Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kentwatch - Secrets and Law

Troubled as many of us are by the apparent waste by Cllr Paul Carter and his Tory colleagues, over seemingly fantastical payouts, in recent times to senior officers who've abruptly disappeared, I thought I'd go to the top.

Keeping politics aside, I'm just interested in, what possible reason Kent Council could have had for dispensing with Katherine Kerswell, and finding it necessary to pay out £420,000, as I feel there maybe significant details missing from Cllr Paul Carter's explanation given back in December last year. 

So for this reason, I emailed Geoff Wild, Kent's Director of Governance and Law, assuming, if anyone would know about a confidentiality agreements, surely it would be he, so you can imagine, my disappointment to receive a reply informing me I'd have to wait for the progress of an FOI request.

"Geoff believes passionately that public sector lawyers should dispel their image as bureaucratic civil servants and display their talents as entrepreneurs to be measured against the best across the whole of the legal profession."   Er sorry, the preceding words in this paragraph are not mine, they come from the Geoff Wild's bio page on KCC's website, which although it mentions business, clients, customers, entrepreneurs makes no mention of community, taxpayers, citizens or people. Where's the public service ethos gone?

I worry that Kent council consistently gives the impression that it is a business and to some extent by  implication that public service is an irrelevance, an impression which is confirmed for me by KCC's Geoff Wild biography web page, the page is devoted to what appears to be a big legal business, which seemingly has no link to the local population,   community needs or public service ethos, reference to governance gets little or no elaboration and zilch about democracy, accountability or indeed reference,as far as I see to any public service benefits.

Perhaps I'm wrong but I thought local authorities should be focused on local people first not  "300 clients nationwide from across the whole of the public sector" as is the case with Kent's Governance and Law department.

Finally the thought occurs, that KCC's entrepreneurial legal department is so blooming marvelous why don't KCC flog it to the private sector, and see if it thrives in the commercial world, and the money made could help local services and maybe fund new contracts even for "the best" officers so if it dont work out, we don't surrender hundreds of thousands of pounds or even half millions as is not the case for a few months work! 

*Please note that my comments (above) represent my views and opinions, hopefully still protected by UK law, a topic I had to correspond previously with Mr Wild after a company working for KCC on a KCC project objected and threatened with legal action against me for holding views about guess what? KCC wasting public money.


  1. Sounds like legal-empire-building.

    No doubt the 76 KCC lawyers then hire other lawyers etc etc: both higher tax bills, undercutting the private legal sector and duplicating work.

    Acting for other councils means the Kent taxpayer funding other councils' legal cases.

    Why would any big council need more than one lawyer to place legal work outside the council?

    And act as a whitewash for the council?

  2. The whole topic of KCC's commercial services should be put under scutiny again. It did get a clean bill of health regarding operating under unfair competition rules. ie activities like the transport company Top Travel getting preferental treatment when bidding for KCC funded bus routes or staff temp agency Top Temps being used in preference to other local staff agencies. My own observations show KCC' own landscape company cutting grass verges in the winter months when most gardeners know that it is poinless at this time and other local landscape companies are not enjoying this winter bonus.
    We also had the example recently of social workers that were found to be not up to the job being employed via Top Teams in other parts of Kent. We also had the case of £1 million or more fraud at the energy company Laser where financial controls were obviously lacking.
    Why should KCC run the Law enterprise and all the others including furniture making (I ask you) when many local companies could do with the work.
    Unlike local enterprises that risk their own money and struggle for bank loans KCC has thas the unfair advantage of being able to use our money. Paul Carter and the enhanced KCC cabinet also have to spend management time on these enterprises. Time that could have been spent looking after childrens services, sorting out highways properly and making sure that legal came up with employment contracts that were not so generous.
    Other local councils are out sourcing parts of their operations to slim down and get value for money but KCC is just empire building.

  3. Well said. Aside from the necessary public care one of the few benefits of tax is to redeploy it back into the economy to stimulate the economy to provide growth/tax etc etc.

    KCC empire-building means at best it's receiving too much tax for its roles. At worst it's simply frivolous vanity projects neglecting its duty of care.

    In terms of economic growth it's a new road or forget it.

    Top Temps is particularly naughty: undercutting the recruitment industry with tax, while ensuring hidden staffing up for KCC. Whch then requires more tax for pensions etc etc.

    Your point on sensible employment contracts is a good one too. It's all the more ridiculous as the padded KCC legal dept then recommends a payoff rather than court!

    TDC cuts the grass every May without fail? Tarmac solves the pesky problem of gardens too.

  4. It seems Mr Wild or should that be spelt Mr Wilde doesnt like answering FOI either could it be because his name is spelt Geoff Wilde on 'care orders applications' thereby trying to limit liability for ones actions ?



    Of course all the Kent County councillors are aware of this and do nothing. It just shows you does it not where there is money there is corruption of the highest level by our own government and their LA's, how else can they afford to pay their top men 3 fig salaries and bonuses for targets achieved and social workers on approx £25K upwards and that is not including all other agencies and experts and the courts that get their slice, and the commodities that feed that business is children.

  5. Is Kent touting for even more children services business ?

    KCC's sale of legal services and procurement / state aids


  6. It looks like all the Councillors and SS squad are guilty retrospectively.

    As from Monday 2nd July a loop hole has been closed so that ANYONE not protecting or failing to protect a child can face up to 10 years in prison (this includes judges!!!)

    "From Monday anyone who deliberately causes or allows serious physical harm to a child or vulnerable adult faces up to 10 years in prison.

    Taking effect in England and Wales, it also enables prosecutions of people who stay silent or blame someone else."


  7. Will let you into a little secret; the 'Committee' actually despise the Grey Suits who have sold their souls and hawk the souls of those they purportedly represent on a daily basis. Let me tell you that these soulless morons who think they are doing the work of their 'god' 'Baph' will be dispensed with the moment they have served their purpose.

  8. 4 of 4 - Child Protection Services abducting children - a Senator Speaks out


  9. Star chamber courts are unlawful, all kidnapped children orders are null & void orders


  10. Apart from spending on child trafficking

    New Research: £1 in every £5 of Council Tax goes on council pensions