Sunday, May 17, 2015

Police tsar under fire after giving £60,000 contract to organisation that did not legally exist and employs his deputy's daughter

The mosquito

A police tsar has been forced to defend handing a £60,000 contract to a crime-tackling organisation that doesn't legally exist - and which also employs his deputy's daughter.

West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson has been told he has 'serious questions' to answer by a Conservative MP.

The daughter of his deputy, Yvonne Mosquito, works for a group which was awarded a six-month contract to provide help and support to Birmingham companies targeted by criminals.

But Broad Street BID (Business Improvement District), where Alicia Mosquito is deputy manager, no longer legally exists.

Its five-year remit of working on behalf of city centre businesses ran out after March 31 at around the same time the decision to award the contract was made.

However, the PCC's office has said no money has been handed over and any suggestion that it has acted improperly 'is completely and utterly untrue and incorrect'.

The daughter of the deputy police and crime commissioner (DPCC), a university law graduate, joined the Broad Street team ten months ago as an unpaid intern to general manager Mike Olley and was later employed in the full-time position.

An investigation by the Birmingham Mail also discovered a friend of Ms Mosquito's daughter has been taken on in a temporary role as a research assistant on a salary believed to be £18,000 to £20,000 per year.

A PCC spokesman confirmed she worked closely with the DPCC, and attended some engagements with her.

Labour PCC Jamieson was elected to the £100,000 per year West Midlands policing role in August following the sudden death of his predecessor Bob Jones.

He is facing more questions over the resignation of his chief executive Jacky Courtney, who left on April 17, with sources claiming she could be awarded a substantial payout from the taxpayer.

Sources, who say she did not want to leave the role, claim restructuring savings made by the PCC could be offset by a substantial payout to Ms Courtney.

Meanwhile, a consulting firm only set up last summer by a magistrate and her business partner was paid £43,000 in contracts after being brought in to help save money.

Two former Labour Party activists have allso been taken on in non-advertised, taxpayer-funded roles, it has been reported.

Julian Knight, Conservative MP for Solihull, said: 'This raises serious questions that Mr Jamieson needs to answer.'

Yvonne Mosquito, who earns £65,000 per year in her deputy PCC role, has been linked to controversies in the past.

The Broad Street BID was first set up in 2005 after a ballot of local businesses who agreed to contribute to its runnings costs. Its legal status has to be renewed every five years with a new ballot.

That happened in 2010, but did not take place before the next five-year deadline of March 31 - the date a decision was made to award the £60,000 contract to the Broad Street BID.

The group is now set to be renamed as Westside BID, covering a wider business area, once a new ballot is eventually held, expected to be in June.

Alicia Mosquito and Mike Olley, a former Labour councillor, will continue in their roles with the new organisation.

It has been reported that the PCC office was initially set to give the business victim support contract to Broad Street BID 'months ago' without putting the contract out to tender. A police figure is said to have objected to the lack of procurement, and other applications were then invited.

A number of BID teams from across the city applied, but the Broad Street group was awarded the six-month Ministry of Justice-funded contract at the end of March. The decision was announced on the PCC website after the Broad Street BID ceased to exist after March 31.

It is understood an official complaint was lodged to the PCC office by a rival BID team which pointed out the Broad Street BID no longer existed.

In a statement about Ms Courtney, the PCC's office said: 'Jacky Courtney took voluntary redundancy.

'The reasons behind her decision are a matter for her. In the drive for value for money the PCC reduced the salary for the chief executive post by over £20,000 as part of the ongoing review. The settlement process is ongoing.'

It added: 'To reduce costs and ensure that the taxpayer gets value for money the PCC is restructuring his office.

'As part of this restructure the chief executive’s salary has been reduced by over £20,000 and the overall budget has been reduced by over £300,000, making the PCC’s office budget the smallest share of any force budget in the country.'

Original report here

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