The Labour Council was elected in May on a platform that promised greater transparency and accountability from our Town Hall.
Those good intentions didn’t last long. A report to tonight’s council cabinet of 10 leading councillors shows what just one of them, Simon Hall, the cabinet member for finance, is entitled to do on his own on behalf of Croydon’s 340,000 residents.
In what is a very brief report, accompanied by a terse background document, it is announced that Hall has disposed of Addington Palace Golf Club. But the key detail, at what price, is withheld, although we are informed that this prestigious piece of real estate has been leased for 999 years. So Ronnie Corbett and his fellow club members can continue to play golf there at least until the year 3013.
In the other paperwork ahead of tonight’s meeting, we learn that for clerking, public relations and communications for Labour’s controversial Fairness Commission, Hall’s dishing out £130,700. That’s a nice little earner…
We also learn that Hall has authorised the spending of almost £1 million on extending the coach and minibus contracts for children with special educational needs. Given the controversies and mishandled procurements of these contracts over the last five years, requiring investigations by the district auditor and Private Eye magazine, this matter is dashed off in the report with an amazing lack of transparency.
And then there is £26,700,000 spent just on a strategy to procure transport services.
Yes, £26.7 million.
This is being done with all the transparency of a Mike “#WadGate” Fisher allowances claim. This type of council governance stinks.
It places a huge amount of pressure on a single cabinet member, involving massive public spending but through what has developed into an inadequate process for reporting. Labour has abolished the previous committee of councillors which considered more detailed information on contracts, and so has concentrated power in the hands of Hall and just a few senior council staff, headed by Nathan Elvery.
Of course, the entrepreneurial Elvery was installed by Labour in the position of council chief executive despite the £180,000 per year job never being advertised, and without even a minute’s debate of the appointment at the council.
Given his pivotal part in previous procurement controversies over the borough’s bungled SEN transport contracts, it is emerging that spending public money with only lip-service paid to accountability must be the way the increasingly powerful Elvery prefers things.
- Hold tight please: council’s school bus scandal takes new turn
- New allegations about council’s role in bus firm’s collapse
- Did CEO Elvery break council code over his private company?
- “Boris Bus” transport firm loses 60% of licences
- Croydon Council’s transport contract: the audit report
Coming to Croydon
- South London Jobs Fair, Fairfield Halls, Oct 21
- David Lean Cinema: Mood Indigo, Oct 23
- This Was The World and I Was King, Spread Eagle, Oct 23-25
- South Norwood Country Park Family Fun Day, Oct 25
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, 2.30pm, Oct 25
- David Lean Cinema: Ilo Ilo, Oct 28
- CODA’s Wind In The Willows, Charles Cryer, Carshalton, Oct 29-Nov 1
- David Lean Cinema: Belle, Oct 30
- NHS free health fair, Central Parade, New Addington, Oct 31
- MOPAC policing meeting, Surrey Street, Nov 4
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 4
- St Giles School opening morning, Nov 5
- Grange Park bulb-planting event, Nov 8
- Brook recording studio open day and party, Nov 9
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Nov 14
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 17
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
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