Saturday, 15 October 2016

What Melanie Did Next?

I don't like to deal in rumours but it is a great shame that so many folk in Sandwell "do a Watson" when asked perfectly reasonable questions. They follow the policy of that great tribune of the people Tom Watson MP ie never responding or commenting on anything.

I did think I would probably not be bothering with Melanie Dudley in this blog again save in respect of a Freedom of Information request which I put in with regard her huge pay-off at our expense.

Regular readers will know that Mel was at "Sadwell"for a long time  (although - certainly latterly - she wouldn't live in the sh*t-hole herself) and was near the top of the greasy-pole for much of the period when the Council plunged into corruption and incompetence during the disastrous Cooper/Britton regime. And yet despite being right in there as many of the fiascos and scandals occurred the late Smethwick Scumbag, Darren Cooper promoted her (!) to Assistant Chief Executive as recently as December, 2014 (her 2015/16 package was just £141,231 for the year).

Of course, Mel knew where most of the bodies were and even, it seems, had information on the sexual peccadilloes of at least one of "the comrades". There were even suggestions that she would get the top job when Cooper and Britton went off to run the new West Midlands Combined Authority -"lol".

Yet in April, 2016 (when it was obvious that the crazed Cooper's deluded dream of being WMCA Mayor was in tatters) she arranged a severance package to commence in February, 2017. But why that date of departure?

Now a letter went out to Councillors which I have referred to before but please note especially what Jan Britton had to say at the time:

"The Assistant Chief Executive, Melanie Dudley, has also made a mutual agreement to leave the council's employment in February next year. This was agreed by the previous Leader of the Council, Cllr Darren Cooper."

I duly asked what authority the late stiff had to make a deal with anyone and the story has subtly a new FOI reply. It was, they say, actually Jan Britton who set up this weird deal but as was "common practice" he had consulted Dickhead Daz who approved it shortly before he snuffed it. (Of course, in a data protection issue raised by a local community activist Jan Britton's Council admit in writing that they scrubbed Cooper's email account very quickly after his death - I can't imagine why (!) or how that was actually legal).

But Jan Britton now claims he agreed to Mel departing under the "Planned Leavers Scheme"! This was a scheme set up to try and mitigate some of the worst effects of Cooper & Britton's mass redundancies whilst also SAVING the taxpayer money. But like the "Jobs Promise" scheme etc this was not intended for Chief Officers - indeed one document clearly shows the ACE (ie Mel) being specifically excluded!

In my FOI, I also asked for all documentation with regard to the deal but this has not been forthcoming despite SMBC sending me details of the scheme which shows that Dudley had to apply via form HR25.2 if not eligible for pension or via email/writing to her service manager - presumably Britton - if eligible. The fact that she was not eligible under the scheme - despite what Britton now says - is that any dispute about eligibility had to be referred for decision by, er, Melanie Dudley.

Oh and by the way, the report recommending that the scheme be implemented was submitted by one, er, Melanie Dudley!!!! (As an aside, all eligible persons have to sign a legal settlement agreement conveniently drawn up by the SMBC legal department. Do you think that might contain a confidentiality agreement eh, readers?)

But the scheme involves defined benefits for the employee so why would Jan Britton and Cooper agree her a much better package when she was leaving on a date of her own choice and for her own reasons? Needless to say Britton is refusing to say and the FOI request moves on to the next stage.

The new Leader, Steve Eling, then booted Mel out early but with a massive and secret pay-off. I have no interest in the confidential amount that the taxpayer, via SMBC, were due to pay her off via her contractual entitlement  but the public is surely entitled to know how much over that sum has been agreed by Britton? Looks like that will go all the way to the Information Commissioner.....

But it has been bothering me why, last April, Britton agreed for her to go in Feb 2017 with a huge pay-off. Why was that date selected by Mel?

There is a rumour - which, please note, MUST be false - that she had already been lined up as highly-paid Chief Executive of Murray Hall Community Trust, a charity in receipt of  very large amounts of public funds, in place of one Malcolm Bailey.

Now sharp readers will remember that Murray Hall featured in this blog before in respect of the bent application by Wednesbury Celebrates to Sport England which happily gained a three-year £35,000 a year job for one Richard McVittie, the partner of Richard Jones, son of Cllrs Ian and Olwen Jones (and brother of Cllr Stephen Jones).

Malcolm Bailey was obviously entirely innocent and in the dark when he wrote on behalf of Murray Hall supporting the bent bid to Sport England and saying that Murray Hall and three other organisations including Kaleidoscope (no doubt after thorough due diligence) were going to put £15,000 in themselves. Wednesbury Celebrates - run principally by Cllrs Olwen Jones and Elaine Costigan at the time) then told Sport England that:

"Murray Hall trust has agreed to manage the Activator role as they have the resources in place to supervise and manage full-time employment."

But when I broke the story of the bent nature of this deal the BBC took an interest. An unspecified "spokesperson" for Wednesbury Celebrates stated to them that Richard McVittie HAD been interviewed by Murray Hall and all was above board in his recruitment (he had previously been living with Richard Jones in Guildford). But then Murray Hall did a Watson with the BBC and refused to speak to them - insisting they refer back to Wednesbury Celebrates! And when I contacted this allegedly reputable charity they replied "we will not be communicating with yourselves on this matter now or in the future."

Curiously I also contacted Kaleidoscope whose Monica Shafaq stated in writing that they had no involvement in the project!

Of course, Labour Councillor Bob Lloyd is Chair of the Trustees but he too did a Watson on all this. Meanwhile, Wednesbury Celebrates and Richard Jones "5 Star Academy" were racking up huge debts to SMBC which they failed to mention in other funding bids thus hiding their actual insolvency from funders.  I am STILL awaiting a FOI reply on how much SMBC actually recovered and why they are not taking legal action but even under the new "Hurricane Eling" regime the information has not been forthcoming although one reply did elicit that one Melanie Dudley was involved in trying to sort it out!

One has to assume, despite their occasional, opacity that Murray Hall are reputable and I am sure their funders have their finger on the pulse as it were. It cannot be the case that they would break all the rules just to present the CEO position to Mel. Obviously it would be very easy for them to confirm but, yes you guessed it, they won't!

Here is my mail to them of  4th October to which I have not even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement let alone a substantive reply:

"I am informed that Murray Hall Trust had a candidate lined up to replace Malcolm Bailey "when he goes". No doubt this is all a misunderstanding as the post would have to be advertised etc.

For the record. is Mr Bailey due to leave and, if so, when? If his departure is to be fairly soon what will the recruitment process be for his replacement and where will this be advertised please?"

And so I also wrote to the Chair of Trustees, Cllr Lloyd, on 7th October but answer came there none:

"I wonder if you could use your good offices to secure a reply from Murray Hall to my email of 4th October?

"I am informed that Murray Hall Trust had a candidate lined up to replace Malcolm Bailey "when he goes". No doubt this is all a misunderstanding as the post would have to be advertised etc.

For the record. is Mr Bailey due to leave and, if so, when? If his departure is to be fairly soon what will the recruitment process be for his replacement and where will this be advertised please?"

All another Sandwell "misunderstanding", I am sure. There is, of course, no problem in Mel applying for the job if and when it becomes available - despite the shocking history of SMBC under her co-stewardship - and I am sure we all wish her every success so that she doesn't have to dip into the large pot of gold we have given her any time soon....

AND FINALLY - there is some more potential bad news for Sadders. The joke "Chief Executive", Jan Britton, was meant to be the advance guard at West Mids Combined Authority for the uber thick Cooper to become Mayor (ROFLMAO) and despite the fraud, cronyism and incompetence within Sandwell since he was appointed in 2010 he was - unbelievably - appointed "Chief Operating Officer" for WMCA for two days a week. But the current rumour is that this is being reduced to one day a week which obviously means he will be bringing his "skill-set" "lol" back to The Kremlin for extra hours........

Here's a picture of him playing with himself, er sorry "multi-tasking", during the inaugural meeting of the WMCA. What a guy! Greater Birmingham's loss will be Sandwell's gain....


Confidential Phone Number:  07599 983737      Facebook:   Julian Saunders



Friday, 14 October 2016

Shooting The Messenger - SMBC Make Legal Threats!

I have tonight received the following letter by hand-delivery from SMBC which is not marked as being sent on a private and confidential basis:

It will probably come as no surprise that SMBC make no comment with regard to the substantive allegation but use their power to bully and cajole. I do, however, have to consider my own legal position and so I have, unfortunately, made what I hope will be temporary redactions to the original post. It seems a great shame that the new leadership seems to be following on in the same manner as the old.

Here is my reply to SMBC:

"I have received your hand-delivered letter.

This is NOT a private and confidential communication.

I am not prepared to remove the blog but without any admissions whatsoever and pending clarification of the legal issues I have redacted certain sections and attach herewith the edited post.

Let it be said that this post was written as it dealt with a matter of obvious public interest and the content is entirely justified. 

It is not possible for me to comment on the accuracy or otherwise of the report you refer to but you have specifically NOT said that my blog post of today contains inaccuracies. If that is your position please advise and I will certainly give consideration to deleting the post in whole or in part. If that is not your case I will seek to reinstate the redacted sections as I will not be intimidated into silence
by your threats.

Please also note that I hold further information pertaining to Cllr Hackett which has been gleaned from a whole variety of sources. I will CONSIDER a temporary suspension of further posts about him but that is my decision and not yours.

I trust my response is wholly satisfactory."


Confidential phone no:  07599 983737                   Facebook:  Julian Saunders



Cllr Simon Hackett - Part 1



An open letter to Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Vulnerable Children with copies to Cllr Steve Eling, Jan Britton (for what that is worth) and The Albion Foundation.

"Dear Minister,

Re: Cllr Simon Hackett - Head of Children’s Services - Sandwell SMBC

On 6th October, 2016 you wrote to Cllr Steve Eling, the new Labour Leader of Sandwell Council explaining that the Borough’s disastrous Children’s Services were to be taken over by a trust. As you succinctly put it:

“SMBC has failed its most vulnerable children and young people for approaching seven years.”

(Coincidentally, the Chief Executive [sic] of SMBC, Jan Britton, has been in post since 2010).

For you to make sense of what follows I need to explain how Sandwell Council operates to a different code of ethics (insofar as it has one) from most other councils. Until recent difficulties Labour held 71 of the 72 council seats and the party has been in total control for decades. The Council and “The Party” are now synonymous in the manner of the Pyongyang regime. Every decision is initially assessed as “will it help the Party” before any greater discussion of the wider public good.

You probably had the good fortune never to meet the previous Leader of the Council, Darren Cooper (now deceased). He was a thick, bullying moron and social media troll who liked to attempt to control every aspect of life in the Borough and who loved to obtain information on people in the hope he could use it for his own political ends at a later date. (You may also wish to investigate how Cooper and Britton intervened during the tendering process which led to Impower being employed at huge fees to "improve" Children's Services).

(Again it is noteworthy that under the Cooper/Britton regime the Council became a byword for corruption, incompetence and cronyism so that there have been a large number of high-profile departures from the Council recently - albeit at huge cost to the taxpayer).

Sitting above all this is the loathsome Tom Watson MP (infamous, of course, for hounding a man to his grave with unfounded allegations of the vilest kind). He employs Simon Hackett (according to the latter’s Register of Interests) AND another Councillor who was privy to what follows. He also claims, for electoral registration purposes, to spend a considerable period of time living Chez Hackett when this is not true - a matter duly ignored by the said Jan Britton qua Returning Officer.

Simon Hackett has gained very extensive knowledge of the “third sector” through earlier employment and is a trustee of a charity which has significant child safeguarding responsibilities. He is an experienced Councillor and Cabinet member. In the circumstances he his very well aware of the duty of confidentiality when dealing with children and young people. Unfortunately, he has abused the trust placed in him and failed in his duty.

[Paragraph temporarily removed under threat of injunction by Sandwell MBC]

This is not only a very significant breach of standards and a gross dereliction of his duty but this shabby behaviour was also highly likely to have been a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 [Addendum - even though SMBC have not disputed the facts upon which I based this post their lawyers insist that there was NO breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. They provide no evidence for this assertion and I cannot comment further until additional information is available.]

I should say that I have the evidence of all this.

The problem that the people of Sandwell have is that Councillors who are “caught out” there never do the honourable thing and resign. Unfortunately, the new Leader, Mr Eling, does not have the power to dismiss Hackett because of the malign influence of Mr Watson in the running of the Borough. Therefore I am asking you to use your good offices to have this appalling state of affairs thoroughly investigated by your department and/or by the new Trust to make sure that Hackett can never xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [sentence partially redacted under threat of injunction by SMBC]. I respectfully submit that your duty to vulnerable children in Sandwell (already so badly let down) demands your intervention here.

I am copying in the Albion Foundation where Hackett is a Trustee as they need to review their own safeguarding policy given Hackett’s apparent willingness xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [sentence partially redacted under threat of injunction by Sandwell SMBC]

I leave it to you to investigate whether Hackett acted maliciously in behaving in the unacceptable way he did.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist further but Jan Britton and SMBC employee Jane Perham will be able to assist you with all the facts and documents involved in this sordid and scandalous affair and Hackett xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [sentence partially redacted under threat of injunction by Sandwell SMBC].

I await the outcome of your investigations with interest.

Yours faithfully etc...."


Confidential phone no: 07599 983737 Facebook: Julian Saunders



Thursday, 6 October 2016

Scarrott Axed - and Names Named!

Mahboob Hussain not only enjoys the protection of West Midlands Police (!!!!) but also (STILL) has a large number of staff at Jan Britton's bent Sandwell Council in his thrall. Indeed, some of his relatives are said to be employees there.

Besides a large number of junior staff doing his bidding he also had very close relationships with the Smethwick Scumbag, Darren Cooper, on the political side (who said that Hussain paid for his house extension) and with Jan Britton, Melanie Dudley, Nick Bubalo and Adrian Scarrott in the (highly-) "paid service". (Bubalo will feature in a post of his own shortly as he was personally involved in all the bent deals disclosed to date though he tried to distance himself from his friend when interviewed by the incredibly naive Mark Greenburgh, author of the incendiary "Wragge Report" - even going so far as to claim that he had never met nor spoken to Hussain's son in the several years that Azeem Hafeez worked in, er, his department!)

Hussain was "Mr Sandwell Homes" for a number of years when Scarrott was nominally "in charge" there. Not only did Jan Britton permit Hussain 24/7 access to council offices (!) but, as we now know, caused - or at least permitted - Hussain to bully Council staff in their workplace  (seemingly with the trade unions also turning a Nelsonian blind-eye as they too are also the lickspittle lackeys of "Sandwell Labour").

We are told that Hussain took a very active interest in the subject of the allocation of council houses and seems to have faced no barrier from Scarrott in having access to confidential SMBC documents. (Incidentally, the "Wragge Report" made no mention of the allocations of council houses to Councillors Zahoor Ahmed, Mohammad Rouf and Steven Andrews).

We have seen in this blog how the family of the elderly occupant of a four-bedroomed SMBC house in Judge Close, Oldbury received two visits from Hussain suggesting she might want to move to a smaller property. When she died, Hussain's daughter moved in - even though, as I repeatedly pointed out, Jan Britton's staff knew she and her husband OWN a house just down the road! THEY STILL DO! Here is the Land Registry record (a document of public record) TODAY - and take a look who one of the lenders is!!!!

There is no mention of any of this in the pathetic "Wragge Report".

In the incestuous world of Sandwell Labour and its rotten council Scarrott had "A5" and "A6" in his department even though they were husband and wife and one was supposed to be "deciding" decisions of the other. The are called "A5 etc" in the Wragge Report where their names are redacted but they are Norman and Michelle Fletcher. Were THEY prepared to do Hussain's bidding as well? Perhaps we shall know in the fullness of time but regular readers will remember my recent post where I reported that a very senior person at SMBC allegedly used a senior manager to coach his son prior to a SMBC interview. I said this in a letter to new Leader, Steve Eling:

I have no way of knowing whether this allegation is true and it would not really be appropriate in these circumstances to contact employees direct (although I reserve all rights in that regard). The allegation is that xxxxxxxxxxxxx ordered an employee, xxxxxxxxxxxx, to "school" his son prior to an SMBC interview. The son, who I think may be xxxxxxxxxxxxx, was then successful at interview although xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

The alleged persons involved here are Adrian Scarrott whose son did duly get a job with SMBC (although he has now left). The senior manager who was allegedly prepared to do Scarrott's bidding was Norman Fletcher. As ever, one can only assume that joke "Chief Executive", Jan Britton, turned a blind eye or was asleep at the wheel yet again..... If all this is true (and I am awaiting a response from Cllr Eling who was investigating the matter) then clearly Norm was not averse to doing just as he was told....

We know that Scarrott was involved in writing a letter to support the bent bid by Wednesbury Celebrates [sic] to shaft Sport England - the result being a £35k a year job for three years for the partner of Cllrs Ian and Olwen Jones's son (more very soon). Cllr Olwen and Cllr Elaine Costigan then put in a bid for £5k to SMBC and then THEY decided themselves it should be approved at an un-minuted Town Forum meeting (Steve Eling - this is SURELY a matter for them to answer for before the Standards Committee at the very least?) Scarrott then personally authorised the payment out by SMBC of the £5,000 even though, at that time, Wednesbury Celebrates owed us taxpayers a huge sum of money! At the very LEAST this was gross negligence and has probably led to further loss to us taxpayers.

But Scarrott has had his day. Presumably he will leave with a huge wad of our cash and a gagging order. One mystery endures though - is Scarrott the "phantom golfer?"

Again, we have seen many times in this blog that not only are West Midlands Police protecting Hussain but the Council too. In a post from last October, I referred again to the inappropriate level of contact between senior officers of WMP and the sleazy "socialists":

I stated that a high-ranking Sandwell Police officer tweeted on 2nd April, 2015:

"Great day off today with COLLEAGUE [my emphasis] @sandwellcouncil golf, spa, lunch and...relax".

I can now name that high-ranking officer as Sandwell's Superintendent Paul Betts. I contacted him but he refused to say who his "colleague" was. But I am told that Scarrott is a keen golfer and he has at least managed to score one in the hole - ooops sorry, a hole in one - with a senior female WMP officer also keen on golfing. No doubt Scarrott will use the customary huge bung of our cash to spend more time on this swing and huddled with his new beloved in a Sutton Coldfield hostelry.....

But this WMP situation is just getting worse and worse and, sooner or later, they MUST take some action! And the pathetic, grovelling cowards who work at SMBC and won't speak out about what they know better watch out! The Skidder is after you but if I don't get you Hurricane Eling probably will! Satchwell, Dudley, Sharma and now Scarrott have been blown away and are not there to protect you anymore so consider your positions. Cut a deal! And the word is that even the likes of Lazy Tom have had enough of Hussain so don't bank on him being your guardian angel - ROFLMAO - for too much longer!

And finally:

I know I bang on about this regularly but it is important. Cooper and Hussain have always claimed that Sandwell College approached them to shaft The Public and this was duly reported as the truth in the so-called "Fundamental Review" document presented to the Cabinet and Councillors whereas it was a blatant lie. Now we know that Dickhead Daz was a pathological liar and that poor old Mahboob has his much celebrated amnesia where he unfortunately forgot to mention his involvement in a firm which won a taxi contract with SMBC etc etc but they were happy to let this massive porkie pass as the truth.

It is absolutely inconceivable that the signatories to the document - including Bubalo and Scarrott - did not know when they signed the document that it was false but lets just give them the benefit of the doubt shall we readers? Perhaps Hussain lied to them about it and they just accepted his word?

The problem is that Jan Britton has taken no steps whatsoever to rectify the record and neither has he accepted that the document is, in fact, false - even though he was (incredibly) put on the Board of Governors at Sandwell College by the thuggish Cooper as part of the bent Public deal and they publicly state that SMBC are definitely fibbing!!!!

Cllr Eling does seem to have a blind spot when it comes to groveller Britton who presided over the fraud, incompetence and corruption of the Darren Cooper years and so I have been forced to put in a Freedom of Information request to see just what Britton says IS the truth. He will, no doubt, take soundings from Hussain as to why he sat in on Council meetings when the Review was discussed without seeking to rectify the false record when he was a direct participant in the events? I have also asked "The Hurricane" to investigate whether he should take disciplinary action against Britton and/or the signatories (or those that are left) in respect of their failures in approving the false document or to amend it thereafter. The FOI request is set out below and the reply should be interesting!!!!

FOI Request:

It is a shame that I am having to resort to the FOIA on this particular subject but SMBC have totally ignored my numerous requests for clarification on this particular subject and have made no attempt whatsoever to rectify what is a lie in official Council records. This relates to the genesis of the deal to destroy The Public and it occurs to me that SMBC have never disclosed the facts despite my prompting over a considerable period of time.

I am copying in Cllr Eling in respect of this request since he may feel the need to take some form of disciplinary action concerning the determination of the Chief Executive and senior directors of the Council to mislead elected members and The Public and/or to fail to rectify the record when it became obvious that it was false.

I refer to the first line of Paragraph 6.9 of the so-called "Fundamental Review" Document in respect of The Public as presented to The Cabinet on 16th October, 2013:

"In September 2012 Sandwell College approached the Council and initiated discussions concerning the conversion of The Public to a 6th form centre."

Sandwell College say that this is fundamentally untrue in all respects including the date. They say that this project was initiated by Cllr Hussain telephoning the College and that a meeting had already taken place at your own offices on 15th August, 2012 as organised by Cllr Hussain.

IF you now accept that Paragraph 6.9 of the Fundamental Review was a lie please:

1   Disclose all documents of whatsoever nature arising in respect of the decision by SMBC to make an approach to the College including communications with Messrs Ashfords and other third parties;

2   Disclose the precise date of Cllr Hussain's telephone call to the College initiating the process and disclose the telephone attendance note and/or any other documentation arising as a result of the said phone call;

3   Disclose all records and documents of whatsoever nature arising in respect of the project between the date of the said phone call and 15th August, 2012;

4   Disclose the attendance record, room location and minutes of the meeting held at Oldbury Council House of 15th December, 2012 and any other documents of whatsoever nature arising therefrom.

IF you still maintain that paragraph 6.9 of The Fundamental Review is true, please:

5   State the date, time, method and persons involved in the College's communication with SMBC and disclose any documents of whatsoever nature arising from the College's alleged communication.


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