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Independent inquiry urged after police raid homes in One Connect probe

'Hear-no-evil, see no evil approach can't go on', Lib Dem leader tells city council boss

Published on February 20th 2014.

Independent inquiry urged after police raid homes in One Connect probe

LIVERPOOL City Council's opposition leader has called for an independent probe after it emerged that a home connected to Liverpool Direct boss David McElhinney has been searched by police under warrant. 

"There must be an independent inquiry in public into the relationship between Liverpool and Lancashire Council," insisted Cllr Richard Kemp in a letter to Liverpool's chief executive, Ged Fitzgerald. 

His comments came after police examining alleged financial irregularities at Lancashire County Council raided addresses in Southport and Knowsley linked to McElhinney and Phil Halsall, the former Liverpool city treasurer and latterly chief exec of Lancashire County Council. Nobody was arrested. 

Phil HalsallPhil HalsallHalsall was suspended and then resigned from his £190,000 post at Lancashire last year in the wake of an investigation alleging favouritism into the awarding of a fleet maintenance contract to One Connect. The company had been set up by one-time colleague McElhinney as the Lancashire equivalent of Liverpool Direct, the city council’s joint venture with BT. 

In a letter to Liverpool Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald, whose vacant job Halsall took at Lancashire, Cllr Kemp says: “Given the gravity of the events in Lancashire, we must explain the tangled skein of the relationship between our council and theirs. It is increasingly untenable for us to continue with a 'hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil approach'.   

It went on: “David is a Liverpool employee. Some sort of agreement was entered into between Liverpool and Lancashire to share the time of him and others. Lancashire have a different take on what was agreed than you do and frankly I do not know which version of the truth to believe. 


“I believe that the time has now come to hold a full and joint enquiry in public with contributions from both the political and managerial leadership of both councils. I believe that this is the only way to ensure that a full understanding is reached for the good of taxpayers at both ends. I have a number of ideas as to how this might be done were you to agree such an approach. 

“Secondly, I am surprised that Liverpool councillors were not kept informed of events surrounding a senior council employee. Did you know that the search had been undertaken? Have you had detailed discussions with David about this? Have you considered what action it is appropriate to take and if your decision was to take no action, would you please tell me why.” 

McElhinney, who remains in charge of LDL, quit his £40,000, two-and-a-half-days-a-week role with One Connect shortly after he was paid more than £600,000 for his work there, allegedly without the knowledge of Lancashire County finance chiefs. 

The One Connect partnership was brokered under Tory rule but scrapped by the now-ruling Labour group at County Hall. 

A third individual thought to be connected to Lancashire County Council also had their property in Fulwood, Preston, searched.  

Liverpool City Council says no payment is made by the authority to Dr McElhinney.

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Yaffle ChucklebuttyFebruary 20th 2014.

When will they stop hounding the poor dog...er Doc...Dr McElhinney? Now it's Councillor Kemp coming at them with the flea powder. What's wrong with the poor man trying to earn an honest living? ......oh...well...er.. Of course it's all been said before by those dreadful Bloggers during the reign of Sir Diddy and then Hilton Stilton. Give the man poor man a break. Remember all this scurrilous stuff? liverpoolsubculture.blogspot.co.uk/…/rottweiller-and-ldl-theft-on-grand.html…

AnonymousFebruary 21st 2014.

I wonder why the police didn't also raid McElhinney's property in Allerton Priory, the address he uses as a Company Director?

AnonymousFebruary 21st 2014.

The formal agreement made in April 2011 detailing the arrangements for McElhinney to run both companies, AT THE REQUEST OF THE TWO COUNCILS, NOT BT, with the signature of all the parties (Halsall, Fitzgerald, McElhinney, and two representatives of BT) was released over a month ago by Lancashire. Liverpool released it the next day after spending 3 months denying that there was any agreement at all. It's here: www.whatdotheyknow.com/…/mcelhinney_secondment_to_ldl… It's a bit fiddly to access, so I posted the full text on Richard Kemp's blog this morning. It specifically states that "Should any of the entities involved in this arrangement i.e. either of the Councils, BT, either of the joint venture companies or the Chief Executive Officer conclude that there is a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest or that the joint working arrangements are no longer in its interests then all of the entities will come together to agree a way forward. This review can be triggered by any single party at any time." The scandal last summer should surely have triggered this coming together to agree a way forward. Did this happen? It doesn't sound like it, since according to the Echo, Liverpool won't even supply proper information to Lancashire. If it did happen, did any of our elected representatives know about it?

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2014.

I wonder if those computers that have just been seized will have the copies of all the emails, texts and phone calls made by councillors and officers over the last 10 years. Even if they think they deleted them. We know they keep them and record them as was proved when Storey got into a mess over the accusations about trying to get rid of Henshaw and then Storey and Bradley over the Matthew St cancellation and Jason Harbarrow or whatever he was called...the culture twit in 2008 I know if I had copies of everyone's emails, calls and texts, it could be a great bargaining tool...or a silencer. Big Brother has been watching and listening to you all.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Richard BransonFebruary 24th 2014.

It would explain everything really. The case for signing up with Virgin Media.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2014.

Maybe not as far-fetched as it sounds. The arrangements for his OCL post included facilities working from home - with computer, phone etc. supplied. The LDL arrangement will be similar. And since he actually lives here in Liverpool, perhaps the Knowsley address is his "home office".

AnonymousFebruary 25th 2014.

And he looks so cuddly too

AnonymousAugust 29th 2014.

Concerning ged Fitzgerald I have sent two emails to Mr Fitzgerald requesting clarification of communication sent by Mr Fitzgerald, all the two-month period is now elapsed, Mr Fitzgerald I understand now has other matters to attend to, concerning is time in Rotherham, is there a time schedule for Mrs Fitzgerald to reply to requests for information, can anybody provide telephone numbers for Mr Fitzgerald's office Irish union in the municipal buildings.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 29th 2014.

Maybe he just couldn'the understand what you are talking about? I don't

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