NYCC Election Preview – County Councillor Joe PLANT

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NYCC Election Preview – County Councillor Joe PLANT

The Public Record – Cllr Joe PLANT – Double Dipper

The Free Dictionary defines the term ‘Double dipping’ in the following way:

Double dipping

n.

– The practice of receiving compensation, benefits, etc, from two or more sources in a way regarded as unethical, as from a government pension and a government job.

MUGSHOT_JPLANT

 

  • County Councillor Joe PLANT  stands as a member of the Conservative Party
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT is a Member of North Yorkshire County Council
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT is a Member of Scarborough Borough Council
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT received £500+ per annum from NYCC for IT/Broadband
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT received £255 per annum from SBC for IT/Broadband
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT has refused to pay back the excess money
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT believes he is fully entitled to receive two lots of IT/Broadband allowances when he only pays out a fraction of that
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT attended one or more NYCC Council meetings where the IT/Broadband Allowance was discussed, so cannot claim to be unaware of it
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT last elected on 04/06/2009 and sits in the Streonshalh division
  • County Councillor Joe PLANT is standing in forthcoming elections in the Streonshalh division
  • Cllr Joe PLANT signed up to Nigel’s “Transparency Pledge”, then immediately broke it

All of the double-dipping NYCC/SBC Councillors were exonerated by the Standards Committee, which is composed of fellow Councillors, the only dissenting voice being that of SBC Councillor Colin CHALLEN, who stated (on the Scarborough and Whitby Labour Party website):

“Another issue which emerged out of this hearing was that a County Council official appears to have provided at least four of the eight members with a paragraph long statement which those members then used in response to the County Council’s own investigating officer’s inquiries. This would be like a detective providing you with the answer to his own questions, and clearly this has muddied the essential independence of the officer – councillor relationship. It is a matter which warrants further investigation.”

Councillor Colin CHALLEN also stated:

“The simple solution would have been for the Committee to suggest to the members involved that if they thought that the identifiable sums paid (I won’t go into the arcane details of how the sum is calculated and paid) were excessive, then the difference could be repaid.”

Former West Yorkshire Police Detective Inspector Cedric CHRISTIE of the WYP Major Fraud Division has expressed the following opinion:

“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.”

SUTHERLAND_doubledipper1

 

On Friday 19th April 2013, the Whitby Gazette published an article entitled “NYCC admits Me Too! Scheme was flawed”.

The article refers to a summarised redaction of the report provide by NYCC Head of Legal & Democratic Services and Monitoring Officer Carole DUNN, after two years of persistent requests under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The Whitby Gazette article, having outlined one or two of the administrative shortcomings surrounding the roll-out of the “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme (intended to provide extracurricular learning-opportunities to under-privileged school-children at a 75% discount, but described by one County Councillor as “a licence to print money”), continues by citing the following snippet from the report:

“The controls in the scheme did not provide effective limitation of the nature and cost of provision by providers resulting in the submission of one very high claim.”

It goes on to report that there had been a payment to Esk Leisure for £113,822.

What the Whitby Gazette article omits to lay bear is that the provider referred to as ‘Esk Leisure’ is rather better known as “Mini Monsterz” – where the opportunity to paint pots attracted many “Me Too!” Voucher users. One wonders how many kids have to paint how many pots to run up a bill of £113,822 (if the pot-painting ran out at £10 a time, 11,382 kids must presumably have had a go!) – or, indeed, how legitimate an “extracurricular learning-opportunity” pot-painting actually is (as compared, say, to swimming lessons, photography, conversational French, model-engineering, or whatever).

The Gazette article also neglects to mention the circumstances in which Mini Monsterz achieved approved provider status, on whose decision, and with what background checks. It also omits to mention the identity of the County Councillor – a member of the NYCC Children & Young People Scrutiny Committee – who, according to two  School Governors and an informer within NYCC, pressed NYCC for settlement of a considerably larger amount than anticipated when NYCC suspended payments pending investigation.

In County Councillor Joe PLANT’s own words (in an email dated 2nd April 2011):

  • “I also brought to the attention of the council that some providers were not being paid as the rumour was there was not enough money in the pot, one of which was the provider that my son is married into the family.”

Only when County Councillor Joe PLANT’s family relationship to the Mini Monsterz emerged did he declare a personal interest in that business, in virtue of his son’s marital status (husband of the business-operators’ daughter). That was on 16th February 2011 – fourteen months after County Councillor Joe PLANT had promoted the “Me Too!” Vouchers Scheme in the Gazette of 25th November 2009 in the following words:

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

County Councillor Joe PLANT held an undisclosed personal interest for over a year, finally making his required-by-law declaration only when the astonishing extent of the Scheme’s many abuses, including forgery and fraud, were already under investigation by NYCC.

In the same email as quoted above, County Councillor Joe PLANT conceded that:

  • “Vouchers are photo copied, forged and even sold on to other people.”

Clearly, County Councillor Joe PLANT’s position in respect of his conduct regarding the “Me Too!” Voucher Scheme is completely untenable. He failed to declare a disclosable personal interest for 14 months. He lobbied on behalf of providers – residents of another division (County Councillor Jane KENYON’s division) – for payment, although forgery and fraud had already been identified within the delivery of the Scheme. And yet since 3rd April 2011, he has refused point-blank to account for his actions, stating:

  • “Please note that this has being[sic] copied into the Legal Officer of the County Council and any further emails on this matter will be passed on and I will reply in the same manner.”

County Councillor Joe PLANT responded to the ‘Transparency Pledge’ Questionnaire (September 2010)  thus:

  • “Nigel.  Like I have always done  I DO uphold the PM’s statement calling for transparency.  But to clarify I stick within the code of conduct.  Joe –   Cllr Joe Plant”

“Me Too!” articles:

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/extended-schools-extended-profits

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/nycc-extended-schools-part-2

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/me-too-vouchers-part-3-of-4

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/whitbys-own-woolasgate-me-too-4a

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/me-too-a-mystery-of-many-parts

http://www.real-whitby.co.uk/me-too-councillor-plant-protesteth-too-much

and

http://www.whitbygazette.co.uk/news/local/councillors-cleared-of-double-dipping-slur-1-5066468

This Gazette article quotes Councillor Joe PLANT, thus:

  • “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”.

NYCC’s Standards Committee Decision Notice was published six months ago – on the next working-day following the Whitby Gazette article – but County Councillor Joe PLANT’s “frank and honest statement” has yet to materialise.

The comments section of this article is intended to be a public record of the work, good or bad, that this Councillor has done on behalf of the public. Please post only factual comments relating to County Councillor Joe PLANT’s past conduct so that the public can judge if he is worth re-electing.

Other Double-Dipping Articles:

Local Councilors Broadband Expense Claims By Tim Thorne

‘Double Dipping’ – An Update by Tim Thorne

Yorkshire Councils Pipped For National Award

NYCC IT/Broadband Allowances abuse

CodHead’s view:

CODHEAD

[NW & TT]

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.

31 Comments

  1. peter anderson April 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    Joe plant should hang his head in shame.this is public money .has he no shame.the tax payer is fed up whith this arrgant atitude.i do not understand why whe he thinks he is bomb proof.but maybe he is following the example set by poeple that for whatever reason will not stand this time round.we all ask WHY WILL THEY NOT BE STANDING.ITHINK THE ENTIRE KNOWS WHY

    ,

  2. kathleen parker April 20, 2013 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    After reading the Whitby Gazette article on the “Me Too” voucher scheme I was left wondering what on earth did Esk Leisure provide? And to how many kids? At that price it must have been every school kid in town! And I bet Esk Leisure didn’t expect to be named by the Gazette either! C’mon Esk Leisure what exactly DID you provide? And last but not least Joe Plant has a nerve to stand again!

    • Gary Ludlow April 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      Gary Ludlow Reply

      April 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Joe Plant is not a clever lad at all and has absolutely no qualifications in life to be an effective councillor. Born & Bred, what the f*** is that supposed to mean.
      Tell us what you did after you were born and bred Cllr Plant, appart from spend much of your time leaning against a car wash machine on the garage as you enter Whitby.
      We have schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, health care………………….
      Who is Cllr Joe Plant? What life qualifications does he have……..
      What projects has he been involved in?
      Here’s one, the MeeToo Vouchers £113,000 pocketed by local firm almost bringing the whole childrens scheme down, whilst Cllr Plant was chair of a committee involved.
      Come on Cllr Plant, talk to us? Surely we deserve a response! Are we not electorate enouogh for your personal cause!

  3. Rupert Ferguson April 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    These people have no morals, no scruples and no shame! That’s it!

  4. J.Robertsonj.robertson2@btconnect.com April 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    John Robertson

    I remember Joe Plant when use to wash cars . He came across as a decent sort of fellow . What went wrong !

    Perhaps teaming up with J . K .

    Bad move Joe !

    • Jane Swales April 21, 2013 at 7:48 am - Reply

      Easy money has a way of making the weak and easily led show their true colours, John. The real injustice here is the way the authority’s officers have covered up for him. They would have served him (and us) better by throwing him out and making him make his own way in the world. But I suppose it’s easy to understand that corrupt officers want to surround themselves with guilty fools. They must be very malleable. Poor old Joe.

      • Frank Chalmers April 21, 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

        Joe is a clever lad. He’s not half as dumb as some people make him out to be.

        But you are right Jane, “guilty fools” are what they corrupt officers surround themselves with.

        Joe certainly is one of those guilty fools, but he’s been in the game long enough now to be aware of what’s going on – hence not so dumb – and just as guilty as the corrupt officers/members around him.

        Just my two cents.

        • Gary Ludlow April 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm - Reply

          Joe Plant is not a clever lad at all and has absolutely no qualifications in life to be an effective councillor. Born & Bred, what the f*** is that supposed to mean.
          Tell us what you did after you were born and bred Cllr Plant, appart from spend much of your time leaning against a car wash machine on the garage as you enter Whitby.
          We have schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, health care………………….
          Who is Cllr Joe Plant? What life qualifications does he have……..
          What projects has he been involved in?
          Here’s one, the MeeToo Vouchers £113,000 pocketed by local firm almost bringing the whole childrens scheme down, whilst Cllr Plant was chair of a committee involved.
          Come on Cllr Plant, talk to us? Surely we deserve a response! Are we not electorate enouogh for your personal cause!

        • Gary Ludlow April 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm - Reply

          Gary Ludlow Reply

          April 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

          Joe Plant is not a clever lad at all and has absolutely no qualifications in life to be an effective councillor. Born & Bred, what the f*** is that supposed to mean.
          Tell us what you did after you were born and bred Cllr Plant, appart from spend much of your time leaning against a car wash machine on the garage as you enter Whitby.
          We have schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, health care………………….
          Who is Cllr Joe Plant? What life qualifications does he have……..
          What projects has he been involved in?
          Here’s one, the MeeToo Vouchers £113,000 pocketed by local firm almost bringing the whole childrens scheme down, whilst Cllr Plant was chair of a committee involved.
          Come on Cllr Plant, talk to us? Surely we deserve a response! Are we not electorate enouogh for your personal cause!

  5. Tom Brown April 21, 2013 at 7:52 am - Reply

    Councillors with the exception of one or two are there to do as council officers tell them (for a price of course. The exceptions wont do this so they are defamed whenever possible.

  6. Tim Thorne April 21, 2013 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Who wrote the report? Veritau? One wonders how independent a report from them must be, given that they are owned and managed by NYCC.

  7. Andrea Smith April 21, 2013 at 11:57 am - Reply

    I too read the article in the gazette. At least NYCC have actually held there hands up and said the system was flawed. Could you imagine Scarborough Borough Council ever doing that ? What worries me is this amount of money paid to esk leisure or Mini Monsterz as they are better known. On a personal level I feel something close to illegal has gone on here. Joe Plant was involved in setting up and running the me too voucher scheme, then you have his inlaws running a business which profits to the tune of £113,000. Something underhand has gone on here. Have NYCC reported it to the police ? I think we need answers rather than the kop out of a statement made to the Gazette. Smells of corruption to me.

  8. kathleen parker April 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    I agree with you Andrea it stinks of corruption and then for Joe Plant to chase uo the payment,I think Esk Leisure should tell us “What was provided”?

  9. Gary Ludlow April 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Gary Ludlow Reply

    April 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Joe Plant is not a clever lad at all and has absolutely no qualifications in life to be an effective councillor. Born & Bred, what the f*** is that supposed to mean.
    Tell us what you did after you were born and bred Cllr Plant, appart from spend much of your time leaning against a car wash machine on the garage as you enter Whitby.
    We have schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, health care………………….
    Who is Cllr Joe Plant? What life qualifications does he have……..
    What projects has he been involved in?
    Here’s one, the MeeToo Vouchers £113,000 pocketed by local firm almost bringing the whole childrens scheme down, whilst Cllr Plant was chair of a committee involved.
    Come on Cllr Plant, talk to us? Surely we deserve a response! Are we not electorate enouogh for your personal cause!

  10. Gary Ludlow April 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    SAY NO TO JOE Cllr Joe Plant Whitby
    I also read on this web site that you are paid approx £750 each year for Broadband Connection & IT. You claim £500 as a Whitby Councillor for North Yorkshire County Council.
    Yet you also claim a large sum of money for Broadband Connection whilst being a Scarborough Borough Councillor.
    That amounts to £750 each and every year for something that costs approx £330.
    If I were a councillor I would feel very dishonest, a cheat, a thief, disingenuous, I wouldn’t sleep at night. In fact I would pay every penny back that I had claimed, every single penny over and above what it cost me each month for broadband connection.
    In fact I wouldn’t claim a single penny for broadband connection, tax payers money, because when I became a councillor I already had broadband connection in my home and would have connection anyway, whether I was a councillor or not.
    Councillor Joe Plant are you not ashamed of yourself or will you be able to give Real Whitby a simple explanation for your behaviour?
    We all look forward to your reply. I certainly will NOT BE VOTING for you again if this is the way you have WASTED my vote!

  11. Stakesby Legs April 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Why has he stood for election? He must’ve known the cat was out of the bag on this voucher scam. You can’t cover up what even the dogs were barking. If he gets elected again he should resign on the spot. Same in Scarborough. Get out JOE PLANT we don’t need your sort!!!

    • Gary Ludlow April 22, 2013 at 1:44 am - Reply

      Don’t be daft, Joe’s born and bred in Whitby.

      • Gary Ludlow April 22, 2013 at 1:45 am - Reply

        We don’t need your sort Joe Plant.

  12. Gary Ludlow April 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    £113,000 Yep ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS ONLY

    Cllr Joseph Plant

    Do you realise that in your ward a scheme ran by you as a North Yorkshire County Councillor claimed ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS.

    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 associated with, head of for a total of ££££ ONE HUNDRED & THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS ONLY. £113,000.

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

    That means that you as a County Councillor Chair of a Childrens Committee covering the entire area of the county paid out to a tiny business that was supposed to help young people, in your council ward in Whitby, a scheme supposed to help young people enjoy an activity, a total of £113,000.

    So you as a North Yorkshire County Councillor of a tiny ward in Whitby ensured that one tiny tiny business in your council ward took £113,000 for a childrens activity.
    DO YOU REALISE THAT THAT is 22,600 CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES
    One Activity enjoyed by TWENTY TWO THOUSAND CHILDREN.
    What was that activity and where did the twenty two thousand children come from?

    You paid ONE PERSON £130,000. Even at say £5 per activity per child, one supplier somehow

    Say No to Joe. Pass it on.

  13. Steve Old April 22, 2013 at 8:56 am - Reply

    I spoke to a lady last night regarding these vouchers and the way they were handed out seems unfair. She lives alone, with 2 Primary School age children, whilst working part-time in a local supermarket. She was not entitled to Me Too vouchers as the School the children attend is not classed as in a deprived area. A married colleague of hers who works the same hours and also has 2 children did receive the vouchers because her children attend a School 5 minutes away from the other School. This seems unfair as I know the lady I spoke to had a greater need for the vouchers and would have used them towards after-school club while she was at work. Where as her friend, and several other people she knows who got the vouchers, had no real need for the vouchers so most used them for swimming lessons at the local swimming pool ( SBC owned pool ) .

    • Gary Ludlow April 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      Email Joe and ask him why?

  14. Richard Ineson April 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    How the ‘Me Too’ scheme was administered just demonstrates the attitude of both Conservative Councillors and Council staff, NYCC staff in this case, to the spending of public money. Dan and Amy Johnson, who were the proprietors of the ‘Monks Haven’ cafe on Church Street, at the time this scheme was introduced, were amazed to find that their children qualified for the vouchers -Dan is an INVESTMENT BANKER, but like everyone else who lived on the same street, they accepted the vouchers as they would otherwise have gone to waste. This whole sordid business needs a police investigation to clear the air.

  15. Real Whitby Webmaster April 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    There were clearly some bad policies around this and the fact wealthy people got money they didn’t need is not good practice, but I can forgive people for taking it and I can forgive those who administrated the system, after all theyve held their hands up and said we made a mistake. That’s good enough for me, I can forgive that, we all make mistakes. But what astounds me is the invoice for £113,000 from Esk Leisure and the fact it was actually paid out. I’m not comfortable with this and I’m not comfortable with the fact that Joe Plant’s son is married to the daughter of one of the business owners of Esk leisure, especially as Joe Plant was one of the people overseeing the project. With this one single issue in mind I dont think the statement in the gazette is enough. Yes mistakes were made, and mistakes for a couple of quid can be overlooked, but I think the public needs an item by item breakdown of the £113,000, how was it amassed, over what time period, why did Joe Plant chase it up ? The people really deserve to know exactly what has gone on here.

  16. kathleen parker April 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    I totally agree,we should know exactly what was “provided” for such a huge ammount,I would have thought Esk Leisure should’ve given a full breakdown to NYCC. It really does stink!

  17. Tom Brown April 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    BE AWARE that your elected councillor will either agree with what
    ever a council officer wishes them to do or they will have the bollocks to recognise what Common Purpose (Google it) can offer which is Fear or Greed or both, DON’T FORGET TO GOOGLE IT

  18. Gary Ludlow April 25, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Cllr JOE PLANT

    HOW DID NYCC GIVE OUT 22,600 ME TOO VOUCHERS? and they were all used at your relatives business?

    DO YOU REALISE THAT THAT is 22,600 CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES
    One Activity enjoyed by TWENTY TWO THOUSAND CHILDREN.

    Without ANY explanation from yourself, even thouggh you are a serving councillor for SBC and standing for NYCC in the coming elections.
    Other than telling us to go to the police!

    Why don’t you explain yourself and your involvement in the Me Too affair?

    Surely it’s only fair, you are a councillor and we are your ellectorate?

    • Real Whitby Webmaster April 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Garry, What information do you have on this please ? Do you know for certain that 22,600 vouchers were used, and do you know the exact timescale. I really think the people need an itemised breakdown of this £113,000, what was it for, what was the timescale, why did Joe Plant feel the need to chase it up, was the amount questioned by NYCC, are NYCC happy that nothing illegal has gone on ? Untill we have the exact details people are going to assume the worst. if Joe has done nothing wrong then let us have the details so we can scutinise them. Nothing short of that will do, the statement in the Gazette says nothing.

  19. Gary Ludlow April 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    The answer to this question is easy.

    ASK Joe Plant, elected Borough and County Councillor?

    You will not get a reply.

    There’s your answer.

  20. Real Whitby Webmaster April 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    There is big interest in this story away from the site. If you have the information as you claim above then we need it. If you dont have it then you must retract.

    • Gary Ludlow April 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      The information I have is £113,000!
      Webmaster see my comment on April 21 @ 11:01pm.
      See last sentence, my comment has been cut short.
      IT SAYS “You paid ONE PERSON £130,000. Even at say £5 per activity per child, one supplier somehow…….?

      It should have continued to say that if you divide the amount of money received, ie £113,000 by an amount of money that is reasonable for a childs activity then you get the total number of children or the total number of MeToo vouchers used.

      £113,000 divided by £5 = 22,600 Vouch or kids.
      £113,000 divided by £7.50 = 15,066 Vouch or kids.
      £113,000 divided by £10 = 11,300 Vouch or kids.

      So, again back to Cllr Plant, who is still a councillor for SBC, an electorate surely has a right to ask the question and receive a reply from Cllr Plant.

      What was the £113,000 for?
      How much was each activity?
      Where did the vouchers come from?
      What was Cllr Plants involvement?

      The information I have is £113,000!

  21. Gary Ludlow April 29, 2013 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Or is everyone comfortable that £113,000 has gone and the circumstances surrounding the £113,000 are completely unknown. SInce when did a council spend £113,000 and do so without a full explanation.
    The County Councillor, Cllr Plant’s main connection is that Cllr Plant is involved with NYCC’s Young People Overview And Scrutiny Childrens Committee covering the entire area of the county, he is also well paid to be on that committee.
    Yet his only comment regards the £113,000 is to tell us to go to the police if we think something doesn’t quite stack up?
    That Cllr Plant claims a small fortune for internet conection from both SBC and NYCC?
    What’s to retract?

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