It is not just Cllrs who believe they have been misled at the very least by Folkestone & Hythe District Council. From published evidence they are also misleading the public as well.
Regarding the Cllrs, it all begins with the minutes of the Audit & Governance (A & G)Committee from the 30th July 2019. The minutes had come before the A & G Committee for sign off on the 18th Sept as a correct record. However, Cllr Prater, ever the pedant, had spotted in the 30th July minutes, item eight which states:
East Kent Housing Audit Plan for 2018-19 included contract management which was a new review added to the plan. Tenants’ health, safety (including fire safety) features regularly in the overall strategic plan, and were currently a work in progress close to being finalised, the results of which will be brought forward to a future meeting of this committee.
Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem) noticed the EKH Tenants’ Health & Safety report had been published on the 18/07/2019 and by shared with officers in our Council.
As such the report was in the hands of the council 11 days before the 30th July A & G Committee meeting, so could not be a “work in progress” as stated, because as everybody knows the eighteenth day comes before the 30th day in eleven out of 12 months of the year.
As such Cllr Prater (pictured centre) laid the claim that he and Cllrs Field (Lab) (pictured left) and Whybrow (Green) (pictured right) had been misled and asked for the minutes to note the fact.
It is clear from the video, the exchange between Cllrs Field, Prater & Whybrow caused some distinct uncomfortableness for the F&HDC officers present – including the Monitoring Officer.
But being misled does NOT end there.
Our public face in an FoI request asked the Council for the following information:
The amounts paid to each Recruitment Agency for 2018/19 and 2019 to present.
The information they provided is set out below:
The Council each month publish their payment to suppliers. This data – the payment to suppliers data – does not correspond with what the Council have sent our public face, whichever way you carve up the information, Gross or Net over the given period.
He also asked for:
The names of the Recruitment Agencies F&HDC use for Temporary Staff
The Council said they used just six agencies in 2018/19: – Hr Go (Kent) Ltd, Morgan Hunt UK Ltd, New Appointments Group, Recruitment Solutions (Folkestone) Ltd, The Oyster Partnership Limited and the Venn Group.
However, the Council’s publicly available payment to suppliers data for 2018/19 says they used thirteen agencies: – Anthony Swaine Architecture Ltd, Carrington West Ltd, Diversity Hr, Farrar Planning Ltd, Hr Go (Kent) Limited, Mast Recruitment, Morgan Hunt Uk Limited, New Appointments Group, Penna Plc, Randstad Cpe Ltd, Recruitment Solutions (Folkestone) Ltd, The Oyster Partnership Limited and the Venn Group
In 2019/20 the Council say they have used the following agencies: Adecco UK Ltd, Hr Go (Kent) Ltd, Morgan Hunt UK Ltd, New Appointments Group, Recruitment Solutions (Folkestone) Ltd, The Oyster Partnership Limited and the Venn Group.
However, the publicly available payments to suppliers data published monthly by the Council makes it clear they have used the above six plus – Anthony Swaine Architecture Ltd, Carrington West Ltd, Farrar Planning Ltd and Whaleback Ltd.
The Council have in the FoI response stated they have 70 permanent part time members of staff and 238 full time members of staff as of the 21/08/2019, a total of 308 employees. However, the Council’s website states they have “around 370 full and part-time employees based at the Civic Centre and across the district.” So why the difference of approx 62 staff?
The Council find themselves in a position where they now have to explain why they are misleading elected Cllrs and members of the public. How often have they done this? And what necessitates such behaviour by Council officers to mislead given the publicly available evidence?
In the meantime we would ask you to treat Council information with a lot of caution as what they publish does not always correspond with reality, or the facts. They have misled Cllrs and the public at the very least, now our Cllrs and you the public must hold them to account.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful