Are a bunch of criminals running the council? Or are they just so incompetent that it looks like criminal behaviour?
After all it was a senior Kent Police Officer who recently stated:
“If you want to be a criminal, go into local government.“
On the 24 August 2022, we ran the blog post
In short, this blog pointed out how three contracts had been awarded after the contracts had ended. One was a year and a day, the second a month and a day, and the third was awarded two months after the contract had ended. Now as you can imagine, we were stunned that contracts were being awarded after the contract ended, as this would break every rule regarding the Council’s contract standing orders. But sure enough, the evidence we placed into the public domain proved beyond all reasonable doubt that’s exactly what they’d done.
But it wasn’t just on three occasions this had happened. We’ve documented it time and again over the seven years the Shepway Vox Team has been publishing data about our Council, and their behaviour.
Since the 24 August; which was just nine days ago, the Council have been busy changing the dates the contracts were awarded, in the vain hope nobody would notice.
The first contract was for the Your District Today magazine; which started on the 07/07/21, ended on the 31/07/21, and was awarded on 01/08/2022. However, nine days after taking the first image, the second image has the same start and end date, yet the awarded date has changed to 02/03/2021. So creating the illusion the contract was awarded one year and five months earlier, than previously.
As this is Folkestone & Hythe District Council, it doesn’t end there. The second contract was also for the Your District Today magazine. This time the first image we posted on the 24 August shows the contract started on the 30/05/2022, ended on the 30/06/2022 and was on awarded 01/08/2022. The second has the same start and end date, yet the awarded date has changed to 21/03/2022; which is a little over four months earlier than previously.
It is evidentially clear the Council have changed the dates when the contracts were awarded. Now let’s be polite and say they made an error regarding the awarded dates.
Timeliness and errors
24. Where errors in data are discovered, or files are changed for other reasons (such as omissions), local authorities should publish revised information making it clear where and how there has been an amendment. Metadata on data.gov.uk should be amended accordingly.
The Council have failed to disclose there has been any amendments. As such they cannot claim it was an error. As it cannot be an error, the evidence would suggest it was done deliberately, and with intent, in the vain hope nobody would notice the dates had been changed, but we did, as did others.
Section 1 Forgery Act 1981 states:
A person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person’s prejudice.”
The meaning of instrument can be found at s8 of the Forgery & Counterfeiting Act 1981 (FCA 81), it includes: information… recorded or stored by mechanical, electronic or other means.
Under s9 of the FCA 81:
A false instrument is one that “purports” to be something which is not – i.e. it must tell a lie about itself (see the decision by the House of Lords in R v More  86 Crim App R 234)
So the changed awarded dates tell a lie about themselves, as they were and had been on the Council’s website for months and years. Then between the 24 August 2022, and 1 Sept 2022, they were knowingly altered. This cannot be claimed as an error, as no error notice was issued by the Council.
From the evidence, it would appear the Council may well have committed a criminal offence in doing what they’ve done, as they’ve tried to “induce somebody to accept it as genuine”, and that somebody is you, and the world at large, as the information had been previously published to the world, then altered to make us all believe a new set of facts are true, rather than the old set of facts, which were true for a substantial amount of time.
It would need CPS, and/or a Criminal Barrister to determine whether or not, such an argument has substantive legs to leap the threshold of criminal culpability.
These are not the only two contracts this has happened on. They have this to many others as well. They cannot be errors as they have not published revised information making it clear where and how there has been an amendment, as is necessary.
Are the Council utterly incompetent, or are they now acting criminally? We’ll leave you to decide that.
PS: According to other residents the change of dates to fit the Council’s narrative is nothing new. It’s just now there is evidence.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful