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Council contractors may not be fit for purpose but councils don't care

Our correspondent writes ...

As you know from other pages on this website, I am not a lover of councils or their staff. I have heard of too many instances where some unscrupulous people get exactly what they want by making private financial arrangements with someone on the council. And some of the decisions reached in council leave you with no doubts that money has probably changed hands.

The problem is we live in a corrupt society. It starts right at the top - in government, and permeates down through the chain. Council officers are notorious for accepting back-handers and so are some of the councillors we elect to stamp out corruption. Needless to say, they all feel fairly secure because many of the appointed ombudsmen are equally corrupt - morally, if not financially.

But where does it end? Just how honest and transparent are these authorities when they hand out contracts to companies like the one reported by our whistle-blower? Not very ... by the sound of it.

We're not going to name names because we're dealing with some pretty nasty people; people who will defy the law, even when it clearly proves they are in the wrong; people who think nothing of threatening violence to any person who tries to expose them; people who extend the threats to families; and people who will even issue death threats!

In this case we're talking about a company of electrical contractors in South Yorkshire who have major contracts with the city council and the local hospital trust. It's a family firm so they can quickly close ranks and concoct a pack of lies to defend themselves against any allegations of wrongdoing. Not that they are likely to get any complaints from those who issue the contracts because if they were doing their jobs properly, this company would have no contracts.

This is the sort of thing the contractors do habitually:

  1. They constantly disregard speed limits and collect fines and penalty points on a regular basis.
  2. They share the penalty points amongst themselves the same way thieves share booty.
  3. They spray their car registration plates with a film that makes it difficult for speed cameras to read.
  4. They and their mates smoke in no-smoking work areas.
  5. They regularly allow their children to play truant from school and then take them into their dangerous work environments to avoid paying for child care.
  6. They use the council's money to buy electronic gadgets and hide the invoices in the costs of big budget contracts.
  7. They do cash jobs on the side that never show in the company accounts.
  8. They are racist to the extreme and have never employed anyone other than whites.
  9. They employ drug addicts and alcoholics who have little regard for either their own or anyone else's safety. These employees regularly steal from the places they work in to feed their drug habits.
  10. They allow their manual employees to download porn on computers used by the office staff (when they are not in the office)
  11. They allowing some office staff to have pornographic screen savers on their computers even when their own children are in the office playing truant from school.
  12. Their test equipment calibration certificates are invariably out of date and this has resulted in at least one known death in the hospital they work in.

This information has come from insiders at the company and some of it could not possibly have escaped the notice of the authorities who employed them - especially breaches of safety and theft. But, as we know from the recent revelations about the electrical installation contracts awarded by a Metronet project manager to a company who clean drains, if the price is right ...!

In Metronet's case, any sub-standard work by the contractor could have put London Underground users at risk. In a similar way, hospital patients and users of civic facilities in South Yorkshire could also be at risk.

Metronet, of course, are now in administration but a major criminal investigation is under way and heads will surely roll when corruption charges are finally laid. The cost of Metronet's collapse alone has already fallen on UK tax payers' shoulders to the tune of 1.9 billion (Thanks, Gordon).

Similarly, if there was any negligence in South Yorkshire, the costs of damages, and any claims for compensation, would be passed on to the city's council tax payers. But if corrupt practises resulted in a sub-standard contractor being used on major city contracts, they should be investigated and charges should be brought.

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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