Tag Archives: hire

Ofqual chief Sally Collier resigns – over letting Cummings chum’s company have contract?

Exams: If Sally Collier had examined Public First a little more closely, she might not have had to resign.

The big development in the ‘A’ level scandal yesterday (August 25) was the resignation of Ofqual boss Sally Collier – apparently under criticism about the algorithm that marked down students from poorer backgrounds.

That’s what Tory mouthpiece the BBC is saying:

Ofqual chief Ms Collier has been under fire for a controversial algorithm which changed GCSE and A-level marks, making them unfair, according to heads.

It also led to many A-level students losing university places they had been offered, and a crunch on degree places.

But didn’t that only happen because Ofqual had hired useless lobbying/research firm Public First, run by friends of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove?

A spokesperson said: “Due to the exceptional circumstances presented by the cancellation of exams, the single tender justification process was used for this contract, due to the need to urgently procure the work, in line with our procurement policy.”

This comment makes it clear that Public First was hired to find a way forward for students’ exam results. It came up with the infamous algorithm and caused a scandal.

And we now know that the government paid £49,000 for that disaster.

So it seems Ms Collier has resigned, but the fault lies with James Frayne and Rachel Wolf, the people behind Public First.

Other contracts given to the firm under the “no competition” regulations which apply when a service is deemed “urgent” during emergency circumstances include £840,000 to research public opinion on government policies – including Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not bad for a firm whose registered office is a residential address – a house – in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire.

Another contract saw the company handed £116,000 by the Department of Health and Social Care to identify ways to “lock in the lessons learned” by the Government during the Covid-19 crisis.

But will the Tories learn the obvious lesson – that Public First should not be hired to carry out any work under any circumstances at all, whether in an emergency or not?

It seems doubtful.

Source: Ofqual chief Sally Collier steps down after exams chaos – BBC News

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Spendthrift Tories have spaffed £500 MILLION on firms run by their friends – that do NOTHING

‘Spaffer’: Boris Johnson is throwing money the UK doesn’t have at his mates’ companies. What will you do when he tells you to pay off the debt?

In a week when we learned the Tories have more than doubled the national debt to £2 trillion, a mere £500 million might not seem much.

It’s around 1/200th, or half a per cent, of the total they’ve borrowed since 2010.

But this is money they have spent in the last six months alone – on contracts with companies run by their personal friends… that have apparently done nothing useful in return.

According to the Labour Party, 13 firms run by friends of Tory ministers have won contracts related to Covid-19, without having to go through a competitive tendering process.

Here’s what they’ve done with the money:

One firm, Randox, received £133million for Covid testing.

It pays Tory MP and former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson £8,333 a month as an adviser.

Earlier this month, 750,000 unused Randox testing kits were ­recalled over safety concerns.

How about the Serco ‘test and trace’ fiasco?

Serco is paid £108million for running the national contact-tracing service and nearly £46million by the DWP to run call centres.

Health minister Edward Argar was a senior executive and boss Rupert Soames is brother of former Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames.

In November 2019, Rupert Soames’ wife Camilla donated £4,995 to the Tory Party.

Here are the other firms mentioned in the Mirror article:

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which won seven contracts, hired Theresa May’s former top aide Gavin Barwell as a strategic adviser in January.

He is also a non-executive adviser at Arcadis – which was given a £1.5million consultancy contract with the Ministry of Justice in April.

Public First Ltd gets £840,000 to run focus groups for No10. It is owned by James Frayne, who started the New Frontiers think tank in 2003 with Dominic Cummings.

Dragontown Ltd was awarded a contract worth £675,000 to supply PPE to London’s Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Lady Xuelin Bates, a director of this firm, is the wife of Tory peer and former minister Lord Bates and has donated £30,000 to the Tories.

If we had anything to show for this emptying of the public purse, there might be some justification for these contracts – but we don’t.

This is nepotism intended to further enrich the undeserving while bankrupting the nation.

Expect Boris Johnson to demand that, now he and his spendthrift mates have run up a huge debt, you have to pay it off.

Source: Firms linked to Tories have won £500m coronavirus contracts without having to bid – Mirror Online

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DWP breaches Freedom of Information laws to hide reports on Job Centre failings

How many times has the Conservative government trumpeted a new policy to include ordinary people in public policy, and then quietly sidelined them when the bad reports started coming in?

I don’t think this is the only example!

It’s a handy smokescreen – claiming that members of a special interest group, like people with disabilities, will monitor the part of government activity that affects them.

Then ignoring the contribution made by those people, and hiding it from the public.

The subterfuge has served its purpose, you see – it allayed fears about the Tories’ attack on the citizens of the UK at a particular time, and that was all it was meant to do.

But there’s one snag:

The Tories never expect to be picked up on their extravagant promises.

But here’s John Pring of Disability News Service, asking that difficult question – repeatedly.

And here’s the Conservative government, failing to answer it. Draw your own conclusions:

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has repeatedly breached freedom of information laws in an apparent attempt to prevent the release of secret reports written by disabled people recruited to work within its jobcentres.

Two years ago, DWP published a work, health and disability green paper, Improving Lives, in which it revealed plans to recruit about 200 new “community partners”.

The aim was for them to “provide valuable first-hand insight” into the issues faced by disabled people in “securing and sustaining employment”, with work coaches able to draw on their local knowledge.

Disability News Service (DNS) has since learned that these community partners submit regular reports on their work, often based on their experiences of visiting jobcentres.

DNS therefore submitted a freedom of information request to DWP in May, asking to see any of the reports written by community partners working in London Jobcentre Plus districts in 2017 and 2018, in case any of them included concerns raised by Community Partners about such failings.

Such requests are supposed to be answered within 20 working days, but there has so far been no written response from the department’s freedom of information department.

Source: DWP repeatedly breaches FoI laws ‘in bid to hide secret jobcentre reports’

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Labour would stop tax avoidance – Tories are encouraging it

[Image: Rui Vieira/PA].


John McDonnell has the right idea.

John McDonnell says Labour would hire hundreds more tax inspectors to claw £36 billion a year back from avoidance.

And he believes that figure could go even higher, taking into account schemes used by firms such as Apple, Starbucks, Amazon and Google to beat tax rules.

These international businesses lawfully use complex structures to shift taxable income from the UK to other overseas operations.

HMRC is replacing 170 offices across the UK with 13 larger regional centres to save £83million.

The shake-up means that 5,000 staff unable to relocate are expected to be lost.

Source: Labour to hire army of tax inspectors to claw £36BILLION a year back from dodgers


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‘Cheques like confetti’ as ‘redundant’ NHS managers are rehired at cost

Bad budgeting: The NHS has spent far more money firing and re-hiring pen-pushers than it is willing to give in increased pay to nurses. In what twisted system is that fair? [Image: BBC]

Bad budgeting: The NHS has spent far more money firing and re-hiring pen-pushers than it is willing to give in increased pay to nurses. In what twisted system is that fair? [Image: BBC]

The Coalition’s ‘reformed’ NHS has been spending a fortune on re-hiring managers it had previously given large redundancy payments – while Jeremy Hunt has been telling us there is no money to give nurses a pay rise.

Tory health minister Dan Poulter (the Health Secretary himself was nowhere to be heard) had to admit that 3,950 staff whose jobs were made redundant after May 2010 have since been hired back, in response to a Parliamentary question from Labour’s Julie Hilling. The figures cover a period up to November last year, so the true number may be even more.

These are managers who received large payoffs as part of the £3-4 billion ‘restructuring’ of the National Health Service that began before Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act was passed by Parliament.

The aim, as revealed in Nicholas Timmins’ Never Again: The Story of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, was defined by Oliver Letwin as “encouraging staff to quit public sector employment while selling their services back through social enterprise”. In other words, after losing their jobs in the ‘old’ NHS – and receiving large redundancy settlements for the inconvenience – managers were to be re-hired at high cost to the ‘new’ NHS.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham had this to say: “It’s clear that people who received payoffs are now coming back to the NHS in ever greater numbers. We need to know whether the Prime Minister has honoured his promise to recover redundancy payments from people who have been re-employed by his new organisations.

“The sickening scale of the waste caused by Cameron’s reorganisation is finally becoming clear. It will infuriate people who can’t get a GP appointment or nurses who are struggling to pay the bills.”

He pointed out: “It will be utterly galling for nurses who’ve just had a pay cut from David Cameron to see he’s been handing out cheques like confetti to people who have now been rehired.

“On his watch, we have seen payoffs for managers and pay cuts for nurses.”

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