Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Councillor Paul Brant has asked 13 separate questions about the issues raised here, and elsewhere, to Council Leader Warren Bradley. We did post them on here, but have now taken them off until they are officially made public by the city council. (So count yourself lucky if you read them here before, ed). Keep checking this blog over the next two weeks and we will post the questions back again as soon as they are public. They are worth waiting for!

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Dear Ms Painter,

I do not understand your reply. You have not responded to any of the evidence against Mr Watkinson.
You are also silent on whether Mr Watkinson has received tickets from Mr Halsall to attend the Summer Pops. Am I to attribute this silence as confirmation?
The allegations were made against Mr Watkinson by Counc Warren Bradley and Counc Mike Storey. I am not clear whether you have contacted either of these councillors concerning their allegations? Do you plan to do so?
You say the Commission will consider any information received as a result of disclosures which are made to it. When will you be doing this and how? What information and which disclosures will you be considering specifically?
You say that the allegations of impropriety have been subject to internal investigation and review by the city council. How do you know this? Can you provide me with any evidence of this, to support your contention?
I can provide you with tape recorded testimony from elected members which supports some of the allegations made. Can you tell me what you will do with this evidence if it is provided to you?
More recent allegations were also made on the blog about the activities of Jason Harborow in relation to the Summer Pops and CMP Entertainment. Are you considering these and if so, how?
You say
that "Mr Watkinson will continue to consider any information that you send and take this into account during the course of his audit". Can you tell me which information will he be considering specifically?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Reply from the Audit Commission Investigations Unit (SURPRISE, SURPRISE!)

Thank you for your emails dated 26 and 27 August 2006 and your letter and CD dated 8 September 2006.

Having carefully reviewed the content of your emails I do not consider that they provide me with any new or substantive evidence to support the allegations you have made against Mr Watkinson. I can only therefore confirm the conclusions that I have drawn in my letter of 24 August 2006, specifically that Mr Watkinson has not, in any way, behaved inappropriately in his role as appointed auditor.

The responsibilities of the Commission and its appointed auditors were pointed out to you in a telephone conversation we had on 17 August and reaffirmed in my email on 24 August. Under The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) 1998 the Audit Commission and its appointed auditors are “prescribed persons” for disclosures relating to “the proper conduct of public business, value for money, fraud and corruption in local government and health service bodies”.

The obligation of the Commission and its appointed auditors to a whistleblower under PIDA is confined to the receipt of disclosures. PIDA neither requires nor empowers the Commission or its appointed auditors to carry out an investigation into the subject matter of any disclosure made or to report the results of any investigation undertaken. However, the Commission and its appointed auditors will consider any information received as a result of a disclosure and determine what action, if any, to take in the context of their existing statutory and professional powers and duties.

Neither the Commission nor its appointed auditors have powers to discipline local authority officers or are able to bring criminal prosecutions against such individuals. Disciplinary action can only be taken by management and/or any relevant professional bodies.

In your email of 26 August 2006 you have asked that I send you a copy of the “city council’s report into these allegations”. Neither I, nor the Commission, hold such information, nor am I in a position to confirm whether a “report”, as such, exists. I confirm again that the allegations into impropriety at Liverpool City Council have been the subject of internal investigation and review by the City Council. Mr Watkinson, the District Auditor, will take into account the allegations that have been made, and the Council’s review of these allegations, in his ongoing audit of the City Council. To the extent that an appointed auditor obtains information in the course of his audit, this will be subject to section 49 of The Audit Commission Act 1998. Section 49 prevents disclosure unless one of the specific statutory exceptions are satisfied; this will be a matter for Mr Watkinson to determine. As the audit is ongoing Mr Watkinson will continue to consider any information that you send and take this into account during the course of his audit.

In terms of continuing to investigate the complaint you have raised, there must be clear evidence that this would serve a useful purpose, having particular regard to the cost to public funds. In particular, a complaint will not be examined where:

· it repeats in substance a complaint previously dealt with under the complaints procedure;

· it provides no new evidence; and

· it is believed that no benefit will be obtained from continuing to examine the complaint.

I consider that your concerns have now been thoroughly investigated by the Commission and a detailed response sent to you. Your emails have not provided me with any evidence to support your allegations. Unless you are able to properly verify your allegations I will have no option but to consider this matter closed. I am happy to receive any information that you have regarding Liverpool City Council which I will forward to Mr Watkinson.

Yours sincerely

Pauline Painter

Complaints Unit Manager

Friday, September 08, 2006

Letter to the Audit Commission regarding the liverpool evil cabal



Dear Ms Painter,

Please find enclosed a CD of the liverpool-evil-cabal blog which contains many of the substantive allegations which I wish you to investigate independently and properly.

I understand from your website that “suspicious activity” can be reported to you under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

For the avoidance of any doubt, the suspicious activity which I wish you to fully investigate, includes:

  • The chief executive of Liverpool Direct Limited, Dr David McElhinney and members of his family’s all-expenses-paid trip to Bahrain

  • The alleged use of council resources by Paul King in his role as CEO of the Amateur Boxing Association

  • Allegations that the city council footed the bill for sending an England ABA team to Puerto Rico

  • Sir David Henshaw using confidential emails to blackmail the city council into a £250,000 retirement deal

  • Henshaw using confidential emails to mount an attempted coup d’etat to try and get rid of the then elected Leader of the Council

  • Henshaw using confidential emails to threaten Mike Storey’s job as a headteacher

  • Henshaw being allowed to earn extra income during his six months notice period

  • The pay-off for Robyn Archer

  • A number of issues surrounding The 08 Place – the procurement of its only tenant, CMP Entertainment; the project’s £500,000 cost overrun; Dr McElhinney’s misleading account to the Select Committee that contractors were off site; which officers gave authority for work continuing without proper council authorisation; repeated breaches of Standing Orders, council rules and financial regulations by McElhinney; Louise Gray continuing to pay invoices without authority and acting against the advice of the council’s legal team.

  • The free 10-year car parking pass, worth £16,500 given to Chas Cole, boss of CMP by McElhinney, the Project Director

  • The eight-month rent free period, worth £28,933 given to Mr Cole by McElhinney.

  • The relationship and social contact between a private contractor, Mr Cole and McElhinney, revealed in documents already presented to the chief executive of the council, Mr Colin Hilton.

  • The relationship and social contact between Mr Cole and Mr Halsall, revealed in documents already presented to Mr Hilton.

  • Sir David Henshaw’s response to Councillor Bradley’s questions last year regarding The 08 Place. Why, and how, was a draft reply from 20/20 changed by Sir David to delete any reference to free car parking or the free rental period for Mr Cole/CMP? This looks suspiciously like an attempt to mislead councillors and withhold relevant information as part of a cover up.

  • The failure of the council to put the Summer Pops out to competitive tender for six years, contrary to all council rules and procedures (please see “We won’t get fooled again”…Mr Halsall blog for specific questions)

  • The failure of the council to issue an OJEC notice for the Summer Pops

  • The relationship between Mr Halsall and members of his family and Mr Cole

  • The council’s failure to properly consider Cream’s alternative bid to stage the Summer Pops

  • The new chief executive, Mr Hilton misleading councillors on the Leisure and Tourism Select Committee about the date and timing of the Cream proposal and its receipt by the council

  • The cost of computer equipment purchased by Liverpool city council from Liverpool Direct, and the council’s evidence that this arrangement represented best value for council taxpayers

  • The shareholdings in BT of senior council officers who were involved in the transfer of council services to the city council/BT joint venture, Liverpool Direct Limited

  • The role and propriety of the interim chief executive of Capital of Culture, Jason Harborrow acting as a lobbyist for a private contractor tendering to stage the Summer Pops in 2007/8 contrary to council Standing Orders.

  • The hosting of the ABA website by the city council (see specific questions in “What’s my name?…” blog)

  • The use of council property and resources for other external work by an outside contractor, enterprise-liverpool

  • The appointment by Henshaw and McElhinney of Senn Delaney to a £1million-plus training programme ‘The Liverpool Way’, without the work being subject to tender or OJEC notice.

  • The appointment of Sarah Parr. This was very suspicious activity.

  • The position of Mr Halsall whose son Liam’s band, ‘Abe’ was booked by Mr Cole to appear at the Summer Pops. This is even more suspicious activity.

I have a number of further allegations of suspicious activity which I will send to you in due course. But I thought this was probably enough for you to be going on with for the time being.

I am making a copy of this letter public in the interests of transparency, open government and the reputation of the Audit Commission and its whistleblower arrangements.

Yours etc,

Tony Parrish