Thursday, February 23, 2017

Unlawful Expenditure Continues at Oakham Town Council

Unlawful Expenditure Continues at Oakham Town Council

Dear Clerk

Thank you Ms Greaves for sending me the work order for the bench painting which was not approved
by full council.

I am very concerned that the work order does not even match the amount in Greggs quotation presented to council on
22nd July 2016

Appendix E Quotatioin dated  2nd May 2016 Total £1172.20

The attached work order is dated 4th May 2016 Total £737 two days later and issued without the consent of full council

I now understand why the locum clerk has not obtained the two quotes requested by the council on the 22nd June 2016.
Who neogotied the decrease from the original quote?

A decision and order had already been made by some one behind closed doors and as normal the chairman and his
deputy thought no one would notice again.

Nothing has changed since Alf Dewis and Richard White resigned.

I am astonished that our chairman states this incident has nothing to do with the office.
The work order is singed by the assistant Clerk, is the signature a forgery or which Cllr made her sign it and then put it as a pointless
agenda item over two months later?

I would like to know which Councillor or Councillors have acted unlawfully by instructing the Clerk to sign this
work order and put the council through the charade of having to consider something that had already been decided
behind closed doors.
I hope the external auditor will be able to established who has acted unlawfully again.

When are the membership gong to take back control of our council, perhaps they are all happy for this unlawful conduct
and bullying of those who point it out to continue?


Martin Brookes

Incidents like this one are happening far to often at Oakham Town Council

The Chairman and Deputy and The Clerk should not be running the Council
It is meant to be a team made up of all Councillor and it is not.

The monitoring officer last year said the council is not working and this
is just another of many examples that it is still not working.

How can anyone think it is acceptable to obtain a quote on May 2nd 2016 and
then have discussions with the contractor to reduce the cost and then on the 4th
May 2016 produce a work order and then put to council the original quote and
then ignore the councils instructions.

I am guessing the friendly contractor was told to go ahead as with work in July
because those who knew what was going on did not expect the council to
ask for further quotes.

Most if all Oakham Town Council contracts are tendered for in an unacceptable
and in some cases unlawful manner.

Contractors told how much is in a budget, permitted to resubmit cheaper tenders
after closing dates etc.

The only thing that is different in this case than that of ex Cllr Alf Dewis the
current Chairman is not blaming the Assistant Clerk this time,

We were told financial controls had been put in place after Cllr Dewis resigned
so this could never happen again.

Oakham Town Council
Victoria Hall, 39 High Street, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6AH
Telephone: 01572 723627


Please accept this as an official order from Oakham Town Council for the works or purchases detailed below:

Date: 4th May 2016

Order Reference: 2016 - 119


G & R Gregg
9 Derwent Drive
LE15 6RZ


1. Prepare and paint benches with sadolin in Cutts Close and Royce Playing Field (26)

Materials £77 Labour £660

Signed: A Greaves

Name: Alison Greaves

Position: Deputy Clerk to the Council

Oakham Town Council Bench Painting Mystery Unlawful Expenditure

Oakham Town Council Bench Painting Mystery Expenditure

Over a period of many years the Town Council has spent many thousands of pounds with
a local contractor who paints all the towns benches. each year the cost rises.

I once asked the former clerk why we don't tender and why the contract is split into two.

They responded it was split in two because it saves going out to tender, which of course
is unlawful.

After many times of raising this issue at council and the clerk being paid off things looked
as if they were changing at OTC.

On the 27th July 2016 the councils defunct Planning and Parks met and rejected a
single quote from the current contractor and requested the Locum Clerk went away
and obtain two more quotations.

This never happened.

Then the contractor started work painting the benches, My email concerns were ignored by the office. The contractor was then paid.
I pointed this out at a meeting when the council approved the schedule of payments.
I was once again ignored,

I raised this incident with the Clerk yesterday.

The Chairman of the Council Cllr Adam Lowe has this morning sent me a message
stating, "the office was not involved in this incident"

A bit of a mystery when you consider they office is required to raise a work orders
and check that order exists before preparing any payment to be made by the council a work
order should contain details of the council minuted approval.
This is also something which should be checked by the two councillors who sign the checks,
When I watch the ritual of cheque signing it is obvious they would sign anything
placed in front of them. Recently a Cllr missed  a cheque and a member of staff
said you forgot one and the Cllr signed it without looking at any of the supporting
documents. I pointed this out to another Cllr who had also seen and they jokingly said
put a cheque in for me also.
The problem is a serious one a very small group is running the council and take no notice
of the rest of the members.

The last audit report described by the Chairman as not a report, was very critical of
the council and for lack of financial controls and unlawful spending which resulted
in the resignation of the ex Mayor Alf Dewis.
The Council continually blames staff sickness, this poor excuse is used far to often
We were told the temp clerk was qualified and I can see he is not even capable of
following the council minuted instructions to obtain and present two additional quotes
to council. Probably because he is to busy supporting ex Cllrs and using Clerks reports
at meetings to attack me constantly.

In the external audit report of 2014 -2015 The External Auditor warned the council that they came very close to being prosecuted in the high court.

"This incident" as the current Mayor describes it comes only months after that
report was published, I wonder if the 2016 - 2017 audit will see the town council
prosecuted in the high court this time. I hope so because I think it is the only way the council
is gong to change for the good of the town.

If our financial procedures where being followed, then this contractor should not have
been paid.

I dispute the Chairman's comment the office was involved in this unlawful incident
or is it case that a Councillor only known to him has accessed the council accounts
and authorised another unlawful payment?

The office must be involved did they not raise a work order, did they not raise a payment and
send it once a invoice was received?