Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Liars, all of them.

Early last month, the council, Vera Baird MP and Robert Goodwill MP for Scarborough and Whitby, issued a joint press statement denouncing the film "Coatham a common concern". Despite their protestations that it was libellous and untrue, neither the council or Vera Baird have started any legal proceedings or taken any legal action to get the film stopped from being shown, or against the individuals who are directly involved with it. Strange for something that is so libellous, especially as over 800 people have now seen it in screenings across the borough?

Within that joint statement was this paragraph.

"A minority of protestors have alleged there is corruption within the Council in relation to this scheme and that it is being driven forward against residents’ wishes. These allegations have been investigated by the Police, Courts, Audit Commission, the local Member of Parliament and the Ombudsman – all of which has confirmed that the Council has done nothing wrong".

Shortly after this was put onto the councils website, but strangely not issued in a press release? I sent FOI requests to the Police, the Audit Commission, the Ombudsman and the Council asking for them to provide me with confirmations of these investigations, the investigations reports, the reports findings, who carried these investigations out and when?

You may be shocked to learn, especially when this council made this statement publicly in conjunction with two MP's, that it is an absolute tissue of lies.

Firstly here is the response from the police...

Dear Mr McGlade,Enquiry Ref : 2009/1696I
write in connection with your request for information dated 21 May 2009 concerning Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council.

Re your below request:"I am sending this email now to clarify my FOI request. Under the Freedom Of Information Act I would like to know if The Cleveland Police Force has ever carried out an investigation into Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council over allegations of corruption? If a corruption investigation into Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has ever taken place, then I would like you to provide me with the confirmation of this investigation, the report that was made regarding this investigation, the reports findings, the date that the investigation was started and completed and the identities of the people who carried out the investigation.I hope that this clarifies totally my FOI request and the information that I am requesting.

"Having made enquiries into your request I can confirm on behalf of Cleveland Police that no information is held.If you are not satisfied with this response or any actions taken in dealing with your request you have the right to request that we review your case under our review procedure. If you decide to request that such a review is undertaken and following this process you are still dissatisfied you then have the right to direct your complaint to the Information Commissioner for consideration.If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Pc 121 James Conlin
Freedom Of Information
Wetherby House.

And here is the response from the Audit Commission...

Your request for information

I can confirm that the Audit Commission has not carried out an investigation into Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council over allegations of corruption and there are therefore no details to disclose to you of any such investigation by the Audit Commission.
The Audit Commission has not withheld any information in relation to this request under the exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Separate from the Audit Commission, there are occasions when investigations are carried out by District Auditors. But only in respect of matters that come within the statutory functions of the District Auditor, as explained in the information provided to you by our Complaints Unit. The need for any such investigation is a matter for the District Auditor to decide personally and is not
a decision of the Audit Commission.
If the District Auditor decides that there is a need for an investigation, the work may eventually lead to a publicly available report by the District Auditor. Depending on the subject matter, findings and recommendations may be in the Annual Audit and Inspection Letter for the audited body or in statutory recommendations or a public interest report issued by the District Auditor
under the provisions of the ACA.

Advice and assistance

Under Section 16 of the FoIA the Audit Commission has a duty to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect a public authority to do so. We did this in our previous correspondence with you and I trust that the further explanations in my letter are helpful to you.

And finally here is the response from the council...

FOI 09 175

Further to my acknowledgement of your Freedom of Information request, I can confirm that the Council does not hold the information you requested. You asked : (These allegations have been investigated by the Police, Courts, Audit Commission, the local Member of Parliament and the Ombudsman – all of which has confirmed that the Council has done nothing wrong.) I would like you to provide me with the investigation reports from all of the aforementioned bodies or individuals investigations, along with all of the investigation confirmations. I would also like to know who specifically carried out the investigations and when they were carried out. I would also like to know when these investigations were completed and I would like to know who asked them to be carried out by the above bodies or individuals.

Our Response: The Council does not have the reports you request and is therefore unable to supply them to you or provide specific details about them. If you are not satisfied with how your request has been dealt with then you are free to make a complaint either to the Council or to the Information Commissioner. You will find details of the complaints procedure on the Council's Website at (alternatively by using the A-Z Index from the home page). The Information Commissioner is an independent person who has responsibility for overseeing the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. More details can be obtained from the Information Commissioner’s website at .

regards Ken Hamer Constitution Officer 01642 444626

The only body who wouldn't answer strangely enough, was the Ombudsman? She tried hiding behind some beaurocratic redtape and some clause as an excuse to not provide the information that everyone else, even the council, did not attempt to hide behind. So much for the Ombudsman trying to defend the public from such abuses and such blatant lies.

But more than this, when not only a council, but TWO MP's issue a joint statement that contains things that are completely untrue and they know that they are, then what does that really say?

When a local authority, backed up by its MP and the MP from a neighbouring constituency put out a blatantly untrue statement that tries to convince the public that these public bodies have investigated corruption in the council and found that all is well, when no investigations have even taken place, then that shows the desperation that these people are feeling. They are as guilty as sin and they know they are. They have been caught bang to rights on so many counts and are desperately trying to make everyone believe that they are whiter than white when clearly they are not.

Lets hope that someone has the courage to speak out about this and call for the investigation that Robert Goodwill was going to call for before he was warned off by Vera Baird. What a silly man Mr Goodwill is, rather than stand up for what he knows is the truth, he has aligned himself with those who are telling so many lies and who are guilty of so many things and has been so easily exposed.

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