Out of control and above the law – Local Government in 2011

For people to become angry enough and energised enough to campaign or take a stand against something usually takes a realisation that their money is being taken from them wrongly, or that an injustice is being committed against them and others.

So one wonders what might happen when more people realise money is being taken from them wrongly, and they are being treated unjustly because the law is not protecting them from unlawful behaviour, and in both cases the perpetrator is the same entity – Local Government.

Recently this blog argued that to take back power we need to change focus.  In that post we explained that local politics is the least scrutinised area of public life, but it is also the most vulnerable to people power. We also covered the root of the problem:

Control should and supposedly does reside with elected local Councillors.  However it is the Council Officers who pull the strings.  They write the reports, they formulate the recommendations and all too often they seek to neuter any elected members who challenge them.  All too often the Council Officers help the Councillors to feather their nests, thus keeping them compliant and unwilling to rock the boat.

And it is this that needs to be the focus of our attention – the restoration of democratic control, transparency and accountability to stop the Officer tail wagging the Councillor dog.  It can be done, for it is far easier to create a non-party political local campaign, build up support in a ward or wards, and then run independent candidates who can win local elections than it is to get a non aligned candidate into Parliament.  Candidates who will not play the game, and who when elected will wrest control back from the bureaucrats and put it back in the hands of those who are directly accountable to the electorate, are a nightmare scenario for the powers that be.

In response some people argued that the idea is flawed because Councils are small fry due to the percentage of income they raise themselves.  However it is all relative.  Too much of what Councils do raise without mandate or consent is wholly unjustified.  Tackling that behaviour and getting visible results can help spawn a genuine grassroots movement and establish a powerbase that sees people power take root and grow and spread.  And the scope for action is huge.

All that is needed is for awareness to be raised of a genuine and unacceptable state of affairs and good people might finally stand up against the racketeering going on in our Town Halls.  And the evidence of that unacceptable state of affairs is now rising to the surface to be shared and cited across the country.

As readers of EU Referendum will have seen in recent weeks, a challenge to the unlawful behaviour of Bailiffs operating to enforce a debt to a local authority – and enforce illegal charges even after the debt has been paid – has led to Richard North lifting the hood to see what else is going on beneath the surface.  What he has already found is the evidence that has been completely hidden away from most people, or only partially uncovered by some.  And there is yet more to be uncovered.

Now Christopher Booker is on the case, carrying the message to his huge audience via his column in the Telegraph.  And this has been spurred by Richard North showing how Councils that are supposed to exist to provide public services to local communities have transformed themselves into businesses that seek to extract ever more money from us in the form of “sales, fees, charges” and “other income”.

This is not about serving the interests of residents in our cities and boroughs.  This is about maximising the amount of money taken from them to be spent on lavish pension schemes, salaries that outstrip comparable responsibility in the private sector, the creation of non-jobs such as a ‘Street Football Coordinator’, ‘Cheerleading Development Officer’ and ‘Bouncy Castle Attendant’; and schemes that derive yet more revenue – such as the formation of businesses to provide services to Councils instead of getting best value by having private sector firms competing with each other to deliver the best deal.

Then there is the plain and simple theft of residents’ money carried out by local authorities because there is insufficient oversight by feckless and incompetent Councillors who have their noses buried in the trough:

This is the Summonses and Liability Orders scam, where under the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, councils are only permitted to impose “costs reasonably incurred” for the issuing of these orders, which must also under the law be charged for separately.

Booker picks up on one council admitting that the cost of issuing a Reminder Notice, which precedes them, can be as little as £1.22. Yet, as we know, Bradford council charges £80 for issuing the two further documents, which, using the same computerised process, involve no more work than sending out the Reminder.

Many other councils, quite illegally, impose a combined charge of up to £100 for issuing both documents – even though, if the debtor pays in full on receiving the Summons, the Liability Order is not necessary.

Achieving political control over the spending of local authorities is not only possible, it is necessary.  Look at the figures below (taken from the Dept of Communities and Local Government’s Local Government Financial Statistics England 2011) and you realise the extent of the control that should be in the hands of ordinary people, but is in fact in the hands of people who view us as an unwitting source of income that exists to fund their plans and wishes, not members of the public to be respected and served:

People often say it is a scandal that Council Tax continues to rise when we get ever less for our money.  But this table lays bare the reality that Council Tax is only little more than 50% of what local authorities take from our hard pressed pockets and the pockets of small local businesses.

When the 30-40% of people who voted in local elections cast their ballot, did their Council candidate ever try to account for this extortion or pledge to tackle it? Did they for one moment promise to do anything about reducing the sum we taxpayers are forced to pay under threat of fine, theft by bailiff, bankruptcy or imprisonment? If not, why on earth vote for them to feather their own nest and facilitate this multi-billion pound scam?  This has been allowed to happen in Town Halls up and down the country under the party political system.  All of them share the blame and it is time to radically change things.

This sets the scene.

We will shortly build on this to outline how we can start to campaign to raise awareness and then how we can start to challenge it and bring about real change through people power.

18 Responses to “Out of control and above the law – Local Government in 2011”

  1. 1 Bill 09/10/2011 at 3:19 pm

    The local County Council illustrates the scale of the problem. Here are Cumbria County Councils unelected ‘managers’.

    # Chief executive. Jill Stannard – £170,000
    # Corporate Director. Richard Parry Adult and Cultural Services – £125,000
    # Corporate Director. Jim Savage Organisational Development – £117,817
    # Corporate Director. Julia Morrison Children’s Services – £125,000
    # Corporate Director. Marie Fallon Environment – £125,000
    # Corporate Director. Diane Wood Resources – £125,000
    # Corporate Director. Dominic Harrison (Common Purpose) Safer and Stronger Communities- £115,000

    For comparison purpose the Prime Ministers position attracts a salary of £132,923

    Local government is corrupt and unaffordable.

  2. 2 Nick 09/10/2011 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve asked (on 15th October) my local council for details of the amounts collected via summonses and liability orders. As yet, there’s been no response. The council, Wychavon, is one of the slightly less barmy ones, with no obvious Trots or Marxists on board. There’s been a bit of a barney locally about the council’s senior officers’ rates of pay. Councillors actually had the cojones to vote down a proposed increase in the “Managing Director’s” salary and goodies package. The pay of front line and admin staff has been frozen.

  3. 3 thespecialone 09/10/2011 at 7:57 pm

    I have sent this to Richard North as well. This was sent to me by my wife whose company the 64 yr old employee works for:

    A community protection officer from the local borough council saw a company van driven by a man smoking a cigarette at 17:25 in the evening, i.e. when the guy was on his way home from work. He was alone, i.e. was not “poisoning” any other person in the vehicle.

    The council official phoned the company to inform them of this, giving Reg. No. of vehicle and time, and requested personal details of the person concerned, in order to be able to report him for committing an offence punishable with a fine. The company were astounded that the council are wasting taxpayer’s money on an employee standing around watching for staff smoking in company vehicles, and at that time, refused to furnish those details. However, after receiving an official written request from the local council for the details, they were obliged to comply (liable to fine of £200 if not).
    Obviously the company staff member concerned was made aware of the situation and has been informed he could challenge the validity of this person’s word, unless they can provide photographic proof or a witness to confirm the ‘offence’. If proven ‘guilty’ he will be liable to pay a fine of £30 (within 15 days).

    I have to say that I abhore smoking and have never smoked. But I am totally against this and the banning of smoking in pubs. As an adult, I go into a pub voluntarily. In the days before the ban, I knew I would stink of the bloody things. However, that was my choice. And that is the point as well. Not some authoritarian ban on everything.

  4. 4 don wreford 10/10/2011 at 4:36 am

    Councils are a one way valve they directed by most likely Tavistock Institute, Finchley, London, and Rothschilds and Rockefeller and other deviants directing the policy of authority to extract as much money out of the community as can get away with it, some call it extortion, the model and modus-operandi, is to enforce the individual to submit to Council Authority and be to be responsible for liabilities and subject to prosecution, the council employees whom form this Elite and trained in a mindset that disguises the part and role that obscures the criminal element of intent, the inflated incomes compensates and enables them to do the dirty work, furthermore the Council has no responsibility to the individual, covered by a legal team paid by the taxpayer, this system is endemic applied World wide, the tax system is created in its structure by the ruling Elite to increase National Debt of every citizen and the borrowing of finance in terms of bonds and such like is to be paid by future generations who in the main will eventually slowly die of malnutrition and general health neglect, the money that is no longer able to repay these debts will be such a liability and burden that the investors will no longer put money in to the Country concerned, at that point say as in Britain the land to produce a basic diet may feed some 20 million people, as a result of war weapons Britain exports will eventually decline as death becomes endemic throughout the World as a result of depletion of resources and widespread corruption and the need to kill people with weapons will become unnecessary as the killing of billions will become a natural phenomenon although created by Man, thereby entails the avoidance of any particular individual of guilt and blame, as a natural historical process and outcome of previous leaders whom no longer living to bear the consequence of his or her hypocrisy, deception, contributing and creating the outcome they now avoid and face whilst alive. The human beings that exploited the general masses who devised the National debt and became rich from these corrupt practices will emerge as families to survive the Global devastation, the proviso to this outcome is the possibility of the masses becoming incensed that the rich faced a fate that is incumbent on a peculiarity that was outside the ability of the Elite to recognize, also exasperated as police or military seeing and comprehending that although there prime job is to contain the masses to ensue they stay peaceful as death descends upon the masses, having the realization as with the tomb builders of antiquity they also having done the dirty work are now the tools that will become dispatched to a suitable depositary.

  5. 5 Brian H 10/10/2011 at 7:19 am

    Don W;
    just a gentle hint — that huge screed, composed of just 2 sentences, is unreadable. Grasp the nettle, and complete a thought with a period, about 10x as frequently.
    Until then, fuggedaboutit. You’re “scroll-by”.

  6. 7 I am replete 10/10/2011 at 8:07 pm

    I second you, BH, and offer Don W some additional advice.
    Be brief.

  7. 8 don wreford 12/10/2011 at 5:37 am

    To I am replete, my suggestion to you if so repleted why bother? are you an English teacher?
    To Brian H, have you read James Joyce? “Ulysses” he is my great uncle, if so you may find this book hard going and had difficulty in keeping up, you have a propensity for the rules and regulations, are you a chartered accountant? or a cement worker who lays screeds, my suggestion to you is to read slogans of approximately no more than six syllables as this may tax your ability to get through the scroll, further reading on the subject may be of interest to you is the the Politics of Tavistock and World wide domination and conspiracy.
    I am referring to Tavistock, Finchley, London. and Mk Ultra, if you are aware of this Institute and how it works, you may of been part of the infiltration of this nefarious organization, if so this would be the key to your suffering of your self grandiouse delusion.
    My name is don wreford, having attempted to change this name has been formidable and as yet am the victim of becoming Don W.

  8. 9 Brian H 12/10/2011 at 7:09 am

    Yes, I’ve read them. But not for information about science or world affairs. I hope you are not going to indulge in polylinguistic puns and metaphors like JJ?

    Remember, being read is a privilege, which you must lure people into offering you, not a right. Stream-of-consciousness run-on sentences don’t make the cut.

  9. 10 don wreford 13/10/2011 at 3:21 am

    Being read is a privilege for those that read me, offer something that we can understand rather than being the orator of phonological utterances from the bureaucratic cobwebs of academic censorship and obedience of your digested rule book you have internalized, we are not interested in your display of intellectual feathers, what may be difficult for you to understand is, I have no concern on your moralistic polywolly judgement, I am my own rules and break them as I am, and when I choose, the time is for you to utter something that is authentic and has universal understanding, that all can comprehend, speak or remain silent. We keep our ear to the ground and await with abated breath for the Oracle to offer a gift to those of humble spirit, nevertheless whilst we wait, live in a soup of anxiety and apprehension on B.Hs pearls of guidance and in the mean time resort ARDS support centre.

  10. 11 Brian H 13/10/2011 at 6:35 am

    I suspect a pharmaceutical problem.

  11. 12 don wreford 13/10/2011 at 7:43 am

    When faced with death you can only humor them, let the dead bury the dead.

  12. 13 Rob 28/11/2011 at 2:55 pm

    Sorry, Don W, but you do come over as an obnoxiously pompous oaf, even if you are the great-nephew of “Ulysses” (who I thought was fictional – oh, well, you live and learn…). AND you do indulge in overly-long, overly-complex sentences – KISS (keep it simple, stupid!).

    To get back on-thread: sadly, “the people” can be too thoroughly entrenched in party politics to think – my own town experienced exposition of blatant corruption a few years ago. Some of the culprits ended up in jail – but put themselves up for election when their term was up (something I did not think was allowed). Needless to say, they were re-elected. There are many parts of the country where all that is needed is a monkey to wear the correct-coloured rosette to win the election.

  13. 14 don wreford 02/12/2011 at 7:00 am

    No doubt AM is familiar with Phil Scot whom has a c/v that many may envy, Scott having taken up the post of director in The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, 2004-7, the Tavistock having been established early 1920s, as a result of WW 1, and I believe gaining momentum after the 2ndWW, in particular interest shown with soldiers suffering trauma from shell shock and the like, RD Laing, becoming a figurehead of this Institute in Finchley, London, in the late 50s, notably the Institute gained a reputation and association with drugs as experimental states of mind become of interest to Government Bodies and others, with this direction terminating approximately at the latter part of the 1960s, of note the Institute has virtually investigated a wide area of human activity, Phil Scot describes himself as a contributor of Society, and has a commitment to performance and strategy in partnership with Local and Central Government, in 2007, presented at conference a paper on Politics and Fear.
    The Guardian, 4th December, 2009, Allison Gill, -RBS: Biting the hand that feeds them, and the Tavistock Institute of Human Affairs is worth perusing , with mention to the failure of acceptable boundaries that lead to deviant behavior.
    On Banking, Noel Hodson of Oxford, Bankers, bonuses, siphoned to tax havens.
    The Daily Bell, Quantum Pranz, or see quantumpranz, August,31, 2011, posts tagged, Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, on fear based promotions.
    To summarize, the present discontent with local government and the association with the banana republic is formidable, what part is Tavistock and affiliated Associations such as the Rand Organization, having manipulated Councils to become the connecting strands of a covert operation.

  14. 15 Mike 02/03/2012 at 4:34 am

    Local councillors will remain unrepresentative as long as the local elections are fought on the National manifesto of National Political Parties. Other points that need to be addressed are:
    * The link between Local and National Politics needs to be severed!
    * National Political Parties should not be allowed to canvass for local elections.
    * The electorate should be strongly encouraged to vote solely on local issues.
    * The media should be prevented from promoting National parties and National Policies during the run-up to local elections.


  1. 1 Out of control and above the law – Local Government in 2011 … « Politics And Funds Trackback on 09/10/2011 at 4:26 pm
  2. 2 Out of control and above the law – Local Government in 2011 … « Harrington Fundraising Trackback on 09/10/2011 at 6:50 pm
  3. 3 Democracy and politics, Stoke-on-Trent style « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 06/10/2012 at 8:53 am
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