Pages

Monday, 29 April 2013

WHO IS BEHIND PLEASURAMA



This article is copied  from One Man and His Blog http://portsmouthsbluearmy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/trust-move-to-deny-funding-links.html

Please note Mr Colin Hill is one of the richest men in the country. He is the son-in-law of Mr Sean Patrick Keegan who is the boss of SFP Ventures UK Ltd.. Hill and Keegan have been/ are directors of the same companies. Keegan was a director of Peterborough Untied FC at the time of Hill's takeover of the ground. Wetmore Foundation/ Wetmore Investments were the company who in 2009 promised to fund the construction of the hotel on the Pleasurama site. Keith Cousins is a director of some companies in common with Keegan. he also used to be the agent of ex-England football captain John Terry.

Read this article cafrefully  and see what type of people want to get hold of our seafront. 

Trust move to deny funding links

Portsmouth Supporters Trust Spokesman Colin Farmery yesterday moved quickly to deny any involvement of funding from businessmen Colin Hill or Keith Cousins as their bid to take over the ailing League One football club Portsmouth nears its conclusion. The denial will come as a relief to the clubs supporters who’ve seen a long list of undesirables attached to their club in what has been a turbulent period in their history on and off the field.

 Calls have been made by fans for more transparency in all areas and the latest rumours follow on the back of moves by rival bidder Keith Harris to try and destabilise the supporters trust bid. The linking of the names Hill and Cousins could be considered to be another desperate attempt to derail the bid as it reaches its last hurdle although there are no direct suggestions that they have come from the Harris camp.

Given the importance of Property Developer Stuart Robinson to the supporters trusts bid the tale of fellow property developer Colin Hill and his involvement in football should serve as a warning to football clubs.
 
Championship side Peterborough United was sold in 2003 to Wetmore Foundation, a company registered in Liechtenstein. Much was made that the sale had meant the club had been saved from the hands of property developers but it soon transpired that the club had been sold to Colin Hill. Within a few months the club and the ground had been separated with Barry Fry taking over the club and the Wetmore Foundation retaining the London Road ground before transferring it to another company Peterborough United Holdings Ltd for a stated price of £3.5 million. Fry defended the decision saying "Colin Hill is a shrewd businessman and he didn't want the football club because he said it would always lose money. I'm a football person, so I took it on."
 
In 2006 the holding company owned by Wetmore submitted a planning application to build 96 two-bedroom and 39 one-bedroom flats on land behind the away end which had been owned by the club. Estimations at that time put the potential value of the deal at a potential £18 million with all profit going to Wetmore except for the cost of a 2,000 seat stand which was promised in the planning application. Whilst those types of numbers would have been good for the developers, the finances of the club had continued to suffer as they posted losses of £4.8 million with almost £1 million being loaned to the club by its Directors.

In 2010 a deal was signed to buy the London Road ground and surrounding land by Peterborough City Council. The total cost of acquiring the site including legal fees and stamp duty stood at £8.65 million. Whilst the numbers weren’t as high as the estimates of 2006, the deal will still have represented good business to Peterborough United Holdings Ltd and to Colin Hill on the original sum paid for the land.

At the time of writing Peterborough United lay second bottom in the Championship.

In 2006 Rushden and Diamonds avoided going into administration after being brought by the former Peterborough United vice-chairman Keith Cousins. At that point they had been facing relegation from the Conference. Formed by merging Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds the club funded by previous owner Max Griggs had won promotion to the football league and had risen as high as League One. Alongside winning promotions Griggs had provided the club with a modern stadium and excellent supporting facilities alongside the River Nene in Irthlingborough.

 The problems for Rushden and Diamonds began when Griggs’ Doc Martens business ran into increasing trouble. He tried to sell the club for eighteen months but couldn’t find a bidder. Eventually Griggs handed over the club and most of its accompanying facilities to a community trust. Furthermore his generosity continued as he provided the trust with £750,000 over two years to help them get started although this in fact only managed to keep the club going for a further six months.

 The trust successfully reduced the inherited annual operating losses of £1.5 million but was still losing in the region of £600,000 a year. Had they not have taken over when they did the club would have folded at the end of the 2004 / 05 season. The chair of the Rushden and Diamonds Society, Paul Hadjuk, admitted, 'I think everyone is aware that running a football club requires more financial backing than the Trust could afford to commit.'

 Facing certain closure the Trust looked for potential investors, which is where Keith Cousins came into the equation with funding coming from Colin Hill. Eventually Cousins would resign from the club and in June 2011 Rushden and Diamonds were expelled from the Conference with debts of round £750,000 and faced a winding up hearing. In July 2011 the club entered administration with the administrator citing they were no longer “in a position to continue trading.” An appeal against Conference expulsion was withdrawn and the club had been refused entry to the Southern League.

 Ex Rushden and Diamonds player Leon Knight used his Twitter account to let his feelings known about the club and its owners at the time;

 Im gonna be going wild on twitter all day FUCK RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS the crooks 

  For those who don't know Colin Hill he's the funder of Rushden and Diamonds he's the biggest crook EVER!!!!!!! 

  Colin Hill turned up in the changing room and gave a team talk hahahahah what has he got anything to do with Rushden?

Knight also alleged that Cousins and Hill threatened him with physical violence as the relationship between club and player broke down spectacularly during his turbulent time with the club which saw him being sacked just four months into his deal due to alleged continual breaches of the agreement. Rushden retained the player’s rights meaning Knight was unable to register with another FA Club and he was forced to play abroad for the next two seasons.

Rushden and Diamonds were formally dissolved in 2011 but Cousins and Hills story continued with Nene Park as the ground became the home of Kettering Town, although that deal came to an end when Kettering were forced to switch their games to Corby Towns Steel Park because Nene Park has no electricity. Whilst Corby Town are charging £1,000 per game for the privilege of ground sharing Steel Park, it was confirmed in the CVA document filed during Kettering Town's administration last summer that they were paying an annual rent of £150,000 for the use of Nene Park. Latterly it has been suggested that the ground could be used to host Coventry City’s home games as they struggle with finances and the rent demands placed upon them from the owners of the Ricoh Arena.

 The debenture over Nene Park is held by Conalgen Enterprises SA, incorporated in Panama. In 2009 applications were made to the Council of the District of East Northamptonshire and Northamptonshire County Council to erect a hotel and associated parking. Previous owner Max Griggs had included certain stipulations in the sale contract about anyone looking to take over Rushden and Diamonds at the time of the transfer to the Trust to try and safeguard the future of the club. These stipulations are believed to run out in 2015 and whilst the exact details aren’t known of the deal they are said to be centered round a covenant running with the land. Such a deal can impose duties or restrictions upon the use of that land regardless of the owner.

 To complete the story of caution in regards to Colin Hill, Sheffield based newspaper The Star ran a story in November 2010 in which the Multi-millionaire property developer was labelled a fraud by a judge in 2009 after an old woman was nearly cheated out of her home. At the time Hill was said to backing Rotherham businessman Spencer Fearn’s bid to buy Sheffield Wednesday.

So from being labelled a fraud by a judge to a crook by an ex-employee the name of Colin Hill isn’t one that the Portsmouth Supporters Trust will have welcomed in association with their bid. Together Hill’s and Cousin’s records of involvement directly in football clubs or via business dealings through property haven’t turned out well for the clubs involved, although the businessmen don’t seem to have done too badly from the deals in comparison. From debentures to city councils the lessons are there to all to be learned from. I’m sure the Portsmouth Supporters Trust will be looking to avoid any such mistakes moving forward.

 Portsmouth fans and football fans alike can donate money to help the Portsmouth Supporters Trust at http://www.pompeys12thman.co.uk

Friday, 26 April 2013

RAMSGATE TRANSEUROPA CRISIS




Sadly it looks as though TransEuropa might be bankrupt. Thanet Council, Kent County Council and Ramsgate MP Laura Sandys must now act swiftly to develop plans to secure a new ferry operator for Ramsgate Port. and secure the 30 plus jobs of the  TransEuropa staff.  

The business generated by TransEuropa  made a big contribution to Ramsgate's economy which we can't afford to loose. Without a ferry operator Ramsgate will  face serious economic problems. So come on TDC, KCC and Laura Sandys set up an emergency team  now and start working out a plan to manage the crisis. You did it when Pfizer closed. You must do it again and now.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

THANET COUNCIL SAYS NO TO FILMING -- AGAIN


Here is the link to a video of Thanet Council's Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 23 April.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1INRkW5Me0

I was the Chairman of the meeting. At the meeting Councillors decide to over-rule my decision to allow citizen journalists to make video recordings of the meeting.

So much for open and accountable government at Thanet.

I have now written to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles MP complaining about the undemocratic actions of Thanet Councillors and have asked him to investigate.

A copy of my letter is reproduced in the post below.

Here is a link to a letter from Bob Neal MP to all Council Leaders  

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/5635/1850773.pdf

The letter makes it perfectly clear that the Government wants Councils to allow the public to film its meetings. But what do Thanet Councillors do? The total opposite! Its time for a change!




Wednesday, 24 April 2013

CAMERA SHY THANET COUNCILLORS MORALLY CORRUPT

Last night I chaired (for a short while) Thanet Council's Overview & Scrutiny Panel. I had declared beforehand that in keeping with advice  from for the Government I would allow citizen journalists to film the meeting . I took this step in response to the appalling behaviour of elected representatives  at last weeks Council meeting. It is my belief that if  members of the public are allowed to film or photograph meetings of the Council then the rude, offensive and downright insulting behaviour of many Thanet Councillors might be moderated. If voters could see video of the current behaviour at Council meetings  then I'm pretty sure that many councillors from both the Labour and Conservative Parties  would never be elected again!

Anyway to cut a long story short  Councillors from the Labour Party voted against my ruling to allow both accredited and citizen journalists to film  the meeting. Councillors of the Conservative Party  abstained. The result was that a BBC journalist, a Thanet Gazette reporter and a journalist from Thanet Watch had to turn off their  cameras. Members of the public who were at the meeting were disgusted by the decision of the assembled councillors.

In my opinion the decision to stop journalists from filming was morally corrupt so I decided not to chair the meeting as a protest.

I have now written to Eric Pickles MP Local Government Secretary advising him of what happened and asking him to intervene in the increasing secretive,  anti-democratic and opaque management of Thanet Council by senior councillors.

We live in a modern world  with new affordable technologies which allow real-time scrutiny and accountability of politicians. It is wrong to prevent local citizens from using this technology to hold their elected representatives to account.

Such and approach to politics is not only morally and democratically corrupt, but makes it much easier for actual corruption and mismanagement to take-hold and thrive.

Here is my letter to Eric Pickles.

Dear Mr Pickles
 
I am writing to you in my capacity as a Thanet District Councillor  to express my concern about my Council's unreasonable resistance to allowing  the filming of its meetings by accredited members of the media and citizen journalists.
 
At the Council meeting on 18th April a local journalist was expelled from the meeting for trying to film the appalling way in which councillors behaved when dealing with a major petition of over a 1,000 signatures. Instead of dealing with the petition, councillors shouted and traded personal insults at each other almost resulting in a fist fight between 2 members. The journalist and I felt that the behaviour was so bad that it must be recorded and published. The journalist was expelled from the meeting. And for taking photographs of a meeting of a Council of which I am member, I too was expelled. I have since published some of these pictures on my blog site and have been advised that elected  Members have complained to the Council's Standards Board about that fact that I photographed and published evidence of their unacceptable behaviour.
 
Last night at a meeting of Thanet Council's Overview and Scrutiny Panel (of which I am the chairman). I agreed to allow the meeting to be recorded by accredited journalists (including the BBC who were present) and citizen journalists. Members of the Council's ruling  Labour Group challenged my decision  and voted not to allow any filming at all. Sadly the Tory group abstained on this issue.
 
As you probably know, following the gaoling of the Council's former leader Sandy Ezeikiel for misconduct in public office, Thanet Council's reputation for probity and transparency is extremely  poor and most people in the district hold the Council in low esteem.
 
Efforts to restore its reputation by becoming more open and transparent in the reporting of its business through the use of new media and citizen journalism are being resisted by a majority of Councillors. This cannot be right. Indeed Thanet  Cabinet's forthcoming review of Probity and Reputation makes no mention whatsoever of opening up meetings to filmed by citizens journalists as a means of rehabilitating its tarnished image.
 
I am aware of you comments in favour of allowing the filming of Council meetings by citizen journalists. I am also aware of your colleague Bob Neale's  letter to all Council Leaders and Monitoring Officers encouraging them to allow citizen journalists to record and broadcast video of Council meetings. I can advise you that this letter has never been discussed by Thanet Council or its committees and this letter has never been circulated to Members. This is totally unacceptable.
 
I would be very grateful if you could investigate the situation at Thanet Council and  use your power and influence to persuade this old fashioned, backward looking body to allow local people to hold  councillors to public account by filming and broadcasting them at work in meetings.
 
I am sure that the people of Thanet will welcome your intervention. But perhaps not the councillors.
 
I am seriously considering setting up a petition to force the Council to change its undemocratic rules in relation to filming
 
I look forward to hearing from you.



Monday, 22 April 2013

ANNE BARNES DEFENDS OFFENSIVE TWEETS NOT INNOCENT CAMPAIGNERS.

NOT GUILTY
At Margate Magistrates Court today Gerard Bane  from Ramsgate was found not guilty of breaching  Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 whilst protesting  against live animal exports at the Port. Gerrard is the third protester to be found not guilty of breaches of the Public Order, To date the Kent Police have failed to convict a single campaigner of breaking the  Public Order Act. The failure to convict anyone goes to show that the campaign against live animal exports from the port of Ramsgate is, contrary to Police reports, a peaceful campaign.

For several months the  Police have adopted a very strict approach towards the peaceful protests at the Port. The have issued orders and served notices upon  campaigners for no good reason. Many people believe that the Police have abused their powers, denying democratic freedoms  and  over reacting to a peaceful protest.

LIVE EXPORT RALLY RAMSGATE
One of the protesters, Mr Reg Bell, met with the Kent Police Commissioner Anne Barnes in February to tell her of  his concerns about how the demonstrations at the Port are being managed by the Police. Anne Barnes said she would look into the issues raised by Mr Bell and take them up with the Chief Constable Ian Learmouth. Well 3 months later and 3 letters from Mr Bell later, nothing more has been heard from the so-called police commissioner.

This is totally unacceptable. The Police Commissioner is supposed hold the Chief Constable to account. But when she is presented with clear evidence of over-zealous policing, despite her promises to take action, she sits back and does nothing.

So much for Anne Barnes concerns for basic democratic rights. So much for her promises to investigate concerns about policing. Perhaps  Anne Barnes is more concerned with defending foolish 17 year olds who allegedly  send violent, racist and homophobic tweets, than innocent people prosecuted at great public expense by a Police force she is supposed to hold to account. Nice one Anne

Sunday, 21 April 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF DEMOCRACY PLEASE COME AND FILM MY MEETING


Following the regrettable incident on Thursday 18th April when a journalist was thrown of a meeting of Thanet District Council for trying to film the disgraceful behaviour of councillors, and following my own exclusion from the same meeting for taking photographs of the unacceptable events, I have been giving careful consideration as to how I will manage the meeting of Thanet Council’s Overview and Scrutiny and Panel on 23rd April which will also be discussing the Pleasurama Petition

I have decided that in line with Council rules to allow all accredited journalists to film proceeding of the OSP.

TEMPERS FRAY AT COUNCIL MEETING LAST WEEK I WAS THROWN OUT FOR RECORDING THIS
I interpret the term accredited journalist to include Citizen Journalists i.e. members of the public who wish to make and transmit video, sound or textual recordings of the meeting.

I will therefore allow anyone who advises me that they are citizen journalist to record the proceedings of Thanet Council’s OSP without obstruction.

This decision is in compliance with a letter sent to all Council Leaders and Chief Executives by Bob Neil,  Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Department for Communities and Local Government in February 2011 which states that in order to promote stronger local  accountability the public should be “able to film and record in meetings without obstruction”.

Mr Neil’s letter also suggests that Thanet Council’s recent decision to throw myself and Christine Tongue out the Council meeting last week was wrong. He says that

“recent stories about people being ejected from council meetings for blogging, tweeting or filming … is at odds with the fundamentals of democracy and I want to encourage all councils to take a welcoming approach to those who want to bring local news stories to a wider audience”.

I am very surprised that the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council have never brought Mr Neil’s important letter to the attention of the Council. This is a very serious mistake on their part.

I am also extremely surprised that the forthcoming review of the Council’s Probity and Reputation following the gaoling of ex-Council Leader Sandy Ezekiel for misconduct in public office and the on-going problems with councillor behaviour at meetings, does not include any reference at all to the recording of public meetings. I wonder what the powers that be at Thanet Council have to hide?”

My decision to adopt a liberal and open approach to the recording of the OSP will I hope, be a step in the right direction, and I expect the Council to be supportive of my decision
The meeting is on 23 April 7pm Pierremont Hall Broadstairs.

FOR BOB NEIL'S LETTER FOLLOW THE LINK


Friday, 19 April 2013

FIGHT! FIGHT!

Last night  I had the misfortune of attending  the worst meeting of Thanet Council I have ever been to. That's quite an achievement because most meetings of Thanet Council are pretty terrible by anyone's standards! 

One of the main issues on the agenda was a petition about the  Ramsgate Pleasurama development. Organised  by local people who are worried about the lack progress with the development and the decade long blight of our seafront, the petition had gathered almost 2,000 signatures which by Thanet Council standards is a very big petition.


So what happened? Well instead of  a constructive  debate  about how to deal with the stalled  Pleasurama project and the potential sale of  a large chunk of prestigious  publically owned seafront to a developer who has failed to develop anything in a decade, councillors decided instead to indulge in a pathetically  juvenile  and increasingly vitriolic game of party political blame apportionment. Tempers became frayed, insults became more and more personal.

With the honourable exception of Councillors Jo Gideon, Julie Marson and Chris Wells and an intervention from yours truly, who all tried to steer the debate in  a sensible practical direction of doing something about the problem. Everyone else who spoke was determined to score points and lay the blame for the Pleasurama debacle at the feet of the opposite party. Even though the truth is that Thanet's Labour and Tory Parties are equally as guilty of visiting the Pleasurama disaster upon the unsuspecting residents of Ramsgate.

Well as temperatures and tempers go hotter something had to give and it did. Councillor Rick Everitt suggest that gaoled ex-Tory leader Sandy  Eziekiel was entirely responsible for the Pleasurama disaster. This outrageously ridiculous claim  provoked howls of anger from the massed ranks of Tory Councillors, one of whom made a personal comment about Everitt.

At this point the meeting collapsed into pandemonium. Raised voices, insults and threats were rife. A journalists in the public gallery, Christine Tongue, got out her video camera and  started recording the incredible scene which was unfolding before our eyes. I took out my camera and began to snap away . Cllr Everitt rushed across the chamber and appeared to square up to a seated Cllr Tomlinson. Cllr Mrs Tomlinson quickly placed herself between the two. I managed to snap what I thought was going to become a fist fight.

In the meantime Christine Tounge was ejected from the Council Chamber for having the temerity to try to record  how Thanet's most senior politicians conduct themselves. Christine was absolutely right to film what went on. The people of Thanet have a democratic right to see how their elected representatives behave.

Once things had calmed down the meeting was resumed. I was asked by the Chairman of the meeting if I would give an undertaking not to take any more photos. I said in view of appalling behaviour of councillors I would not give such an undertaking and reserved the right to take more photos. Councillors then voted to have me have me removed from the meeting.

So good people of Ramsgate - there you have it. Instead of discussing an issue of major public interest - Pleasurama and the blight of our seafront like grown ups, your elected representatives decided instead to play a blame game with lots of name calling and almost a fight thrown in for good measure.

Not only was this horribly pathetic, but most importantly of all it was an insult to the people (of all political persuasions) who are  so concerned about developments in their town that they got off their backsides to try to do something.

Yesterday evening any remaining vestiges of local democracy in Thanet were ground underfoot by senior politicians of both  parties who arrogantly dismissed the very serious concerns of a large number of local people, in favour of arrogant political self-indulgence  of jaw-dropping  proportions.

If ever there was a good reason to vote Independent on 2 May surely this must be it! 

If ever there was a reason to begin building an independent movement in Thanet which can restore serious democracy this must be it.


the words "public office" and "not fit for" come to mind.


Vote Ian Driver Ramsgate's Independent Voice
For more information about my policies follow this link


http://vote4driver.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/my-election-manifesto.html

 I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

FRIENDS OF RAMSGATE SEAFRONT ROCK! PLEASURAMA TREMBLES!

I would like to publically thank friends of Ramsgate Seafront for a magnificent demonstration of lobbying and People Power!

Your efforts and hard work appear to have persuaded Thanet Council to withdraw the sale of the  freehold of the  Pleasurmama site until after the development has been completed.

After almost a year of campaigning against the Rasmsgate Pleasurama development I was beginning to give up hope. Thanks so much. You guys rock!

Not wanting to be a party pooper I am still very concerned about the Pleasurama situation.

SFP still have an 199 year lease on the site and  can technically, under the terms of their agreement with the Council, sit back do nothing until 2017 leaving the people of Ramsgate to live with the appalling eyesore for another 4 years at least.

Also there is still the extremely serious issue of the Flood Risk Assessment and the potential danger to life if the development is ever built.

Last but not least there is the question of the cliff face and the problems that this may cause if the development is built.

Personally I do not believe that SFP will ever complete the development. Over the course of 10 years, they have  proved to be incapable of raising  the finance to complete the work. The have misled and lied to people about their previous experience and there are major concerns about  Swiss and British Virgin Island Links and who actually is behind the development.

Although I am absolutely delighted about today's result and the fantastic job done by FORs,  I will not rest until Thanet Council terminates it agreement with SFP  and kicks them off site. The people of Ramsgate should then be consulted about what they want to see on the site, not what councillors and council officers think people want.

Vote Ian Driver Ramsgate's Independent Voice
For more information about my policies follow this link
http://vote4driver.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/my-election-manifesto.html
 I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk 

  

Monday, 15 April 2013

THANET'S CLINICAL COMMISSIONERS WHAT ARE THEY HIDING.



I have been writing about what I believe to be significant conflicts of interest on the Governing Board of the Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). It is my opinion that there are serious ethical and probity issues to be addressed especially the fact that at least 5 of the 10 member CCG Board appear to have interests in organisations which might apply to provide goods or services to the CCG. In my book this is not right or ethical.  As part of my efforts to investigate this problem I asked the CCG to provide me with information about the remuneration of the 10 CCG Board Members.

here is the reply

Please advise me of the levels of remuneration paid to members of your Governing Body. 
I believe that this information is exempt from disclosure under Section 22, as this information is intended for future publication. Remuneration paid to members of governing bodies will be published in NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group’s Annual Report later this financial year.

As this is a qualified exemption I have considered whether in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. In reaching my conclusion I have considered the need to be open and transparent against disclosing information that may change and has not yet been verified. In all the circumstances of the case I have therefore reached the decision that the public interest in withholding the information in relation to this exemption is greater than disclosing it.

I would suggest that you resubmit your request at the end of July 2013 and I should be in a position to respond to your request then.
I am extremely surprised by this response. At Thanet Council there is a legal requirement to publish the salaries of senior officers and councillors. So why not the CCG? Like Thanet Council they are public body funded by the taxpayer so why should there be different rules about publishing remuneration information?

Does the CCG have something to hide?

I will be appealing this decision with the Information Commissioner.

Vote Ian Driver Ramsgate's Independent Voice
For more information about my policies follow this link

http://vote4driver.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/my-election-manifesto.html

 I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk

 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

THANET CLINICAL COMMISSIONING GROUP CHARTER FOR DODGY DEALS?


Corruption and misconduct in public life is a very serious issue and one which is not unheard of in Thanet, with the recent imprisonment of former Council Leader Sandy Ezekiel. Ongoing investigations may reveal that Ezekiel was not the only senior figure at Thanet Council to have enriched him/ herself by having access to inside information.
However what I want to talk about today is not the misdeeds of senior Thanet Council people, but the massive potential for misconduct and corruption at the new Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Established on 1 April 2013 the CCG  has responsibility for health care in Thanet. It has a budget of £190 million to pay for  doctors, district nurses, medicines, hospital care etc. The CCG is run by a Governing Board  consisting  7 local doctors, 2 lay members and the CCG  Chief Officer. The members of the Board claim substantial allowances for their work at the CCG.
THANET CCG OFFICES
In recent weeks the highly respected British Medical Journal and the Royal College of General Practitioners have been warning about the danger  of significant and major conflicts of interests at CCGs across the country. They have estimated that more one third of doctors who are Board Members  the 211 CCGs  have interests in companies which might be bidding for work the CCGs.

I have carried out some checks in  Thanet and discovered that just like the national picture our CCG is rife with major and significant conflicts of interest which make Thanet Council look squeaky  clean  when it comes to  ethical governance and probity. 

According to the CCG Register of Interests 4 of the GP Board Members have an interest in a company called Thanet Health CIC. Thanet Health CIC was set up in 2011. It is a Community Interest Company, which although it can’t make a profit can pay it Directors big salaries. Dr Tony Martin Chairman of the CCG is also a director of Thanet health CIC.  The aims of Thanet CIC are  to support the organisation and management of the Thanet GP Commissioning Consortia, to provide out of hours GP services and to provide healthcare and related service to the Thanet CCG.
So there you have it. 4 out of 7 doctors on the Thanet CCG Board have interests in a company which has the declared aim of securing business and payments from the CCG. Surely this cannot be ethical or proper?

But is doesn’t end there. Take the case of lay-Board Member Dominic Carter. I understand that Mr Carter receives approximately £10,000 per year for 2 days work per month as the Board Member responsible for patient engagement. His day job is Business Development Director of Indian-owned Mastek (UK) Ltd, which, according to the company’s website, develops and sells software to the NHS including Clinical Commissioning Groups. http://www.mastek.co.uk/index.php/industries/health

So once again we have another  Board member who is a software salesman for a company which sells products to Clinical Commissioning Groups. Surely this can’t be ethical or proper?

 So how can this charter for potential dodgy dealing be dealt with?

Well I say anyone with an interest in companies which might seek work with the CCG should be automatically be banned from being a CCG Board Member. And   anyone who has close family members or close friends associated with such companies  should be banned from being a CCG member.

It sounds draconian but we are talking, in the case of Thanet CCG, about organisations dealing with £190 million of taxpayer’s money and we can’t afford take chances.

Until laws are enacted to make this happen Kent County Council has the legal responsibility for scrutinising  the work of the CCGs. If elected to kCC, I will make it business to keep a very close eye on conflicts of interest at Thanet CCG!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

CAMPAINING IN RAMSGATE TODAY

I spent 2 hours in Ramsgate Town Centre today campaigning. I had a great reception. people want an Independent candidate who does not follow the orders of  Party Bosses. Someone who will put Ramsgate first and
fight for the interests of Ramsgate people instead of Party interest. People I spoke to today were concerned about Council corruption, the neglected seafront and live animal exports. 





















Vote Ian Driver Ramsgate's Independent Voice
For more information about my policies follow this link

http://vote4driver.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/my-election-manifesto.html

 I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk

Thursday, 11 April 2013

PLEASURAMA = LIARAMA

This is the 3rd time that the Pleasurama developers and/ or their agents have tried to mislead people into buying their flats

First, just after Xmas, the BBC exposed them for claiming to flat purchasers  that they already  owned the freehold when the didn't.

Second they claimed that project developers SFP Ventures UK Ltd had a track record of managing other developments when they didn't.  The Advertising Standards Authority ordered them to stop making this untrue claim.

Now their Ramsgate Royal Sands sales website  claims that their builders (Cardy Design Build Ltd) have a long successful history as builders when the haven't. This is what they say about the company on their website

The Builders – Cardy Design Build Ltd.
The Development is being built under contract by Cardy Design Build Ltd. A Kent based Company who have been building in the county since1946 with its head office in Canterbury.
Cardy are active members of the National Federation of Builders, NHBC and Construction Safety (South East) Limited. Their Company turnover is approximately £36 million per annum with a current local workforce approaching 220 employees.
Clients include amongst others, Emirates, BAA, Virgin, Etihad, Lloyds TSB Bank Plc, Barretts of Canterbury, Kent County Cricket Club, Elite Hotels; a major privately owned luxury Hotel Group as well as the Regional Health Authority and an extensive portfolio of schools and educational establishments. 


I have submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about this untrue claim which I copy below


Dear Sir,
I would like to draw your attention to misleading and inaccurate advertising on the Royal Sands Ramsgate website http://www.royalsandsramsgate.co.uk/about.asp
The site states that the project builders are a company called Cardy Design Build  Ltd.
The site then makes claims about the history, financial standing and  building track record of Cardy Build Design Ltd. For example that the company was established in 1946, that its turnover is £36million, that it employs 220 people. The site also lists previous clients of Cardy Build Design Ltd.

These claims are all untrue.
Cardy Design Build Ltd  was actually set up in January 2004. Its turnover has never been close to £36million and it does not employ 220 people. The claims about the company’s clients are also fictitious.
I suspect that this misleading and untrue information has been placed on the Royal Sands sales website in order deceive potential purchasers into believing that the project is being built be reputable company of longstanding which is clearly not the case.
I understand that you have already had cause to contact the project developers SFP Ventures UK Ltd for misleading people about matters related to this development.

I look forward to hearing from you
Councillor Ian Driver

Not only do SFP and their agents mislead potential customers they have also misled Thanet Council and the people of Ramsgate about the Pleasurama.  It was going to be completed by 2010, then 2014, now they want until 2017. How many more untruths? How much more misleading are we supposed to take? How much longer will we have to endure the seafront eyesore.


In my book PLEASURAMA = LIARAMA

As the only Ramsgate Councillor to have consistently opposed the Pleasurama development I seek your support in the May 2 Kent County Council elections.

Vote Ian Driver Ramsgate's Independent Voice

For more information about my policies follow this link

http://vote4driver.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/my-election-manifesto.html

 I am fighting this election on my own against the Big Party machines. I need all the help I can get. So If you want to help me by delivering leaflets, displaying a poster, or perhaps a small donation towards my election expenses please contact me at
ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk