within these areas (Whitby and the Esk Valley being one) ALL children could receive the free “Me Too!” Vouchers. No discrimination, no means-testing! Hooray! Problem solved. Roll out the extra-curricular learning courses!

The “Me Too!” scheme was rolled out in our area under the direct administration of Whitby Community College (WCC), where County Councillor Jane Kenyon is one of three Local Authority Governors. The head teacher is Mr Keith Prytherch. Remember the name. The scheme fell under the purview of the North Yorkshire Children’s Trust Board (Chair: Cynthia Welbourn), a body that meets quarterly.

The Agendas and Minutes of its last six meetings make no reference to the “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme – a little curious, because Ms Welbourn is said to be the NYCC Officer responsible for how the “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme was devised. And yet the Public Record shows that the North Yorkshire Children’s Trust Board (whose endorsement is displayed on the Vouchers themselves) has seemingly not been kept abreast of the scandal that has been steadily simmering away behind closed doors.

I soon learned that the way in which the system was devised left it open to all manner of abuse – and, indeed, that there were grave concerns at County Hall that the system had already been abused. Rumours circulated that it would have to be suspended, pending an investigation by the NYCC Audit Committee.

On 21st January 2011, an announcement appeared on the East Whitby Primary web-site, signed off by Tony Mok, Headteacher. It has since been removed, but the salient paragraph stated:

  • “It has come to my notice that pupils/families not from East Whitby have somehow obtained East Whitby School vouchers and are using them fraudulently. Not only is this illegal but it reflects very badly on us as a school, as people will automatically assume the worst, and accuse East Whitby parents of passing the vouchers on.”

Alarm bells! “Using them fraudulently? “Not only is this illegal?

Whoa! B-I-G trouble! But somehow compartmentalised and not communicated to the umbrella body, the North Yorkshire Children’s Trust.

Early in February 2011, I received a rather surprising ‘heads-up’ from an NYCC ‘whistle-blower’. I will return to that presently.

I was also visited (on separate occasions) by two School Governors (from different Schools), each of whom expressed alarm at what they had learned at School Governors’ meetings held under the Chatham House Rule – ‘behind closed doors’ (See my Notes, below). Briefly, the Rule states that you can quote what was said, but not by whom it was said – even by implication – nor name anyone who was present.

They were also aware of the extraordinary degree of Public Interest in the “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme.

They each claimed that they had been informed of systematic abuse of the “Me Too!” system. Details included that:

  • Large-scale forgery of Vouchers had taken place.
  • Forged Vouchers had changed hands for cash.
  • Vouchers (which carried no specific cash-value) had been accepted against whole courses of activities, rather than single one-hour sessions (as had initially been the intention), with ‘providers’ subsequently invoicing WCC for huge amounts of money in respect of each of many individual Vouchers.
  • Some ‘providers’ had been ‘tipped off’ to create ‘services’ specifically for the purpose of being able to take advantage of the ‘licence-to-print-money’ way in which the system was organised.
  • Some ‘providers’ (including SBC) had been accepting Vouchers against retail goods – in some cases, goods of considerable value – against a single Voucher (subsequently invoiced to WCC at full retail price).
  • Some ‘providers’ had deliberately targeted unaccompanied children and encouraged them to accept highly-priced goods or services in order to claim the most possible money back from WCC.
  • At least one ‘provider’ had submitted invoices in excess of £100,000.
  • A County Councillor had, on behalf of that ‘provider’, lobbied County Hall to expedite the settlement of those invoices.
  • Furthermore, that same County Councillor had an undeclared personal interest in relation to the ‘provider’.

Both of my visitors felt that they had been given only a very diluted version of the true state of affairs. The “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme seemed to them to have been deliberately structured in such a way as to enable carefully selected ‘providers’ to siphon off huge amounts of money, with the further implication that ‘kick-backs’ may have been subsequently passed back to certain elected representatives and/or paid public servants - ‘graft’.

The Free Dictionary defines graft 2 as follows:

  • 1. Unscrupulous use of one’s position to derive profit or advantages; extortion.

And yet the Public Record shows that no word of all this was reported to the North Yorkshire Children’s Trust Board.

I decided to investigate.

I had my work cut out, but I already had some useful information via the ‘heads-up’ that I received from the NYCC ‘whistle-blower’, as mentioned near the beginning of this article.

Perhaps the easiest way to explain how the investigation moved forward is to quote verbatim a passage from my 8th May 2011 email to the Department of Education’s ‘Early Intervention’ Division, in which I summarised my concerns. (I will return to the rest of this same email in a later episode).

1) One Sunday, early in February [in fact, 6th February], while returning from a dog-walk that proved too much for me (so I allowed my wife and dog to continue without me) I was approached in the environs of Whitby Abbey by a smartly-dressed man in his forties. He told me that he was a middle-ranking employee of NYCC and that he had sought me out on account of my reputation for voluntary work in the public interest. He had identified me, apparently, my from my FaceBook profile picture.

2) Naturally, I took a sceptical view, but over the course of an hour’s conversation, he so impressed me with his knowledge of names, positions and procedures within NYCC, SBC and the Whitby area schools administration that I became convinced of his authenticity and sincerity.

In brief, his story was this:

a) NYCC Legal were investigating suspicions that certain aspects of the “Me Too!” voucher scheme had been exploited for personal gain. The Audit Committee was involved.

b) Suspicions had arisen because of the implausibly high level of invoices from certain ‘providers’. He named some and mentioned figures of well in excess of £100,000.

c) He also stated that there appeared to be a highly-organised ‘system’ in place to exploit various shortcomings in the design of the ‘Me Too!’ voucher scheme – specifically, he mentioned ‘forging’ of vouchers, ‘providers’ created for the sole purpose of exploiting the scheme and the ‘nepotistic’ tipping-off of family members to ‘jump on the band wagon’.

d) Finally, he maintained that he had reason to believe that the investigation pursuant to the foregoing was, in fact, directed principally towards the exculpation of certain officers and elected members – one of whom he named. He concluded by stating that he had no confidence in the Council’s internal ‘whistle-blowing’ procedures.

I was, of course, completely non-committal in my response, telling him that I would need hard evidence before I could possibly consider proceeding with any action. I asked him to provide more concrete evidence, but he stormed off saying that he was already ‘risking everything – and for nothing’. I was, of course, intrigued.

3) Over the next couple of weeks, I did some Googling, from which I learned that the scheme was intended to provide an hour of any given extra-curricular activity per voucher. I also contrived casual conversations with acquaintances with children of school age. I was shocked by the anecdotal evidence that came to light. It was clearly commonplace that vouchers had been exchanged, often with unaccompanied children, for goods of considerable value. Providers were named. Some parents spoke of children re-selling goods on eBay and returning to ‘buy’ the same goods again and again – ‘paying’ with vouchers.

4) At about this time, I started to receive ‘hate’ mail (both through the postal service and by hand) and a message that I took to be a death threat was scrawled on the beach in front of my house. It referred to my intended candidacy in the 5th May elections, saying ‘STAND AND DIE’. I reported this to the SBC Monitoring Officer on 28th February, but it was not until the 18th March that he met me to discuss the matter. He was dismissive. At that time, I had not directly connected it with my ‘Me Too!’ enquiries.

5) I also received anonymous tip-offs about the “Me Too!” scheme, by hand and by email. Specifically, I was informed that an NYCC Councillor (the same one named by my initial contact) was involved in trying to secure payment of an outstanding invoice. I was also given another name (again one mentioned by my mystery man) as having been responsible for vetting providers, including a long-term personal friend of hers, who had been tipped off to run a service suitable for the scheme because it was ‘a licence to print money’.

6) Beginning on 29th March 2011, I began formally requesting information from NYCC under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Council has not been particularly forthcoming, referring me to Whitby Community College. The headmaster has not acknowledged or responded to my request for information. Scarborough Borough Council has also failed to provide information requested under the provisions of the FOIA2000. An email to the four NYCC Councillors in the Whitby area elicited two denials of any knowledge of the matter, one no-response, and one response protesting innocence in such extreme terms as to excite suspicion. I do not need to tell you which one.

One would have thought that such a large-scale case of fraud and forgery – crimes that have featured frequently in recent Real Whitby articles (and in Private Eye) – should have been raised with the North Yorkshire Police even before I began my investigation. But when I invited NYCC Head of Legal Carole Dunn, in an email dated 7th April 2011, to come to Whitby and examine my files, she declined.

It was not until 19th June 2012 (fourteen months later) that Carole Dunn finally confirmed to me that the year-and-a-half-long NYCC investigation had finally been passed to the Police – now that memories have faded and witnesses have moved away or died. She did not provide me with a Crime Number, so I have no easy way to determine whether or not the Police have actively pursued the matter.

Well, I have pursued the matter; but we would not want to provoke another compromised Police Investigation, so I will be reporting on my further progress, here on Real Whitby, in due course . . .

Confused? Me too! But all will become clear as the story unfolds . . .

In the meantime, I would be pleased to see readers’ suggestions as to how a concerned member of the public might go about pursuing such a fraud and forgery investigation – in the comments section, below, please; politely, on topic, and with reasoned arguments.

So over to you – all you Sherlocks. How would you set about solving this flagrant case of fraud, forgery and corruption?


Notes on Anonymous Sources of Information

Not very many people are familiar with the Chatham House Rule. It is a very simple rule adopted by many organisations; readers will be well-served by reading and digesting this carefully before we proceed:

  • “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

The Chatham House website offers the following explanation:

  • “The Chatham House Rule originated at Chatham House with the aim of providing anonymity to speakers and to encourage openness and the sharing of information. It is now used throughout the world as an aid to free discussion.”

In short, you may repeat what was said, but not by whom – and you must not disclose who was present.

In its intent to safeguard confidentiality, it is similar in intent to the ‘protection of sources’ laws pertaining to the confidentiality of journalistic sources, which Wikipedia explains thus:

  • “Simply put, it means that the authorities, including the courts, cannot compel a journalist to reveal the identity of an anonymous source for a story.”

School Governors are made aware of the standard ‘public interest test’, as advised by the government:

  • “The test requires authorities to undertake a balancing exercise to consider the public interest in disclosing information and the public interest in maintaining the exemption.”

“Me Too!” was important to every child and parent in the area, and, in a different sense, to many businesses, too – the ‘providers’ of “Me Too!” activities amongst them, who suddenly stood to lose a very valuable source of revenue.

The public interest was, and is, overwhelming.

40 Responses to "“Me Too!” – a mystery of many parts . . ."

  1. Sarraceniac  September 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Hard work to get through the article Nigel but well worth it. Most interesting.

    No idea how you will go about digging deeper but, although it probably wasn’t on the same level as this is (apparently) it does remind me somewhat of the scam that was going on when the ‘free computers for primary school pupils’ came in some years ago, sorry can’t remember exactly what the scheme was called but I can remember a man coming to see me (I had a small computer business at the time) to ask if I could unlock ‘a few’ of these so they could be used for all purposes on any web site and would I then be interested in selling them for him on shares? When I asked how many were in ‘a few’ he replied with a question -‘How many could I manage?’ When I pointed out that this was illegal and immoral he left in a hurry. I was later told (and this is hearsay) that another small local company had several of these for sale – unlocked. I’m sorry if this is a little off topic with the current alleged scam but seems to be very similar. Wish I had looked further into it then but didn’t have the time or the know-how.

    So good luck in your investigations and I am sure you will keep us informed.

    Reply
    • Ron L  September 15, 2012 at 5:00 am

      I think you can rely on him keeping you informed.

      Reply
  2. Nigel Ward  September 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    @ Sarraceniac:

    It is hard work, I know. But that is because these things are so well-disguised and the authorities so reluctant to part with information. This “Me Too!” business is a particularly sneaky scam, but all will become clear as we move along.

    I have the feeling that you would be interested in getting involved in this kind of thing. Please consider emailing Real Whitby and asking Glenn to pass your contact details to me. We are gathering quite a team and I am sure you have something to offer.

    Reply
  3. Richard Ineson  September 15, 2012 at 8:24 am

    The whole scheme seemed to me, to be very suspect from the start. I remember speaking to Dan and Amy Johnson who used to own the Monk’s Haven Cafe, on Church Street, about the scheme, they were amazed to find that they qualified for this funding despite Dan being an INVESTMENT BANKER. It seems that this wonderful and benevolent idea, to make leisure pursuits such as horse riding etc. available to deprived children, was usurped by the unscrupulous, to line their own pockets. How such people can sleep at night defeats me to explain.
    Of course the local Councils will not have been worried about where the cash went, in detail, as long as it came into the area and didn’t go elsewhere. As to whether or not the deprived children received any benefit from the money, is, in their eyes, irrelevant. Where did this money really go? It would be nice to see a list of the recipients/beneficiaries.

    I think that we should be told.

    Reply
  4. Dave Red  September 15, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Has anybody read the book ‘South Riding’ written in the 1930s and based on the observations of the daughter of a member of a local authority council? Maybe we should all read it to see what happens next.

    Reply
    • Sarraceniac  September 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Far too depressing Dave. All the main characters are dying of rather horrible diseases, except Mrs. Beddowes. And I am sure most contributors to ‘Real Whitby’ would rather, like Mrs B., live to a ripe old age.

      Reply
  5. Dave Red  September 15, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Hopefully the parents of the children in this ‘deprived area’ who did not benefit from this system will make sure they turn out 100% to use one of the few tools at their disposal to make their presence felt and VOTE at the elections.

    Reply
    • Carole Gerada  March 27, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Answer to Vanda’s question re: Brian Simpson’s position on PCC Panel. He is not the member of Lib Dem Party any more so is a member of PCC Panel as an Independent. The Panel had to appoint another Lib Dem Party member to the Panel to maintain the political balance.

      Reply
  6. Jon Risdon  September 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Yet again we inescapably come back to that 5-letter word: greed. Yes, this is a complicated situation, which requires concentration to understand; those who set it up would not have made it transparently simple, for obvious reasons. They rely on the fact that only a precious few people, if any, such as Nigel, will have the time or the intellect required to unravel these webs of graft, and our amateur investigative researchers working voluntarily in the public interest should be commended.

    Police and watchdogs would not be required in these situations if everyone was honest and not out to ‘milk the system'; not everyone is dishonest: it is the ones who are and rely on our fear of ‘authority’ who make those of us who care and pay attention understandably cynical.

    Reply
  7. Dave Red  September 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    “Police and watchdogs would not be required in these situations if everyone was honest and not out to ‘milk the system’; not everyone is dishonest: it is the ones who are and rely on our fear of ‘authority’ who make those of us who care and pay attention understandably cynical.”

    Getting slightly off the point. ‘They’ are recruiting ‘Enforcement Officers’ who are not the police. They wear the same kind of clothing, the same colours, drive exactly the same vehicles with the word ‘POLICE’ written all over them in capital letters. Does anyone think that this is rather unsettling?

    Reply
    • Sarraceniac  September 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Extremely unsettling. The police as an institution are really there to look after the interests of everybody. To make sure that there is not one rule for the rulers and one for the ruled but unfortunately the ethic of the police as a body (though not every individual copper) is geared towards protecting power and wealth, and of course its own interests (see the recent Hillsborough revelations). It does beg the question ‘Qui custodiet ipsos custodes’. And in case somebody has never heard that expression before, here is a link to the explanation:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quis_custodiet_ipsos_custodes%3F

      Reply
  8. Dave Red  September 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    “Who watches the watchmen?”

    The ‘Independent’ Police Complaints Commission?

    Anybody got any more? I’m in a light-hearted frivolous mood today.

    Reply
  9. Joe Plant  March 25, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Dear Mr Ward.
    I have kept all your information about the serious comments you have made and still make. I will name a few, Corruption, Double Dipping, Dishonesty, Fraud. If you have evidence of this then instead of playing it out behind a desk and over the web, may I suggest you go to the police. I am more than happy for you to do that.

    A local resident of Whitby. Joe Plant

    Reply
    • Tim Thorne  March 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Hello Joe,

      I notice you mention double-dipping and reporting it to the Police. If we do report you to the Police then you’ll have the company of 36 other North Yorkshire County Councillors.

      What irks me is why it has to get that far. Why can’t you see the error of your ways, fix the system and make sure it can’t happen again?

      Do you really think it is fair to the tax payer where you were receiving £750 per annum from two local authorities for Broadband/IT? It did not go unnoticed that Herbert Tindall is a member of the same local authorities as you, but he declined the SBC allowance as he thought it wouldn’t be fair. Why couldn’t you do that?

      Regards,
      Tim Thorne

      Reply
      • Joe Plant  March 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

        I have gone through Standards twice, SBC, NYCC. I passed all the info to them as requested. I did not hide anything. In fact I did say it is a fair question. They found no wrong doing and cleared of the allegation. Now please feel free to give any evidence to the police. I am speaking for myself as every councillor works differently,especially with the technology these days. I have nothing to hide. Again, do not play it out behind a desk or the web, go to the police. I am more than happy with that.

        Reply
        • Tim Thorne  March 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm

          Joe,

          Given that the Standards Committee is comprised of fellow Councillors, no one has any confidence it could possibly come up with a equitable or fair outcome for us tax payers. In short, we don’t trust local politicians. That said, Colin Challen did say you should pay the money back. Herbert Tindall didn’t get the allowance from Borough or County. He said it wouldn’t be fair to receive both. Why do you think it is fair? Can you put that into a form of words?

          As for your statement to the investigating officer, it was virtually word for word the same as Cllrs Chatt, Jeffels and Jefferson’s statements. How can it be that all four of you came up with the same statement to pass to the investigating officer? They’re all in the link below if you care the read them.

          http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/county-council-collusion-cover-ups-and-coincidences

          Regards,
          Tim Thorne

          Reply
          • Joe Plant  March 25, 2013 at 1:58 pm

            Again, I am not getting in a debate over the web. I have made my position quite clear.

            If you have the evidence, go to the police. I am more than happy for you to do that.

            Reply
            • Tim Thorne  March 25, 2013 at 2:23 pm

              “I have made my position quite clear.”

              Joe, your position appears to be that you don’t intend to enter into a debate with anyone about the Broadband expenses or the fact that your statement was virtually identical to statements made by other Councillors.

              Reply
              • Stakesby Legs  March 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm

                You’re wasting your breath, Tim Thorne. He’s already been warned to shut the f**k up before he digs himself a hole even the monitoring office can’t dig him out of!

                Reply
        • Sally h  March 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

          Can we assume you would prefer it if they went to the police and reported it twice?

          Reply
        • Gary Ludlow  March 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm

          Cllr Plant
          Encouraging people, your electorate, to go to the police because you think that the police will not prosecute you does not make you a stand up guy.
          It makes you a stand up Comedian!
          Try being a stand up guy for once, Councillor or no Councillor.
          Reading between the lines it is perfectly, obviously clear that your involvement with the Mee-Too fiasco was dreadful.
          In your position as Chair of the “NYCC Young People Scrutiny Committee who had “oversight of the initiative” you had a golden opportunity to ensure that at least in your council ward, in fact the entire area of Whitby, you could have made up a list of suitable activities, it would have taken you an hour or two, a very worthwhile and personally satisfying public role.
          Instead, from what I can read between the lines, you were involved in a £100,000 scam that brought the whole scheme not only into disrepute, but left many people angry. Instead of a wholesome feeling of a job well done the £100,000 plus claimed by one local business, I believe an extended family member of yours almost brought the entire scheme to its knees across the whole of North Yorkshire. Again from what I understand from the article, you then had the nerve as a North Yorkshire Councillor and Chair of the ‘NYCC Young People Scrutiny Committee’ to actually personally chase up the enormous payment?
          Also claiming such a huge amount for a single Broadband connection.
          And all you have to say is “go to the police”.
          Try being a stand up guy for once and defend yourself against such allegations properly.

          Reply
        • Gary Ludlow  March 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm

          Pay it ALL back Joe

          Reply
  10. Andrea Smith  March 25, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Will you be taking legal action Joe

    Reply
  11. Vanda Inman  March 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    “Specifically, I was informed that an NYCC Councillor (the same one named by my initial contact) was involved in trying to secure payment of an outstanding invoice.”

    Was this Joe Plant?

    Reply
  12. Joe Plant  March 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Again. Like I have said, any evidence, please take it to the police. I am more than happy for anyone to do that.

    Reply
    • Gary Ludlow  March 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Pay it ALL back Joe.

      Reply
  13. Vanda Inman  March 25, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Looks like their still trying to appoint a new Chief inspector Police. BTW is Brian Simpson still on the PCC Panel representing the Lib/dems?

    http://www.northyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10620

    Reply
  14. Tom Brown  March 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    The problem is Joe the police just play dead.

    Reply
  15. Brian Dodds  March 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    My comment is aimed mainly at Mr Joe Plant, but it applies to all the councillors who have been named in the double dipping scandal. Let us take the best scenario possible, that it isn,t actually illegal in any way to accept or claim expenses from two or more authorities for the same item. All of you need to remember that you are elected to serve the best interests of the people, the voting, tax paying public. Accepting payment twice for the same expense is morally wrong and totally unacceptable, and it takes money from the public purse that could be better used to improve services. It doesn,t matter whether it is illegal or not, it is wrong in the eyes of the people whose interests you are supposed to serve and all those councillors named have every reason to be thoroughly ashamed of their conduct in this matter.
    Come election time we will have the opportunity to take your seat on the gravy train away from you, I sincerely hope that is the case.

    Reply
    • Tom Brodrick  March 31, 2013 at 2:15 am

      Yes, what we fail to mention is what that money could have been spent on? Perhaps the Chair of the “NYCC Young People Scrutiny Committee” could let us know how best that money could be spent.
      There are childrens activities/clubs screaming out for £700……….
      Joe are you still chair of the young persons Scrutiny Committee, if not why not?

      Reply
  16. Boxer Beat  March 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    That is something I agree with Fully Brian. Police is not an option we have to deal with the double dippers because the system allows for this to happen, therefore its not a crime in criminal law. However in terms of morality the offenders havent a foot to stand on. Its a disgrace, that in times of austerity, closure of services and reduction of benefits for vulnerable people, that councilors are allowed to make a profit based on payment for their broadband. The simple fact is that the average Broadband package costs under £300 per anum and anything over that should be paid back to be given to people whose benefits are being cut or those who are suffering from the spare bedroom tax. To claim innocence based solely on law is disgusting and the double dippers are morally bankrupt. Also its quite amusing how its election time and Joe Plant shows his face. Where is he for the period in between elections ?

    Reply
  17. admin  March 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Nigel tells me that the final part of The Me Too story will be ready to publish in the not too distant future.

    Reply
  18. kathleen parker  March 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Mmm very interesting Mr Joe Plant kept repeating himsef “go to the police” you KNOW a crime wasn’t commited, but its a crime in our eyes to TAKE our money twice for the same thing! Cough up Joe it just might be in your interest to do so. Oh by the way I’m on South cliff! Lol

    Reply
  19. Frank Chalmers  March 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Joe I once met you a long time ago, and it was around election time (2005 I think).

    You told me around that time that it’s “lots of hard work” getting around and doing the canvassing, then it’s “plain sailing” after then after you’re elected…

    Would that be why your face is showing up again? You’re coming up for election time?

    Pay the money back son. It’s in all our interests for you to do so.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  20. Joe Bloggs  March 25, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I’d just like to point out that hiding behind an internet name (such as fart face, nigelnob, and other rediculous names) isnt all that easy, because when you first post to the site under a new name your comment goes into a moderation Queue where it is seen by the site owner alone (Not Nigel Ward) before it goes live. Then if I am not bright enough, which I clearly am not, as I am the site moose, that post is seen as trash and put straight in the trash can, where it belongs along with the following 3 which are all abusive in nature.

    Then I get my ip address, screen name and email address added to the site blacklist and I cant comment again using them. Obviously Im using an ip scrambler but admin has been running these kind of sites for about 10 years and knows how to deal with spammers.

    Isnt it quite amusing how certain people, like the moose, hate the site so much, yet spend half their waking hours trying to get on it. Maybe I should grow up a bit, maybe take on some interests outside my bedroom, maybe even take an interest in women other than my mother who brings me a glass of milk most evenings at bedtime..

    Love you all… the Moose.

    Reply
    • Tim Thorne  March 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      “Obviously Im using an ip scrambler”

      Trojans ahoy!

      Reply
  21. Tom Brown  March 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Joe Blow the whistle, We’ll love you for it

    Reply
  22. Vanda  March 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Oh please, he is an underdog and a pratt not a leader, and we all know it!

    Reply
  23. Richard Ineson  March 26, 2013 at 8:06 am

    If Joe’s conscience won’t prompt him to do the right thing, perhaps the words of THE LEADERENE, Cllr. Kenyon might out the fear of God in him. This is what Miss Kenyon had to say about her perception of the misuse of the public purse, in the pages of the Whitby Gazette, 12. 06. 09.

    “This money could have been better spent on play equipment for deprived children or services for the elderly to improve their quality of life”.

    This was her view at the time, I can only say, me too.

    Reply
  24. Gary Ludlow  March 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Cllr Plant
    Encouraging people, your electorate, to go to the police because you think that the police will not prosecute you does not make you a stand up guy.
    It makes you a stand up Comedian!
    Try being a stand up guy for once, Councillor or no Councillor.
    Reading between the lines it seems perfectly and obviously clear that your involvement with the Mee-Too fiasco was dreadful.
    In your position as Chair of the “NYCC Young People Scrutiny Committee who had “oversight of the initiative” you had a golden opportunity to ensure that at least in your council ward, in fact the entire area of Whitby, you could have made up a list of suitable activities, it would have taken you an hour or two, a very worthwhile and personally satisfying public role.
    Instead, from what I can read between the lines, you were involved in a £100,000 scam that brought the whole scheme not only into disrepute, but left many people angry. Instead of a wholesome feeling of a job well done the £100,000 plus claimed by one local business, I believe an extended family member of yours almost brought the entire scheme to its knees across the whole of North Yorkshire. Is this correct or not? Again from what I understand from the article, you then had the nerve as a North Yorkshire Councillor and Chair of the ‘NYCC Young People Scrutiny Committee’ to actually personally chase up the enormous payment of £100,000 plus?
    You also claimied such a huge amount for a single Broadband connection.
    And all you have to say is “go to the police”.
    Forget the police Joe Plant, try being a stand up guy for once and defend yourself against such allegations properly.

    Reply

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