Two years worth of the possible eight years worth, of the Council’s procurement card data (CPCD), has been published with “errors”. The data is missing March, in Q4, 2021/22. It’s clear the CPCD has been manipulated and there appears to be data missing; which most certainly should be included. Also when one compares the data from the CPCD to the Council’s payment to suppliers data, it’s evident data from the CPCD has not been included in the payment to supplier data. The reasons for this are unknown.
What the CPCD shows is both sad and illuminating. We have made available a downloadable spreadsheet of all the data – without duplicates – at the end of this blog post.
Starting with sad part, it’s clear from the data there were people who passed away, and the council paid for the death certificates. This shows either the person who died, did not have a financial estate to pay for their death certificate, or the family in which the death occurred, did not have the financial resources to pay for the death certificate. Either way, this is very sad. Whoever these persons were, we hope they rest in peace.
Then there is the issue of homelessness, which the CPCD paid £1,178 for. The homeless have been housed in Travel Lodge and Premier Inn, some of these stays happened during Covid Lockdown in 2020, but most happened in 2021, and 2022. Being homeless is not a good state of affairs for anyone. It’s good the Council found these individuals a place to stay, and we congratulate the team which enabled these persons to be housed.
Also the data reveals the council purchased £2,711 of Ring door bells. It would make sense these were purchased for women, and possibly their children, who were housed due to fleeing domestic abuse; which as we know, rose during lockdown. It’s good the council went to this length to protect women fleeing domestic abuse. On this point, we congratulate them.
Now moving onto the illuminating stuff.
Back in Jan 2022, we announced that Simon Case, Cabinet Secretary at No 10 made a visit to Otterpool Park, on the 24 Nov 2021. We now know that the Cabinet Secretary arrived in Folkestone on the 23 Nov 2021, and stayed at the Burlington Hotel, at a cost of £85. But we are still none the wiser for the purpose of his visit, as a response from an FoI, from the Cabinet Office cited national security reasons for not giving us the reasons, or purpose of his visit.
On Monday 22 Feb, a person from the Estates & Operations strolled into ASDA, and decided it was necessary to purchase £49.50 worth of black ties, for Operation London Bridge. For those of you who are not aware, Operation London Bridge is the plan for what will happen in the United Kingdom on and immediately after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. It includes planning for the announcement of her death, the period of official mourning, and the details of her state funeral.
Did that person know something we don’t? Anyway it’s always good to be prepared.
Then there’s the Segway experience for nine people at Leeds Castle. This cost £531, and was paid for on Friday 14 May 2021. It was the Castle Twighlight Tour; which according to the company who provide the experience, states:
“Experience Leeds castle up close and personal on this 90 minute evening tour.
Take a Segway all the way to the castle gate and follow the magnificent water’s edge around the castle lake, surround yourself with beautiful views of the castle from all angles. After some sunset pictures with the castle as your backdrop we continue the tour up into the golf course and down through the castle maze.
Another fantastic photo opportunity will await you as we enter lady baillie’s gardens and the castle courtyard. For the final part of our tour we will ride all the way through the woodland walk gardens giving you one final chance to catch the sunset setting on the loveliest castle in the world.”
Then there’s the personality testing of employees. The council have a penchant for using the Myers Briggs personality test, deemed ‘astrology for businesspeople’. This has come at a cost of £1,164 and has paid for approximately 35 tests.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is based on psychiatrist Carl Jung’s theories of personality, the assessment maintains that we are all born with a preference for extroversion or introversion, intuition or sensing, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving.
The different permutations amount to 16 types of personality, each with innate strengths and “blind spots”. By understanding which one we are, so the theory goes, we might apply ourselves more effectively in our personal and professional lives.
That aside, the it’s clear two senior persons who had possession of the council procurement card from the Estates & Operations team, headed up by Andy Blaszkowicz, had two meals in The Baron of Beef pub, at 19 Bridge St, Cambridge, on Monday 28 Sept 2020, at a cost of £30. What these two individuals were doing in Cambridge during lockdown is not clear.
Then there is the near £300 spent on food and refreshment by the Estates and Operations team, including £157 spent on 25 Bacon Rolls and 25 Sausage Baguettes, from Pukka Snax on Park Farm, on Sat 29 Jan 2022.
There is £100 spent at the Bouverie Tap, Bouverie Rd West, Folkestone, on Friday 27 Aug 2021. This was recognition payment, what they were being recognized for is not known. Then there’s a £100 spent at Sotirio’s restaurant, Bouverie Road West on Friday 4 June 2021. And a £1,050 worth of vouchers purchased from Love2Shop, in recognition of staff going above and beyond.
What is most odd is somebody paid for a Housing Course, which was allegedly provided by Argos, yes Argos, on Tuesday 23 June 2020, when we were still in lockdown. Really!
It’s clear when looking at the data it has been manipulated, as the example above demonstrates, as Argos do NOT provide Housing courses, nor would such a course have taken place during lockdown in June 2020.
Senior sources within the council claim that data which has not been released, is both embarrassing and even more revealing than that in the full downloadable spreadsheet below.
Finally, there is more which can be found in the spreadsheet below. We have highlighted lines in red, as items of interest to us. But you might spot other items of interest to you. If you do, please do let us know what they might be at our usual address – shepwayvox [at] riseup [dot] com.
The Shepway Vox Team
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