Has David McElhinney been appointed to LCC Management Team?

john smith made this Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Liverpool City Council.

Dear Liverpool City Council,

1. Has David McElhinney, Chief Execeutive of LDL, been appointed to Liverpool City Council management team?

2. If the answer to Q1 is 'yes', please give the date from which this became active

3. If the answer to Q1 is 'yes', please explain how the obvious conflict of interest is mitigated. Mr McElhinney's employer sells services to the Council with an approximate value of £70 million pa

4. Does Mr Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, have any financial interest in LDL?

5. It has been reported that Mr Fitzgerald is now a director of LDL. There is an obvious conflict of interest here. What steps have been taken to mitigate this conflict of interest?

Yours faithfully,

John Smith

Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached acknowledgement letter
Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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Katie M. left an annotation ()

The Appointments Panel of Liverpool City Council appointed him to the Senior Management Team in its meeting on 29 June 2011.
From the minutes (on the LCC website), it is clear that:
i) this was part of the "Review of the Structure and Pay of the Senior Management of Liverpool City Council", which has not been released;
ii) the matter was dealt with as a matter of urgency, and had not been discussed in Cabinet (or if it was, it wasn't minuted);
iii) the "additional duties" of Mr McElhinney are referred to in the minutes (outlined in the above Review), but not specified. Although the details of all the new senior management appointments, including salaries, are in the public domain, the details of this one aren't.
iv) this was hours before the Cabinet meeting to decide on whether or not to refresh the LDL contract.

john smith left an annotation ()

Katie M,

Thank you. I have been to the Council website and can confirm that Mr McElhinney was, indeed, appointed to the Senior Management Team of the Council on 29th June 2011.

My questions relating to conflict of interest remain.

Josephine Derby left an annotation ()

Who is on the appointments panel?

Kevin,

Today is the final day available for you to respond to this query. Please do so. Failure to provide a compliant response today will result in an internal review, followed by a complaint to the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

John Smith

Symm, Kevin, Liverpool City Council

I am currently out of the office until 3 October 2011

If your email is urgent, or you are submitting a request for information
under either the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Data Protection Act
1998 please forward it to: [email address]

Please note, the request will only be considered received when it is sent
to the information requests email address

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Dear Liverpool City Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Liverpool City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Has David McElhinney been appointed to LCC Management Team?'.

You have declined to respond within the statutory timescale. Please note that these timescales are not discretionary.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ha...

Yours faithfully,

John Smith

Andrea Glanville, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Smith
Please find attached your response to your request under FOI - this also
addresses your request for an internal review.
Regards
A Glanville

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Dear Liverpool City Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Liverpool City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Has David McElhinney been appointed to LCC Management Team?'.

You say the following :

In response to questions 1,2 and 3 I would clarify that Mr McElhinney is an employee of Liverpool City Council and he has been part of the Management Team since his appointment in 1999, this has been further confirmed in the recent Appointments Meeting on 29 June 2011 at Point 3(iv) in which I have copied the link for you to access.

http://councillors.liverpool.gov.uk/ieLi...

As an employee of Liverpool City Council there is no conflict of interest in relation to Mr McElhinney’s position on the Management Team.

However, in a separate FOI response :

www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/role_of_d...

The Council said :

1. Is it true that Mr McElhinney is in paid employment of LCC?

If the answer is yes:

2. What is Mr McElhinney's job title?
3. Please supply an organisation chart listing Mr McElhinney's role, and all of the roles which are subordinate to his role.

Response:

1. No he is an employee of Liverpool City Council and paid by British Telecom

2. CEO of Liverpool Direct Limited

3. No such document currently exists.

There is an obvious dissonance between these two responses - they can not both be true.

Furthermore, you have not addressed Q3 of my original request at all. As Chief Executive of LDL, a supplier to the Council, Mr McElhinney's remuneration is related to how much money the Council spends with LDL. If only to protect Mr McElhinney and LDL from criticism, I must insist that you answer the question about mitigation of the conflict of interest.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ha...

Yours faithfully,

John Smith

Katie M. left an annotation ()

Wonderful stuff - so they didn't really need to bring him back last year, he was already there! Except, of course, he wasn't, was he?
They need to get the story straight.
The response does not acknowledge LDL at all - in particular, it doesn't say anything about how the conflict of interest that his CEO-ship of LDL represents. Or the question about FItzgerald's conflict of interest as a director of LDL.
Of course, neither of them declared these interests as they should have done.
He certainly doesn't mention LCC in his bio (on the Central Social and Recreational Trust website), just LDL and BT. 12 years airbrushed out - the wonders expression phrase product placement).
I think to all intents and purposes McElhinney stopped being an LCC seconded employee in 2006 if not earlier (he himself says he joined BT in 2006). Until his reappearance last year, i.e. it wasn't a secondment but a transfer. Cherie Blair referred to this possibility in her advice. Being an employee involves a bit more than staying on the books. If he had been an employee then LCC might have had more luck getting info out of LDL, but they didn't (there should have been at least one Performance Review per year - they managed just one, in ten years!).
So either there are two clones, or we are a subsidiary of BT but no-one realised it.

Katie M. left an annotation ()

A further response from the FOI team to a request submitted last March that appears to contradict this one:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ex...

This asked for the number of officers and the total spend on the Executive Management Team at LCC for the last 10 years. There's an interesting spreadsheet attached to the reply. Most years there appear to have been 5 officers. I don't think he's included in this one.

Dear Andrea Glanville,

Please advise on progress with this internal review.

Yours sincerely,

John Smith

Glanville, Andrea, Liverpool City Council

Thanks for your e mail, I am away from the office and I will haveno access
to my emails during this time.  Any urgent enquiries please direct to
[email address] or contact the Information & Practice Support
Team  on  225 2709.  If your request is in relation to FOI/DPA please
forward this to [Liverpool City Council request email]  if this is a new
request it will not be considered received by the Council until it is
forwarded to this address.

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Andrea Glanville, Liverpool City Council

Dear Mr Smith
 
Thank you for your recent email and apologies for the delay in response. 
I can confirm that the review is being conducted by another officer as I
did the original response, however the deadline for response is 11
November 2011.  I am assured that the deadline will be achieved.
 
 
Regards
 
A Glanville

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Kevin Symm, Liverpool City Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached response
Please accept my apologies for the delay in our response.
Regards,

Kevin Symm
Senior Information Officer
Legal Services
Liverpool City Council
Municipal Buildings
Dale Street
Liverpool
L2 2DH
TEL: 0151 225 3132
[1][email address]

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Dear Mr Symm,

Thank you for your response, which I copy below :

"In order to confirm the validity of the information provided I have re-contacted and liaised with all of the relevant members of the City Council who were involved in the drafting of your response. As a result of these discussion I am now in a position to confirm the following

After reviewing your correspondence to the City Council on the 3 October I will be focussing my review on the information we provided to you in answer to Q3 of your original request and what bearing this information has upon the separate response you included in the terms of your internal review request.

In question 3 you asked the following:

• If the answer to Q1 is 'yes', please explain how the obvious conflict of interest is mitigated. Mr McElhinney's employer sells services to the Council with an approximate value of £70 million pa

Additionally you also made the following statement in the terms of your internal review

• Mr McElhinney's remuneration is related to how much money the Council spends with LDL. If only to protect Mr McElhinney and LDL from criticism, I must insist that you answer the question about mitigation of the conflict of interest.

The City Council can confirm the following:

As an employee of Liverpool City Council there is no conflict of interest in relation to Mr McElhinney. As has previously been confirmed, and has been in the public domain for some time, Mr McElhinney is an employee of Liverpool City Council. Liverpool Direct Limited does not employ Mr McElhinney, the City Council does.

Mr McElhinney is, as are all staff working for Liverpool Direct Limited, seconded from the City Council to Liverpool Direct Limited. His position within Liverpool Direct Limited is that of Chief Executive. However, Mr McElhinney sits on the City Council Management Team. The Management Team can make decisions where those decisions are regarding the overall corporate management and operational responsibility of the City Council. The Management Team is set up at the discretion of the Chief Executive and, in accordance with the role of Chief Executive as defined in the City Council constitution, the Chief Executive’s Management Team does not need Council/Cabinet approval for every decision it makes.

Regarding your second comment concerning the relationship between Mr McElhinney’s remuneration and its link to the City Council spend with Liverpool Direct Limited, I can confirm that there is no link between Mr McElhinney’s remuneration and the City Council spend with Liverpool Direct Limited.

With regards to the separate response you included in the terms of your internal review request, I can confirm that the information we had previously provided is correct and has been in the public domain for some time.

In light of my investigations and information provided above I can confirm that Liverpool City Council upholds its decision to provide the response it did. The Council provided as much information as was possible and acted in accordance with the relevant legislation at all times."

I quote from Cherie Both QC's original advice to LCC, which was leaked to the press. "Despite this secondment, and his permanent position at LDL, Mr McElhinney remains on the City Council's payroll and is regarded as a City Council employee. As an aside, I note that I'm not sure that as a matter of law he would be so regarded. I understand that, in practice, BT simply reimburses the City Council for all sums paid to Mr McElhinney".

Your response includes the following statement " I can confirm that there is no link between Mr McElhinney’s remuneration and the City Council spend with Liverpool Direct Limited."

Cherie Booth QC writes that "Mr McElhinney is paid a bonus by BT which is based upon the achievement of profits and turnover. I understand that this relates to the profit and turnover of LDL, rather than BT."

Given that the last year's accounts for LDL show that the sole source of turnover for the company was the income received from LCC, then if Cherie Booth is correct, you must be incorrect ie Mr McElhinney's remuneration is linked to the magnitude of LCC's spend with LDL.

Thank you for passing on the details of the Information Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

John Smith