MISCONDUCT IN PUBLIC OFFICE
Responses from Various Agencies
The Constituent engaged the Local Authority’s “rigorous” fraud reporting system which (apparently) consists of one-man-investigates-and-the-case-is-closed. The Local Authority’s Corporate Fraud Manager ‘investigated’ the concern and on 11.11.2020 declared the allegations to be unfounded “Having considered all of the evidence available to me it is my overall conclusion that the Council’s Legal Services have followed due process at each stage of this case and there is no basis upon which to state that fraud has occurred.
I have therefore closed my case.”
“zero tolerance against fraud and corruption” is what the Local Authority say on their website, as thousands of pounds are being used to pay for false instruments. That “injunction” is an example of ‘due process’ is it?
Mazars LLP are the external auditors for the Local Authority that is alleged to be using Public Funds to obtain false instruments. They had this to say (on 23.11.2020):
“[The Local Authority’s] overall conclusion is that ‘the Council’s Legal Services have followed due process at each stage of this case and there is no basis upon which to state that fraud has occurred’.
Given the Council have investigated this matter and reached a conclusion we do not believe any additional work is necessary by us.”
Of course Mazars, who needs auditors?
The constituent persisted and was told: “I confirm that we are satisfied with our audit response and the referral to the Council’s [name of Local Authority Office in the Corporate Fraud Team] was the appropriate course to take. With that in mind I consider the matter closed and you should not expect to receive any further responses from us on this matter.”
For the record, the constituent was not referred anywhere by Mazars LLP. The Constituent had already approached the Local Authority’s Corporate Fraud Team by the time they brought the matter to the attention of Mazars. Mazars LLP consider their “audit responsibilities” to be confined to whether or not financial transactions “are properly recorded and made in accordance with the law, and with overall arrangements for securing value for money.” Allegations that their Audit Client is using Public Funds to purchase false instruments under the cloak of legitimacy (apparently) do not fall within their remit.
If you are wondering who needs auditors like these; well, you’d be surprised. [Ask the internet]
As of 12.02.2021 Mazars’ position remains unchanged, and the final word (29.01.2021) from the Council’s Corporate Complaints Team Investigation Officer is “From my review of your case, I find no evidence of service failure or maladministration. I have reviewed your concerns, service area responses and associated correspondence and I am satisfied that you have received proportionate responses. Where you may not agree with a response, it would not automatically allude to an incorrect judgement or decision being concluded by the Council. Your concerns have been investigated in accordance with agreed internal processes.”
We are talking some serious fraud here, fraud that is very clearly evidenced in that “injunction” of 29.05.2020.
Any update from the Police? The Police… are feeling vexed, worried and annoyed.
Their T/Chief Superintendent on 22.01.2021 had this to say:
“In your complaint case you have been advised on numerous occasions that the correct process is the civil route.”
“I believe that you are using the [Police] complaints system purely to vex, worry and annoy. The correct avenue to address your issues is with the Family Court and there is clear legal direction that that is where your issues are to be addressed.”
In email of 08.02.2021 the Force’s Data Protection Team (by way of explaining the reason behind the delay in responding to a 11.01.2021 Data Subject Access Request) said:
“Due to coronavirus/COVID 19 pandemic and the changing circumstances for all, the Unit must prioritise essential safeguarding work for the health and social care sector, and also for the Family Court. Delays in other areas are likely to occur and may fall outside any statutory or other expected timescales. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, we will of course endeavour to process your request as soon as practicable.”
Listen to that:
“the [Data Protection Team] Unit” has their hands full doing…? “essential safeguarding work for the heath and social care sector”.
They are covered by Gallagher Bassett; the Police.
After being accused of Professional Negligence and Fraud in relation to their handling of this case in April 2020, the Police decided to treat it “as a letter of claim for compensation” and spent 3 months ‘investigating’ the matter before passing the case on to their insurers (Gallagher Bassett). I would have expected the stereotypical Insurance Company to outright reject the Police’s claim to insurance but Gallagher Bassett… are now past 6 months entertaining it. [They wouldn’t describe it that way though, they call it “investigating”.]
Any other players? Well yes. The Legal Aid Agency have been making financial contributions that have aided the Local Authority’s efforts. The Agency have been shown the “injunction” and they see nothing-at-all amiss.
Keep us updated; Will you? Will do.
March 2021 UPDATE:
Gallagher Bassett completed their ‘investigation’ on the 10th of March 2021, nine months after the file was passed on to them. Gallagher Bassett accept their client’s claim to insurance (in that they accepted that the Police were acting in their lawful duty when they handled the Constituent’s complaint).
The good thing about this is that when the long arm of the law finally catches up with this criminal activity, it’s already settled that Gallagher Bassett (not the taxpayer), will be footing the bill.