Skip to main content

Olympic non jobs, payment cards and a lack of scrutiny at Cornwall Council and Cornwall Development Company

Following on from yesterday's news (my blog about it here) about the Olympic non job paid for by Cornwall Council. It emerges that the post was not £19,689 per annum as everyone assumed from this advert:
But instead £19,689 pro rata so actually just £13,126 for the whole contract. As Andrew Wallis revealed on his updated blog 20k for one day's work (updated).

I still believe criticisms made by myself and others are still valid, there is no need for this position and existing staff could easily do the work involved. It also reveals something of a trend within Cornwall Council which has spilt over to it's 'company' Cornwall Development Company (CDC) and that is the council has no idea where money is being spent. For some reason Malcolm Bell head of Visit Cornwall (itself a subsidiary of CDC) a man presumably in the know on this subject, told the Daily Mail:

"But Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall, told MailOnline that the council was expecting revenue of at least £1million and maybe up to £7million with an influx of visitors to the town.
He said it would spend £100,00 on the event, which included the wage of the new employee."

link to story



Malcolm Bell on a happier news day
So if this post was indeed half the actual salary advertised why didn't Malcolm Bell flag this up when interviewed by the Mail? This man is in charge of attracting visitors to Cornwall and spends taxpayers money to do so, the only possible answer is he did not know. For some inexplicable reason he was not aware how much money was going on the post and probably read the advert and took it it was accurate as did everyone else. This poses serious questions about the council (and it's subsidiary organisations) and how they spend money and how this process is monitored and scrutinized.

In the light of the credit card scandal a few months ago a pattern of spending apathy and abject lack of scrutiny is emerging from Lys Kernow. For those that missed the story the Telegraph published a story based on an FOI request that revealed Cornwall Council had spent nearly 8 million pounds on credit card transactions from the Telegraph. The original  press release about it from Cornwall Council explained that foreign spending had been divulged to the Telegraph in the original currencies and not converted to the sterling equivalent (not a great example of keeping a check on spending). Alec Robinson commented with a rather bland, unfactual statement:


"Cornwall Council is committed to achieving the best possible value for money for council tax payers in Cornwall... All spending, including credit card spending, is very closely monitored and strict financial controls are in place."
link to the statement


Alec Robertson Conservative leader Cornwall Council
Clearly again even the leader of the council has no real idea about what was spent and only know's what a reassuring statement looks like. It turned out later, when people actually bothered to look at the spending figures that the information supplied to the Telegraph was wrong in parts. Alec lambasted the Telegraph in a letter titled  When did FOI Become Freedom of Misinformation? link hereI can't find any reply from the Telegraph but I assume the answer was when you send us the wrong information. Amusingly Alec criticises the Telegraph for wrongly identifying the payment card system used as credit cards, see his comment above where he also makes the same mistake. It took from the 28th May to the 20th June for the Council to investigate fully the card spending and Alec to pen his diatribe, again a damning indictment of the spending regime at Cornwall Council. It is unacceptable that any organisation should need nearly a month to check what they have spent vast amounts of public money on.

Both in the case of Malcolm Bell and Alec Robertson they need to start doing their jobs properly and actually taking charge of how taxpayers money is spent in Cornwall. It is unforgivable that neither has a clue what money is spent on when asked by the press, their jobs are to spend taxpayers money properly, it is a bare minimum they have a close eye on this. How can we take austerity and cuts budgets seriously from people who have no idea about spending existing at County Hall?  Eric Pickles wants to come to Cornwall if he thinks wayward spending  in local authorities is something immune to Conservative administrations.

As a side point, anybody care to guess why the council needs to spend the remaining one hundred thousand pounds on promoting the Olympic Torch's journey through Kernow.


Popular posts from this blog

The 3 actions Penzance Town Centre needs from Cornwall Council

My name is Rob Simmons and I'm a candidate for Penzance East in this Thursdays Cornwall Council election and these are my 3 priorities for our town centre:  1 Action on reducing Parking Fees  2 Action on unfair business rates 3 Action on empty shops and buildings.  I firmly believe that Cornwall Council ought to do more to support Penzance Town Centre and these 3 changes would be a massive leap forward.

1.Action on Parking Fees, Penzance has some of the highest parking fees in Cornwall, we all know that it puts people off coming to town and crucially shoppers from staying for longer periods. With out of town retail parks popping up everywhere and the lure and convenience of the internet our town centre needs help. Cornwall Council must do it's part in supporting the town centre. Penzance needs a Cornwall Councillor that will lobby to change this and find a solution that benefits us and stops CC seeing Penzance as a way of making money. We need to see a major overhaul of parking…

A breath of fresh air at Penzance Town Council

The election has certainly rung a great many changes at Penzance Town Council. There are now 12 brand new councillors (although Simon Reed has been on the council before). Between retirements and not getting re-elected not a single mayor that served between 2013-2017 is now on the council and only 1 that served as deputy mayor in that time are still on the council. A number of former mayors, deputy mayors and chairs and vice chairs of committees are also no longer with the council. Or to put it another way many of the active town councillors that formed the approach and policies of the town council in the past are no longer there pulling the strings.

When I was first elected back in 2013 there was a feeling that (long overdue) change had been brought to the council, that those new people elected had brought change. That was the feeling with 8 new councillors elected and 12 of the existing councillors being re-elected. This time around there are 12 new councillors and only 8 from befo…

Some of my work for Penzance or why I'd be an effective Cornwall Councilor

This blog intends to illustrate some of my work for Penzance and to show the kind of issues I have supported and argued against, over the last few years. In this time of great political turmoil and with Brexit looming large on the horizon, it is more important than ever to have representatives that will stand up for issues, knows how to campaign effectively and gets things done. There are 2 sections below; 1 being an effective councillor and 2 standing up for local issues, these are the reasons why I think I am a very credible Cornwall Council candidate and why with a greater platform I could be more effective in making things happen. This is only a glimpse of my work for Penzance East, please read some of  my older posts for more and as always any questions or comments find me on twitter @cernyw or drop me an email robscornishblog@gmail.com.

Being an effective councillor:

I was elected onto Penzance Town Council back in 2013, when I also stood for Cornwall Council for Penzance East. I…