Cheshire East News

There has been a series of press releases issued by Cheshire East Council's Communications Team in recent days that paint a very rosy picture of things at the Council at the moment.

However, in the interest of balance it must be pointed out that there are currently no less than FIVE ongoing formal police investigations into matters at Cheshire East Council.

Also, the Council's Chief Executive Officer, the Head of Legal Services and senior officers responsible for air quality monitoring at the Council are all currently suspended.

Cllr Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South said “I am very concerned that it appears the Council's Communications Team is being used to try and distract residents from the chaos in Cheshire East Conservative Group.”

Cllr Dorothy Flude, Labour Councillor for  Crewe  South said; “No amount of window dressing and pretty photographs can hide what is frankly an appalling situation currently at Cheshire East Council, where long-suffering staff continue to deliver public services whilst some in positions of authority are clearly not up to the task of running a large complex organisation.”

Sam Corcoran, Labour Group Leader said, “Conservative controlled Cheshire East Council has been lurching from crisis to crisis since its formation 9 years ago. The Conservative Leader recently denied that the Council was spiralling out of control.

However, there are now FIVE ongoing police investigations spiralling around Conservative controlled Cheshire East Council:

1) CoreFit where contracts were awarded to the former Conservative Leader's personal physiotherapist's company

2) the deliberate and systematic manipulation of air quality data

3) the granting of £70,000 to Berkeley Primary Academy, where (allegedly) a

    Conservative Councillor promised the money to the school despite it not being in accordance with policy

4) land acquisitions

5) Vile and intimidating hate mail received by two Conservative councillors who spoke out against ‘unsafe’ walking routes to school and the Council not complying with National Minimum Wage legislation.

In addition to the police investigations there are clear signs of unpleasant infighting within the Conservatives.  Michael Jones, the former Conservative Leader who stepped down quoting ‘Blue on Blue attacks’ has now left the Conservative group completely.

Cllr David Brown has been ‘stepped down’ as Deputy Leader of the Council and asked at a recent Staffing Committee what help there was for councillors being bullied.

Cllr Peter Groves stepped down as Cabinet Member for Finance to protect his reputation (not to protect the reputation of the Council).

The chief executive, head of legal and head of finance are all suspended from their roles. The temporary Head of Finance alone is costing the Council £10,000 a month. In case any one believes the Conservative claim that all the Council's problems are 'legacy' matters, in September the Council admitted that it was breaching the National Minimum Wage legislation, that about 160 people were affected and would be awarded backpay going back 2 years totalling roughly £200,000. Emails obtained by Labour Councillors show that the Council knew in 2014 that the NMW legislation was being broken.

Another recent example of problems at the Council is an employee putting a knife to his own throat at work earlier this year, shouting 'Is this what you want...'. Despite widespread concerns about bullying being raised at the staffing committee, the Conservative Chair of the staffing committee didn't even tell his own committee about the incident. Then to compound his errors he abused his position as chair to make a personal statement, trying to vindicate himself, during a staffing committee meeting and publicly stated the office in which the knife incident had occurred, thereby increasing the risk of identifying the staff members affected.

There have been calls for Cheshire East Council to be put into Special Measures. Even Conservative MP for Tatton Esther McVey has written to the Secretary of State asking him to look at the Council. A Sandbach resident has started a petition about Cheshire East Council https://www.change.org/p/sajid-javid-launch-an-independent-enquiry-into-air-quality-data-falsification-by-cheshire-east-council

In fact the only local MP to have come out in support of the beleaguered Council is Fiona Bruce MP for Congleton who praised the ‘principled and professional manner’ in which the Conservative Council Leader ‘has addressed and planned to resolve past problems’.

The Labour Group does not believe that the local Conservatives have the competence to solve the problems at the Council and has been calling since March for an external investigation into the culture at the Council and the allegations of bullying. Conservative controlled Cheshire East Council has now finally agreed to a review by the Local Government Association.

The Labour councillors on Cheshire East Council have been active in putting forward positive proposals as well as highlighting Conservative failings. Here is a sample of the issues we have been working on:

 

  • Pressing for stronger controls on Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – reporting HMO’s and issues around rented properties. Pressing for a compulsory landlord registration scheme.
  • Working with the Save Our Buses Campaign following Conservative proposals to reduce bus subsidies by 40%
  • Retaining Children’s Centres and Mental Health Facilities in the Borough - Working with Community Groups on relevant campaigns.
  • Fly tipping and litter
  • Parking in urban areas on grass verges – funding for the pilot projects to be extended to other areas.
  • Highways Maintenance and Repair – Question how funding is allocated and grants sought for road upgrades and repair.
  • Air Quality – Checking the progress of suggested Air Quality Management Areas and Air Quality Action Plans as well as following the unfolding saga of who manipulated the figures.
  • Social/Council Housing – monitor the provision of Social Housing.
  • School Parking – Campaigning for providing schools with drop off points on a rolling programme. Other measures to lessen the number of parents who use cars to take children to school as outlined in the working group report.
  • Social Care- Keep a check on the quality of care by checking reports to Committees. Reporting on the stream of private care homes being judged as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.“

Are the Tories on Cheshire East wearing rose-tinted glasses?

There has been a series of press releases issued by Cheshire East Council's Communications Team in recent days that paint a very rosy picture of things at the Council at...

At the Cheshire East Council meeting on 23rd February this year, Labour Councilors proposed “That during 2017/18 the council consult on a compulsory residential landlord licensing scheme for all privately let residential accommodation situated within Cheshire East, including all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The administration of the scheme will be cost neutral, with its set-up and running costs to be covered by income from licence and inspection fees within the forthcoming three year budget cycle.”

The Council Leader, Councillor Rachel Bailey and the portfolio holder for housing, Cllr Ainsley Arnold gave an undertaking to investigate and pursue the issue.

Yet, over six months later nothing has happened, with the Council procrastinating, saying that it is waiting for the Government to issue new regulations on the registration and management of HMOs.

Meanwhile new HMO’s are springing-up on a weekly basis in the inner areas of the Borough’s major towns , and especially in Crewe, where residents are complaining that the concentration of HMO’s has now reached saturation point.

Yet some councils are not waiting, with many up and down the country currently working on introducing new HMO registration schemes, or strengthening and extending their existing HMO registration schemes, Changes include imposing restrictions on new HMO’s in areas already having high concentrations, and pursuing prosecutions against rogue landlords and agents far more vigorously.

Brian Roberts, Labour Councillor for Crewe West said; ‘Over the last few years I have witnessed most of my neighbours move away. Where once over 90% of my neighbourhood was made-up of owner occupiers or long term tenants, it has now fallen to around 20%, with the majority of houses and flats let on short term insecure tenancies.

As a result, neighbourhood cohesion is non-existent, fuelled by the ongoing ‘churn’ of residents that stay for only six months, or less. Also, the housing stock is becoming increasingly dilapidated as is the public realm because of continued lack of any long-term investment by Cheshire East Council on infrastructure.

The minority of rogue landlords are being let off the hook and private renters, especially in HMO’s, face a “postcode lottery” when it comes to having their rights upheld, with Cheshire East currently having the lightest of light touch registration schemes.

 

Steve Hogben, Crewe South Labour Councillor, added, “In my ward and many others in Crewe the consequence of uncontrolled HMO development is that many of our communities and neighbourhoods are at saturation point with HMOs and we risk them being ‘hollowed out’ as families give up and move away. 

We desperately need a policy that limits the density of HMOs in any given area, to prevent the ‘doughnut effect’ that occurs in some inner cities. I have raised the need for such a policy a number of times at planning committees and so far the official response has been to ignore it.  I am not prepared to tolerate that any longer. 

We need action by Cheshire East Council NOW, before it is too late!”

Nick Mannion, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield West & Ivy, said, “For many of our most vulnerable residents, renting from a private landlord is currently the only option available to them. Therefore, we have a duty to ensure that such accommodation is safe and well-managed. Good landlords have nothing to fear from a robust registration scheme, but it will help the Council quickly identify and clamp-down on the minority of incompetent and rogue landlords and agents.”

Labour calls for urgent action to control growth in Housing In Multiple Occupation (‘HMO’s’)

At the Cheshire East Council meeting on 23rd February this year, Labour Councilors proposed “That during 2017/18 the council consult on a compulsory residential landlord licensing scheme for all privately let...

The state of care for older people in Cheshire East reflects the national picture.  Chronic underfunding by the Government and a high demand for Care has resulted in a shortage of places.  Hedge Funds have decided that there is no longer the huge profit they came to expect from Care Homes, mainly because local authorities just don’t have the money.  Consequently, local authorities have driven down the price they are willing to pay and unfortunately, unless you have considerable personal financial resources, you are likely to find yourself in a less than satisfactory Care Home. It should come as no surprise that some profit making companies are cutting corners, refusing to invest in skilled workers, and training for staff can consist of watching a DVD.

But the Conservatives promised something better in Cheshire East. In 2014 the Conservatives decided to close the excellent Council-run facilities at Lincoln House in Crewe and Hollins View in Macclesfield. They then set up a Quality Assurance Team to ensure the quality of the care and support services commissioned from the independent sector, with the promise that only the best was good enough for Cheshire East residents. Yet week after week we read of the most disturbing events in the very places where older people are meant to be cared for and protected.  The Cheshire East Council team have repeatedly failed to report what has been going wrong so dismally in some care homes. It has been left to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to blow the whistle on some of the worst care homes.

Why do Councillors have to wait to read in the local press that a Care Home in the area they represent, is found to be Inadequate, or that it Requires Improvement rather be informed by Officers or the Portfolio Holder?  After all CQC Inspections are public documents and can be accessed on their website. 

 

Councillor Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South said:

‘The public need reassurance that Cheshire East Council are committed to protecting the rights of vulnerable older people.  It is not good enough to have a Quality Assurance Team if it cannot ensure that people are safe. Families need to feel that their loved ones are cared for, respected and kept safe.’

 Councillor Irene Faseyi, Labour Councillor for Crewe Central said:

‘When Cheshire East Council closed the Respite and Intermediate Care facilities at Hollins View in Macclesfield and Lincoln House in Crewe, carers and members of the public were assured that there would be an equivalent type of care in the independent sector.  Both Hollins View and Lincoln House provided an excellent service to both respite users and also to patients discharged from hospital for a period of intermediate care.  Both Hollins View and Lincoln House consistently received excellent results from CQC Inspections, staff were caring and both the people using the facility and their Carers valued the service. 

Adult Social Care needs to be consistent, while we know that many residential homes provide excellent care, there are unfortunately too many that do not.’  

Labour concern about the state of the care home sector in Cheshire East

The state of care for older people in Cheshire East reflects the national picture.  Chronic underfunding by the Government and a high demand for Care has resulted in a shortage...

There were disgraceful scenes in the Assembly Room at Macclesfield Town Hall last Thursday at a meeting of Cheshire East Council.

When Labour Councillor Steve Carter attempted to make a point he was barracked, yelled-at and slow handclapped by a group of Conservative Councillors attempting to stop him making his point heard.

What was most disturbing is that those leading the barracking included some members of the Cabinet and senior members of the Tory group. The majority of Tory councillors looked to be clearly embarrassed by such behaviour, which one would be more likely to see on the football terraces rather than in a formal public Council Meeting.

Indeed. Later in the meeting former Mayor of Cheshire East, Cllr Hilda Gaddum stated that this was perhaps Cheshire East Council’s ‘.. darkest hour’.

 

A resolute Cllr Steve Carter, Labour  Councillor for Macclesfield Hurdsfield said later that:

‘I was making the point that the council would not be lurching from crisis to crisis if we had a constitution which allowed for transparency, scrutiny and accountability. The Conservatives did not like this, they believe they have a divine right to rule and will not listen to anyone else’s view.

 “I’ve been in local politics for twenty years and this indeed was the worst behaviour I have witnessed. It is part of the bullying culture, led from the front on Cheshire East Council. I refuse to be bullied. I stood up and told them what everyone outside is saying. They will never stop me doing this.”

 

Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach East and Heath, said,

 

‘The Conservatives really should know better than to indulge in this sort of behaviour. In February 2015, the Conservatives literally shouted me down when I tried to speak to second a motion of no confidence in the then Leader, Michael Jones; the Conservatives behaved like a baying mob that day to prevent me speaking. In 2015 Conservative Councillors voted that they had full confidence in Michael Jones and refused to listen to any criticism of him!

In 2017 many of those same Conservative Councillors were lining up to expel Michael Jones from the Conservative Group. The Conservatives are always ready to kick someone when they’re down, but are less willing to listen to comments that are critical of those currently in power.’

Cheshire East Tories show their true colours in disgraceful, scenes at Council Meeting

There were disgraceful scenes in the Assembly Room at Macclesfield Town Hall last Thursday at a meeting of Cheshire East Council. When Labour Councillor Steve Carter attempted to make a...

The Labour group welcomes the announcement of a review by the Local Government Association (LGA) into the culture at Cheshire East Council that was announced on Thursday.

Well we would, given that we have been calling for such an independent review into the dysfunctional and bullying culture at Cheshire East Council for the past 6 months!

We hope that this will mark a change in the highly partisan approach taken by Conservative-controlled Cheshire East Council up until now. The review should be cross-party with all political groups involved in the review, including setting the terms of reference.

We hope that the review will be listened to, but the decision to press ahead with the Constitution re-write before the LGA has even reported back is worrying.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach East & Heath said "In March 2017 the Labour called for an external review into the culture at Cheshire East Council. It is a shame it has taken 6 months for the Conservatives to act. Some of the damage caused to the Council's reputation in the last 6 months could have been avoided if they had acted sooner."

Cllr Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South said, "I look forward to hearing the suggestions of the Local Government Association as to how the Council can improve the culture within the Council. If we can improve the culture and staff morale then that will provide knock-on effects to improve the delivery of services and the reputation of the Council." 

Tories accept Labour call for independent review of staffing culture at Cheshire East

The Labour group welcomes the announcement of a review by the Local Government Association (LGA) into the culture at Cheshire East Council that was announced on Thursday. Well we would,...

At the meeting of the full  Cheshire East Council in Macclesfield on Thursday 19th October, in what was at times a heated and passionate debate, the majority of the Tories on the Council voted to reject a call from the Labour Group, supported by many Independent Councillors, for the creation of a Cabinet of Unity.

The Labour Group and most of the Independents offered to work with those Tories untouched by the seemingly never-ending series of scandals, suspensions and police investigations at Cheshire East Council in a cross-party 'Cabinet of Unity' to work to restore the Council's badly damaged reputation. This offer was rejected, despite several experienced Tory Councillors voicing their concerns about the current situation.

Cllr Nick Mannion, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield West & Ivy, who formally proposed the   motion, said, “Whilst, turkeys were never likely to vote for Christmas, the sad fact was that Tory after Tory who spoke in the debate never offered a single word of apology to the residents, hard-working loyal Council staff or businesses of Cheshire East for the desperate situation the Council finds itself in, two years into their shambolic administration.'

 Cllr Sam Corcoran said, “The big message I get on the streets is for politicians to stop squabbling and work together. That’s what we offered in this proposal. Taking on any Cabinet role is a poisoned chalice at the moment and one Conservative Cabinet member stepped down to protect his own reputation. By contrast there are Labour and Independent councillors who are willing to risk their own reputations in order to protect the Council’s reputation.”

Cheshire East Tories Reject Call for Cross-Party Unity

At the meeting of the full  Cheshire East Council in Macclesfield on Thursday 19th October, in what was at times a heated and passionate debate, the majority of the Tories...

The Conservatives on Cheshire East Council have struggled to find decent candidates for several Cabinet posts, but the Finance Portfolio has been particularly problematic. The post was held by Michael Jones when the fateful decisions over Lyme Green were taken (with Peter Groves as his deputy).

 

Later the post was held by Sam Gardner until it was revealed that he caused Fomfest Ltd to misuse donations of at least £4,142 collected on behalf of a charity. Peter Groves was then brought back to the post, but recently resigned to protect his reputation Surely that should read to protect the reputation of the Council? However, the Conservative brand on Cheshire East Council is now so toxic that even Cabinet members are trying to distance themselves from the mess they have created.

 

The current Finance Portfolio Holder Cllr Paul Bates, is sustaining the doubtful Tory track record as he was a director of Solutions (EU) Ltd which went bust in 2010. Solutions (EU) Ltd, company number 06506411, was formed in only February 2008, but in less than 2 years later the company was wound up with unsecured creditors of £176,804.

 

Irene Faseyi, Labour Councillor for Crewe Central, said, “Why do the Conservatives keep putting the Council’s Finance Portfolio into the hands of people who have bankrupted companies? Cllr Paul Bates is the third since I became a councillor in 2011.”

 

Cllr Brian Roberts,  Labour Councillor for Crewe West, said,

 

“Paul Bates has also had problems with being accurate and transparent. For he uttered a load of what he later accepted was inaccurate gibberish at a recent meeting of the Full Council when asking Councillors to approve  £2.8million of additional funding for the controversial Ansa depot in Middlewich on the basis that it was a loan by the Council, to Ansa at commercial interest rates.It wasn’t!’

 

9th October 2017 Financial illiteracy and cabinet members for finance

The Conservatives on Cheshire East Council have struggled to find decent candidates for several Cabinet posts, but the Finance Portfolio has been particularly problematic. The post was held by Michael...

At the Audit and Governance Committee meeting on 28th September 2017 an internal
audit report into air quality was discussed.
In 2016, a response to a Freedom of Information Act request by a Sandbach resident
showed nitrogen dioxide levels of 39.5 microgrammes per cubic metre on Middlewich
Road in the town. This was queried by Sandbach Town councillors who commented
how it was suspiciously just below the threshold of 40 for declaring an Air Quality
Management Area. The accurate figure of 50.4 was later reported to an air quality
working group of Sandbach Town Council.
A staff member of Cheshire East Council raised concerns about the air quality data
more widely and this led to an external investigation which concluded that the data
had been deliberately and systematically manipulated over a number of years.
When the external investigation was commissioned it was supposed to determine the
reason for the errors and who is responsible. Sadly we still don’t know who did it or
why they did it and nobody has admitted responsibility (although at least one
Conservative Cabinet Member whose portfolio included air quality has denied any
responsibility on the grounds that Cabinet Members only deal in policy).
The review also identified that there were no policies or procedures in place to ensure
that air quality was effectively managed in accordance with statutory requirements.
Five new Air Quality Management Areas have now come into force from 1st October
2017.
The report presented said “Cheshire East Council’s real time analysers have recorded
no breaches of this limit for 2013, 2014 and 2015. By contrast, Putney Bridge in
London exceeded this limit on 19 occasions in the first week of 2016.” This might be
interpreted as an attempt to belittle the scale of the problem in Cheshire East. If that
was the intention then in came unstuck when Cllr Sam Corcoran presented the
detailed figures produced for Putney Bridge showing that although the number of
exceedences in 2015 & 2016 was very high, since March 2017 there had been NO
exceedences. In Putney the local council had measured the nitrogen dioxide levels on
an hourly basis, published the results, acknowledged the problem and taken steps to
improve air quality, leading to a dramatic improvement in air quality. The contrast
could not be greater with Cheshire East Council, where the problem was hidden, the
figures were manipulated and we are still awaiting any meaningful action to address
poor air quality on the Council’s own doorstep on Middlewich Road in Sandbach.
At the Audit Committee meeting the question was asked about why Cheshire East
Council’s team of data analysts had not picked up on the manipulation of air quality
data. The Conservative chair of the Audit Committee refused to allow discussion of
the manipulation of figures as that was subject to a police investigation and refused to

allow discussion of how to improve air quality as that would be a matter for a
different committee.
There have been issues with the publishing online of data from the few real time
analysers that Cheshire East Council operates.
Cllr Sam Corcoran said,
“In March 2016 I wrote “At a local level nitrogen dioxide along Middlewich Road is
already at high levels and will increase unless action is taken. I suspect that the
nitrogen dioxide levels along the pavements near the girls school are already at
dangerous levels (but the levels on the pavements are not measured ...). ” More
recently I have called for a real time air quality monitor on the pavement on
Middlewich Road between Sandbach High School and St Peter’s Rise. This could
then measure the levels of pollutants which children are breathing in on their way to
school. There are frequent traffic jams on this road at just the time when children are
walking to school. There is clear evidence that poor air quality affects children -
whether they are travelling in cars, cycling or walking. We need to improve air quality
along the routes to school for our children. At present the Conservatives are simply
denying there is a problem and not even measuring the air pollution levels on the
route from Elworth to the Sandbach secondary schools.”

Cllr Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South said,
As I said at the Environment & Regeneration Overview & Scrutiny Committee
recently, like my colleague, Cllr Brian Roberts, I live near an air quality management
area, and I have long thought there is something in the air in Crewe. The Clean Air
Acts of the last 60 years or so have made big changes, but air quality still needs to be
improved, not least by curbing the use of the internal combustion engine.
At a time when we are seeing year on year increasing levels of traffic congestion, and
there are also several thousand new houses in the pipeline for Cheshire East, it is vital
that the Council restores residents’ faith in how it carries out its legal duties regarding
the monitoring and control of air pollution in our towns and villages’.

Air Quality How Did the Manipulation Come to Light?

At the Audit and Governance Committee meeting on 28th September 2017 an internalaudit report into air quality was discussed.In 2016, a response to a Freedom of Information Act request by...

At the Audit and Governance Committee meeting on 28 September 2017 the
complaints received in 2016/17 were discussed. In total 1603 complaints were
received - a small increase on 1565 for 2015/16.
Top of the list of issues for complaints was waste and recycling (including missed bin
collections), with Highways a close second.
Highways complaints have started to rise again, up by 24% from 227 in 2015/16 to
281 in 2016/17. The main causes of complaints were due to repairs not being carried
out promptly and poor quality work.
The Council response was that reduced funding in 2016/17 has meant a ‘managed
decline’ in ‘network condition’.
The amount of disruption on the roads has increased due to all the house building
across the borough and this is set to increase further.
Cheshire East Council has outsourced all highways repair work

Cllr Brian Roberts, Labour Councillor for Crewe West said
‘Residents and motorists are suffering the consequences of chronic under-investment
in Cheshire east’s road network by the Tories, with many rural and estate roads not
having had any proper investment now for a decade.
Over the wet summer it has been no surprise to see here in Crewe an increase in the
rate of dilapidation of many of these neglected roads and footways.. With winter fast
approaching and with many of these defects being ignored by CEC, we can expect the
rate of dilapidation to accelerate, resulting in an upward  spiralling of costs of these
much delayed repairs.’

Cllr Janet Jackson, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central said:
‘The reality of the phrase ‘managed decline’ is that our already crumbling road
network, will see even further decay, with the Council seemingly retreating to little
more than a ‘patch and make do’ approach to our ageing road network, rather than a
systematic plan of investment and renewals to make our roads fit for the 21 st Century.’

Cheshire East Roads are in Managed Decline

At the Audit and Governance Committee meeting on 28 September 2017 thecomplaints received in 2016/17 were discussed. In total 1603 complaints werereceived - a small increase on 1565 for 2015/16.Top...

At Cheshire East Council’s Audit & Governance Committee meeting on 28
September 2017, Cllr Sam Corcoran challenged the Council’s external
auditors over their statement that no ‘non-compliances with relevant laws and
regulations’ had been identified during their audit work. Leaving aside the four
separate matters being investigated by the police (awarding of contracts to
CoreFit Ltd, Air Quality data manipulation, awarding of £70,000 to Berkeley
Primary Academy in Willaston and land acquisitions), Cllr Corcoran pointed
out that failing to comply with National Minimum Wage (‘NMW’) legislation is a
criminal offence.
Cheshire East Council has been embroiled in allegations that it failed to
comply with NMW legislation over payments to care workers who have to
sleep in the same premises as the people they are caring for. The Council has
repeatedly denied being in breach of NMW legislation. However, on 27
September, the Council issued a press release saying that it was going to
increase the amounts paid to staff and backdate the increase by 2 years.
It may now be possible to explain why the Council has chosen this moment to
change its mind and admit to having underpaid its workers. The Council claim
it is due to “a landmark legal ruling”, but the critical ruling was in November
2013. However, it may be more relevant that an HMRC amnesty to avoid
penalties and any criminal prosecution expires on 2 October!
The Conservative cabinet member for corporate policy and legal services
said: “We have undertaken an extensive review to establish exactly who this
ruling affects and how much each individual is owed.”
At the Audit Committee meeting Cllr Sam Corcoran quoted from an email in
March 2014 from a finance officer saying “I am looking into the financial
impact of the recent ruling over Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Ltd (Nov
2013) where it was decided that NMW is applicable for employees sleeping
shifts.” This makes clear that the Council has known about breaches of NMW
legislation for over 3 years.

Another email in June 2016 from a legal officer says “There is no limit on the
length of arrears that can be claimed, provided it is all part of the same series
of unlawful deductions.” In the light of this clear advice back in 2014 another
Labour Councillor on the committee, Nick Mannion, then asked Cheshire East
officers why the extra pay was only being backdated for 2 years.
Officers then announced that the increase could be backdated by 6 years and
that the backpay will affect about 160 people and will cost the Council about
£200,000 for the first 2 years and about an additional £100,000 for 6 years.
Cllr Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South said;
‘It is a great pity that CEC chose to ignore the advice of officers who warned
at the time that the council were in breach of NMW legislation. Instead they
resorted to what is now known to be the usual default position of denial and
blaming the very people who alerted them to the problem. 
This whole sorry business has cost employees their jobs, denied low paid
workers their employment rights and will ultimately cost the taxpayers of
Cheshire East yet another unnecessary expense.’

National Minimum Wage

At Cheshire East Council’s Audit & Governance Committee meeting on 28September 2017, Cllr Sam Corcoran challenged the Council’s externalauditors over their statement that no ‘non-compliances with relevant laws andregulations’ had...

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