Wednesday, 19 December 2007



According to the Daily Post Jason is in the process of getting a pay off, at the expense of Liverpool tax payers.
Bradley and Storeyteller are under investigation yet again!

See below for Daily Post report

Council duo face investigation as culture chief departs.

standards board

EMBATTLED Liverpool Council leader Warren Bradley is to be investigated by the Standards Board over allegations he asked officers if they had information he could use about Culture Company boss Jason Harborow.

The news comes just hours after the Liverpool Daily Post revealed that Mr Harborow, who has had a difficult relationship with council leader Cllr Bradley, was set to leave the culture company with a £200,000 pay off.

The Standards Board investigation was prompted after the Daily Post revealed that Cllr Bradley held a secret meeting with Leee Forde, the former city events manager who was one of the main people to be blamed for the Mathew Street fiasco.

Previous council leader Mike Storey, who was present at the meeting, will also be investigated. The Standards Bord will be looking to see if they broke the councillor code of conduct and if their actions brought their office into disrepute.

It comes as the departure of Culture Company chief executive Mr Harborow is expected to be ratified today – just 12 days before the start of Capital of Culture year. Council chief executive Colin Hilton will ask an Appointments Panel for permission to broker a deal with Mr Harborow’s lawyers which is likely to cost tax-payers a pay-off of around £200,000.

It is understood Mr Harborow’s legal team have told the council his position was made “untenable” by Cllrs Bradley and Storey.

Cllr Bradley has publicly criticised Mr Harborow in the fall-out from the cancellation of this year’s Mathew Street Festival.

The pair both sit on the panel, but are likely to be barred from the meeting when the deal with Mr Harborow is raised.

It is believed the council’s external solicitor will tell the meeting why it would be in their best interests to reach a deal.

Cllrs Storey and Bradley face being disqualified from office for up to five years if the Standards Board finds they have broken the councillors’ Code of Conduct and refers the matter for adjudication. Last night they declined to comment.

An investigation would be Cllr Storey’s second in the space of three years. A previous case centred on allegations he encouraged former council spin doctor Matt Finnegan “to undermine” then chief executive Sir David Henshaw.

In November, 2005, he was found guilty of bringing his office into disrepute, losing the leadership of the council as a result.

Mr Harborow earns £150,000 for his role at the Culture Company and as executive director of Culture, Media, and Sport at the city council.

It is thought the deal is worth around £200,000, and would see Mr Harborow technically stay in employment for a few more weeks.

Acting chief executive Kris Donaldson, operations director Bernice Law and chairman of the Culture Company board Bryan Gray are likely to assume Mr Harborow’s responsibilities.

Last night, a source said: “The council have taken legal advice and been advised they should make a settlement with Jason Harborow.

“There is a meeting tomorrow and the chief executive will ask for per-mission to enter into negotiations with Jason Harborow’s legal team.”

Mr Harborow returned to work at Millennium House on December 4, after eight weeks off sick, but has not been back since, although he has still been carrying out work.

The problems between him and senior councillors became known after the high-profile cancellation of the Mathew Street Festival.

In August, Cllr Bradley demanded, in an email to Mr Hilton, that Mr Harborow be relieved of his duties.

In November, after the release of the Mathew Street report, which cleared Mr Harborow, Cllr Bradley criticised the culture leader in an interview with the Daily Post.

When asked if Mr Harborow should resign, he said: “There has got to be some responsibility should-ered by senior management.” He also said problems with Mathew Street had arisen because of a lack of communication. Asked if he was referring to Mr Harborow, he said: “Absolutely. If there was a breakdown in communication, the chief executive of the Culture Company should have been aware.”

Last week, Cllr Bradley requested the email requesting Mr Harborow be relieved of his duties be sent out to the council’s 90 elected members.

Last night, Labour leader Cllr Joe Anderson said: “I expect the Standards Board to look seriously at my complaint. I believe the only conclusion they can come to is that this sorry saga needs to be investigated. Not just for Liverpool’s reputation, but because it appears it could have financial implications for the city.”

A city council spokesman: “We do not discuss publicly any private and confidential matters concerning individual employees.”

JASON HARBOROW joined the Liverpool Culture Company in February 2004 in the role of tourism director.

The 37-year-old was brought in after his experience as commercial general manager for the Manchester Commonwealth Games.

He quickly rose to become one of the top figures at Liverpool city council.

Last year he was appointed as the Culture Company’s chief executive.

He secured some major events for the Capital of Culture celebrations including the MTV awards and the Liverpool Nativity. But his style did not please all in the city, and many movers and shakers have privately questioned the way he operated.

Originally from Chorley Mr Harborow cut his teeth in local government at Chorley Council and Wigan Council.


No comments:




Council leader Warren Bradley said that some individual councillors’ behaviour was “appalling” and not fitting of a democratic society.




Roger: This is not a good report for us is it Warren?
Fireman:Well Roger we’ve got to put it into perspective really haven’t we and remember where Liverpool was and that’s not thinking back 10 years. Liverpool has come an awful long way. The people of Liverpool were asking for lower Council Tax and the Liberal Democrats have delivered that and they also wanted better services and you look at the services that are now delivered by Liverpool City Council. If we look at the most vulnerable either elderly or the Children’s Services the social care we are now delivering at a level that Liverpool has never delivered before. We also look at the bread and butter your schools, your sports centres, your libraries, One Stop Shops in communities, our parks, we’ve got 13 green flag parks. It’s like a new home to me when you get an old dilapidated derelict building you’ve got to bring it up to a standard and I think Liverpool City Council under the Liberal Democrats have certainly done that and I am certain if we did a survey of people in the City do you want Liverpool City Council to sit on £20m worth of reserves or do you want the City Council delivering front line services that affect the most vulnerable and people’s lives in the City. I think that they would vote with their feet and say that we support the policies of Liverpool City Council. We’ve got to look at the financial regulations put in by Government and if you want my opinion about this Roger it is purely political.
Roger: Well come on, you know the Audit Commission is not a political body
Fireman: Well with respect Roger and I would beg to differ on that
Roger: Well how can it be a political, it’s an independent organisation?
Fireman: We can say everything is independent to a certain extent but you know you look at what we’ve got at the moment in Liverpool and we’re delivering top quality services.
Roger: But the problem with this is that you’ve got an overall score rating of 2 which was adequate performance into 05, overall score in 06 was 2 which is adequate performance.
This year it is down to 1 below minimum requirements inadequate performance.
Fireman: Based around financial regulations…
Roger: Yes I’m talking about the financial…..
Fireman: Laid down by government. I mean that’s what you’ve got to remember. Don’t try and muddy the waters and say oh this is about Liverpool City Council and their overall performance. It’s not. You look at the issue that we’ve done about achievements. Liverpool scoring 3-4 on achievement at the moment through the Audit Commission.
Roger: I didn’t know that.
(EDs: Pitiful, just pitiful.)
Fireman: And we do seem to always go to the negatives when we’re looking for something like this.
Roger: The District Auditor was pretty negative about you wasn’t he and…
Fireman: No, I have got to say Roger I would love to have £50m in reserves. I would also love not to have to put additions of £7m into adult social care and £2-3m into children’s social care. The facts are we have got to do that because of the pressures that are on Liverpool at the moment.
Roger: So are other Councils….
Fireman: I’m not willing as Leader of this Council to take away care to the most vulnerable to allow it to sit in reserve. I am not willing to do that and I will go to the stake on that the people of the City. Liverpool now is only one of a handful of Councils up and down the country that is providing moderate care to the most vulnerable people in the City. Now to give people an idea of what moderate care is that is home care. These people who’ve got no family to support them and require a visit in the morning or a visit in the evening to make sure they’re ok to help them to take the pills, to make sure that they’ve got the food. Most Councils up and down this country have removed that care. Liverpool City Council is still allowing our most vulnerable people our sort of care. Now is that wrong, is that wrong?
Roger: Now no one would argue that’s wrong but everyone. But many people are affected by housing. Housing is really poor isn’t it. I mean you are so poor you’ve had to hand it over to a different group to run it.
Fireman: Well with respect Roger, with respect, you’ve got to know what the Housing Corporation have done and in partnership with the Government again it’s easy to say it’s the Council, in partnership with the Government we’ve tackled head on through the Pathfinder areas of the inner core of the City some of the housing inefficiencies of the City. That hasn’t happened over the last five years that’s happened over 30 or 40 years. The problems in Norris Green in housing were prevalent 30 or 40 years ago and weren’t tackled. As an Authority we’ve challenged what wasn’t tackled and we’ve challenged it head on and I opened a couple of weeks ago with Flo Clucas and Marilyn Fielding with Cobalt Housing the first phase of Norris Green. We’ve transformed that area and its got houses for sale and social housing in Norris Green that people are seeking to live in now. We’ve got in a core Edge Hill, Kensington, Kirkdale the same issues that have been there for 30 or 40 years that we’re tackling now hand in hand with the Government. I’m not taking the credit for it and the Government isn’t. We’ve got a schools’ programme that is second to none. Liverpool’s young people are now achieving at the national average. I want it higher than national average to give new opportunity but again I’ll say I’m not going to suit accountants’ financial regulations in London and leave £millions sitting in reserve while we have still got the challenges Liverpool has got and I think people you know.
Roger: Do you think it was a mistake to keep Council Tax down or freeze it over the past few years?
Fireman: Well isn’t it ironic Roger how last week John Healey said how Liverpool is charging £101 a head...
Roger: Because its inefficiencies….
Fireman: Well we have taken £150m worth of inefficiencies out of our budget over the last 10 years. We’ve kept Council tax down which is exactly what Government policy is and is exactly what John Healey is saying. Councillor Joe Anderson is saying something completely different to the people of Liverpool that he will put taxes up to build reserves to put in reserve well again this administration this Lib Dem administration is not going to tax for the sake of taxing to leave money sitting in reserve. We will build up the reserves over a period of years and then we will be able to tackle some of the other issues that we’ve got to do. We recognise the health inequalities. To improve health inequalities we’ve got to have a real stable economy offering real opportunity and raising the aspirations in them poorer communities. You cannot do that leaving millions and millions of pounds laying in reserves and this administration will continue the robust financial management that we’ve done. We’ll carry on delivering…
Roger: If it was that robust we wouldn’t have this problem of £20m overdrawn on Capital of Culture.
Fireman: Roger, lets put things into hindsight. We are still delivering front line services. We are still…
Roger: It’s about £20m overall that we’re short this year – now that’s not robust management
Fireman: But Roger we are going through a budget setting process. Every Local Authority up and down the country is in the same process as us. I remember reading about Wirral being £50m short. Other Local Authorities. I meet the core city leaders who are £40-£50m short exactly the same as Liverpool . And let’s not forget I haven’t come on here to knock the Government I’ve come on here to say that I believe we’ve got a robust financial programme in place that is going to deal with the shortfall. We’ve delivered year on year but I’ll say again I am not going to allow millions and millions of pounds to lay in reserve. Cut front line services to the most vulnerable and then say that’s acceptable. Nor as Leader of this Council am I going to allow Council Tax to go through the roof again which will drive the inability to bring further investment into this City. While the Lib Dems have been in control we’ve brought Council Tax down, we’ve brought renewed confidence and we’ve brought real investment that will bring opportunities to the most vulnerable and I think that is the most important and I think the people of this City will stand full square with us on that. I’m proud of what we’ve delivered in this City over the last 10 years and Capital of Culture is part of that."