“Me Too!” – Councillor Plant ‘protesteth too much’

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“Me Too!” – Councillor Plant ‘protesteth too much’

Trimming the lawns, pruning the plants . . . – First Published March 2013

– an “In My View” article, by Nigel Ward

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

  • Corruption Buster Nigel Ward interrupts the schedule of his series of exposés describing the fraud and forgery surrounding the Extended Schools “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme to report on an astonishing turn of pre-election events . . .

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

I have no wish to pre-empt the spectacular dénouement of my long-running “Me Too!” investigation, but I must beg the indulgence of readers who have been awaiting the final part of the series in order to cover an unexpected turn of events.

At 4:40am on the morning of Monday 25th March 2013, the following comment was posted on an article of mine entitled “Me Too!” – a mystery of many parts’, first published in September 2012. Here is the comment:

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

I hope you will bear with me while I examine this extraordinary comment in detail.

Firstly, let me flag up what may seem a trivial point to new readers. As regular readers well know, I have always made clear to Councillors and Officers at Local Authorities that I take grave exception to being addressed as ‘Mr’, or ‘Mister’ or, indeed, ‘Mr Ward’, or ‘Mr N Ward’ of ‘Mr Nigel Ward’; I find use of titles deeply insulting; they are an affront to equality.

Because of this, it is my declared preference to be addressed by my given name – ‘Nigel’ – and I have always made this known to Councillors and Officers of all the Authorities with whom I correspond of this, including CEOs and Monitoring Officers.

By and large, except occasionally in the case of those with whom I have never before corresponded, someone addresses me as ‘Mr Ward’, all Councillor and Officers respect my preference. In the unusual event that someone fails to do so, I always write back, politely explaining my preference (to which I have an ‘entitlement’, by the way), and this invariably elicits a courteous apology and we can resume business on amicable terms. No problem.

In the past, County Councillor Joe PLANT has always addressed me, in his emails, as ‘Nigel’ and I know that he is aware of and (normally) respects my preference, since he well knows how offensive I find the use of the title ‘Mr’. Whilst being formal in his address to me, he has signed himself off with his Christian name, thereby retaining the use of the familiar for himself, but denying it to me.

This leads to the conclusion that, on this occasion, it was County Councillor Joe PLANT’s intention to be quite deliberately offensive to me; in the public domain.

He then proceeds to list some of the very serious issues that the Corruption Busters have been investigating. He has been saving them. I should like to examine them.

Corruption

There are many definitions of ‘Corruption’. For me, the most concise and yet all-embracing is the one formulated by Transparency International. It reads:

  • “CORRUPTION is the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain. It hurts everyone who depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority”.

It makes no distinction between acts of bribery, fraud, forgery, nepotism, embezzlement, etc, concentrating instead on the fundamental issue – the breach of the public trust. Nor does it distinguish between financial gain, public kudos (ie: ‘electability’), unmerited privilege, ‘insider’ trading information, etc – any unauthorised gain suffices to damn the guilty.

Moving on:

Double-Dipping

39_double_dippers

Perhaps County (and Borough) Councillor Joe PLANT has not read the professional opinion of Detective Inspector Cedric CHRISTIE of the West Yorkshire Police, where, prior to his retirement, he spent many years in the WYP Fraud Division:

  • Claiming twice for something like broadband is just the same as claiming mileage from two different authorities for the same journey. If I was investigating these circumstances I would consider a case of fraud by false representation under Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

Recently there have been a number of comments on Real Whitby by correspondents opining that the practice of double-dipping may well be immoral or dishonest, but it is not actually criminal. This position that is not tenable in law.

The Fraud Act 2006 defines criminal fraud as occurring when:

1. A person behaves dishonestly.  The act of dishonesty can be one of commission (i.e. making an expenses claim) or one of omission (i.e. not refunding an overpayment); the Fraud Act 2006makes no distinction.

and;

2. Either that person makes a gain, or another person makes a loss.

Applying that statutory standard to the thirty-seven double-dipping County Councillors, let it be noted that:

1) No correspondent to Real Whitby denies that the practice of taking multiple and excessive Broadband Allowances from different Councils to pay for one and the same single (and cheaper) Broadband connection expenditure is obviously wrong; or, for that matter, of husband and wife receiving two separate and excessive Broadband Allowances from SBC to pay for one Broadband connection, or putting in an expense claim at one Authority for telephone calls already paid for from the Basic Allowance at another (delegating) Authority is immoral and dishonest.

2) Nor does anyone deny that the double-dippers have made a monetary gain by their dishonesty. This being the case, prima facie there are grounds for bringing a criminal case of fraud against the double-dippers, because the Fraud Act 2006 defines an act of dishonesty to make gain as fraud.

County Councillor Joe PLANT next lists ‘Dishonesty’ and ‘Fraud’. It should hardly be necessary, after the two preceding items, to go very far down that road.

What is of note is that County Councillor Joe PLANT was commenting on an article in which his own name appears only twice. Allow me to quote from my own article:

“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.”

But let us now address the matter of ‘Dishonesty’.

  • Does County Councillor Joe PLANT deny promoting the “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme in November 2009?
  • Does County Councillor Joe PLANT deny his Chairship of the Young People Scrutiny Committee, or the Special Responsibility Allowance of £4,632 per annum associated with that position?

Surely not.

What is it, then, that causes County Councillor Joe PLANT to rattle off such a rash comment at 4:40am on a Monday morning?

(Incidentally, this new out-break of publicity has encouraged more people to come forward with damning evidence, for which I am grateful).

I doubt that I am alone in concluding that County Councillor Joe PLANT is astonishingly anxious to protest his innocence, perhaps too much, of anything remotely dishonest or fraudulent in the run-up to the County elections on 2nd May 2013.

But his double-dipping is a matter of public record. There is no escaping it. He has accepted money from two Councils for one and the same Broadband connection. FACT.

Readers of the Whitby Gazette of 26th October 2012 may recall that County Councillor Joe PLANT was quoted as stating, apropos the double-dipping:

  • “As this has to go through NYCC standards committee I cannot comment further. When that decision is known I will give a frank and honest statement about the whole issue”.

But that Standards Decision (exonerating the double-dippers on a point of Council terminology) came down within the week, on 2nd November 2012 – more than five months ago – and County Councillor Joe PLANT has remained tellingly silent. FACT.

So why is he suddenly running off at the mouth now?

County Councillor Joe PLANT’s discomfiture could perhaps have arisen as a result of his position in relation to the “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme.

An email to me from Paul ATKINSON of NYCC, dated 20th March 2013 – just last week – included, as an attachment, a response to my FOIA N6341 in which NYCC Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN states:

  • “There were significant communications failings over a period of time on the part of the officers involved to their managers in the receipt and handling of an unusually high invoice from a provider which posed budgetary problems, resulting in decisions as to the widening of eligibility criteria and expansion of activities being taken by the cluster without knowledge of the problem.”

I have highlighted the phrase “an unusually high invoice from a provider” for very good reason.

Readers of my article “Me Too!” – a mystery of many parts’ will perhaps recall reading about the NYCC Officer – a ‘whistle-blower’ – who, in February 2011, named for me a County Councillor who had made inappropriate overtures to the Council for payment of a “Me Too!” Voucher invoice of alarming proportions that had been submitted to the Council by a “Me Too!” service provider, who is related to that County Councillor, by marriage.

Two other witnesses – both citizens in good-standing; both, in fact, School Governors – have confirmed this information.

County Councillor Joe PLANT has confirmed for me, in an email of 2nd April 2011, that he has a son who married into the family of a “Me Too!” service provider – in fact, the same one named by my three informants. FACT.

In a meeting with NYCC CEO Richard FLINTON earlier this month, my friend (but not relation) Mike WARD elicited the information that the majority of the “Me Too!” service providers had now been paid – though some at a reduced settlement figure. According to NYCC accounts, payment to a service provider (a family-run business – a family related, by marriage, to the County Councillor in question) was made in December 2012, in a sum significantly in excess of £100,000. That sounds like a lot of Vouchers to me! The ‘Junior’ Admission Fee for an hour’s swimming at Whitby Leisure Centre is a good Voucher’s worth at £3.20. It would take 35,000 such sessions to run up a bill of well over £100K.

Now, County Councillor Joe PLANT maintains that this is no problem, because he declared his interest in a Meeting of Full Council at NYCC on 16th February 2011 – but that was fifteen months after he was trumpeting the “Me Too!” Scheme in the Whitby Gazette of 25th November 2009. (Readers will note that he was still addressing me as ‘Nigel’ back then, even when I was pressing him hard for a full explanation of his part in the “Me Too!” affair):

—– Original Message —–

From: Cllr.Joe Plant

To: Nigel

Cc: Carole Dunn

Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2011 4:29 PM

Subject: Full Council

Nigel

The date of the Full Council which I declared an interest was 16 Feb 2011.

Regards

Joe

That declaration reads thus:

  • Cllr Plant: “I have given a question for Councillor Watson, before I ask it I want to declare a personal interest my son is married to a provider of Me Too. The scheme was launched last year and went down well in the Whitby area and is aimed at underprivileged children.  It has increased the take up of free school meals and activities they would not have gone to in the first place. It started off well, but I want to ask Councillor Watson to investigate problems of the Me Too scheme as it operates in Whitby area it is apparent that some providers have not been paid since last summer and they have been told there is not enough money in the pot to pay and they are suspended. The scheme continues. Allegations that vouchers are being handed out to people not entitled to them. One particular case is a millionaire in the Whitby area and they have changed hands for money. Please investigate as a matter of urgency because the scheme is being abused.”

Unfortunately, this declaration of interest came not only fifteen months too late – but only after the ordure had hit the air-recirculatory system, when news of the fraud and forgery elements of the “Me Too!” affair become widely-known, when the following announcement appeared on the East Whitby Community Primary web-site. FACT.

Me Too Vouchers

21st January 2011

Dear Parent/Carer

Re:  Me Too Vouchers

It took some considerable effort and persuading to convince the authority that all pupils/families at East Whitby should be eligible for Me Too vouchers.  I am sure that you appreciate having them and the obvious benefits of being able to access the activities available free of charge.  The cost of all our families having the vouchers is considerable.

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.

If you lose your vouchers, please let me know immediately so I can warn the providers and please do not pass on vouchers to anyone else.  They are for your child’s use only.  Abuse of the system could easily result in the vouchers being withdrawn.

Thank you to the vast majority for your co-operation. Please let me know if you have any more information regarding this matter.

Yours sincerely

A Mok

Headteacher

Three weeks after this bombshell, County Councillor Joe PLANT, having said nothing for the past fifteenn months, suddenly declared an interest and offered an interesting tale of abuse – at the very time when those two School Governors and the NYCC ‘whistleblower’ were making very earnest entreaties to me to expose the apparent nepotism that they knew of directly, from within ‘the system’. FACT.

That same ‘system’ has contrived to keep a lid on this disgraceful affair ever since.

The Extended School “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme was backed by £1,570,000 of Disadvantaged Subsidy funding from the DCSF, to which NYCC chipped in a further £157,000, totalling over £1.727 MILLION, to be disbursed through Vouchers that had no face-value, no serial numbers, no anti-forgery provisions and no systems in place to prevent those ‘in the know’ from tipping-off associates about this extraordinary opportunity to quite literally print money.

North Yorkshire Police

On 19th June 2012, NYCC Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN informed me that the Police were considering the “Me Too!” investigation. This turned out to be a rural beat PC in Hambleton – hardly a Police Officer qualified to evaluate a complex £1.727million case of fraud, forgery, nepotism and public sector corruption.

Neither the beat Constable himself nor NYCC CEO Richard FLINTON could provide a Crime Number. FACT.

Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN now tells me, in an FOIA response dated 18th March 2013, that:

  • “It is uncertain whether a copy of this report was provided to North Yorkshire Police, but it is believed that police officers were given sight of it and so it is this report which is being considered for disclosure in response to the request.”

“It is uncertain”“it is believed” – does the Monitoring Officer really not know? Or is this legal-speak for “we successfully contrived to keep the Police out of it”?

She then proceeds to withhold the report!

One would think that it was no concern to electors – on the brink of an election – that the truth should finally out, so that electors know what sort of Councillors they run the risk of electing.

But, once again, Carole DUNN, of Private Eye notoriety, covers up the truth.

In 2011, Inspector Mark GRANGE, of the Whitby Police (NYP), told me on two separate occasions – each in the presence of a witness – that it was NYP policy NOT to pursue investigations of Local Authorities except at the behest of the Authority in question. FACT.

Perhaps that explains County Councillor Joe PLANT’s ostentatious show of willingness to embrace a Police investigation.

But on 16th April 2013, North Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner Julia MULLIGAN hopes to announce the name of the next Chief Constable of the North Yorkshire Police.

A ‘new broom’ (hopefully) will in due course receive my 70,000+ word report.

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

whitewash

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.

36 Comments

  1. Richard Ineson March 26, 2013 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    A very depressing picture of the moral values of some of our Councillors has been depicted in this article.

    How this appalling mismanagement of such a large amount of money could be allowed to happen, unchecked, would normally sicken me, but then, I live within the administrative boundaries of the North Yorkshire County Council, whose Kafkaesque activities, have long since ceased to provoke any such feeling in me.

    I can best quote Cllr. Plant’s fellow Conservative Councillor, Miss Jane Kenyon who said,in relation to the misuse of public money, in the pages of the Whitby Gazette, dated 12.06.2009.

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

    I suppose that many people will agree with this statement, me too.

    Trebles all round, and let me know when the next scam, sorry scheme, is put on the agenda

    • Gary Ludlow April 22, 2013 at 12:25 am - Reply

      Cllr Joe Plant, it’s sickening to read. And all you have to say is GO TO THE POLICE I don’t care.

      Do you realise Mr Plant that in your NYCC council ward, one tiny business, taking park in a scheme headed by your NYCC committee, claimed ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS from the council in a matter of weeks. One invoice.
      That’s twenty six thousand individual childrens activities at £5.00 per activity.

      In just your tiny weeny ward alone in this remote corner of the whole of North Yorkshire, the largest county in the United Kingdom, someone (whom people say you personally know really well, like really well) invoiced the scheme you were head of as an NYCC committee chair, for a total of ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS and YOU did not question it even though the brains and management of NYCC did.

      £113,000 in a matter of weeks.

      And you approved, some say took an active part in assisting, oiling, in fact demanding, in the North Yorkshire County Council CHAMBER in a full County Council meeting, to ensure the provider of the childrens activity, the one tiny business, was paid out £113,000 after serious concerns were raised by NYCC mnagement, thereby delaying the payment. Despite the fact that NYCC really struggled to find the money allocated for the scheme. Your family contact had brought the scheme to the point of total collapse with just one invoice.

      Is it true that you as a County Councillor and Chair of a Childrens Committee covering the entire area of the county of North Yorkshire, paid out £113,000 to a tiny business taking part in a scheme called Me Too.

      DO YOU REALISE THAT is 22,600 CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES.

      One Activity enjoyed by TWENTY TWO THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED CHILDREN at £5 per activity.
      What was that activity and where did the twenty two thousand children come from?

      Say No to Joe. Pass it on.

  2. Longbones March 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Nigel

    This is absolutely STAGGERING.

    What exactly has to happen before this is resolved? Or, given that so much has happened gives credence to the argument that the main characters are the ‘untouchables’.

    However, I doubt that a 70,000 pus word manuscript will go unnoticed, seeing as it has the propensity for excellent world wide web distribution.

  3. Brian Dodds March 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    The fact that Cllr Joe PLant has recently begun voicing his protests of innocence and his willingness to endure an investigation by the police is just another example of the arrogance we have become used to hearing from these self seving hypocrites. Of course he will say that, because he knows full well it will never happen so he has no fear of it. Then we have to consider that election time is drawing near so he has to put on his whiter than white image to preserve his seat on the Scarborough Borough gravy train. I pray that enough people have woke up to this scandalous abuse of the public trust and vote his ass out.

    • Tim Thorne March 27, 2013 at 1:47 am - Reply

      “The fact that Cllr Joe PLant has recently begun voicing his protests of innocence”

      It hasn’t gone unnoticed that Cllr Plant is simply refusing to discuss certain matters with his constituents. He is particularly touchy about the collusion comments. Care to discuss how your double-dipping statement was word for word the same as another three Councillors, Cllr Plant?

  4. Frank Chalmers March 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Well done Nigel!

    This whole affair stinks.

    Joe, if you’re reading this (and you will be when I copy you in by email) I want to see your resignation.

    You have stolen from the public. You are an utter disgrace, to yourself, your family, and more importantly – the people who elected, and trusted you.

    Resign!

  5. Carole Gerada March 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you Nigel for your diligence in trying to get the truth out there.

    I do believe you have achieved this, but now it’s out, what will happen? Absolutely nothing. Because the police will not investigate anything unless told to by a superior FACT

    I don’t think that the general voting public read this editorial and any that do have been prodded to do so in order to write disagreeably against it.

    There is so much that goes on behind closed doors in council meetings to keep the truth from the public and now because it is election time it hots up. The innocent are smeared and the criminals hide behind their peers backs to ensure the truth does not get out. It’s called job protection.

    No dishonest councillor wants to help their community, they just want a job for the next 4 years. Once elected they can do what they like because even if they breach standards, nothing will happen. Everyone knows that now.

    Why do councillors resign in an election year? I have no idea. No doubt we may find out eventually, but if Borough and County Councillors did not receive ‘allowances’ for everything that a Parish Councillor does without an allowance – there would be fewer candidates for each seat and only those who genuinely cared about their communities and not their positions or whether they get to wear a Medallion around their necks for pomp and ceremony would apply.

  6. kathleen parker March 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    No wonder Joe Plant responded at 4.2Oam! If I was him I wouldn’t have slept either! And what was provided to warrant a payment of £1OOk? It bloody stinks, its time you went Joe, we don’t need your sort who think its ok to dip into the public purse whenever you please.

    • Richard Ineson March 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Kathleen, you are right, my Granddad always told me “A clear conscience is the softest pillow to sleep on” what can be going on in this man’s mind to prompt him to be writing emails at 4.20 in the morning?

      There is something rotten about local government in this area, it needs sorting out, Eric Pickles should send someone to investigate these apparently unethical, unprincipled, and unscrupulous individuals and the mismanagement of the public purse.

  7. Yorkie Gull March 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Hmmm! Lets see I just might stand for a up & coming position. it will be under the banner of Truth & Honesty with a a solemn promise to clean up the House of Secret. Of course once elected into the brotherhood & dark chamber of council perks (The Leeds Arms) I will do as 99.9% of the rest of those elected have done. Lie, Cheat, Double dip & even treble dip the expenses. Plus use my influence to get planning applications past. Of course there will have to be a hefty bribe involved. Give me six months & I will have a 90 ft luxury yacht in the med & of course several holiday apartments . Does that sound about right. OH! YES

  8. Frank Chalmers March 26, 2013 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Just had this come in from Cllr Plant

    From: Cllr.Joseph.Plant@scarborough.gov.uk
    To: @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    Subject: Re: Real Whitby
    Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 19:57:50 +0000

    Dear Mr Chalmers.

    I have no further comment to make.

    Regards.

    Cllr Joe Plant
    Whitby West Cliff Ward
    St Fillans
    White Point Avenue
    Whitby
    YO21 3JG
    t: 01947 821159 m: 07780 883507
    http://www.scarborough.gov.uk
    DISCLAIMER

    This email (and any files transmitted with it) may contain confidential or privileged information and is intended for the addressee only.
    If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken is prohibited and may be unlawful – you should therefore return the email to the sender and delete it from your system.

    Any opinions expressed are those of the author of the email, and do not necessarily reflect those of Scarborough Borough Council.

  9. Stakesby Legs March 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    That’s what the call transparency around here. No further comment. What a weasel. It’s always the bloody Tories. How they get in around here I’ll never know. Double counting, maybe?

    • Frank Chalmers March 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      A young friend of mine tells me that when they finish the ballots, the boxes are whisked away at high speed, and kept “secure”. Overnight in the Borough’s case.

      I wonder how easily it could be to switch boxes, or add voting forms to them AFTER they’ve been taken away to be “counted”.

      Food for thought.

  10. Dave March 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    You seem to have rattled a cage or two with this one Nigel…lol
    Remember if they address you by “Title” (Mr/Mrs) they assume authority over you as you are “Entitled” to be bound to their system of rules and regulation….
    Unless, as Nigel has done here, you re butt’s the assumption..
    Its all in the words..;)
    Carry on Nigel great work ..
    I wonder what would happen if I started to look in to My local Councils affairs..(Shudders at the thought)

    • A Green March 27, 2013 at 6:57 am - Reply

      Good point Dave, ever tried getting into a Polling Station after the voting times have come to an end? last time I saw this there was a Sergeant of Police blocking the way such was the enforcement of security. I thought that if the boxes were to be deposited anywhere, they had to have a Police guard but maybe I am wrong.

      IF THIS IS CORRECT…

      Can this be confirmed? Why was not the count started at the time at the end of voting?. Why the need to ‘store’ them? If so, then can this be reported and investigated? We live in interesting times.

  11. Carole Gerada March 27, 2013 at 8:42 am - Reply

    The same question has been asked about the ballot boxes in Scarborough regarding certain councillors being elected year after year after year when everyone I speak to says they don’t know anyone who voted for them. All I can think is that their supporters do turn out to vote for them and unless the majority of people eligible to vote turn out to vote, the same councillors will be voted back in.

    If there is overwhelming support for another councillor ballot boxes could not be altered.

    Everyone needs to vote!

    • sarraceniac March 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      Carole. This is what anybody, like yourself, who wants to infiltrate this rotten system, is up against. You will know that at Eastfield, for example, less than one in eight people that are eligible actually vote. If you get to talking to people, not on the doorstep, but in the shops (such as they are), the pubs and the street you will see that everyone is complaining. If you ask them if they vote they will look horrified and say ‘no’. The general idea is that the entire system is corrupt and it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the system will stay corrupt. Until some honest people who are prepared to challenge the officers and bring power back to the voters are elected then the system will not change. And the people to do the job will not even put themselves forward, let alone be elected, until the system changes. Your archetypal vicious circle. That is how the fiddlers hang on. They do not want to bring about reform. It is the existing system that lines their pockets and lets them get away with it.

  12. rod mathers March 27, 2013 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Mr Plant needs to resign immediately. And so does that corrupt(so-called) MONITORING Officer. Such people are a disgrace to local government.

  13. Tom Brown March 27, 2013 at 10:33 am - Reply

    This is Great Britain. What’s happening to us?
    If the Carol Dunns of Great Britain know what’s happening then you can be sure that its going the way they want it to go. I’ve met councillors who are none too bright who would be delighted to take what ever is offered to them without regard for how it appears.
    The fault lies with the local authority, they have a (not so hidden) hidden agenda that is not SUSTAINABLE.

    • Stakesby Legs March 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      I see our Member of Parliament has made his usual positive contribution to the debate.

      @R_Good4nuffinMP: #CodFule Of course cllrs’ families can raid the @NorthRiding #MeToo vaults! & You can still marry your sister in Filey http://t.co/A2DvOnW8QH

      • kathleen parker March 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm - Reply

        I’m glad you put that tweet up from Goodwill I didn’t know how to proves he reads this site!

  14. marie burns March 27, 2013 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Hi Nigel,I am interested in this “me too”scam,as I received the vouchers and could not believe the activities that were provided,meaning that I could not believe what they were giving away.I actually did not allow my children to use the vouchers for certain things as I considered them too extravagant,even though I was entitled to them.I was very concerned when my children arrived back from the swimming pool here,which is owned and run by SBC,with expensive swim goggles and caps,which they had been allowed to swap only one voucher for in exchange.I remember my daughter saying at the time that they had been “offered” the goods,and eagerly exchanged their vouchers,and that many kids were taking advantage and getting more and more goods on a daily basis.I told my girls that they must only receive one pair,that was enough.This suggested to me that the scheme had serious flaws,and was obviously open to abuse.

  15. FiFi Binks March 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Re your first point, I like this quote:

    ‘It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that”, as if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that.” Well, so fucking what?’ – Mr Stephen Fry

  16. Frank Chalmers March 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    You are quite right Lady!

    Cllr Plant has breached Article 1 of the Code of Conduct!

    http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10358

    And an offence under the Localism Act 2011.

    Thank you!

  17. Carole Gerada March 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    Sarraceniac – you are right. But honestly there is always an opportunity for the honest hearted people with integrity to stand up and be counted. If they really want to make a difference they need to put themselves forward at election time.

    now that Cllr Geoff Evans has resigned from Eastfield Parish Council there is a vacancy in the Eastway Ward and I would be very happy to assist anyone with the interests of the community uppermost in their hearts and minds with their application for nomination. The Chairman said there will be a co-option but an election will be democratic. However unless there are 2 residents interested in standing, there won’t be an election. Come on everyone who wants change – put yourself forward. At the moment it is just me against the 10 – now 9 councillors speaking up for residents.

  18. sarraceniac March 28, 2013 at 6:18 am - Reply

    An election may be more democratic but a pound to a penny BS will fix it for a co-option. The excuse will be that for just one councillor the election process would be too expensive. For that read ‘If we have a co-option I can fix it for a crony to get the job.’ This has happened before (I don’t suppose many will remember how the Condems took over Eastfield but I do, and it was not by open and fair election). But as a senior Lie-dem recently said, ‘Once we get people in it is very difficult to remove us.’

  19. Carole Gerada March 28, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Yes but it is his former LibDem buddy who has resigned without reason to those who elected him and who still remains a SBC Borough councillor (who receive allowances, Parish Councillors do not. So perhaps the resigning councillor should pay the bill for the election?

    Only 10 electors need to request an election. However there does need to be at least 2 people for an election to take place, otherwise a crony co-option will take place. There was an election in late 2011 after a Parish Councillor moved out of the area. So it will happen if enough people stand. Spread the word to like minded people living in the Eastway ward of Eastfield.

    Brian will simply blame me for the cost of democracy – not the resigning councillor.

    I don’t mind being accused of doing the right thing – I’m very used to it

  20. Gary Ludlow March 30, 2013 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    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.

  21. Gary Ludlow March 30, 2013 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Police force joins nationwide fraud action scheme

    Published on Friday 29 March 2013 08:44

    North Yorkshire Police has joined the rest of the UK’s police forces in launching Action Fraud, the central point of contact for reporting fraud and financially-motivated internet crime.

    Action Fraud is being launched nationally on 1 April, but from 25 March members of the public are being encouraged to report fraud and internet scams directly to the scheme via http://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 1232040.
    From the Whitby Gazette
    Detective superintendent Steve Waite, head of intelligence for regional operations, said: “Action Fraud will enable a better sharing of information about the nature and extent of fraud across the region and beyond, which will assist all law-enforcement partners in tackling the various different types of fraud affecting our local communities and businesses.”

    Action Fraud is being run by the National Fraud Authority and will be the main agency for people to contact if they are the victim of fraud.

  22. Carole Gerada March 31, 2013 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Well police make statements all the time but don’t necessarily do anything about it. I recently reported something to the police relating to public highways after NYCC advised me that they were not responsible for them. When I did, the police told me to report it to the NYCC. After showing the police the email I received from NYCC telling me to tell the police, the police gave me the number for Trading Standards to ring them up about vehicles (Untaxed)parked on the pavement!

    the police are part of NYCC, so pass the buck just like current County Councillors. Get them out. Vote for someone neutral with integrity.

  23. george conway April 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Mr Ward this is nearly as bad as benefit fraud

  24. Tom Brown April 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    Are our police sensitive to fraud. Lets ask them. If not why I we funding a police force?
    Are they there to police US when we query the actions of an authority???
    Believe me THEY ARE they are there for that, But serving bobbies, (who cant get beyond a glass ceiling) you are OUR bobbies, you are NOT (I HOPE) the secret police and I know some of you read this. Talk about it in the canteen.

  25. Real Whitby Webmaster April 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    Did you see there was an article in The Gazette today Nigel ? NYCC admitting they made some mistakes.

  26. Gary Ludlow April 22, 2013 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Cllr Plant THIS IS SICKENING

    Joe Plant and MeeToo really does make sickening reading.

    Do you realise Mr Plant that in your NYCC council ward, one tiny business, taking park in a scheme headed by your NYCC committee, claimed ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS from the council in a matter of weeks. One invoice.
    That’s twenty six thousand individual childrens activities at £5.00 per activity.

    In just your tiny weeny ward alone in this remote corner of the whole of North Yorkshire, the largest county in the United Kingdom, someone (whom people say you personally know really well, like really well) invoiced the scheme you were head of as an NYCC committee chair, for a total of ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS and YOU did not question it even though the brains and management of NYCC did.

    £113,000 in a matter of weeks.

    And you approved, some say took an active part in assisting, oiling, in fact demanding, in the North Yorkshire County Council CHAMBER in a full County Council meeting, to ensure the provider of the childrens activity, the one tiny business, was paid out £113,000 after serious concerns were raised by NYCC mnagement, thereby delaying the payment. Despite the fact that NYCC really struggled to find the money allocated for the scheme. Your family contact had brought the scheme to the point of total collapse with just one invoice.

    Is it true that you as a County Councillor and Chair of a Childrens Committee covering the entire area of the county of North Yorkshire, paid out £113,000 to a tiny business taking part in a scheme called Me Too.

    DO YOU REALISE THAT is 22,600 CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES.

    One Activity enjoyed by TWENTY TWO THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED CHILDREN at £5 per activity.
    What was that activity and where did the twenty two thousand children come from?

    Say No to Joe. Pass it on.

  27. Steve Old April 22, 2013 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Great work Nigel,I just do not know how these people sleep at night? there again Cllr Joe Plant was not a sleep at 4.20am.
    It all makes you wander just what is going off and who is involved the web thickens.
    I wish I was a more educated person with better grammar skills but I am not just your average guy on the street a family man saying that though all this is not rocket science is it? someone or some people know whats happening with all this money the tax payer deserves a right to know a transparent way of looking.
    Well done all keep it up.

  28. Tom Brown April 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    So if things are as per ‘Guide Lines’ its OK is it?
    Magna Carta and English law are THE guidelines. If Common Purpose (Google it) trained civil servants provide guidelines contrary to this then THEY are breaking the law not only by doing it but by forcing their minions to do the same.
    ALL Chief executives & deputies of County, City, Borough and town councils are trained to do do this via Common Purpose. Chief constables exacerbate it by toeing their Guide Lines and ignore our needs. Sir Gus O’Donnel head of the Civil Service was/is a Common Purpose Graduate and the present Head Bob Kerslake is Common Purpose with a vengeance. http://www.thebcgroup.org.uk/topics/Declaration

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