Jacob Williams
Tuesday 17th May, 2016

Palace perk for precarious Perkins

Palace perk for precarious Perkins

CLLR. SUE PERKINS SWANS OFF TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE GARDEN PARTY
UNDER-FIRE CABINET MEMBER CHAUFFEURED BY PCC EMPLOYEE FUNDED BY YOU
POSH JOLLY COMES DAYS AFTER CLLRS REJECT UNPOPULAR POST-16 EDUCATION SCHEME


There’s taking the biscuit and then there’s taking the royal cucumber sandwich.

That’s what Pembrokeshire County Council’s cabinet member for education has been up to.

In what must surely be her dying days heading the portfolio responsible for the county’s kids’ education, Cllr. Sue Perkins isn’t contemplating her departure from her executive position but lapping the trappings of public office.

She’s been facing all-round calls for her resignation following the crushing defeat of her department’s highly controversial proposals to dismantle sixth form education in Haverfordwest.

But stepping down before she’s pushed seems to be the last thing on Sue’s mind.

JW understands from a reliable mole that Sue’s embarked on a trip to London to be a guest of the royal family.

The Pembroke Dock councillor’s trip to the Buckingham Palace garden party is said to have been at TAXPAYERS’ EXPENSE.

But there was no personal honour for our ninety-year-old monarch in meeting Sue Perkins – as it was hosted by her husband marking the sixtieth anniversary of his Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Usual form for the council’s dignitaries and spouses attending royal summer garden parties is to be chauffeured up the night before by a council employee who, along with the privileged guests, is boarded for the night in a hotel.

However it’s understood Sue journeyed up to the big smoke and back yesterday.

JW learns the chairman’s brand new BMW limo was unavailable for the junket. But no Fiesta pool car would do for Sue!

Instead, sources say, a HIRE CAR was chartered by the authority for the chauffeured Buck House jolly.

The former Labour party stalwart earned the name ‘True Blue Sue’ for crossing the council floor to the ruling ‘independent’ party in 2013, keeping hold of her lucrative cabinet post in doing so.

Lest we forget how Sue explained away her difficult decision to leave the Labour group and join the IPPG – which in opposition she steadfastly opposed.

It was that the county’s schoolchildren and their education must come before party politics and personal benefit, or something like that.

It led to another popular descriptor: “I did it for the kids” – which for some reason has subsequently been twisted by mischievous so-and-sos as: “I did it for the quids.”

True Blue Sue’s regal jaunt comes in the same week as her majesty hosts PCC’s chairman and chief executive and their wives – on Thursday.

It’s unclear who put Sue forward for Monday’s garden party but there’s some suggestion the perk could be in the gift of the council’s leader, Cllr. Jamie Adams.

Even less clear is who authorised Sue’s council-chauffeured car – or why they thought you should pay for it.

Last week’s momentous 24-31 vote saw councillors reject the PCC establishment’s long-running plans to abolish sixth form education in Haverfordwest in favour of a new ‘sixth form centre’ in collaboration with Pembrokeshire College.

Townsfolk have decisively opposed the plans for over two years.

The following day Labour group leader Cllr. Paul Miller called on new chairman Cllr. Tony Brinsden to convene an extraordinary meeting.

Cllr. Miller is tabling both a no confidence motion in the executive member for education, Cllr. Perkins, and for councillors to crack on with plans for what consultation respondents have demanded all along – a secondary school with a sixth form.

Cllr. Brinsden has agreed to hold the meeting but no date has yet been set.

It’s widely anticipated that Sue’ll be ousted from her education role, but a bit of analysis might help to understand how things will play out.

The deep thinkers have already worked out that if Jamie is to sack Sue he could hardly do the deed before her Buckingham Palace garden party – her attendance could have been interpreted as rewarding failure.

At PCC? Never!

And this isn’t the first time Cllr. Adams as leader has had to deal with a with a no confidence motion in one of his untenable cabinet members.

Facing defeat in the face when Cllr. Huw George was in the firing line, Jamie deployed the old switcheroo – shuffling Huw sideways into another portfolio rather than pulling his chum’s £30k cabinet salary.

Don’t be surprised if, between now and Cllr. Miller’s extraordinary council meeting Jamie either drops Sue from the cabinet or gives her a different brief.

Of course, Sue could stand down. But she’s not alone in bearing political responsibility for the Haverfordwest shambles.

Due to Sue’s incapability or otherwise, it can hardly be forgotten that Jamie’s consistently taken the lead on the deeply unpopular secondary education plans, pushing them hard – right through to Thursday’s bruising vote.

But it may be up to voters in 2017 to play judge and jury with Jamie’s political career.


Palace perk for precarious Perkins

Blue blood is thicker than water…

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49 Comments...

  • Pembs. Exile

    EU proposal – withdrawn.

    Badger cull proposal – withdrawn.

    Schools debate – LOST.

    Black Tuesday – Ouch!

    Or as Shakespeare says – “when troubles come they come not singly but in battalions.”

  • Patrick

    I think if she wants to do something for the children and keep some dignity, she would be wise to step down and save the cost and the likely humiliation of a vote of no confidence. I am sure she will see the sense in this.

  • What about those who have trained the D of E award participants in Pembrokeshire?

    Surely the honour of attending the garden party should go to at least one of those hard working troopers?

    How far did this councillor progress within the scheme? Bronze? Silver? Gold?

  • Keanjo

    Jacob made a worrying comment – he is not sure who authorised a hire car for the trip to Buck House. Surely every member should be made aware of how such expenditure can be authorised and under which rule such expenditure can be incurred. Or maybe this is the problem in the PCC.

    It is also noted that the CE and his better half are accompanying the Chairman and his good lady to the Palace at a later date. Neither have been in office very long and this would be a good opportunity for the non-IPPG Chairman to decline the offer as unnecessary expenditure.

    Incidentally, how many black bags is this lot going to cost?

  • Welshman 23

    You cannot make this up. Surely someone has the brain to say that it could cause an issue. Why not go by train cattle class and claim the fare back on expenses?

    I hope I am not paying for her husband to go to this tea party. Never mind, 2017 is nearly here…

  • John Hudson

    This is not the usual annual jolly to go to the Queen’s Garden Party. This usually involves the Chairman and partner including chauffeur and a guest couple (another councillor and spouse) for an overnight stay.

    I am not quite sure what benefit we derive from all of this.

    Not long to the public inspection of 2015/16 accounts.

  • Alan Thomas

    This woman is a disgrace. No qualifications, professional academic or other but gets around £50,000 PA for being a useless cabinet member. Corrupt to the core, just like so many of them.

  • Yes John, not long now until we can find out exactly how much last year’s jaunt cost.

    For details of a previous outing go to http://oldgrumpy.co.uk/2014/1149/right-royal-treatment/

  • Steady, Alan – I’m sure you’ll agree Sue’s a snip for her mere £29k salary!

  • Keanjo

    A few years ago a PCC staff member (now retired) told me that the wives of certain councillors/officers receive a dress allowance of £1,800 a year.

    I find it hard to believe but can anyone confirm whether it is true?

  • Welshman 23

    Add all the freebies etc and Sue’s salary is probably close to £50k. When is the vote of no confidence? It would be a great idea to pick someone outside the IPPG as Sue’s replacement.

  • Malcolm Calver

    Let’s hope they all bring back some nice photos for us all to enjoy, surely this is the least we can expect after paying for their jaunt.

  • John Hudson

    A posh frock allowance is not provided for in any “rules ” that I have seen. If it does or did happen it would be well hidden. Councillors’ claims are published as are the chairman’s and ceremonial expenses. It hasn’t turned up there.

    There are, however, some categories of expenditure regarded as personal which we are not allowed to see. This includes officers’ travel and subsistence and corporate card purchases.

    Who knows what went on in the good old days?

  • Les

    On another subject – once again Old Grumpy publicly calls Cllr Adams a liar. To me this is, or should be serious.

    Surely Cllr Adams should now as a matter of honour challenge this or accept that Cllr Stoddart is correct.

  • Welshman 23

    John, surely any expenditure should be itemised for tax reasons.

    I work in a corporate company and every last penny must be supported by a valid VAT receipt and details of the spend. Just submitting it under a general expense is a no go.

    If monies have been spent under a miscellaneous category some of the expenditure could fall under the benefit in kind taxation bracket.

    Les, I agree with you if these words are being used then one side must challenge. The going ons at the Kremlin are still open to scrutiny. The removal of BPJ and the appointment of a new person has done little to improve the credibility of PCC.

    The new BPJ had an ideal opportunity to shake this organisation by the roots and investigate all expenditure and any cover ups. As time goes on it seems the BPJ influence is still alive and kicking.

  • Quill

    Did you hear about that bloke who’s just been caught by police in the grounds of Buckingham Palace after he scaled the perimeter fence?

    What a prat!

    All he needed to do was get elected to a local authority governed by a wafer thin majority, then shortly after election turn his back on his electors by joining said ruling party in exchange for a cabinet position.

    Bona fide Buckingham Palace invitations would be piling through his letterbox before he could say “I did it for the kids!”

  • Martin Lewis

    I’ve just read Mike’s latest article too Les. The evidence is on the webcast for EVERYONE to see that JAMIE ADAMS IS A LIAR (my emphasis) 🙂

  • Clive Davies

    Perhaps the farmer hasn’t reached ‘L’ in the alphabet so he wouldn’t understand ‘liar’.

    I’m sure he’s reached ‘G’ for grant. And probably ‘H’ for hypocrite, just like his mates. Of course he may be more comfortable with the Welsh alphabet. But since he’s a land theft Anglo/Norman Tory I’m inclined to doubt it.

    A bit like deputy lord lieutenants who one moment promote ignoring public feeling and the next minute install chairs unelected by plebiscite. I suspect there’s a fascinating tale to be told somewhere. If only ‘democracy’ allowed us to. God save the House of Hanover.

    On a less serious note why should councillors’ expenses be public but not officers’? I don’t understand.

    And, Jacob, on a point of information, is a cabinet ‘salary’, additional to or is the standard allowance subsumed within it. And if the cabinet salary is that, and not just an allowance, shouldn’t it be subject to a scrutinised application process?

  • Clive, the cabinet salary includes the basic allowance received by all councillors. Added to that is the cabinet SRA (special responsibility allowance.)

    The basic allowance received by all councillors is set by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales, so too are the cabinet/leader/deputy leader SRAs, however there is some local discretion over SRA levels as the IRPW set bands to choose from.

    If you haven’t seen it, the webcast of the last full council meeting may interest you. Council was tasked with approving the cabinet SRAs and the chair and vice chair allowances.

    Despite an opposition attempt to reduce the level of those payments over which we had any choice, the outcome was to retain the status quo.

  • Flashbang

    Mike Stoddart should certainly be suing his two main antagonists in the roof debacle. Preferably from outside the County where he’d get an unbiased hearing. I’d be happy to throw money into a fighting fund for him, anyone else want to see justice done?

  • Timetraveller

    As I have been given to understand things, the police need to have a “victim” in a crime. Hence the presumption that PCC is the victim.

    I believe that the council intended to convert the external grant money for retail renewal into financing social housing to which the council has an obligation, previously funding this to the tune of £3m pa. So it saves on our council tax and everyone should be happy!

    The trouble is, documents were falsified, officials such as the quantity surveyor Mike mentions developed ‘competency issues’ and Cllrs Pugh and Adams lied to full council.

    Never mind, it’s all for a good cause!

    A most interesting crime – a victim who can also be the culprit (self abuse?) and that pesky Mike won’t let it go!

    To compound matters, having a police and crime commissioner who is not a Tory might not rest so easy with the long grass strategy tried to date.

  • John Hudson

    1. Welshman: The Council reclaims all VAT, so it does not ultimately pay it. Individual councillors’ expenses are paid as reimbursements of allowable personal expenses for travel and subsistence only. Posh frocks could not be claimed as a legitimate councillor expense. If such a cost was met by the council, it would have to go through as a corporate expense under some obscure heading.

    There is a Chairman’s expenses budget and separate council ceremonial budget. These are open to inspection.

    The expenses for garden party visits could be logged against the councillor’s individual claims or the ceremonial budget. The Chairman’s (plus guests) annual garden party visit usually appears under his expenses rather than his individual claim.

    Some years ago, PCC councillors had agreed to pay themselves 50p per mile travel expenses. The independent remuneration panel then imposed the Inland Revenue tax limit of 45p, but allowed the higher rate to continue to be paid where existing rates exceeded it.

    About a year later, the IRP then imposed the flat rate 45p limit regardless. End of scam. The council could of course have voted to reduce its limit, but can you imagine such a thing happening?

    I did wonder at the time how the council or councillors ensured that the tax due on the 5p per mile excess was paid. One leading councillor at the time said he left that to his accountant!

    2. Clive: While the expenses claimed by councillors are required to be open to public inspection by law, officer’s travel and subsistence expenses are for some reason regarded as personal information and are not. I think this is something to do with contract of employment terms.

    There was I think a guideline that suggested that such “gagging” clauses should no longer be offered and that officers could waive existing confidentiality clauses. I am not sure that any have done so.

    I understand that senior officers have access to “office” corporate purchase cards, which are open to inspection, and personal ones that are not.

    A certain senior officer’s “corporate office” expenses were not made readily available at the public inspection of accounts and had to be asked for. They were all apparently kept in a secretary’s drawer. This system has now changed and all should be available at the place of inspection.

    Last year, for the first time, Cleddau Bridge reimbursement claims at 75p a time were restricted to the cost of an advance book ticket. Another potential scam blocked.

    Not all councillors claim expenses. Most cabinet members’ claims are described as duties pertaining to their “Cabinet Portfolio” without any further detail.

  • Keanjo

    I must say I agree with Welshman, a system where people are not allowed to see precisely what their own money is spent on is open to misuse and worse.

    John Hudson outlines the difficulty in finding out precise details of expenditure from the accounts but these details are known by some people and should be available to the providers of the money.

    Additionally, why should the expense claimed by officers be kept secret?

    In the private sector the person(s) paying the employer knows precisely what employees get. In effect the council tax payers employ council officers and should be entitled to know precisely how their money is spent.

    Secrecy breeds suspicion.

  • HJ, Fishguard

    I do not know how often a Duke of Edinburgh Award garden party is held but I do know, very well, a person who went to one about 10 years ago with his invitation coming through Pembrokeshire County Council.

    Over the last twenty years this person has given a vast amount of time and effort into training and assessing the progress of Pembrokeshire children who work hard to gain their bronze, silver and gold awards.

    He does this for a token financial reward mostly given to ensure that the expedition and training volunteers are covered by insurance since they can then be classed as PCC employees. The sum paid does not come anywhere near the costs they incur.

    He was very proud to be asked to represent Pembrokeshire at the garden party and when his wife could not attend he took his mother instead. The two travelled to London by car and stayed in a hotel for two nights, his mother did buy a new outfit all at their own expense and both had a very enjoyable time.

    He, his mother and the rest of his family thought it was an appropriate gesture by PCC that a person who had donated his time and effort for a good cause was being recognised.

    I hope this year an invitation has been made available to a representative of the 30 to 40 mostly unpaid volunteers who make Pembrokeshire’s efforts in the Duke of Edinburgh awards so rewarding to the children of the county and that Cllr Sue Perkins is not the sole representative of the county’s efforts.

    If she is perhaps she would like to give up her place and make the invitation available to one of those volunteers on whose efforts to ensure the success of the scheme in Pembrokeshire. I am sure that a cost benefit analysis who clearly show that the chosen volunteer was much more cost effective than Cllr Perkins.

  • Timetraveller

    Flashbang, chasing civil claims is usually hard work, expensive and with uncertain outcomes. Libel actions are especially expensive.

    In days past, when officials had reputations they valued, it was common to “fall on your sword” in such matters as Mssrs Adams and Pugh find themselves and resign. Somehow I don’t think they will vacate the feed trough so readily!

    Rather than worry about reputation, or the lack of it, we should be asking WHY these individuals chose to mislead council. The most obvious intent does appear to prevent any further investigation than was applied at the time.

    If the grants scheme is a council inspired plot to falsify a retail renewal grant into providing social housing, then these two gentlemen have probably breeched protocols that would render them as unfit to hold public office.

    Same as a resignation but with a push!

  • Fox

    Can a UK councillor be impeached?

  • Goldingsboy

    I think, in the absence of any meaningful response to Old Grumpy’s latest blog, spinelessness can also be detected in the composition of our chairman’s character.

  • John Hudson

    There is a Code of Conduct for members which does not expressly include lying as an offence. This may be caught under bringing the council in to disrepute.

    Such offences are required to be brought to the attention of the Ombudsman, but these are usually passed back to the council’s Standards Committee.

    The track record of this is not particularly stringent:- late expense claims, use of council (our) resources for electioneering, non declaration of planning interests, all would seem to have been mitigated on advice from the previous Monitoring Officer.

    A common sense view or interpretation of the Code of Conduct may have arrived at different conclusions and penalties.

    Perhaps lying to and/or misleading the council is not thought of as bringing the authority into disrepute as it is already not very reputable.

  • Phil

    HJ of Fishguard rightly points out that the majority of people who attend garden parties do so at their own expense.

    Last Thursday mayors of town councils attended one – Cllr Perkins’ colleague on Pembroke Dock Town Council, Cllr Maureen Colgan, represented them, and went at her own expense.

    Town councillors do not get allowances – in fact it usually costs them money to be a town councillor. Mayors get a small annual allowance to cover their costs throughout the year’s many events they attend, but this is intended so as not to prevent less well off councillors putting themselves forward.

    It’s also a point worth making that it is within the rules for town councillors to claim for expenses to go to an outside meeting where they represent the council, but in twenty years of being a town councillor I don’t recall a claim being made.

  • Goldingsboy, the council’s chairmanship post attracts no executive, investigatory or punitive powers, so I’m not sure what you mean.

  • Goldingsboy

    My apologies, I meant the Leader.

  • Cllr. Adams’ opportunity to show some contrition was when he answered Mike’s question at full council the week before last.

    Instead he chose to tell further lies by denying that he lied in December 2013 on the basis that he was simply relaying on that occasion what he had been told by a council officer.

    Of course, this was a much easier lie to prove because one only needs to look at the December 2013 webcast – wonderful thing that! – to see Cllr. Adams presenting his (untruthful) claim first-hand – i.e. that he had ‘seen’ for himself and was able to reassure council that the entire roof had been re-slated, contrary to Mike’s claims that it hadn’t been.

    Indeed, if in 2013 Cllr. Adams had presented the claim (that the roof had been fully re-slated) as hearsay then he wouldn’t be open to the cast iron claim that he lied to council.

    In most democratic bodies it would be a terminal incident. Not PCC!

  • Timetraveller

    The Ombudsman in this instance would be as much use as a chocolate tea pot, a marked reluctance to delve into the more complex machinations of this council.

    The same reluctance applies to the police, although they do have what they call an “investigation” into a large sum of public money that has gone “missing”.

    Whether Mr McCosker can or will repay the funds doesn’t remove the alleged crime, bank robbers would find that an attractive option in the unlikely event Dyfed-Powys Police caught them.

    Confession would be good for all, perhaps Jamie should be pressed as to why he lied.

  • Brian

    Timetraveller, I suspect that PCC’s cash flow management over the years has to a certain extent become reliant on a steady stream of cheques from Euroland via Objective 1 funding for the relentless stream of white elephant projects that now litter the county.

    If that is the case you can see that councillors and officers might not be keen to upset that particular golden goose with discussion of improper spending.

    Similarly further up the food chain jobs depend upon having schemes to administer here in the UK so you can speculate that those individuals responsible also don’t want to have to go back to Brussels shouting that they have screwed up so become complicit.

  • HJ, Fishguard

    My father, who was a policeman, told me many times when I was young, “Never lie, son, you don’t have a good enough memory”.

    It’s a pity Jamie Adams was not given the same advice when he was a child who could be influenced by good sense.

  • Keanjo

    Bearing in mind that we paid for her jaunt to Buck House I wonder if our Sue would share her experiences with we poor proles who stayed at home?

  • Martin Lewis

    And don’t think we’ve forgotten how incompetent you are and what you’ve been responsible for Cllr Perkins.

    You should have done what Cameron did when he was found to be incompetent for the challenge ahead.

  • John Hudson

    Details of the annual garden party visit in May 2015, for 2015/16 can be found in the accounts for that year at the public inspection.

    We paid for 5 persons’ overnight stay (chairman +1, £180; cabinet member +1, £180; and of course the driver) together with a congestion charge, meals and petrol.

    I am not sure what benefit we, or the council gets from this annual jolly.

    The council must have hosted a breakfast for 60 guests at the county show, which cost us £552. (£9 odd each including glass breakages.) This is also an annual bun fight.

    The chairman’s annual dinner event for a few seems to have gone “underground” if it was held. After following this for years, I have yet to find the 2015/16 details.

    Was this a more democratic buffet event held at County Hall to which all councillors were invited to rub shoulders with the great and the good? (This might be “hidden” in the catering recharge of £144, although at a unit cost of a mere £2.40 this would be a bit frugal).

    The chairman’s car also would seem to have changed its chargeability as it no longer appears as a charge to the ceremonial/chairman’s budget.

    The annual wine purchase for County Hall guests is also not apparent.

  • Bob

    So Jamie pushed her out of the way before the no confidence motion could be debated. No surprises there then. But to create a cabinet position for her to exacerbate her incompetence defies belief.

  • William Joseff

    We all have our opinions, but what I fail to understand is the game that Jamie Adams is playing. He is clearly out of his depth and an embarrassment to himself.

    He has played a game with our money in appointing David Lloyd as cabinet member responsible for education in order to move Sue Perkins, who also is clearly out of her depth, in charge of safeguarding and therefore avoiding a motion of no confidence. This is a game and I am extremely concerned with the fiasco of his leadership.

    As for David Lloyd, then I am extremely disappointed that he had acted this way. I thought he was a man of integrity but like all the other cabinet members, the only thing that he is concerned with is claiming that extra allowance. We have people making decisions who are clearly not qualified to make opinions.

    I invite all cabinet members to respond to me on how their personal and business experiences can benefit the roles they have been appointed to. Of course, this won’t happen as they haven’t any and therefore won’t be open to ridicule.

    They don’t live in our world, the real world but continue to earn money from what is a part time role or supplement to pension income that many of the people of Pembrokeshire can only dream about.

    As a footnote, I wish to make it quite clear that I am all for people making money if they’re doing their jobs – but the simple fact is they’re not but continue to be ‘protected’.

    I am fortunate to live in an area of Pembrokeshire (Tenby) where my councillor and all my surrounding areas are occupied by people with integrity. I now ask whether my fellow Pembrokians (if there is such a word?) can say the same thing? If not, then you should start asking.

  • Martin Lewis

    You’re lucky you don’t live in Pembroke Dock, William – we’ve got Brian Hall, Sue Perkins and Alison Lee and in one neighbouring ward Simon Hancock!

    Nice to see Simon so defensive of his integrity at today’s meeting but sadly that won’t wash. A lifelong Labour man who took the 30 pieces of silver after being re-elected unopposed yet again.

  • John Hudson

    There is just the unimportant question of how this additional cabinet post Jamie Adams has created, can be paid for, by us.

    Having previously made savings by reducing the number of cabinet positions, this appointment, or rather the cost of it, would be outside the 2016/17 budget as approved by council and is potentially unlawful until council approve such consequential additional expenditure.

    May one have the temerity to ask how this is being funded and under what authority officers have allowed this? Jamie has no power to incur expenditure.

    What does the CEO, DoF (Section 151 officer), the monitoring officer and the head of legal service have to say about how this additional expenditure can be accommodated within the council approved budget?

  • Martin Lewis

    According to Thursday’s meeting webcast the extra cabinet salary will come from the approved cabinet expenditure already in place and it won’t cost us anymore. Just coincidence that school meals have risen by 30p.

    David Lloyd’s appointment is going to be a disaster, as stated in the meeting, it’s just not feasible tab he will have the time to do this in addition to his professional commitments.

  • John Hudson

    Thanks Martin. Does this mean that however many cabinet members are in post, budget provision, as recommended by officers and approved by council, is always made for the maximum permitted by law, that is 10 including the leader?

    When leaders boast about savings made by reducing the number of cabinet members, we will have contributed for 10, and that any “saving” then counts as an underspend, which may be used for other purposes. So WE haven’t saved anything.

  • Keanjo

    John, I can think of a good way to save money – by disbanding the present council and forming a three counties council.

    One third of the present 200 or so councillors, one chief executive, a third of the 15 or so directors etc, etc.

    Pembrokeshire and the others could retain their names and I am sure the ‘quality’ of services would not suffer one iota.

  • John Hudson

    I still do not understand how the medieval county of Pembrokeshire’s identity/brand would be “lost” if the Pembrokeshire County Council was abolished. Unless people can identify with the goings on at County Hall.

    It is clear that the move is towards more efficient “joint working” on health/social services, transport, fire etc., all covering different administrative areas.

    WE will still be paying for cabinet members/councillors – to do what? What say will they have in informal joint working arrangements? Is their input of the same value? Abolition by the back door.

    I think that O&S scrutiny of adult services has already been diluted away from our councillors and a new higher outfit is now responsible. The committee agreed with this.

    The Local Service Board CEO’s “club” (no one knew what they got up to!) has been democratised and reorganised – are councillors involved in this or is it just as remote?

    Come the next election, who knows what our councillors’ role will be and what they will be accountable for.

  • John, I believe that the councillors on this newly constituted Pembrokeshire Public Services Board (which replaced the Local Service Board) are our dear leader, Cllr. Jamie Adams (who was recently installed as chairman at their very first meeting) and his fellow IPPG member, Cllr. Wynne Evans.

    Sitting by Jamie’s side, in the vice-chair, is none other than Mrs. Bernardine Rees OBE – the health board luminary who provided ex-councillor David Wildman a reference as part of his application to become a member of the board whose job, among others, was to scrutinise her and her executive actions.

    Her questionable judgement made the Western Mail – but, you’ll recall, the story was revealed on this very website!

    Incidentally, at the July full council meeting I tabled a notice of the motion (which is still in the system) in the following terms:

    That Pembrokeshire County Council, as the lead authority and secretariat of the Public Service Board, expresses its commitment to webcasting the PSB’s meetings.

    Furthermore this council invites and expects other Public Service Board participants to commit to live-streaming and archiving the PSB’s meetings, and to initiate discussions with a view to achieving this outcome.

    We’ll see how that goes!

  • John Hudson

    Yes but what does it do?

    Years ago the former PCC CEO came to an agreement with a former CEO of Hywel Dda to share the PCC social care director Jon Skone and another senior PCC social services officer.

    It must have been tough that these officers did so little that NO arrangements were put in place to make up for the 50% loss in time to PCC. This was reported and accepted as “a good thing” by councillors led by David Wildman then older persons champion and chairman of older persons O&S committee.

    Whether this decision contributed towards the later judicial review into care home fees and cost us about £400k in legal fees is a moot point.

  • Timetraveller

    John, an uncharitable person might have suggested that the less Mr Skone did, the better, after all social services costs money!

    It is the second largest item on the authority’s budget (after education which doesn’t have much scope to fiddle things, though they try.)

    Likewise I doubt if he had anything to do with the care home fees, that was essentially legal wrangling-intimidation-stalling, the authority were skimming much more than that until that case stopped them. That would have required a more devious legal mind.

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