Surrey Campaign Diary

August 17, 2009 11:42 AM

Our erstwhile Surrey Organiser Peter Webb has produced yet another outstanding report detailing his campaign activity across the county for June and July.  For reference, we publicised the Frater report on our blog here, showing how it exposes the mismanagement rife within Surrey County Council.


PeterWebbNew1 4th June County Council election produced a continuing Conservative administration.


John Glanfield continues to pursue his roads costs enquiry with County Council but now with Contracts Manager Jason Russell, and new Select Committee (Chair Cllr Ivison). That a contracts manager has not long been in post is further evidence of failing top management. A review by Autumn will lead to a changed form of structure and contract.  JG’s dispute focuses on their failure to correct wrong figures.


MP Jeremy Hunt continues to press the Chancellor to answer questions about forthcoming WGA (Whole of Government Accounts, and Budgets (from 2011)) as to  government purpose, foreseen implications and predicted behaviour change resulting.


MP Jeremy Hunt continues unsuccessfully to press Bob Neil MP and the shadow C&LG Committee for acknowledgement of receipt, and consideration given, to my critique on Control Shift – Returning Power to Local Communities.


With reference in May diary to Steve Bowers correspondence via MP with Rt Hon Yvette Cooper he copied in Ros Altmann the well-know campaigner. YC’s reply included the highly debatable “reducing pensions in public sector will not improve the case in the private sector”. She defended the ‘pay as you go’ basis of  schemes and talked of rising longevity requiring cost-capping but not of eg final salary basis.


On 26th June My letter was published saying police cap result was a bad one. The SPA did not heed the likely outcome resulting and the judicial appeal finally failed. This lost revenue comprised the £1.6 tax refund to be made plus the cost of re-billing, estimate £1.2m, and fees. A closing reply to me from SPA Chairman defended the decision to proceed and quoted their petition support amounted to some 7,000 in favour and some 250 against. Advance copying of my letter had produced an invitation to meet Peter Williams and Ch Exec Sue Martin at which I stood by my assessment and advised ‘rolling over’. A message to Surrey MPs, who in the HoC had supported Surrey Police and ridiculed the system, asked whether they favoured a refund to taxpayers but this was  not answered. Quotes have been given to local press enquiries.


Our request for substantial refund of surplus invested cash did not produce for our John Bosten the promised further answers from Chief Finance Officer, Phil Walker.  Reminders, and no doubt general hiatus at County Hall (see also re Frater), did not generate answer until 27th July,. This gave detailed reasons why we can’t have our money back and is being studied..


Late in July the devastating report by outgoing Interim Chief Executive Michael Frater hit SCC and the headlines. It revealed whole system failure, detailed areas of failure and of poor behaviours.  This must be attributed to former Chief Executive Dr Richard Shaw and standing down Leader Nick skellett.. This will be picked up again in August.


Peter Webb    11th August 2009

Our erstwhile Surrey Organiser Peter Webb has produced yet another outstanding report detailing his campaign activity across the county for June and July.  For reference, we publicised the Frater report on our blog here, showing how it exposes the mismanagement rife within Surrey County Council.


PeterWebbNew1 4th June County Council election produced a continuing Conservative administration.


John Glanfield continues to pursue his roads costs enquiry with County Council but now with Contracts Manager Jason Russell, and new Select Committee (Chair Cllr Ivison). That a contracts manager has not long been in post is further evidence of failing top management. A review by Autumn will lead to a changed form of structure and contract.  JG’s dispute focuses on their failure to correct wrong figures.


MP Jeremy Hunt continues to press the Chancellor to answer questions about forthcoming WGA (Whole of Government Accounts, and Budgets (from 2011)) as to  government purpose, foreseen implications and predicted behaviour change resulting.


MP Jeremy Hunt continues unsuccessfully to press Bob Neil MP and the shadow C&LG Committee for acknowledgement of receipt, and consideration given, to my critique on Control Shift – Returning Power to Local Communities.


With reference in May diary to Steve Bowers correspondence via MP with Rt Hon Yvette Cooper he copied in Ros Altmann the well-know campaigner. YC’s reply included the highly debatable “reducing pensions in public sector will not improve the case in the private sector”. She defended the ‘pay as you go’ basis of  schemes and talked of rising longevity requiring cost-capping but not of eg final salary basis.


On 26th June My letter was published saying police cap result was a bad one. The SPA did not heed the likely outcome resulting and the judicial appeal finally failed. This lost revenue comprised the £1.6 tax refund to be made plus the cost of re-billing, estimate £1.2m, and fees. A closing reply to me from SPA Chairman defended the decision to proceed and quoted their petition support amounted to some 7,000 in favour and some 250 against. Advance copying of my letter had produced an invitation to meet Peter Williams and Ch Exec Sue Martin at which I stood by my assessment and advised ‘rolling over’. A message to Surrey MPs, who in the HoC had supported Surrey Police and ridiculed the system, asked whether they favoured a refund to taxpayers but this was  not answered. Quotes have been given to local press enquiries.


Our request for substantial refund of surplus invested cash did not produce for our John Bosten the promised further answers from Chief Finance Officer, Phil Walker.  Reminders, and no doubt general hiatus at County Hall (see also re Frater), did not generate answer until 27th July,. This gave detailed reasons why we can’t have our money back and is being studied..


Late in July the devastating report by outgoing Interim Chief Executive Michael Frater hit SCC and the headlines. It revealed whole system failure, detailed areas of failure and of poor behaviours.  This must be attributed to former Chief Executive Dr Richard Shaw and standing down Leader Nick skellett.. This will be picked up again in August.


Peter Webb    11th August 2009

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