Sheila Oliver's Campaigning Website

Go to content

Main menu

Waste of Money

Stockport Council wasting money



Your money is wasted in so many ways.

The councillors and senior council officers treat themselves to committee teas.  These can be samosas, lovely sandwiches and delicate cream cakes. This was costing you £23,000 per annum but I have had unconfirmed reports recently that this has now risen to £31,000.  Many meetings start at 6pm and can be over by ten or twenty past. They might, at a pinch, go on until 7pm.  Why can't these councillors have a meal before they leave home?  Most of them are not in full time employment.  Many don't work at all. And senior council officers, why don't they buy a sandwich instead as you or I would have to do?



Childrens & Educational Services SEA Supplies & Services Mar-11 1900334968 7,825.25 The Jockey Club Racecourses


I can guess what this money went on (please see opposite), but I have asked a FOI question to check.

"VENUES
Horseracing requires a lot of space and Jockey Club Racecourses owns more than 3,000 acres of prime British countryside as well as many impressive and historical buildings.
Our racecourses have 81 function rooms and 230 syndicate rooms, together they can seat nine times more people than The Royal Albert Hall. We can also offer 40,000 free parking spaces.
We have rooms that are perfect for a meeting of half a dozen people, right up to an auditorium that can comfortably seat 2,000 delegates for a large conference. We also host concerts, exhibitions, banquets and private parties, training days, teambuilding events and several large outdoor festivals.
At most of our courses, racing takes place on about 30 days a year, but we can stage conferences and other non-racing events for the rest of each year. Hosting more non-racing events at our venues is another way for us to generate profits and so put more back into the sport and use our stunning facilities all year round.
Click on the following links for more information on Conferences and Events at our courses:
Aintree | Carlisle | Cheltenham | Epsom Downs | Exeter | Haydock Park |Huntingdon | Kempton Park | Market Rasen | Newmarket | Nottingham |Sandown Park | Warwick | Wincanton
HOSPITALITY
When it comes to corporate entertaining, no sporting event can match racing’s combination of glamour and excitement. Horseracing offers powerful opportunities to connect with a range of different audiences as well as an unbeatable way to entertain clients. Races take place on half hourly cycles allowing plenty of time between racing action to socialise and catch up with guests.
Jockey Club Racecourses’ have invested £145 million in racecourse facilities over the last seven years, this ensures high quality facilities for racegoers and racing professionals.
All racecourses offer a wide range of catering options in their restaurants and boxes and as part of the new partnership with Compass Group UK we have the flexibility to cater to every taste. Please contact the course you wish to visit to discuss and book any of these options.
Click on the links below for more information on hospitality at our courses:
Aintree | Carlisle | Cheltenham | Epsom Downs | Exeter | Haydock Park |Huntingdon | Kempton Park | Market Rasen | Newmarket | Nottingham |Sandown Park | Warwick | Wincanton
MEDIA
As the group responsible for staging the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National and The Derby Festival, Jockey Club Racecourses has a key role to play with regard to the television coverage for British racing.
In addition to significant terrestial TV coverage on Channel 4 and the BBC, Jockey Club Racecourses owns around 50% of Racecourse Media Group, which is the umbrella company under which Racing UK sits. In addition to Racing UK, Racecourse Media Group also generates income for its shareholders from overseas sales, on-line activities and by managing the racecourses share in Turf TV.
Racing UK is a monthly subscription channel broadcasting coverage from the 30 shareholder racecourses. For £20 per month, customers can view 'pure racing entertainment' all year round.
The channel can also choose to broadcast free to air for certain events to a potential audience and some 12 million houses. Racing UK is also available to 2,350 pubs and clubs in the UK and Ireland.
NEWS
Please see racecourses pages and individual websites for courses specific news.
For further information on The Jockey Club, please contact
Scott Bowerson 020 7611 1814."

 



Some work hard but others are nodding-dog freeloaders who treat members of the public with contempt and consider themselve unaccountable.


Failed City bid.


Memorial Service for LibDem Councillor
You have also had to pay for a memorial service for a councillor.  This is the response I got to a Freedom of Information request:-

"Further to your FOI request, the cost of the memorial service for former Councillor Maggie Clay which was held in the Council Chamber, Stockport Town Hall on 29th June 2009 amounted to £502.50. This related to printing costs for service sheets and refreshment costs which were met from the Mayoralty budget."


Funny goings on over the lease cars.  Is anyone at Stockport Council committed to taking good care of my money?


Who is keeping a track on waste of money? Certainly not the project manager of the toxic waste dump school!


The cheeky monkeys at the Council say I waste money.  Most of the councillors don't work or have part time jobs.  Many meetings start at 6pm and are over before 6.20. Why don't they eat before they leave home or buy themselves a sandwich?  I believe this figure has now risen to £31,000 per annum, but I have not checked that for fear of being branded
"vexatious".


They say I waste money trying to save the lives of children.




£836,054 paid in temporary staffing costs for schools in Stockport in one year.

Our Reference: FOI 754
Dear Mrs Oliver
Freedom of Information – Consultants
I am writing in response to your freedom of information request detailed below. After consulting the Councils accounts department, it would be a significant job to extract the information you have requested.
The SAP system was implemented on the 1 st November 2006 so from this date it may be possible to provide you with the information you have requested however before the SAP system was implemented gathering this information is a huge task.
The Council is able to provide you with the total amount spent on consultants in these financial years. If you are interested in a particular topic, consultant or consultants paid over a certain amount, it would be helpful if you could refine your request in such a manner.
Yours sincerely
XXXX
Freedom of Information & Data Protection Processing Officer

From: sheilaoliver [mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 02 October 2007 20:56
To: FOI Officer
Subject: FOIA request

Dear FOI Officer
Please let me know how much Stockport Council paid out to various consultants in 2005/06 and also in 2006/07. I believe it is a simple matter to extract that information from the SAP system, so no red herrings please regarding the cost of finding/extracting the information.
Kind regards
Sheila




Dear Mrs Oliver,
I am writing further to your request for information below (ref 975).
For the year 2006/2007, the combined basic salaries of the Chief Executive and Assistant Chief Executive (Strategy, Performance & Governance) & Monitoring Officer posts totalled £210,129. The latter post attracts an additional amount equivalent to 7.5% of the top of the salary band to cover Monitoring Officer duties. This is included in the figure specified above.
These posts receive benefits in the form of lease car, taxable benefit, mileage, subsistence and telephone allowance.
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you are entitled to ask for an internal review. Any internal review will be carried out by a senior member of staff who was not involved with your original request. To ask for an internal review, contact foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk in the first instance.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of any internal review, you are entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk
01625 545 745
Yours sincerely,
Claire Naven
Claire Naven
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

From: sheilaoliver [mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 19 February 2008 17:37
To: FOI Officer
Cc: John Schultz; Jane Scullion
Subject: Costs of the Chief Exec and Jane Scullion
Dear FOI Officer
Please let me know the combined salaries of Mr John Schultz and Ms Jane Scullion and please let me have details of any benefits in kind which they claim.
Lots of love
Sheila




Dear Mrs Oliver,

I am writing further to your request for information below.

Stockport Council does hold the information you have requested; however the information will not be provided to you as we consider it to be exempt under section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
Section 40(1) states that:

‘Any information to which a request for information relates is exempt information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the data subject.’

Section 40(2) states that:

‘Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt information if-

(a)        it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1), and

(b)        either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.’

Section 40(3) states that:

‘The first condition is -

(a)        in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to (d) of the definition of ‘data’ in section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene -  

(i)        any of the data protection principles, or

(ii)        section 10 of that Act (right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress)…’

This means that if the information requested is the personal data of an individual other than the applicant (i.e. you, in this case) it is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA if releasing it would contravene one of the data protection principles. With this in mind, it is the Council’s opinion that the information you have requested constitutes personal data as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and to disclose it to the public would contravene the first data protection principle. I will explain further below:

Section 1 of the DPA defines personal data as data which relate to a living individual who can be identified either from those data alone or from those data and other information which is in, or is likely to come into, the possession of the data controller (Stockport Council, in this case). The information you have requested is clearly personal data as it consists of a further detailed breakdown of named individuals’ salary and benefits.

The first data protection principle requires data controllers such as Stockport Council to ensure personal data are processed fairly and lawfully. As you are aware, salary details of senior staff are often not considered to have the same protection under the DPA as other types of personal data. This is because there is an expectation that these details will be made public in the spirit of openness and transparency and so that members of the public have access to information about the efficient and proper use of public money. We have previously provided you with a detailed breakdown of salary and benefit details which has enabled you to see how public money has been spent in relation to this matter. A further detailed breakdown of these figures is unlikely to add anything of significance but will undoubtedly infringe on the individuals’ legitimate right to privacy. With this in mind, releasing these personal data into the public domain would be unfair; therefore to do so would contravene the first data protection principle.

As you may be aware, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently issued a decision notice in relation to a similar request. This has the reference FS50163927 and can be viewed in full on the ICO’s website. In this case, the ICO considered the release of exact salary details of senior staff to be exempt information under s.40 FOIA. As you are aware, Stockport Council has already gone beyond what was required in view of this and released this type of information – and indeed more – to you in your previous requests.  

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you are entitled to ask for an internal review. Any internal review will be carried out by a senior member of staff who was not involved with your original request. To ask for an internal review, contact foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk in the first instance.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of any internal review, you are entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:



Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk
01625 545 745

Yours sincerely,

Claire Naven
Claire Naven
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: sheilaoliver [mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 10 April 2008 20:50
To: FOI Officer
Subject: Mr Schultz's benefits

Dear FoI Officer
Regarding the following:

Request: For the last year available could you please list amount in benefits claimed by Mr Schultz and Ms Scullion

Answer:

The information you have requested is as follows:

Post
Telephone allowance
Travel/Subsistence
Mileage
Taxable benefit
ease car

Chief Executive
£134.40
£917.99
£103.72
£4885.02
£3267.96

Assistant Chief Executive (Strategy, Performance and Governance) & Monitoring Officer
£134.40
£0
£0
£2045.79
£1177.08


‘Taxable benefit’ is where an employee receives a ‘benefit in kind’ which is subject to income tax. The benefit is not taxed at source, that is to say through the payroll system because it is not a payment which the employee receives through his or her salary. It is, in effect, where an employer is paying for an item for an employee, for example a lease car, eye tests, physiotherapy etc.

1) For what is the taxable benefit of £4885.02 for Mr Schultz and £2045.79 for Ms Scullion?
2) Please let me know what kind of cars they lease.

Many thanks

Sheila


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Dear Mrs Oliver,
I am writing in response to your request for information below (ref 1178).
John Schultz and Jane Scullion received the same telephone allowance in the year 06/07 because this is a standard allowance for all employees eligible to receive it.
Your comment about Jane Scullion’s taxable benefit being half of John Schultz’s taxable benefit is now not applicable based on the contents of Ged Lucas’ internal review letter (request ref 1066) to you dated 3 rd June 2008.
In relation to the remainder of your request in which you asked: ‘Why does Ms Scullion get the benefit of a lease car when she claims no mileage whatsoever? Does she ever go anywhere in this lease car then? If not, then why am I paying for it?’ we will not be responding to this as we maintain that this is a vexatious request within the meaning of section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
The FOIA is an important piece of legislation designed to promote and ensure transparency across the public sector. We believe that requests such as this only serve to damage the credibility and reputation of the Freedom of Information framework.
This request is the latest in a series of requests relating to the salaries and benefits of John Schultz and Jane Scullion, some of which are very personal. We believe that the time taken to respond to this request and the resulting distraction of staff from their normal duties is disproportionate to any possible benefit in terms of the wider public interest. Your request has no serious purpose or value other than to you personally, as we have already provided very detailed information about the salary and benefits of the individuals in question in the interests of transparency. We believe that this request is designed to cause annoyance and serves to harass the Council; a fact that we maintain is supported by a series of requests along this theme, namely those with references 975, 1016 and 1066 (which was also reviewed internally) and the flippant tone of this request and previous related correspondence on this theme.
Regardless of the above and for your information, the Council’s lease car scheme is open to permanent employees in the following groups who hold a full current driving licence:
Chief Executive and Directors;
Service Directors;
Management Band employees; and
Other employees who travel in excess of 2,000 annual business miles.
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you are entitled to ask for an internal review. Any internal review will be carried out by a senior member of staff who was not involved with your original request. To ask for an internal review, contact foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk in the first instance.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of any internal review, you are entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk
01625 545 745
Yours sincerely,
Claire Naven
Claire Naven
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council


From: sheilaoliver [mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 30 May 2008 22:39
To: FOI Officer
Cc: John Schultz; Jane Scullion
Subject: taxable benefits of top bananas
Dear FoI officer
Why do Mr Schultz and Ms Scullion get exactly the same telephone benefit?
Why does Ms Scullion get the benefit of a lease car when she claims no mileage whatsoever? Does she ever go anywhere in this lease car then? If not, then why am I paying for it?
Why is Ms Scullion's taxable benefit roughly half that of Mr. Schulz's?
Kind regards
Sheila



Dear Mrs Oliver,
I am writing in response to your request for information below (ref 1238).
The Council has a Legal Services team consisting of 51 employees that carries out a range of functions. These include, among others, advising all Council departments, drafting contracts, prosecuting and defending court cases, property development, land charges and licensing. Of these employees, 26 have formal legal qualifications and their cost is £933,870.
For a variety of reasons, like the majority of most local authorities in the country, not all of the legal work is carried out internally. The Council has procured an external solicitor partnership arrangement with firms of solicitors, such as Cobbetts, which provides best value to the Council.
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you are entitled to ask for an internal review. Any internal review will be carried out by a senior member of staff who was not involved with your original request. To ask for an internal review, contact foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk in the first instance.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of any internal review, you are entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk
01625 545 745
Yours sincerely,
Claire Naven
Claire Naven
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

From: sheilaoliver [mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 30 July 2008 06:37
To: FOI Officer
Subject: Cost of employees with legal qualifications
Dear Ms Naven
How many employees with legal qualifications does the Council have in its legal department and what is total sum of their combined salaries per annum?
I am just wondering why SMBC seems to contact outside legal consultants on a regular basis, especially ones with such a poor reputation and ones who have already been proven to have lied.
This might make a good newspaper story.
Kind regards
Sheila
PS
If you feel this email is in any way offensive or inappropriate, please feel free to forward a copy to Mr Khan.




Stockport Council has more lawyers on the payroll than they can shake a stick at, yet off the trot to outside lawyers at the drop of a hat as we see from the Council's Expenditure over £500 information.



Email from Simon Oldfield, FoI Officer SMBC received 15th February 2013 at 11.22

2) Why have I bought 100 people breakfast when jobs are being lost and services cut?



Further to your recent information request about the provision of a breakfast buffet for 100 people I have pleasure in sending you more comprehensive details about the purchase.  The breakfast in question took place at Stockport Council’s Annual Developers Event on 10th October 2012.  



The Developers Event is high profile event that enables Stockport Council to showcase the opportunities that exist locally for development and investment across the borough.    It attracted 100 property developers and agents, providing an excellent opportunity for the Council to engage with the development sector about the Council’s progress in bringing forward town centre development projects that will bring benefit to both the residential and business community.  Feedback from the event highlighted that attendees found the event highly beneficial, and that it has significantly raised the profile of the development opportunities that exist in Stockport Town Centre.



The Developers Event was hosted at a Grade A commercial property that is currently vacant within Stockport.  The use of a vacant unit meant that we were able to secure a venue for no cost, however no onsite catering was available and a light breakfast was bought in for attendees, given the fact the event began at 7:30am.  Quotations for the catering were requested from local companies who have experience working at high profile events of this nature, and the services of Door 2 Door Brassiere were secured as a result of this.    This was the first time that the Economic Development and Regeneration programmes section of the Council had worked with Door 2 Door Brassiere however the quality of catering they provided, equipment supplied and service offered was considered to be excellent value for money.

Shame, in my opinion, that the Council actively blocked the re-development of Offerton Precinct, which has recently cost the council taxpayer a further £41.000!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------






From: FOI Officer
To: sheilaoliver
Cc: FOI Officer
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2008 4:14 PM
Subject: RE: Cost of employees with legal qualifications - Ref 1238

Dear Mrs Oliver,
I am writing in response to your request for information below (ref 1238).

The Council has a Legal Services team consisting of 51 employees that carries out a range of functions. These include, among others, advising all Council departments, drafting contracts, prosecuting and defending court cases, property development, land charges and licensing. Of these employees, 26 have formal legal qualifications and their cost is £933,870.

For a variety of reasons, like the majority of most local authorities in the country, not all of the legal work is carried out internally. The Council has procured an external solicitor partnership arrangement with firms of solicitors, such as Cobbetts, which provides best value to the Council.
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request you are entitled to ask for an internal review. Any internal review will be carried out by a senior member of staff who was not involved with your original request. To ask for an internal review, contact foi.officer@stockport.gov.uk in the first instance.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of any internal review, you are entitled to complain to the Information Commissioner. To do so, contact:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk
01625 545 745
Yours sincerely,
Claire Naven
Claire Naven
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

From: sheilaoliver [mailto:sheilaoliver@ntlworld.com]
Sent: 30 July 2008 06:37
To: FOI Officer
Subject: Cost of employees with legal qualifications

Dear Ms Naven

How many employees with legal qualifications does the Council have in its legal department and what is total sum of their combined salaries per annum?
I am just wondering why SMBC seems to contact outside legal consultants on a regular basis, especially ones with such a poor reputation and ones who have already been proven to have lied.

This might make a good newspaper story.

Kind regards

Sheila
PS
If you feel this email is in any way offensive or inappropriate, please feel free to forward a copy to Mr Khan.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



 
Back to content | Back to main menu