Comment on: Audit Commission could run until 2014
Norman Blunt on 26/02/2011 11:37 am asks and answers probably one of the most important questions viz :-
Q : So, Big Eric and Little Shappsy, what will we have in its place to force landlords to provide a decent standard of properties and good quality services???
ANS : Oh, er, nothing.
So Norman has so usefully flagged up the absence of a REMEDY which should exist and could be taken out against the ills & wrongs & waste which exist within the Public Housing Sector .
However , once upon a time , [ and - since it had been provided by Parliament – at least in theory ] , there was the statutory power of the District Auditors [ DA’s ] appointed by the Audit Commission to surcharge Council Members & Officers for wrongdoings , or failures , on behalf of the Electorate & Council Tax Payers , across all areas of the Council’s Accounts , including Housing .
If it had now existed , I believe that this would have given some sort of handle [ even if perhaps only indirectly ] on those Landlords whom Norman refers to .
Unfortunately , that was removed a few years back , as has been stated on a Crazy Council Blog [ A very interesting site !! ] : The link is here :-
I believe that it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that what Eric Pickles MUST DO , is to give the Public a REMEDY , against failures & corruption within Councils .
The Ratcliffe-Maude Committee 1965 [ which pre-dated Nolan by many years ] defined corruption as simply that the loss was suffered by the Public .
Remember this : “That when two people meet to discuss money belonging to a third , fraud is inevitable”
Since the possibility of being able to SURCHARGE Council Members and / or Officers IE To make them personally liable for illegal expenditure , has been REMOVED , by the last Government , Council Officers believe themselves absolutely fireproof to censure of any kind , and Members simply often collude and cover-up irregularities carried out by Officers .
The Public must be given back this handle on these Quangocrat & FatCat Councils and , as another blog has stated , this handle must have TEETH .
So , through this Blog , I am appealing that , PLEASE MR PICKLES , SURCHARGING OF COUNCIL MEMBERS AND OFFICERS MUST BE RE-INSTATED .
Further , it must not be dependent upon Private Funding of Legal Fees , since Councils will simply expend Public Monies on defences and prosecutions to protect Council members & Employees .
Whilst this Blog naturally focuses on Housing , one example where Councils are completely out of control , is in the area of parking charges .
I would refer to this practice as , an "abuse of power " within Councils . Councils across the land have seized on the opportunity to use the powers of going De-Crim when taking over the collection of parking fines from the Police and they have been entirely driven by the purpose of increasing revenue , rather than these being invoked for ensuring road-safety and / or access , ie the purposes prescribed within the relevant Road Traffic Order Regulations . This is a prime example of this wide-spread "abuse of power ".
I believe that this has and is being done at the expense of many small Businesses , which Council's Parking Policies are often simply killing-off .
Have you had any Parking Fines ?
Had the Council who legally administered the installation of the Parking Zones & Double & Single Yellow Lines etc complied with the prescribed Traffic Order Regulations ?
If not , any monies collected would be a case of " money laundering" , since it would have been acquired unlawfully and be caught by the "Proceeds of Crime Act "
Further , I also believe that it might be argued that this is a fundamental breach of the fiduciary duty owed by each Council , to the Electorate [ where often Local Owners as a Group are a sub-Class of the Electorate ] , and also since Business failures being brought about primarily by parking restrictions result in loss of Business rates paid to each Council , let alone Councils exhibiting a policy of installing Residents Parking Permit Zones at the expense of Small Businesses , with the protestations from Businesses often ignored .
Might it might be useful for some Bloggers to follow a Council’s fiduciary duty as it relates to Housing ?
Expressed , in the round , as it were , my conclusion is that Councils have stolen the assets of the [ mainly ] urban roads from the Electorate , and are busy renting these back to the Electorate , to maximise revenue income via Parking Permits , for Residents & Businesses [ Business permits are , in any case , vastly inflated compared with Residents Permits ] , together with Fines from all .
Not least in Residential Areas within Urban Areas .
Thus this abuse of power does impinge upon the Housing Sector .
Comment on: Audit Commission prepares to go private
Thanks PSR ,
Please could you expand on this ?
Comment on: Audit Commission prepares to go private
May I please put a question to Mr Gareth Davies through these pages of Inside Housing ?
He has been quoted as stating : " The top priority as always is delivering an excellent service to our clients for the rest of this audit year and the next . That's the single most effective investment in any future we might have " .
Please would Mr Davies define just exactly who he means when he refers to " Our Clients " ?
Thank you in anticipation Mr Davies
Comment on: Final curtain
Closed Circuit quotes Audit Commission Staff as being " sombre in conversation" and , of the telephone hold music saying :-
‘We should change it really: I was thinking that Beethoven or Tchaikovsky might reflect the mood here a little better.’
As well as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky , G F Handel wrote a few good tunes . Perhaps the AC might " hold a review " , and consider the Dead March from the Opera Saul ?
Surely this comment from AC Staff [ and their worrying about their own jobs ] exemplifies the trivial nature of the AC ?
But on a serious note : Perhaps Audit Commission Staff might cast a thought for Joe Public , who has seen the law changed by the removal of surcharge of Members of Councils and their Officers , such that many " Jobsworths " employed by Councils believe themselves not only unaccountable and untouchable , but also " above the law " . This has led to a widespread abuse -of-power by Council Members and Council Officers , at the expense of the Public , and with the Public having NO REMEDY against these Jobsworths . You have only to look at the widespread abuse of Traffic Regulations -- where Councils are simply killing off Businesses in order to maximise revenue from fines . The purpose of such laws was and is not for screwing Joe Public for every penny , but primarily for ensuring SAFETY on our roads . When Councils took over the power to collect Traffic Fines from the Police when going De-Crim , how was it that the roads became so much more dangerous overnight and instantaneously at the stroke of midnight ? Jean Beuscher
Comment on: Pickles scraps Audit Commission
Re comment by "Anonymous " at 6-12 on 16 August being that " everyone else was terrified to even criticize the Audit Commission " .
I have done a trawl and would flag-up this link to a House of Lords Constitution Committee Inquiry into " The Accountability of Regulators to the Public " where a detailed case-study published in 2004 and which damned the Audit Commission makes most interesting reading in the light of Mr Pickles' current actions re the Commission . The link is here :-
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