The Halliday Report – Money for the few not the many…

Greed

The things we do for you people – like reading a turgid INTERNAL AUDIT REVIEW INTO PAYMENTS MADE TO FORGE HOUSE ASSOCIATES LTD  of a Sunday afternoon. Our first observation is that Forge House Associates Ltd is an exercise in nominative determinism that wouldn’t be out of place in a Charles Dickens novel.

Our second observation is that it’s the usual Wirral Council evasions and obfuscations  where you get the general impression that SOMETHING’S NOT QUITE RIGHT. But then what do you expect from a report written by Chief Internal Auditor Mark ‘Knobhead’ Niblock? A parallel universe where everything is done correctly and yet still manages to be a monumental cock up.

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Due to the strangulated language it’s left to the reader to join the dots and reach the conclusion that NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING . Nevertheless it is still evident that what’s going on here is a spectacular systemic failure – particularly a failure of scrutiny and a failure of due diligence.

One recommendation that had the steam coming out of our ears was this :

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We can only presume Wirral managers will be told that to ensure ‘efficiency’ and ‘effectiveness’ that they :  i) Try Google ii) Try Google

However what had us banging our head against the wall in sheer frustration was contained in ‘Appendix 2 – Timeline of events relating to Forge House Associates LTD to the referral to Internal Audit on 16 January 2019′

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Here we learn : “The Senior Accountant  confirmed that the spend relates to the Growth Company, The Transformation Team is currently responsible for getting it up and running and when it becomes an actual functioning entity the responsibility for spend will be transferred to economic and Housing growth.   Although Economic and Housing Growth are accountable for the spend, they do not have control or any real knowledge  of what is being processed and paid against the code.The Senior Accountant confirmed that in preparation for the budget monitoring meeting, the transactions report was examined relating to the Economic and Housing Growth budget, for any errors/miscodes etc…

One large spend related to DWF LLP (Legal Services) who the Senior Accountant knew of. However, the other large spend was for Forge House Associates Limited and the Senior Accountant did not know who this company was and what services they actually provide. Therefore, the Senior Accountant tried to obtain this information from the company website, using google as the search engine. The Senior Accountant could not find a website for the company.

During the meeting the Senior Accountant, Assistant Director – Regeneration & Inward Investment, Lead Commissioner – Place and Investment and the Economic Development Lead discussed the fact that they do not know who the company is and what they do and they agreed to look into the matter further.

You do the math – all those highly paid public servants acting like incompetent tin pot property tycoons…at our expense. But then this is what happens when it’s NOT YOUR MONEY that’s being frittered away. No wonder Halliday found the perfect safe haven in Wirral after facing no sanctions after he fled City of York Council.

What’s more, are we the only ones asking what exactly did the people of Wirral get for the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF POUNDS that was lavished on Halliday during his increasingly questionable time at Wirral Council?