How much more sleazy can the Carillion privatisation mess get?h

This is from the Daily Mail “This is Money” on 12 September 2017:

“Troubled engineer Carillion introduced tougher rules that protect bonuses paid to bosses – just months before it was embroiled in an accounting crisis that wiped £600million off its shares.

The firm changed the wording of its pay policy to make it harder for investors to claw back bonuses paid to executives in the event it ran into financial difficulty.

In recent days Carillion has been under pressure from investors to recoup some of the millions of pounds in bonuses paid to former chief executive Richard Howson and ex-finance chief Richard Adam when they were in charge.
A probe by the Mail has found that previously bosses could have been forced to hand back their annual bonus and share awards in ‘circumstances of corporate failure’.

But in the group’s 2016 annual report this wording was tightened.
It says deferred bonuses may be reduced in circumstances of corporate failure but goes on to say the so-called ‘malus’ and ‘clawback’ provisions can be applied in two circumstances: if results have been misstated or the participant is guilty of gross misconduct.

The changes to clawback rules, if interpreted as being a higher bar, could save bosses millions.

Howson, 49, stepped down from his role as chief executive on the day of the disastrous trading update. He had been in the post since 2009.

He is still with the company as chief operating officer but is due to leave next year. He has made £1.9 million in cash and share bonuses during his tenure, only not getting an award in 2012, according to Mail calculations.
Last year he pocketed a £245,000 bonus in cash and shares as well as a £346,000 long-term incentive award.

Adam, 59, has had up to £2.6million in extra cash and shares since starting in 2006, according to Mail calculations.

Last year he was handed a bonus of £140,000 and long-term incentive awards worth £278,000.

After leaving Carillion in December 2016, he faced a revolt from shareholders at First Group when he joined the transport company’s board. More than a fifth opposed his appointment.

Carillion is still one of the most shorted stocks on the market, suggesting investors are expecting worse to come. But shares closed up 3.7 per cent yesterday, or 1.6p, at 44.76p.

The company declined to comment.”

Devon consultants write to PM about A and E crisis

As posted on the blog of DCC East Devon Alliance Independent Councillor Martin Shaw – three Devon A and E consultants write to the PM to tell it as it is – and it’s not good at all:

Three Devon emergency consultants sign letter to Theresa May on ‘intolerable safety compromises’ in A&E winter crisis

“Nick Clegg claims £115,000 annual expenses allowance previously only granted to former Prime Ministers”

“Sir Nick Clegg, the former Deputy Prime Minister, has reportedly claimed almost £115,000 from an expenses allowance previously only granted to former Prime Ministers.

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats was given access to the public duty cost allowance after the 2015 general election.

The allowance provides for the office and secretarial costs for former premiers. …

… A recommendation to give him a reduced rate under the allowance was ignored, according to an internal memo released under freedom of information laws and reported by The Sunday Times. …”

Sunday Telegraph: “NHS crisis fuelled by closure of 1,000 care homes”

“The growing NHS crisis has been fuelled by the closure of almost 1,000 care homes housing more than 30,000 pensioners, research suggests.

It comes as NHS figures show the worst Accident & Emergency crisis on record, amid a 37 per cent rise in the numbers stuck in hospital for want of social care, since 2010.

Experts said hospitals were being overwhelmed by the spread of flu because they had almost no spare capacity to cope with surges in demand.

The report by industry analysts shows that in the last decade, 929 care homes housing 31,201 pensioners have closed, at a time when the population is ageing rapidly.

The research from LaingBuisson show care homes going out of business at an ever increasing rate, with 224 care homes closed between March 2016 and March 2017, amounting to more than 2,000 beds. …”

The article (behind a pay wall) goes on to say that blocked beds have risen by 37% in 7 years … charities accused successive governments of “failure of leadership” … a senior researcher at the King’s Fund said it was “chickens coming home to roost” after underfunding.

Two whipping Tories – or just one?

Anyone notice how Brandon Lewis (Chairman, Conservative Party – whose new job is to whip the ageing party’s members into better digital shape) looks and sounds just like EDDC Conservative Councillor Phil Twiss (the man who is their Chief Whip but assures us he has never whipped anyone ever and who has been in charge of EDDC’s digital policies).

Has anyone ever seen them in the same room together!

A GP speaks from the very, very sharp end with shocking information

A Devon GP shared this on the Save our Hospitals website:

“I put this post on my constituency [Labour] womens FB group.

I am an NHS GP- ex partner at ELM surgery- went off with burnout 2014- locuming since 2015 including at 2 practices that have handed back their contracts one has closed and the other in merging with Mount Gould.

I went to an important meeting last night- Arranged by GPs worried about the situation in Primary care in Plymouth and looking for a way forward.

About 30-40 GPs turned up (not bad for a short notice meeting on a Friday night which started when most of us would normally be at work!) We also had some patients representing their practices’ Patient participation groups and someone from Health Education England (responsible for workforce planning in the future/training GPs etc). Luke Pollard- Labour MP was the only MP to turn up. I know it was short notice (I think the venue was only confirmed on 2/1/18) but even so you would have thought may be the potential collapse of Primary Care in your constituency may be quite important to any MP?

It was a great opportunity for us to share issues and think about what could solve them and this is the summary:

Firstly – our wonderful NHS is one of the more cost-effective, safe and efficient health systems in the World and GPs are very cheap and cost effective within that.

Primary Care throughout the UK is being overstretched because of major cuts to services that support particularly our most vulnerable patients- cuts to: Mental Health Teams for adults and children, MIND and other charities, Drug and Alcohol services, Probation, Health visiting, School nurses, District nurses (40% vacancy rates in Plymouth), Social Care and unfair benefit cuts and sanctions etcetc.

Plymouth has a population with higher levels of deprivation than the UK average. These cuts are therefore more severely affecting our Primary care services (but there are similar problems in many similar areas).

Secondly: The NHS and Social Care have been severely underfunded for the past 7 years and now this has reached a tipping point.

GPs are working longer hours, seeing more patients and trying to continue to provide excellent, cost-effective care but are becoming burnt out and demoralised and therefore are retiring early, leaving permanent positions or leaving the UK or medicine.

It is also harder to recruit practice nurses as there is a massive shortage of nurses nationally. As practices are becoming more short staffed the remaining clinicians become even more pressurised and eventually become ill or leave or hand back their contracts.

Now 12-13% of Plymouth patients are from “failed practices”. We have a shortfall of between 26 (LMC figures) and 35 (Healthwatch figures) Full time equivalent GPs in Plymouth. Caretaker organisations – which look after these patient populations until new providers are found- are paid much more per patient than GPs are- I have heard unsubstantiated quotes of £300 per annum compared with GPs £115 per annum if we tick all the Government’s boxes and claim everything we can.

This works sort of as an insurance system where those that need little care sort of subsidise us for the patients that need a lot of care. Yet there is no money or help from NHS England forthcoming to go to practices before they fold. Also neighbouring practices are being put under extreme pressure because NHS England is not allowing any planning for the new patients. Adjoining practices must just keep their lists open without any inkling of how many patients could ultimately join their list. (my friend’s practice may have to take between 0 and 1800 patients within the next 3 months as an adjacent practices closes- when a similar thing happened in 2006 they were allowed to have a planned list of patients and recruit staff to serve those extra patients, WELL in advance)

We are also not allowed to move notes direct to the adjoining practice and Capita is taking 6 months to move notes between practices (much less when NHS run) and the GP2GP computer transfer is only working for 1 in 3 patients. Most patients who move before their practice closes are the ones that require the most care and are the most complex. The other patients, who maybe only see a GP every few years do not move until they need care again therefore effectively financially disadvantaging the new practice too.”

A new East Devon Business Forum?

And just how will EDDC decide who are the top 50 employers? Turnover, number of employees, closeness to Woodbury or Otterton? Or big developers? Businesses submitting the most planning applications or biggest landholders? Or might it be social responsibility – lol? Environmental credentials – lol? Employee stakeholders – lol?

And how will they treat these “top 50 compared to the bottom several thousand?

Shades of the discredited, run by disgraced ex-councillor Graham Brown, East Devon Business Forum? And, here it comes again – scrutiny … conflicts of interest …

Owl ruffles its feathers …

“For the many or the few” to quote someone-or-other!

“Develop more effective business engagement though:

1) Publishing quarterly business bulletins and increasing SME readership;

2) Identifying and establishing communication with up to 6 Key Ambassador businesses in East Devon

3) developing and maintaining a contact list of our top 50 employers;

4) Identifying and making contact with businesses comprising our 4 GESP priority sectors (Smart Logistics, Data Analytics, Knowledge Based Industries and Environmental Futures).

Click to access 170118-joint-overview-scrutiny-agenda-combined.pdf

Businesses can now pay EDDC for “consultancy” for fast-track food hygeine certificates

Another conflict of interest? Gamekeeper AND poacher?

“Our commercial premises team will explore the feasibility of offering a range of business advice and support services to local businesses. We will offer an enhanced food hygiene registration scheme to those businesses who would like consultancy time specifically dedicated to helping them improve their regulatory compliance generally and their food hygiene rating score in particular. We will market support package options (to include training, coaching and auditing) to newly registered businesses this year.”

Click to access 170118-joint-overview-scrutiny-agenda-combined.pdf

Green spaces – use them or possibly see them flogged off

Owl says: health benefits of public open spaces? Pah! Flog ‘em, flog ‘em!

“ Corporate Green Space policy 1 –

Survey, plot and categorise all council managed green/open space across the district (including housing land, and allotment sites)
assess sites based on a range of criteria including;

strategic importance,
alternative or additional use,
levels of use, amenity value,
ability to protect our outstanding environment and cost.

Identify which sites are suitable for retention, community transfer or disposal taking into account our corporate policies, our Local Plan and open space study.

Click to access 170118-joint-overview-scrutiny-agenda-combined.pdf