Monday, 22 November 2010

Ombudsman to review Holyhead Grants case

Last month I highlighted the case of Holyhead resident, Mr Gwynfor Pierce, who has long maintained to Anglesey County Council that there were serious irregularities in the handling of the Housing Renovation and Town Improvement Grants he received. After a three year battle the council earlier this year finally admitted that "...evidence exists that external parties have sought to defraud the council" and the case was submitted for further investigation to the council's external auditors, PriceWaterhouseCoopers. You can read the full story here.

Last week came further good news: thanks to Mr Pierce's persistence coupled with strong support from North Wales regional AM, Mark Isherwood, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has now agreed to a full review of Mr Pierce's case. Lets now hope that these issues will be resolved once and for all.

128 comments:

Photon said...

That is good news, and I hope the Ombudsman treats matters without bias. Sadly, the Ombudsman is not always what we might expect of it, and my advice would be for those concerned to ensure that, using Data Protection and FoIA legislation, they are kept updated of the Council's responses to the Ombudsman's questions. Sometimes, these can be very revealing and often written without realising others can obtain them.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Good for Mr Pierce.
But what of the other cases....??

Prometheuswrites said...

I think this article reflects on the matters involving councillor Durkin and also picks up on other matters regarding 'quashing dissent and robust scrutiny'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11802910

"What we have at the moment is not fit for purpose. It's actually bringing down the reputation of politics by turning it into petty back-biting and complaints when we should be serving a higher purpose and working on behalf of our constituents," he said.

"It's actually preventing councillors from doing their job of robust scrutiny and holding the administration to account and unless we reform it, it will continue to deteriorate."

This next sentence should prick up the ears and focus the minds of some in IOACC:

"Calls for reform of the role come at a time when the Westminster government is looking to do away with the code of conduct for councillors in England.

Instead, serious misconduct by councillors will become a criminal offence to be dealt with by the courts. Councillors will also have to register certain personal interests in a publically available register".

However:

"Reform also does not appear to be on the agenda of the Welsh Assembly Government".

Unfortunately for the Ombudsman's Office public confidence is low, (on the evidence of previous posts on this blog), in the rigour of the investigation of cases by the Ombudsman.

Further damaging to the reputation of public scrutiny in Wales is the situation at the Audit Offices (see yesterday's blog post on Photon), and not just the situation with Mr Coleman; there's also the audit commissions' pension black hole and the matter of raising fraudulent invoices for monitoring work that was never done.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11496089
and from Valleys Mam: (thank you Mam)
http://merchmerthyr.blogspot.com/2010/11/more-fraud-and-bad-practise-at-wales.html

So it looks like the answer to the question "quis custodiet ipsos custodes" (Who guards the guardians) is 'it's us'!
(though truth to tell it should be "who watches the guardians?)


PS. My word verification was 'sermon'

Brawd o Amlwch said...

The Localism and Decentralisation Bill to be published by the end of this month will have sections on reinforcing local accountability and public scrutiny of administrative decision-making.....interestingly it also proposes the abolition of the Standards Boards regime....watch this space !

Anonymous said...

Bearing in mind Bowles and McGregor sought to suppress the truth whilst simultaneously running a public relations exercise to improve Anglesey Council's image at a cost of £700,000 do these gents now admit their straregy is a failure and that they should resign forthwith?

This little episode will put back the "its' always sunny here" campaign which is clearly untrue at Anglesey Council.

The knock down and rebuild job was the preferred route to rebuild the Council's reputation but the problem with paper overing the cracks with anaglypta wallpaper is that does not stretch so the cracks are now visible and even bigger after further building fatigue.

What a botch job....Resign Bowles and McGregor

Puck said...

For a moment I thought the Druid had written the Afternoon play on Radio 4 - 'Number 10' - very topical.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00w196j


"With the Alliance threatening to fall apart Nathan will stop at nothing to get Plaid Cymru and the Greens on their side"

Puck said...

Well my listening enjoyment has been rudely interupted on radio $ - right in the middle of Number 10 - I thought matbe it had been to close to the knuckle, but further investigation shows that ALL AM and FM radio is down.

Does anyone know what has happened?

Puck said...

Well, all the BBC channels seemed to be down - but they just came back on - wierdness

Anonymous said...

That certainly quietened down those who continually shouted, where's the Evidence?

Well the evidence is with those that matter. As for those who sat on that evidence all this time, denying its very existence.
SHAME ON THEM.

As for the Ombudsman who's first decision was not to Investigate until forced to do so now.
SHAME ON YOU ALSO.

Paul Williams said...

There have been a number of comments which I have not allowed for making specific allegations. Please feel free to comment, but please be very careful what you write so as to not imply things which may be unwarranted...

Anonymous said...

The Ombudsman is the almost extinct variety of the "Great Toothless Tiger" (latin: Cattus twattus) that sports prowess and looks very mean but does'nt even have the energy to run after a rabbit.

This creature needs support and encouragement to run after its quarry.

Photon said...

One sprig of hope is that the Ombudsman is pretty cash-strapped these days, and will only investigate serious cases with good evidence of maladministration and injustice arising from it.

Quiet on here since the postings approval came into being, innit? An own-goal, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Oh for goodness sake! Here we go again. The ombudsman says he will investigate but already some are refusing to accept his decisions! Getting thei retaliation in early they must be anticipating another damp squib of a report.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the Ombudsman reviews the raft of documentary evidence gleaned off IoACC files subsequent to his intitial investigation, especially the docs that IoACC marked as "Redacted" yet mistakenly disclosed together with another complainants docs.

Lug

voice on the street said...

with the head of the welsh audit commision starting a jail sentence for horrific child porn offences,is it any wonder that those from up here have very little confidence in those inspectors from down there, coming up here and preaching

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TGC said...

",is it any wonder that those from up here have very little confidence in those inspectors from down there, coming up here and preaching"

Yes, but Jeremy Colman, repugnant though his crimes were, wasn't actually a failure so far as identifying, in a very robust manner, the failings within our rubbish Council. In that respect, he did very well (and please, don't start a flame war by cross-linking his crimes with his work)

Ultimately, I doubt very much anyone here would claim Colman's judgement on Anglesey Council was in any way wrong. He was spot-on, if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Officers were misled by agents appointed by the owners. Bashing the Council is easy, tackling dodgy practices in the private sector seem to be swept under the carpet. A touch of propotion and fairness is needed here. As it stands further digging won't reveal any breach of the Nolan principles, just a further waste of public money.

Anonymous said...

19:56
Officer were mislead...Who are you trying to kid?

Further to that. It should be a matter from the Police, not the Ombudsman. So why has the Police not taken a leading roll in investigating this scandal?

Prometheuswrites said...

TGC:
I agree with your comment re: Mr Coleman.

A good analysis concerning this matter has been posted on Photon's blog.

Anonymous said...

19.56:
"Officers were misled by agents appointed by the owners"

Owners were misled by agents.

If this had happened in the private sector the problems would never have progressed so far as payments would not have been made for poor work.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, but I wouldn't thrust the Ombudsman to come to an impartial decision, no more than I could throw him.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Yes True.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You can shove the Nolan Principles where the Sun don't shine Mr Council Officer. We are talking plain and simple Theft by False Accounting and it involves fabricating and misrepresenting financial documents and YES we do have documentary evidence but unfortunately we do not have specialist law enforcement officers who have the ability to understand and unravel complex financial crime.

Anonymous said...

Like IoACC saying the HRG is exempt from building regulations - coz that has happened too.

Anonymous said...

The big difference this time around with regard to the Ombudsman reviewing Gwyn's case is the fact he will not be furnished with selected documents by the person/department under investigation as was the case in the inititial review.

Anonymous said...

Anon 00.10

My understanding of the requirements is that Building Regulations is not a pre requisite of a HRG, the nature of the building work determines whether the regulations apply. If the grant awarded was in respect of repairing an existing dwelling then BR would not apply.

As I understand, some aspects of Mr Pierce's HRG was exempt from BR because those elements were an existing situation. However BR would apply to any new works and an inspection of those works by BR Officers would be carried out if and when notified by the applicant (or his Agent). In this instance I believe that BR department were not notified by the Agent involved hence it was after completion they had the opportunity to carry out their checks.

So it appears to me that the Council is again being targeted unfairly here for the incompetence of others.

Anonymous said...

13:41
Your,In the main, talking rubish

Anonymous said...

Since you know all about HRG why don't you enlighten your Auditors, Solicitors and Grant Nanager on the National Assembly for Wales circular 2002.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Grant Manager.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This is an example of the level of probity shown by the Ombudsman and Internal Audit.

In Gwyn's case, the Builder subsequent to the Ombudsman initial investigation reported to Gwyn's Accountant that the Sales Invoices used to claim Grant HAD NOT BEEN RAISED by his company.

As is transpired the invoices used to claim the Grant where in fact the original invoices and the invoices the builder reported to the Accountant as being orignals where produced in order to silence the Accountant and the order to raise these false late appearing invoices came directly from the Grant's Manager at IoACC.

And YES we do have documentary evidence in support of this.

I disproved all Internal Audit Reports because they incorrectly reported the false invoices where the originals which is not the case.

It annoys me when I think about how much Public Money has been expended on Internal Audit's cover-up reports.

Lug

Anonymous said...

12.17 "and YES we do have documentary evidence in support of this"

Well LUG, it looks as if you've got them by the short and curlies does'nt it, or does it?

The point you should be asking yourself is this. Who's actually gained financially from this saga? Facts:-

GP has two grants, one from the Welsh Assembly and one from IOACC. He get's his dilapidated almost ruinous building completely renovated, creating two neat residentail units in the bargain. The poor builder gets paid less than his tender price, for more work than originally scheduled for the job, and to top it all GP claims the grant money and pockets most of it. All this is fact, evidence,documents on file.

All this mud slinging about theft, false accounting, corruption and any other slanderous comments used in this blog about Council Officials is all a red herring and should be ignored.

2 out of 10 AH must try harder.

Anonymous said...

Anon 16:15 - You're flapping so much you've taken off and banged your head on the ceiling and are talking complete nonsense.

Ask a competent Solicitor to explain the implications of Section 3, Fraud Act 2006.

Don't take my word for it but this Act makes provision for Person(s) to be charged with False Accounting regardless of personal gain.

I am going to put you where you belong and that is behind bars.

As you well know, I labelled your Internal Audit Report a Red Herring on a raft of deception before I dismantled it in front of your entire Audit Section and reduced Mr Pierce's contribution by Circa. £30,000.

With regard to the scoring, judging by your past numerical misrepresentations I doubt you can count past 2.

My advice to you is simple, get to grips with IoACC Grant Policy otherwise your P45 will be in the post.

Lug

Anonymous said...

I will be writing to Bowles and McGregor this week.

Frankly, I don't expect a reply as they will be lost for words. They will be forced to come to terms with the fact that IoACC Grant Officer's have breached Grant Policy.

I will of course forward copies onto PWC for their amusement.

Andy

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

If fraud is present, then why have the Council not reported this to the Police?????

AH

Anonymous said...

Because the evidence infers it's an inside job and Bowles and McGregor prefer to ignore the facts in order to protect their officer's rather than the Public.

Anonymous said...

"If fraud is present, then why have the Council not reported this to the Police?????"

A very good question that.

Failure to report a notifiable crime to the police is itself a crime, otherwise questions about probity and conspiracy to defraud may be alleged.

Anonymous said...

Council Anon quoted:

"GP has two grants, one from the Welsh Assembly and one from IOACC. He get's his dilapidated almost ruinous building completely renovated, creating two neat residentail units in the bargain. The poor builder gets paid less than his tender price, for more work than originally scheduled for the job, and to top it all GP claims the grant money and pockets most of it. All this is fact, evidence,documents on file."

Let's break that down:-

The aims and objectives of the Envelope Grant Scheme was to enhance the appearance and to provide/create quality residential property to be leased to the local authority under the Private Sector Leasing Scheme.

The builder, agent and Grant Officer's where fully aware of a reduced contract value, and a revised TIG Cost Analysis Document is held on Council files and IoACC failed to disclose it to Mr Pierce. If it was not for the WAG this document would never have come to light. The best thing about it is, the WAG received this important financial document from IoACC. The Audit Manager apologised for overlooking this document after 120 day investigation.

False accounting is going to stick considering the extensive evidence that infers concealment; financial misrepresentations; photocopied signatures; missing money; over-charging; retrospectively fabricating an audit trail by raising false invoices; missing tax invoices and accompanying payment certificates.

Frankly every document produced by IoACC is suspect especially the photocopied ones that do not contain an IoACC date stamp.

By the way, I don't think you where involved in the fabricating of Invoices I know you where because we have the redacted E-Mail that proves it.

I'm so looking forward to PWC report which will be made Public.

AH

Anonymous said...

IoACC stick this in your pipe and smoke it:-

The missing/concealed HRG final Interim Progress Payment Certificate is now to hand. If you don't believe me then here are the details contained therein:

i) Contract Value (Inclusive of 10% agent fees £62,450.07p;

ii) Contract Value excluding Agents Fees £56,205.08p (Inclusive of VAT) and £47,834.10p (Exclusive of VAT).

For the record £56,205.08p is somehow contained on the TIG Grant Claim Forms and Interim Progress Payment Certificates as the amount of executed work carried out to date and has been measured by IoACC.

Please note, the contract value; invoices and payment structure vary considerably between the two Grants making it impossible for the TIG executed work to be measured exactly the same as the HRG.

We are missing not just a raft of documents but an entire correspondence file held by IoACC.

Don't worry boys, it's not only IoACC who leak sensitive documents ask Hilary Clinton if you don't believe me.

AH

Anonymous said...

I got the Gold star this week and am teachers pet. Only a bent Grant Officer could mark me 2/10.

Anonymous said...

The snides in IoACC failed to mention to Mr Pierce that Agents Fees are Grant Eligible and are including in the Contract Value.

Poor Mr Pierce was charged 10% Agent Fees in addition and no one bothered to tell him. If we look at the HRG for example Mr Pierce should have been charged £56,205 + £6,245 Agent Fees = £62,450 and not £62,450 + £6,245 Agent Fees = £68,695.

Please note the above contract value reflects the cost based on the original tender before taking into consideration omitted items of expenditure which should have been deducted from £56,205.

IoACC have a of explaining to do and this time they will be made to answer.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"GP claims the grant money and pockets most of it"

The HRG funding should have been paid direct to the builder.

There was £27,200 funding out of £37,500 still held by the Council when Mr Pierce complained. (the builder was on a snagging list)

Who would have pocketed most of it ?

IoACC then gave the builder £8,450 when he came back and re-laid a floor to get rid of some of the funding they still had. Now theres £17,750 still held for the snag list.

Gwyn

Anonymous said...

Gwyn 2 December, 2010 00:52

So IOACC has'nt paid the builder all the HRG money, only half. Normally HRG is paid on satisfactory completion of the work. If that has'nt happened then IOACC have, quite rightly it would seem, withheld the HRG funding.

You have'nt metioned the other grant, TIG. Who got paid, how much and where did it go?

I suspect you may be keeping this information back deliberately.

Anonymous said...

14.32

From what I can see your friend had a Council grant (HRG) approved for £37,500 towards a total cost of eligible works of £62,450.08, inc VAT. ( which I note increased at final account stage to £64,657.02.

This was including a maximum grant eligible agency fee at that time of £1,800.99.

Regardless of what fee he was charged by his agent, £1800.99 was the maximum fee that could be included under a grant. That information I note is in a letter dated 29 April, 2005 to Mr Pierce's first agent.

It would appear therefore that the information WAS issued by the Council.

If a 10% fee had been agreed with the second agent, on the reduced contract sum of £62,450.08, then the fee of £6,245 at least makes arithmetical sense, if nothing else.

You appear to be making a mistake in dicounting the original tendered sum of £78,769.65 (inc VAT). The grant eligible works as stated was £62,450.08, having deducted non eligible grant works amounting to £16,319.58. This cannot be deducted twice?

Maybe this is why you keep coming up with wrong conclusions, confusing the issue and making false libelous allegations.

My advice to you is stop misinforming your friend, the public, fellow bloggers of this site and anyone else that you have dragged into this saga. Check your maths again, against factual figures i.e tendered figures, approval documents, contract instructions (issued by the agent) and the final account agreed with him and the builder.

This will provide you with the true picture, which may help you sleep better.

Man in the know, not being a Grant nor Council Officer

Anonymous said...

Can the Anon Council Officer kindly explain how the Grant Officer measured the HRG work as £35,250 on 4th July, 2007 and complete with exception of quote "Polyfila and a lick of paint" and the builder left site on 6th July, 2007 but an unsigned and undated cost analysis produced by IoACC show the cost as £68,695 after taking into account circa. £16K of omissions.

We can prove the paperwork for HRG has been used to claim TIG funding. The measured work on the final TIG Grant Claim Form and Interim Progress Payment Certificates supports this, it's simply mathematically impossible.

IoACC were fully aware of a reduced contract value but concealed this from Gwyn. It has been proven on more than one occasion that IoACC have concealed relevant financial documents from Gwyn, and this raises the question why?

AH

Anonymous said...

FOA:- The Man in the know - Are you aware that Grant Officials determine the cost based on estimates provided by the builder.

The HRG contract of £62,450 was derived at through this process and not as you claim through omitting non-eligible items such as painting; flooring and agents fees which all happen to be grant eligible.

Also, the Grant Approval should have been re-approved if any omissions or alterations were made to the original tender. The Grant Approval issued by IoACC clearly states that all the specified work is Grant Eligible and the cost has been determined by IoACC. This is Grant Policy.

Is there any wonder why IoACC failed to capitalise on Grant Funding when those paid to administer Grants are unaware of fundamental Grant Policy, and that is a proven fact.

I will ask the Public Sector Audit Manager at PWC to obtain the HRG Costing Sheets that should have been prepared by IoACC, which will put you in a no-win situation.

Lug

Anonymous said...

Lug: You may have to resort to the FoI commissioner before you get anything out of PWC.

Anonymous said...

keep the faith Lug, keep the faith xx

Anonymous said...

Anon 11.48

No, IoACC have not paid all the money to the builder. There was and is no work left to value.

The work was valued at £35,250 (no where near £68,695) on the 2 July 2007 and inspected by the grant officer. Which would leave £2,250 left for the snag list with no HRG contribution from the applicant as a 100% grant was available up to 20k per unit. (awarded £37,500)

However, evidence shows that the applicant has paid the builder two payments of £17,625 and £10,299 HRG contributions and the Agent £3,122 HRG Agent Fees. Totalling £30,046 to date.

Partly hidden Internal Memorandums discovered in their entirety in Nov 2009 shows that the applicants contribution was £Nil.

The £47,378 (80%) TIG funding awarded and paid direct to the applicant paid the only original TIG invoice on file for £29,375 and I paid £6,300 Agent fees

The discovery of the TIG contract instructions, (said not to have been on file according to IoACC) in Nov 09 reduced the TIG contract value drastically and the grant funding should have been reduced pro rata when inspected by the grant inspector. It was not.

It seems the surplus TIG funding and my fictisious HRG contribution paid the invoices that IoACC should have paid. These being two invoices for £17,625 = £35,250. One of which is not on the Council file despite the agent claiming it was sent to the Council, which I paid and can be supported by a "payment made to date" on the second Certificate of Interim Progress Payment (note - the first certificate is still missing) and the second invoice issued to the applicant but then claimed to have been issued to another client of the builder, erroneous and not evidenced in payment in Internal Audit Report Final Mar 09, then re-appears on the Council file as part paid to the tune of £10,299.92 by the Council even though an invoice was raised 22 months later for exactly £10,299.92 on the advice of the Senior Grant Officer.

I have paid a total of £65,721 towards this farce of a project (£47,378 being TIG funding) The Council after claiming my payments were HRG contributions, are now trying to pass off my HRG contributions as TIG payments because the TIG funding wasnt reduced pro rata,

The Council now claim I had a HRG contribution of £24,950.08, havent paid it and misled the Council. (Impossible if the work was valued at £35,250 and inspected by the grants departmnt on 4th July 07)

I am out of pocket and the WAG in my estimation about 18K which I claimed on professional advice.

It may look like you kept £18,750 back but in reality you had £27,20o, you gave £8,450.07 away and it was all surplus to requirement because the work was valued at half what was portrayed to the applicant with the WAG and applicant paying the Councils contribution.

Gwyn

Anonymous said...

Lug, AH, Andy

The HRG IS based on contractors lowest tender submitted. Ineligible works are ommitted from the tender and the grant awarded is based on the reduced cost.

In your friend's case the max HRG that could be awarded was £37,500 (based on the type and size of flats created)

Regardless of the increase (or decrease) in cost of works the grant would not be affected, unless the cost was reduced below £37,500. The grant policy is 75% of the cost of eligible works up to a max of £20k per unit.

The value of works was measured by GP's agent who issued the certificate of payment for the value of works done. The grant officer (HRG) visit the site to check that the work had been completed to that value before releasing payment.

Hope this helps, sleep well.

Anonymous said...

Housing Renovation Grant

7. The tenders are evaluated by the TO and prepares a costing sheet (COST01) and the level of grant determined in consideration of the cost matrix ( EH/Address/MATRIX). The scheme is then presented to the panel ( Head of Housing Services, Technical Services Manager and the Principal Technical Officer) for consideration and approval of the grant amount. If further information is required in order to determine the grant then a letter is sent to the applicant requesting that information.

8. The application is now ready for APPROVAL. An approval document (EH/APPR/DOC1) is prepared, one white copy for applicant, one white copy for agent, one white copy for Land Charges and one blue copy for file. A confirmation of approval letter is sent to the applicant advising him/her/them of the approval. (Letter EH/Address/LET03).

9. The application details entered in Flare (Find LA reference – i.e. the initial enquiry number given) and replace with the next scheduled EH number

Painting and Floor covering such as carpet are grant eligible and would have been included in the costing sheet.

Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

Can't believe so much time, effort and heartache is being wasted on a small and largely irrelevant issue. Yes, a mistake may have taken place but its very unlikely there was any systematic attempt by the Council to defraud, cover up or other alledged nonsense. This unfortunate situation needs to be placed into a larger perspective of how many grants were successfully delivered? Get some perspective and take a reality check. The ombudsman will probaby give the Council at best a knuckle wrapping for a single failure in this case but very little will happen and any agreement will be reached by the parties, on the basis of some form of sharing of the costs.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Steady on Andy.

Due process please.

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait for you to disclose your Costing Sheets to PWC.

These sheets will show that no item of expenditure has been costed and you have omitted eligible items because you thought they are ineligible.

How many other Grants have you failed to cost at the expense of the applicant?

AHAH

Anonymous said...

To 00.05

Similar irrelevat issues have happened on nine seperate grant schemes. Systematic, very likely.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Yes, i'm Gwyn's friend just like you and are with your slippery auditors.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Gwyn 22:30

Gwyn,Gwyn,Gwyn you are so confused and keep rambling on so much you are in danger of being head hunted by the RA. ( not to be confused with our friends over the water)

It is obvious that the measurement of works, by your agent, in July 2007 was significantly under valued. You don't honestly expect the contractor to carry out works as scheduled, plus all the extra works, ( final account figure agreed with your agent and the builder of £64,657) for a measly sum of £35,250 do you? There are monies outstanding to the builder which for his own reasons he has not made a claim for.

Your total payment of £65,721 means that you have not actually paid any contribution towards this scheme. If you received £47,378 TIG plus £18,750 HRG = £66,128 so it is arithmetically impossible that YOU have contibuted anything.

The Council does not claim that you have a contribution to make of £24,950.08, that was part of the grant approval and your agent confirmed this. He also confirmed it seems that you had paid it to the builder.

The payments to the contractor of £18,750 ( HRG) is half the grant you were awarded, for work that was at least 95% complete at the time of releasing the payments.

So please Gwyn, seek advice from someone that knows about the grant system who can understand logic and see common sense.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 2 Dec at 22.33

The HRG is based on the quality of the units provided and those which fully meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standards. Landlords who sign up to 10 yr nomination agreement will be considered for 100% grant up to 20k per unit.

The HRG is NOT based on the builders estimate because there would be nothing stopping builders colluding in the provision of estimates.

As a fraud measure, the Council determine the amount of expenses which in their opinion are to be properly incurred for the execution of the eligible works.

As a further fraud measure the Council check the quality of the work and monitor over all standards.

Gwyn

Anonymous said...

13.59

Grant Approval

1. "The Council have determined that the eligible works are in accordance with the particulars, plans and specification approved and the estimate provided by the (contractor)"

The estimate provided by the contractor included carpets, painting and Contingency figure so we can establish that they were in accordance with the particulars, plans and specification approved.

2. "The Council have determined £62,450.08 as the amount of expenses which, in their opinion, are properly to be incurred for the execution of the elgible works"

My initial contribution was based on the Councils estimate. Deduct the omissions that I agreed upon carpet, painting and contingency (16k approx) from £62,450.08 leaves about £48k.

Deduct the £6,500 worth of omissions that I did not agree upon.

Deduct the well over priced additions that I did not agree upon.

Take into consideration the poor quality work and the 24 contraventions of the Building Regulations.

I can well believe that the Housing works were carried out for £35,250 which left £2,250 left for a snag list.

Total payment Debited from my ccount :-

The builder £29,375 TIG, £17,625 HRG and £10,299 HRG. The Agent £6,300 fees TIG and £3,122 HRG

Debited from the Councils account direct to builder £18,750

If the Council are not telling me I owe £24,950.08 as part of the grant approval who is ?

Gwyn

Gwyn

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Gwyn 14.42

Just so that you and others are properly informed, the HRG is awarded on the basis of the accommodation meeting the WHQS standard and for those that partly meet this standard a reduced grant can be considered.

It is a discretionary grant and the Council decides how much grant it awards, if any, and which works will be eligible.

What nomination right agreement do you think you've signed then to warrant a 100% grant?

All grants should be based on competitive tenders and unless there is a good reason not to, the lowest tender is always taken.

This is nothing whatsoever to do with preventing collusion or a fraud measure, it is purely VFM.

The grant is based on the cost of eligible works only ( this excludes painting/carpets or any other soft furnishing).
Your grant award had these items deducted from the lowest tender sum and your agent was informed of this. It's there in black and white , you cannot have missed it.

The Council must be satisfied that the work is carried out satisfactorily before issuing payments hence a site visit.

The Council is not on site on a daily basis to supervise the builder's work, this should have been done by the builder and your agent. Look up Welsh Office Circular 59/56 which was current when your grant was approved.

To clarify a point in previous comments you made, the housing department has a standard internal memorandum that is issued with every grant payment that goes to the Finance Dept.

Incorporated on this memo is a section where they input the client's contribution ( when contributions are paid upfront to the Council for their later release). In your case there was no contribution held by the Council hence a NIL amount was inserted in the blank space.

So now that mystery has now been solved ,no more ramblings please.

As I am sure you are aware the administering of TIG is nothing to do with housing and hence what documents were used to claim TIG is irrelevant to them.

What is relevant is that they have , justifiably, withheld half the grant money because of unfinished work etc and that the amount of HRG paid is more or less half the value of works carried out on site.

I'm tired of this now hence I'm off to the pub. Might see you there!!

Man in the know (not being a Council officer, grant or otherwise nor a Councillor).

Anonymous said...

FAO:- Anon Grant Officer:

The Costing Sheets will be requested and these sheets will confirm that you have not properly costed the HRG Scheme but have incorrectly deducted amounts which you claim to be ineligible items to arrive at £62,450.08p which have been deducted from the highest tender.

The amount £62,450.08p was the Eligible Cost determined through a costing process by IoACC without any omissions to the specified work contained on the priced tender.

Like I mentioned previously, the Contractor who was awarded the Contract failed to price for preliminary items whereas the other contractors did and if the winning tender would have included an amount for preliminaries then it would not be lowest tender.

For the record, agent fees are Grant Eligible and should be included under preliminary items of expenditure on the priced schedule of work.

With regard to the TIG, you claimed that no contract instruction was held on file so you prepared your own schedule of omissions, some of which are not contained on the Cost Analysis concealed by your office.

This reduces the TIG Cost further and my calculations show the revised cost to be circa. £35k.

AH

Anonymous said...

Hiya Gwyn, well if these MPs have been caught with their trousers down, with their expenses, 1 of them has pleaded guilty, and even though they thought they were above and beyond the law, it looks the grant people will be quite literally shitting bricks sometime soon.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Dear Anon Grant Officer:-

Your Final Contract figure of £64,657 is yet again a mathematical coincidence.

I arrive at £64,657 by adding the Invoice £8,450.07 to £56,206 and rounding-up. £56,206 is the amount of HRG executed work based on artificial contract value of £62,450.08p which is mistakenly shown on the TIG Interim Progress Payment Certificate and Grant Claim Form.

We are aware that you advised the builder to raise an Invoice for £8,450.07p three months after he left site for carrying our remedial work which had already been measured.

As you are aware, your calculations after this Invoice was issued were out by £2,205 which amazingly is the difference between the Agents Fees £6,245 and £8,450.

AH

Anonymous said...

To man in the know at 16.20

1. "What nomination right agreement do you think you've signed then to warrant a 100% grant?"

Council letter dated 27 Aug 2004

Quote "Landlords who sign up to 10 yr nomination agreement will be considered fo 100% grant up to a maximum £20,000 per unit"

Council letter dated 19 Apr 05

Quote " I can advise you that the Council is in a position to offer you grant assistance in the sum of £37,500 towards the cost of the renovation work provided that you are prepared to sign the enclosed Rights of Nomination Agreement for a period of 10 years"

"On receipt of your signed and witnessed Nomination Agreement I will be able to issue an official approvement of the grant"

2. "This is nothing whatsoever to do with preventing collusion or a fraud measure, it is purely VFM"

This Point 12 of a HRG Fraud Document should be read in conjunction with the HRG Fraud Audit Guide 1998

Point 12. The council calculates its own estimates of costs of work to guard against collusion between builders in the provision of estimates.

3. "when contributions are paid upfront to the Council for their later release"

Could you direct me to which policy you are refering. I have read nothing on paying the Council up front for later release.

4. I can guarantee you that carpet and painting are grant eligible and were included in the builders estimate in accordance with the particulars, plans and specifications approved.

5. letter 2 July 07 to Council from agent.

Quote "Please find enclosed our Interim Certificate no2 (dated 2 July 07) for works carried out at the above. You will note that combined, the value of works carried out to date, inclusive of VAT is £35,250"

95% work completed at this stage with a snag list to complete. Please justify paying the builder another £18,750 or the £8,450 paid for the re-laying of a floor.

Gwyn

Anonymous said...

AH

There is no evidence of any such thing. Yet more rambling.

Wait for the Ombudsman's findings, he's no mug.

Ni nite.

Anonymous said...

It appears that Gwyn is fully aware of Grant Policy unlike the Grant Officer who is unaware of the costing process and who falsely claims carpets, flooring and agent fees are ineligible for Grant.

How many other Grant claims have been excessively priced because IoACC disallow eligible items and allow agents to charge fees in addition to the cost when they should be included in the cost of the scheme.

This is significant, and they will be reprimanded for this clear breach of policy.

My advice is spend less time in the Pub and start getting to grips with Grant Policy which is what we pay you for.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

How on earth did the Senior Grant Manager report that the first invoice/payment in respect of the HRG was for £29,375 when in fact the paperwork shows the first invoice/payment was for £17,625.

Luckily, through persistence, the Accountant managed to get a copy of the original invoice from the Agent's clerk who claimed they submitted the original invoice together with the first IPP to IoACC.

When I told the clerk it's not held on Council files he sharply responded "They are liars".

It is possible for this fraud could be executed solely by a rogue officer.

AH

Anonymous said...

To the man in the know at 16.20

I have been through the Councils Policy document and found nothing about applicants paying contributions to the Council for release to builders.

Though I did find the following :-

"All applicant's contribution if any, must be paid to the builder or as agents fees prior to any grant money being issued"

Gwyn

Anonymous said...

The Man in the Know has just been given a good lesson in Grant Policy from an applicant.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Some more interesting sums:

i) £29,375 + 10% agent fees = £32,312.50p x 2 =£64,625.

ii) £29,375 +£17,625 + £17,625 = £64,625.

Notes:-

i) £32,313.50p is the actual cost of the TIG before they doubled it by applying HRG invoices.

ii) £64,625 is the artificial HRG cost which was used to access the Grant, although the paperwork is now missing according to IoACC.

This is what you expect to find when paperwork for one grant had been duplicated and applied to another Grant.

Anonymous said...

We have more than enough evidence, and all IoACC can muster are fabricated financial documents, proven lies, threats of legal action and a clear misconception of the application of Grant Policy.

They are well and truly on the ropes and it's just a matter of time until they go down.

Theft by false accounting is the order of the day and yes we do have sufficient evidence to make it stick.

Anonymous said...

The truth of the matter is I want IoACC Internal Auditors just as much as the fraudster's and they may find themselves being charged under Section 3 of Fraud Act 2006 for knowingly concealing relevant financial documents during their investigation.

They are a disgrace and deserve everything that is thrown at them.

Anonymous said...

That's what we want to hear, fraud, money laundering, lovely stuff, all good things to put the fraudsters on a nice hook, just like that MP who pleaded guilty to false accounting, lovely stuff, the mud is sticking, time to get the Police involved, once they are in, they never let go, I hope they go back years and years, through every stinking brick and breeze block so we can be sure that the Tax Payer's money is protected, isn't that what Justice is all about, in the end??

Anonymous said...

Brick costs 20p cost to the taxpayer 1.20p

Breeze block costs 50p cost to the taxpayer 2.50p

What's that all about?

Anonymous said...

Plaster board 1.95 per sheet
tax payer pays 6.95 per sheet, who pockets the difference???

Anonymous said...

bag of cement 4.75p taxpayer price 14.75p amazing what you pay when you can't shop around?

Anonymous said...

It is indeed strange when the cost of materials used substantially increases in price between the builder's merchants and the building site - especially as the builders merchants deliver free of charge in many cases.

This mirrors the deterioration in the quality of materials used when compared to the quality of materials specified on the schedules of work.

Anonymous said...

anon 15.01

This is called 'the skim' (not a plastering term).

Anonymous said...

Mirrors the deteriration in quality, wow! that's a good excuse, so in effect, because the tax payer is footing the bill, the cost can be anything as long as it gets paid, but to see the difference in price paid and price charged is a bit smelly?? Who get's the bung? where does the difference in price go?

I get a £1 to buy a loaf for my boss, he knows it costs a £1 from the shop, however I can get a loaf for 50p, same bread, same loaf,from a different shop, do I tell my boss it cost him 50p or do I pocket the difference?
Obviously, I would tell my boss it cost 50p and give him the change, or do I buy 2 loaves, one for him and one for me? Maybe it's me, maybe, the fact that we are dealing with tax payers money, and they treat us like we are all stupid. the system is there for the taking. What a scam, what a way to skim, happy days, unless you get caught.........

Anonymous said...

Plenty here for the Ombudsman and PWC to be getting on with.

Can't wait for the outcome, but expect the unexpected.

Anonymous said...

Prices usually quoted in a tender include the cost of the material, associated labour etc and a profit element for the builder (after all they're not charities) - hence the uplift. In addition, because builders hate Council's overseeing and monitoring they usually add a further premium. Dim fraud by either party, just builder's factoring in the risk. Love it though when amateurs get all chopsy about matters they know bugger all about. Stick to UFO spotting you may actually get somewhere.

Anonymous said...

"just builder's factoring in the risk"

That's the risk of caught out when they use second rate materials instead of what is specified in the schedule.

Anonymous said...

@ 23.45 "In addition, because builders hate Council's overseeing and monitoring they usually add a further premium."
Are you suggesting the Council have an overseeing and monitoring role?
I can't say I've ever come cross premiums for "hating" being monitored. The only reason to hate neing monitored is if you have no confidence that you can do the work properly and efficiently.

Btw you come over as very rude!

Anonymous said...

Council Lovin Anon quotes: "Dim fraud by either party, just builder's factoring in the risk. Love it though when amateurs get all chopsy about matters they know bugger all about. Stick to UFO spotting you may actually get somewhere."

Are you referring to the same amateurs who wiped the floor with Internal Audit, Head of Legal Services and the insignificant Chairman of the Audit Committee who could not turn on a calculator. Fact.

Believe me, you are on thin ice and when it cracks I will be waiting underneath.

Lug

Anonymous said...

Dear Council Lovin Anon - You have unknowingly given yourself away, which is not surprising considering you were in remedial throughout School.

Am I correct in saying that two members of your immediate family and yourself are payrolled by the Anglesey Ratepayer in excess of £150k per annum, collectively.

For the record, in Gwyn's case the highest tender and not the lowest tender was adopted. If you wish to contest this then please arrange another interview with your inept Internal Audit Section, if you dare.

The evidence is in writing and it will take a femto second to disprove your lies, yet again.

I have this week written to the powers that be and have explained how the highest tender somehow secured the contract at the Grant Applicant and Taxpayer's expense.

You are the auditing equivalent of Fraudely Harrison, full of it.

Remember, I make a living out of crunching numbers, whereas you my pedigree chum got where you are by licking arse down the Masonic Lodge.

AH

Anonymous said...

When you say "Factoring-in the risk" are you referring to a Contingency Sum?

Remember, the builder would not go to the hassle of tendering for the work which involves individually pricing items of work contained on the schedule of works, unless he wanted to secure the contract and make a PROFIT.

Of course, if they under price the job they will make a small profit or even a loss.

Example: -

Plasterer (A) : Provides Estimate - 1 Square metre of plaster skim one layer onto dry-lined ceiling £12.

Plasterer (B) : Provides Estimate - 1 Square metre of plaster skim one layer onto dry-lined ceiling £15.

Who gets the job??? (A) unless he is spending Taxpayer's money.

An Quantity Surveyor.

Anonymous said...

QS - interesting query, suppose it depends on the Council's requirements for supporting documentation. I'm old school and prefer a Bill of Quants. Not perfect by any means nor relevant with a good schedule and spec. on smaller jobs.

This particular case sounds a touch like admin error by the Council but this merry go round of figures could lead to a more expansive investigation of all involved, owner and agent included.

Undoubtedly, at some point it will come out in the wash but have to agree with a touch of an earlier post about expedient use of more resources v benefits of all these further investigations and tens of thousands it must be costing the tax payer of Council, audit and Police time for what looks to be a far smaller sum causing the issues.

Just a thought!!

Anonymous said...

An indepth financial probe into IoACC would pay dividends if serious irregular processes are found to exist in particular fraudulent conduct by officials.

There is no smoke without fire, and judging the thread something is burning.

From what I can gather, the HRG can only be £35,250 if the Grant Section and Agent measured the work at £35,250 when the builder left site 6.6.2007 and on which date the Council carried out an inspection confirming it was complete with exception of snagging.

Anonymous said...

AH - You're defintely no Columbo, more an Inspector Clueso. But stick at, probably means some village on the island for once is missing it's idiot.

Anonymous said...

Has someone hit a nerve - the silence is deafening.

Anonymous said...

£20,300 is the total amount charged in respect of Agents Fees relating to Mr Pierce's Grant.

Agent Fees should be treated as inclusive in the contract value and not added to the value as falsely claimed by IoACC.

Moreover, the tendering process was unfair and awarded to the highest tender.

I wonder how many contracts have been unfairly awarded to the builder due to him failing to include in the tender an amount relating to 'Preliminary Items' which includes 10% agents fees.

Well dodgy.

Anonymous said...

16:30

Are we talking HRG or TIG here? As far as I was aware £1800 was the sum included in the HRG grant
(not the Contract)

I believe it is only fair that the public are provided with the true facts here hence let me enlighten you. The lowest overall tender figure was used for the contract, which was obtained by Mr Pierce's first agent. Mr Pierce's second agent obtained permission from that contractor to use his tender rates for the purpose of carrying out the works that formed the 'contract' with another contractor. This contractor accepted the rates which were all itemised in a priced schedule of works/specification together with detailed drawings.

What fees Mr Pierce paid his agents is a matter bewteen them and should not be confused with the offer of grants.

Anonymous said...

The plot thickens, as soon as grant money is mentioned the Council go hell for leather to cover up costs, funds and any detail that will stop the truth getting out, it's a wonder they haven't given in yet, but they won't ever admit the truth, unless they are facing the sack or a trial for fraud..happy days.

Anonymous said...

Can you kindly explain what "Grant aided agency fee" means.

Also how it's calculated and put into practice.

Anonymous said...

Council Anon quotes: "I believe it is only fair that the public are provided with the true facts here hence let me enlighten you."

It's a bit late in the day for you to even attempt to enlighten us, considering your office knowingly withheld vital financial documents not only from the applicant but also from the Ombudsman.

AH

Anonymous said...

Has the evidence and accounts been got at? hav ethey been cherry picking the documents to make themselves look squeaky clean, and the complainant a complete an utter twat? The ANGLESEY WAY.. if in doubt say nothing...

Anonymous said...

We know the TIG third Interim Progress Payment Certificate contains the HRG contract value and also shows an amount equal to the measured work that should be contained on the missing third HRG Certificate.

In essence the third TIG Certificate is a forgery and is actually the third HRG Certificate.

It's amazing what you can do with tippex and a photocopier.

Anonymous said...

Heard on the grapevine PWC not interested. Police brought in by Council Audit though. Perhaps something is afoot.

Anonymous said...

PWC can only detect fraud and do not perform Criminal Investigations which of course are passed onto the Police.

Anonymous said...

If PWC are not interested then why did they attend a meeting last Autumn in Holyhead?

They explained their findings would be passed onto the Police and an interview had already been arranged.

Complex financial fraud coupled with corruption is difficult but not impossible to unravel.

Frank Wilson

Anonymous said...

Fraud and the fright it will create will cause umpteem sleepless nights oh dear.. this is what happens to people when they get caught with their hands in the till...

Anonymous said...

As if IoACC Internal Audit called in the Police.

If Internal Audit called the Police then it's due to pressure from PWC and other parties involved.

For the record, Mr Pierce's Accountant beat them to it and reported it to the fraud squad back in 2009.

Believe me, Internal Audit are part of the problem and are covering their backs because they implicated themselves by failing to disclose relevant financial documents.

They are sly enough to make out they uncovered the fraud.

Anonymous said...

Wait until the Police discover that Mr Pierce's Grant has long gone and payments they claim to have made to the builder have not been paid because Mr Pierce paid the builder £10,299 the same day IoACC supposedly paid £10,299.

Anonymous said...

Looks like we have a builder here who will work for nothing, according to some dumwit. Please can we have the builder's name.

Anonymous said...

The builder does not work for nothing, he has been paid for work that was measured by the agent and Grant Officials as complete.

The HRG was measured as £35,250 and complete on 6th July, 2007 the same day the builder left site and not £62,450 as the paperwork suggests which was used to draw down the Grant

I would like to see you dismiss my findings without insulting me.

Also the TIG is not £70,000 as portrayed to Mr Pierce, because we now possess the Cost Analysis Document concealed by your office showing the contract value to be circa.£40,0000 with further omissions to be taken into account.

An audit trail does now exist supporting contract values of £35,250 and £35,675 for the HRG and TIG respectively.

We will find the destination account that Mr Pierce's Grant has been paid to and then the SFO will be called in.

Andrew Hughes (Holyhead)

Anonymous said...

Andrew Hughes ( Holyhead)@11:00
The work has been completed as per schedule of works plus extras. For your information the HRG work has not, I repeat not been certified complete by the Council.

The evidence of work done is there on site and can be seen by anyone who has or cares to visit the site. As with any contract there are omissions and additions and this one is no exception.

The 'value' of works for valuation purposes was undermeasured by the Agent ( not the Council) and the HRG final account represents the work that has actually been done on site, all £62,450 worth.

The builder has already told the Authorities investigating your hollow claims what money they have received in connection with this contract. They found nothing criminal,illegal,fraudulent,
sinister or otherwise.

Your findings well and truly dismissed, me thinks.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of us find that anything to do with this Council, the cover up machine goes into overdrive, we know that this Council thinks it's untouchable, well maybe, this may just be the crack in the dam of deceit.

Anonymous said...

Money and greed, both go hand in hand with planning permissions and maladministration, let the truth come out, it's about time we learnt how the system works.

Anonymous said...

FAO:- Council Anon

You mention the builder told the authorities what money he has received. Quite frankly, verbal confirmation from the builder is not enough. Auditors should have examined the bank statements and reported the transactions.

Concerning the late appearing HRG Cost Analysis showing contract value of £62,450. This document is an unsigned, undated and unstamped photocopy and emerged after I dismissed two in-depth Internal Audit Reports both of which failed to mention this important document and the question is why?

This Cost Analysis is a false statement and will be proven once IoACC are forced to come to terms with the fact that Grant Official's determined the Eligible Expense as £62,450 based on the estimate provided by the builder through a costing process.

Grant Official's cost items of expenditure and reduce them accordingly on standard stationery Form 'COST01'.

With regard to the HRG not completed. The final TIG Claim Form and third Interim Progress Payment Certificate shows measured work as £56,205, which amazingly is what should be contained on the missing final HRG IPP and Claim Form. This is calculated as follows: £62,450 x 90% = £56,205 (£47,834 Net).

Furthermore, the third TIG IPP contains the HRG contract value of £62,450.

Would you agree, the missing HRG paperwork has been used to claim TIG funding.

It appears your defence has a crack so big £27,200 worth of Grant aided polyfila could not fill it.

Andrew Hughes

Anonymous said...

I am offended, you keep referring to me as a Council Anon. Please take note that I am not a Council employee, or associated with it in any shape or form.

Secondly the HRG Cost Analysis was prepared by GP's Agent and agreed with the builder before it was submitted to the Council. It did not involve the Council at all at that stage.

With regard to figure of £62,450 I refer you to the Final Audit Report 6th paragraph of Page 10.

Also whilst your looking in that page please have a peep at the penultimate para headed " Responsibility for Quality of Work".

Anonymous said...

Yawn, yawn. Noticed the same tripe about the Council continues. While not perfect, find it hard to imagine that there's any "hands in till" at ACC. If anything GP will be subject to further scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Anon from the Council. Never mind the tongue waging . After all the cover up reports and Bowles's shameless Interference The writings on the wall. ITS COLLAR FEELING TIME and you know, twit.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 21 Dec at 10.29

"Secondly the HRG Cost Analysis was prepared by GP's Agent and agreed with the builder before it was submitted to the Council. It did not involve the Council at all at that stage"

Letter from Council 7 Feb 2008

Quote "I have no documents/instructions on file issued by (Agent)confirming what the reductions in works were"

Maybe you could explain why the Council claimed that the Cost Analysis complete with instructions were not on file ?

There is no 6th para page 10.

And, while you are looking at documents, take a peep at the National Assembly for Wales Circular 2002 which goes in depth regards "Quality of Work" and who is responsible.

Gwyn