WALTHAM FOREST: Former CEO's firm paid £1m

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Roger Taylor (right) with former council leader Clyde Loakes Roger Taylor (right) with former council leader Clyde Loakes

THE former chief executive of Waltham Forest Council was headhunted by a firm owned by a company he was the director of, it has emerged.

Roger Taylor remained an employee of Pinnacle Public Services Group throughout his time at the council, between February 2007 and September 2008.

Pinnacle owned consultancy firm Rockpools, which was employed by the council in 2006 to find candidates for senior town hall jobs.

However, Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed that the contract was neither signed nor dated and contained little detail on costs.

Four appointments were made as a result of this process, which cost the taxpayer £82,168.

One of those was Roger Taylor, who went on to command a salary of up to £1,275 a day until he left the authority in September 2008.

Between 2006 and 2009, Rockpools signed further contracts with the council and was paid £1,036,038, including £882,492 for temporary staff.

Formally declaring his employment status, Mr Taylor said: “All fees paid by Waltham Forest, on receipt of invoices from Rockpools Ltd, will accrue to Pinnacle PSG, and do not constitute any direct payment to myself.”

Under Mr Taylor’s leadership the council improved its Audit Commission rating, despite presiding over an era which saw rules to prevent contract fraud regularly ignored by officers and poor monitoring of spending.

The other three senior appointments made by Rockpools as a result of the 2006 contract were assistant director of development Shifa Mustafa, head of 2012 Symon Sentain and head of spatial planning Gordon Glenday.

All three remain with the authority.

Roger Taylor is believed to currently be employed as the head of the ‘Five Borough Unit’, which works to secure local benefits for the five Olympic boroughs.

All five authorities contribute to its running costs, with Waltham Forest paying £180,000 a year until 2013 out of its Olympic budget.

Responding to questions on the 2006 contract with Rockpools, current chief executive Martin Esom said: “In my view, with my knowledge of the executive search market, the... costs were competitive.

“The work involved is specialist and skilled in ensuring that high quality applicants apply for these posts and then subject to effective selection processes.

“I... have no doubt about the quality of those appointments... Rockpools were also appointed following a tendering process and, as with all services, the council tenders these services to ensure that we obtain value for money for taxpayers."

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2:18pm Wed 1 Dec 10

Chinwagger says...

This merits further investigation surely?
This merits further investigation surely? Chinwagger

2:21pm Wed 1 Dec 10

md-j says...

It's a cosy world in the stratosphere of local authority management, while frontline staff get the push:
there's another consultancy called SOLACE, which is frequently called in to advise on the correct level of pay for Chief Exceutives. SOLACE stands for Society of Local Authority Chief Executives! They get paid as a group to set their own pay scales, and indeed to set the bungs they get when they're paid to go away. This may indeed have been the case with our recent Chief Exec, Mr Kilburn.
This is of course not remotely corrupt behaviour: but who sets the rules that give them the keys to their own sweetshop? Why, the Chief Executives, of course!
It'll soon be time to start knocking together a few tumbrils: we appear to have acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness a new ruling class as predatory and self-serving as any that has gone before.
It's a cosy world in the stratosphere of local authority management, while frontline staff get the push: there's another consultancy called SOLACE, which is frequently called in to advise on the correct level of pay for Chief Exceutives. SOLACE stands for Society of Local Authority Chief Executives! They get paid as a group to set their own pay scales, and indeed to set the bungs they get when they're paid to go away. This may indeed have been the case with our recent Chief Exec, Mr Kilburn. This is of course not remotely corrupt behaviour: but who sets the rules that give them the keys to their own sweetshop? Why, the Chief Executives, of course! It'll soon be time to start knocking together a few tumbrils: we appear to have acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness a new ruling class as predatory and self-serving as any that has gone before. md-j

3:24pm Wed 1 Dec 10

Sam Hain says...

Charles Edward Trevelyan must be spinning in his grave!
Charles Edward Trevelyan must be spinning in his grave! Sam Hain

3:29pm Wed 1 Dec 10

Chinwagger says...

Sam Hain wrote:
Charles Edward Trevelyan must be spinning in his grave!
And Fred Wigg and John Walsh
Turbo driven
[quote][p][bold]Sam Hain[/bold] wrote: Charles Edward Trevelyan must be spinning in his grave![/p][/quote]And Fred Wigg and John Walsh Turbo driven Chinwagger

3:31pm Wed 1 Dec 10

NT says...

So £20,542 per appointment - roughly the average UK income of the time - is "value for money". This alone surely shows how distanced from normal life senior local government officers have become.
And the comment that Rockpools "were ..appointed following a tendering process" is an interesting one. Let us hope for the local authority's sake, let alone some of those who have pontificated on this subject, that the tendering process was competitive, and the original documentation can be produced to demonstrate it.
So £20,542 per appointment - roughly the average UK income of the time - is "value for money". This alone surely shows how distanced from normal life senior local government officers have become. And the comment that Rockpools "were[sic] ..appointed following a tendering process" is an interesting one. Let us hope for the local authority's sake, let alone some of those who have pontificated on this subject, that the tendering process was competitive, and the original documentation can be produced to demonstrate it. NT

3:40pm Wed 1 Dec 10

Walthamster says...

Under Mr Taylor’s leadership "the council improved its Audit Commission rating, despite presiding over an era which saw rules to prevent contract fraud regularly ignored by officers and poor monitoring of spending."

In other words, the Audit Commission rating did not reflect the mismanagement that was actually happening. Why not?

Sounds as if it was just a box-ticking exercise, easily manipulated by a skilled operator. Skilled in setting things up to meet paper requirements rather than genuine needs.

Clyde Loakes is shown in the photo with Mr Taylor, and Cllr Loakes was desperate to improve his image (and chance of becoming an MP) by improving the borough's Audit Commission rating.

So was Mr Taylor chosen for these box-ticking skills, useless to the people of Waltham Forest but very valuable to the council?
Under Mr Taylor’s leadership "the council improved its Audit Commission rating, despite presiding over an era which saw rules to prevent contract fraud regularly ignored by officers and poor monitoring of spending." In other words, the Audit Commission rating did not reflect the mismanagement that was actually happening. Why not? Sounds as if it was just a box-ticking exercise, easily manipulated by a skilled operator. Skilled in setting things up to meet paper requirements rather than genuine needs. Clyde Loakes is shown in the photo with Mr Taylor, and Cllr Loakes was desperate to improve his image (and chance of becoming an MP) by improving the borough's Audit Commission rating. So was Mr Taylor chosen for these box-ticking skills, useless to the people of Waltham Forest but very valuable to the council? Walthamster

7:35pm Wed 1 Dec 10

EducateCommunities says...

Double standards Cllr Clyde Loakes, Cabinet Member for Environment and ex Council Leader, just deflects questions about mis-management of funds on his watch and now uses passed favors to keep himself over paid for doing very little apart from self promotion. Typical WF politics and insider dealing maybe he should consider a move to FIFA with the rest of the key cabinet players. After they have milked the 2012 Olympics.
Double standards Cllr Clyde Loakes, Cabinet Member for Environment and ex Council Leader, just deflects questions about mis-management of funds on his watch and now uses passed favors to keep himself over paid for doing very little apart from self promotion. Typical WF politics and insider dealing maybe he should consider a move to FIFA with the rest of the key cabinet players. After they have milked the 2012 Olympics. EducateCommunities

7:49pm Wed 1 Dec 10

md-j says...

PS:
'Responding to questions on the 2006 contract with Rockpools, current chief executive Martin Esom said: “In my view, with my knowledge of the executive search market, the... costs were competitive'

We have yet to learn whether another real genuine alternative appplicant was considered for Mr Esom's post
PS: 'Responding to questions on the 2006 contract with Rockpools, current chief executive Martin Esom said: “In my view, with my knowledge of the executive search market, the... costs were competitive' We have yet to learn whether another real genuine alternative appplicant was considered for Mr Esom's post md-j

7:53pm Wed 1 Dec 10

steve berwick says...

These people are nothing but scum sucking parasites. They view the puplic sector as something to be looted for their own personall gain. The rest of us, the poor bastards who pay our council tax and get crap services, are just mugs who are there to provide the honey pot for these filth to dip into. I live in hope that one day something horrible will happen to them.
These people are nothing but scum sucking parasites. They view the puplic sector as something to be looted for their own personall gain. The rest of us, the poor bastards who pay our council tax and get crap services, are just mugs who are there to provide the honey pot for these filth to dip into. I live in hope that one day something horrible will happen to them. steve berwick

10:19pm Wed 1 Dec 10

Sam Hain says...

In light of this it would be interesting to know who handled the recruitment for the the post Mr Taylor now occupies as head of the 5 (Olympic) Host Borough Unit.
In light of this it would be interesting to know who handled the recruitment for the the post Mr Taylor now occupies as head of the 5 (Olympic) Host Borough Unit. Sam Hain

10:38pm Wed 1 Dec 10

BarryTLemur says...

And the winner of the 2010 Rotten Borough Of The Year is . . . .
And the winner of the 2010 Rotten Borough Of The Year is . . . . BarryTLemur

12:12am Thu 2 Dec 10

Techno2 says...

Is it not time that one of the three Members of Parliament for this borough insisted on a full judicial inquiry into the corrupt practices in this borough?
Is it not time that one of the three Members of Parliament for this borough insisted on a full judicial inquiry into the corrupt practices in this borough? Techno2

12:44am Thu 2 Dec 10

Chinwagger says...

Techno2 wrote:
Is it not time that one of the three Members of Parliament for this borough insisted on a full judicial inquiry into the corrupt practices in this borough?
They do not have the bottle!
[quote][p][bold]Techno2[/bold] wrote: Is it not time that one of the three Members of Parliament for this borough insisted on a full judicial inquiry into the corrupt practices in this borough?[/p][/quote]They do not have the bottle! Chinwagger

4:45am Thu 2 Dec 10

Phoney Investigations says...

Although this is obviously completely above board the public will press to be reassured by a full inquiry by Chief Inspector Knacker and his boys! Maybe when he's resting his troops from the multiple shootings and stabbings in the area that they have to deal with, a bit of light duty will come in handy!
Although this is obviously completely above board the public will press to be reassured by a full inquiry by Chief Inspector Knacker and his boys! Maybe when he's resting his troops from the multiple shootings and stabbings in the area that they have to deal with, a bit of light duty will come in handy! Phoney Investigations

2:36pm Thu 2 Dec 10

md-j says...

'In light of this it would be interesting to know who handled the recruitment for the the post Mr Taylor now occupies as head of the 5 (Olympic) Host Borough Unit'

Why not stick in a FOI request, Sam?: it costs nothing
'In light of this it would be interesting to know who handled the recruitment for the the post Mr Taylor now occupies as head of the 5 (Olympic) Host Borough Unit' Why not stick in a FOI request, Sam?: it costs nothing md-j

3:20pm Thu 2 Dec 10

Chinwagger says...

Whoever investigates must leave no stones unturned please.
Whoever investigates must leave no stones unturned please. Chinwagger

4:39pm Fri 3 Dec 10

Sam Hain says...

I prefer the old showbiz version, Chinwagger - leave no turn unstoned!
I prefer the old showbiz version, Chinwagger - leave no turn unstoned! Sam Hain

2:15am Mon 6 Dec 10

Ridley says...

Corruption.
Corruption. Ridley

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