Update on Seaton ex-Mayor Peter Burrows situation

As reported here:


Owl hears that the aggrieved party has made a formal complaint to the EDDC Monitoring Officer and is taking legal advice on possible further action.

Owl is awaiting an official statement from Seaton Town Council, which would be usual in these circumstances.

“‘Secret’ £75m Brexit contracts [to management consultants] facing investigation”

“The government has quietly awarded £75m of Brexit-related contracts to some of the world’s biggest consultancy firms, Sky News can reveal.

The deals, uncovered today for the first time, were never publicly announced.

They were given to nine high-profile international companies, including familiar names such as Deloitte, Accenture and PwC.

Each company received a contract worth between £5m and £10m.

Three of the contracts – together worth £25m – went to the American firms Bain, McKinsey and Boston Consulting.

All nine agreements are described as contracts for “the supply of Cabinet Office consultancy support for EU Exit”.

Each is due to run until 30 April 2019, but with the option for them to be renewed for a further year at the same cost.

Details of the plans were placed on an unobtrusive part of the government website just before Christmas, eight months after they had come into action.

But despite each including contracts running to more than 200 pages, crucial facts were removed – such as who in the government signed off the agreements and what work was actually involved.

In addition, the contracts were awarded under a framework titled “Health and Community” – but are, in fact, entirely focused upon preparations for Brexit.

That process, which restricted selection to companies which had already passed a “vetting process” all but ended the chance of smaller, Brexit-specific consultancies winning any of these contracts.

The chair of the public affairs committee, Meg Hillier, condemned the secrecy and delay as “ridiculous” and said the contracts would now be referred for investigation by the National Audit Office. …..

…. Joe Owen, association director of the Institute of Government, is researching Whitehall preparations for Brexit. He told me that “febrile politics” had changed the way in which information is being shared.

He said: “We’ve not had a huge amount of transparency with regards to much on Brexit over the last few years, particularly not the kind of preparations that are going on for no deal.

“There’s definitely been an increase in secrecy more generally across the civil service as a result of Brexit, just because of how politically difficult it’s been for many reasons.

“There are the divisions inside the country, the government, parliament, the cabinet and that’s kind of fed into this level of secrecy.”

Sky News has contacted all the companies involved. So far six have replied – all saying they could not comment on matters involving clients.

These are the details of the nine contracts, each for consultancy support:

:: The Boston Consulting Group – £10m

:: Bain & Company Inc. United Kingdom – £10m

:: McKinsey and Company, Inc. United Kingdom – £5m

:: Accenture (UK) Limited – £5m

:: Deloitte LLP – £10m

:: Ernst & Young LLP – £10m

:: Mott Macdonald Limited – £5m

:: PA Consulting Services Limited – £10m

:: Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP – £10m”


NHS: the REAL cost of privatisation

“The biggest emergencies-only hospital in Europe will take three years longer than expected to build and cost nearly twice its original budget.

The Midland Metropolitan Hospital was intended to treat 170,000 A&E patients a year from this summer but will not open until 2022. It will also cost at least £605 million, despite originally being priced at £350 million.

The problems were highlighted after Theresa May unveiled a ten-year strategy for the health service that included a £20 billion spending boost by 2023. The delay and increased costs were caused by the collapse a year ago of the construction company Carillion, halting building under the private finance initiative. The failure forced the NHS to implement contingency plans in 14 hospitals to maintain essential services delivered by Carillion.

The new 670-bed hospital in Smethwick, West Midlands, is meant to replace large parts of Sandwell Hospital and City Hospital, Birmingham. Carillion was paid £205 million towards the project before the firm’s collapse.

Toby Lewis, chief executive of the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, told its board last month that more than £400 million would be spent completing the hospital and keeping emergency services running at the Birmingham hospital.

The trust is paying Balfour Beatty, the construction company, £10 million to “winter-proof” the new hospital, which was left open to the elements. It is poised to seek bids from companies to complete the building, although some have already made clear that they are not interested.

John Spellar, Labour MP for Warley, said that outlay on maintaining existing hospital facilities had been cut in anticipation of the new building and that the delay was affecting recruitment and training. He said that civil servants were to blame for transferring too much risk to the private sector when they had “no concept what it actually means”.

A parliamentary inquiry into the failure of the multinational contractor with liabilities of almost £7 billion found that its “business model was an unsustainable dash for cash. The mystery is not that it collapsed but how it kept going for so long”.

Carillion was also building the Royal Liverpool Hospital, which features in a BBC Two documentary to be broadcast tomorrow. Aidan Kehoe, chief executive of the Royal Liverpool, tells the Hospitalprogramme: “I am very angry at the way Carillion have behaved. To leave us in this position is, I think, just unacceptable. These people are taking huge bonuses that they are not paying back and they are leaving the people waiting years more for a hospital. Serious questions have to be asked about the way Carillion have behaved.”

The £500 million Liverpool hospital building was due to be finished two years ago but is not expected to be completed until next year.

Jayne Halloran, an associate director at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust, said that it was expensive to maintain the partially built hospital, where 14 staff work full time turning taps on and off to stop legionella bacteria from growing. “It takes six days to complete that for the whole building,” Ms Halloran said.”

Source: Times, pay wall