`Merging Hull & East Yorkshire Councils – an end to unaccountable ‘petty fiefdoms!’

I look forward to reading the report produced by the team set up by Hull City Council to look at the options for the future of Local Authority Administrative Boundaries in our part of the world.
I have made several, well publicised statements about the need to work closer together in the promotion of the area and to make savings in the use of shared resources, but I have been firmly against the swallowing up of the Haltemprice villages into a Greater Hull.
I maintain this position, as adding 80,000 population and a dozen or so Councillors into Hull, would have little impact on the political makeup of the Council and hardly propel its population levels into the big league.
It would also have a detrimental affect on East Yorkshire Council by removing the wealthiest Wards which contribute most to the Council coffers and have the important demographics.
I do however think the case for merging the two Councils completely is overwhelming and needs serious debate without the usual ‘histrionics’ from the leadership of East Riding Council.
A population of over 600,000 and shared budgets of circa £2 billion with over 1000 square miles, would propel us into the big league and more excitingly, the political balance between ‘red and blue’ would be close to equilibrium.
Tory voters in Hull and Labour voters in East Yorkshire who feel disenfranchised would be re-energised, as every vote would count for a change.
A strong opposition is what is desperately missing in both Councils which continue as virtual ‘One Party States’ or ‘Rotten Boroughs’.
Whatever the performance of the Councils, each knows that pretty much without exception, they will continue to be returned to power by their tribal electorate and continue in their ‘petty fiefdoms’ without fear of scrutiny or any real accountability.
A balanced electorate would keep each side on their toes and it would give real power to the minority parties as they could envisage holding the balance of power on occasions too.
The savings on the use of shared resources would be considerable and mean that a fully integrated economic plan for the Area can be promoted on the National and International stage.
It also gives the opportunity to look at strategic relationships with other Local Authorities in the Region and ensure we are not left behind when more devolved powers are give out to the English Regions.
I hope that such powers also mean the development of an ‘Elected Mayor’ too, so that we can have more scrutiny, more accountability and more democracy!!
As I said I look forward to actually reading the report, published today, but if it promises the above it will get my support.

What have the Tories ever done for us?

A doorstep in West Hull and Hessle

Mike Whitehead (MW): Hello, my name is Mike Whitehead and I’m your Conservative candidate for the General Election in May.

Potential Voter (PV): Tory? What have the Tories every done for us?

MW: Your lovely new house, did you take advantage of the Help To Buy Scheme (https://www.conservatives.com/ShareTheFacts/post?name=5-facts-you-need-know-help-buy)?

PV: Well, I suppose there is that, we couldn’t have afforded a huge deposit and it’s great knowing we’re finally on the housing ladder. But other than helping us buy the house, what have the Tories every does for us?

MW: What about that van parked on the drive, it looks like you run your own business?

PV: Yeah, and it was my hard work that got me there, nobody else!

MV: And hasn’t it been getting easier to run that business in the last few years? From cutting red tape to reducing your business rates, the Conservatives have done a lot to help. Even better, from April we’re also cutting the jobs tax, so you might even find you pay no jobs tax at all (https://www.conservatives.com/ShareTheFacts/post?name=6-vital-things-were-doing-help-small-business)

PV: Well, I guess my accountant has been looking a little bit more cheerful these days, and I have just taken on that new apprentice to help me with the extra orders. But other than helping us buy our house and helping our business grow, what have the Tories ever done for us?

MW: I can see your child’s reading folder on the windowsill there; how are they finding school?

PV: She really loves it, and that new head teacher is making a huge difference to school, breath of fresh air. They’re even learning times tables by heart, just like I had to, keeping me on my toes trying to remember them!

MW: And that hasn’t always been the case has it? In the past, parents did anything they could to get their child into a different school, now they’re fighting to get them in. The Conservatives believe that every child should have the best start in life, and we won’t allow schools to coast. We believe that every child should have the solid foundation of being able to read and write properly and use basic maths like multiplication and long division by the time they leave primary school (https://www.conservatives.com/ShareTheFacts/post?name=giving-every-child-best-start-life).

PV: OK, so apart from helping us to buy our house, grow our business and give our little Maisie a good education, what have the….oh, I see what you mean.

MW: Oh, and one more thing:

The Lowest Inflation on record

New figures from the Office of National Statistics show that inflation has fallen to 0.3% – its lowest on record (ONS, Consumer Price Index, 17 Feb 2015).

Another appalling Staff Satisfaction survey 2014

The Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals Acute NHS Trust has quietly published on it’s website the latest results of the 2014 Staff survey into morale of the workforce.
Remembering that the 2013 results were the worst in the UK with 23% of respondents saying they had experienced bullying and intimidation in the workplace, the fact that this year it is 35%, an increase of another 12% on top, where must the Trust be in 2014 ??
Of course it maybe that the publicity given to bullying at HEY by myself and others has encouraged more staff to come forward and say they are being bullied.
It may also be the ACAS report published last year which cited institutional bullying lead from the top, that has caused such an increase in negative responses too.
Whatever the reasons, it is truly shocking and the regime ran by the previous Chief Executive and in particular those people responsible for monitoring their behaviour should hang their heads in shame!
The Chair, Non-Executives and Scrutiny(sic!) Councillors who failed to do their jobs are just as culpable, for this appalling treatment of our dedicated NHS staff.
Lets hope lessons have been learnt and that where they still can be, the wrongs are righted soon.
It is to be welcomed that the Secretary of State for Health has said further investigation into the Morley regime is needed.
It looks like things are starting to happen at last.
The really interesting thing will be how his current hospital Princess Alexandra, Harlow, Essex react to the investigation in Hull.
We need to watch every day to see if the Mr Morley is still working as its CEO and not away on ‘Special Projects’

Join Mike and special guests at a lunchtime event at the KC Stadium on 6 March


Following the very successful fundraising event before Christmas,  Mike will again be hosting an exciting and informative luncheon at the KC Stadium on Friday 6 March. Joining him will be Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley & Holderness; Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes; and Humberside Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Grove.

Following a buffet lunch, you will hear the thoughts of these influential Conservatives about the forthcoming General Election campaign and how you can help ensure a positive result on 7 May. You will also have the opportunity to participate in what promises to be a lively question and answer session with the three guests.

The event will start at 12.30pm with lunch scheduled for 1pm. Tickets are priced at £20.

We expect this event to be very popular so if you are interested in attending, please RSVP by email to cllrmikewhitehead@yahoo.co.uk or phone 07774 010021.

We look forward to welcoming you on the day.

Todays Hull Daily Mail Front page – More local NHS scandal!

I am very pleased to see todays front page in the Hull Daily Mail and I congratulate them and former Non-Executive Director Ursula Vickerton, for confirming what internally in the Trust has be known for some time now.
Details of the scandalous way the Trust was managed by Mr Morley are gradually being exposed, but there is much, much more to come!
The ‘golden hello’ to the very Director of Human Resources responsible for overseeing the Trusts recruitment process is bad enough(she received a relocation package when she didn’t move house and worked 20 miles nearer to her home), but salary enhancements to a favoured few, whilst the Trust is in financial meltdown, is nothing short of scandalous!
These favoured few are the very ones picked out by ACAS as being the main bullying perpetrators!
Yet this is only the tip of the financial iceberg as the External Auditors report will eventually reveal.
I have no doubt one of two of the Non-Executive Directors did have concerns about Phil Morley’s regime, but they did very little to highlight things at the time.
It is no so brave to go public now, when others have blazed a trail before, at the height of the scandals, but at least when the new Trust Management is not revealing the full picture, then the former non executive’s input is still welcome.
I hope that as the ‘cat is firmly out of the sack’ now the Trust will reveal all, as this constant ‘peeling back of the onion of truth’ is damaging.
I have spoken personally to the Secretary of State last month and advised him of the full position to make him  aware of what was going on and hope that action can still be taken against the guilty.
The full story will come out when Pauline Lewin is free to speak which is getting nearer by the day.
So I call upon the Trust to release the original full KPMG report and answer the many still outstanding questions.
Questions about the full cost of termination packages to Directors who left under Morley, about the cost of training courses for Directors which were not subject to normal tendering processes and recruitment of ‘cronies’ to senior, high salaried posts. All at a time when £95m was being taken out of front line patient care!
The relationship between the CEO and one of these cronies is of course subject to much internal gossip.

Now is the time for this to be fully investigated, as surely if the gossip were to be found to be true, then the Police should be called in now too?