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FOI: Swindon Councillor Claims Euro Law makes £300,000 Grant To Local Dial A Ride Charity ‘Illegal’

Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council , Councillor Garry Perkins, recently told AGM attendees of the Swindon Dial A Ride Charity that the annual grant given to the charity by the council would soon be stopping because, as he put it:

“Our legal department [Swindon Borough Council] has said that the transfer of funds currently is illegal under EU law”

Opinions vary as to whether Cllr Perkins has been sold a pup which is currently barking up the wrong tree, but it sounds like a couple of really shitty political ‘tricks’ have been enacted upon Dial A Ride, and with any luck, (and some help), I’d like to be able be able to drag the full, dirty little tale out into the sunlight and peg it out for everyone to read. helpers can share what they know, (in complete confidence), via this email address:  leaks@talkswindon.org

I don’t intend to produce a full post on this just yet, but rest assured that a nasty smell is already pouring off this story and this Freedom of information request should give some broad hints as to the direction of travel but, essentially,  it looks increasingly looks like Swindon Borough Council wants to have the Dial a Ride service supplied by a company it owns , and not the independantly run Swindon Dial A Ride Charity.

For now though, I’ll just publish the FOI request made via www.whatdotheyknow.com while I carry on digging elsewhere…..

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

The Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council, (Councillor Garry
Perkins), attended the annual general of the Swindon Dial A Ride
charity on the 24th June 2010 to discuss the Councils intention to
remove the annual grant given to that charity.

At the meeting, the Deputy Leader of the Council said:

“Our legal department has said that the transfer of funds [To
Swindon Dial A Ride] currently is illegal under EU law”

My freedom of information request is as follows:

1. How many sources of legal advice regarding the grant given to
the Swindon Dial A Ride Service have been used to determine or
otherwise verify that the grant described as ‘illegal’ by
Councillor Perkins is actually illegal under European law?

1.1 Please give the name and address of each source of legal advice
used by Swindon Borough Council to determine the
legality/illegality of the grant given to Swindon Dial a ride.

2. What advice was given given by the Swindon Borough Council
Director of Law and Democratic Services,(or other members of the
Swindon Borough Council legal department), to elected members of
the council cabinet, or other elected members of the council,
regarding the legality of the grant given to the Swindon Dial A
Ride Service?

2.1 Which elected members of Swindon Council requested or received
advice regarding the legality of the grant given to the Swindon
Dial A Ride Service such advice from the Director of Law and
Democratic Services and/or other directors & Officers of the
Swindon Borough Council?

2.2 When was such advice requested or given?

3. Are the Director of Law and Democratic Services, other Council
Directors and Officers qualified to advise elected members on
matters of European law which pertain to the legality of the grant
given to the Swindon Dial A Ride Service?

4. If external legal advice regarding the legality of the grant
given to the Swindon Dial A Ride Service was sought by elected
members, officers of Directors of Swindon Borough Council, then:

4.1 Did the Director of Law and Democratic Services, other Council
Directors or Officers, or anyone acting on their instructions,
advise any elected members of the council that such external legal
advice should be sought?

4.2 Which elected members received such advice, from whom was it
received and when was it given?

4.3 What was the advice?

4.4 Was the advice given in writing or orally?

4.5 Did the Director of Law and Democratic Services, other Council
Directors or Officers, or anyone acting on their instructions,
cause or instruct external legal advice to be sought regarding the
legality under European law of the grant given to the Swindon Dial
A Ride Service?

5 Did any elected members of Swindon Borough Council seek, cause or
instruct that external legal advice regarding the legality under
European law of the grant given to the Swindon Dial A Ride Service
be sought? if so:

5.1 Which elected member of Swindon Borough Council sought, caused
or instructed that such external external legal advice be sought?

5.2 What is the name and address of the Company(s) or
organisation(s) from which legal advice was sought?

5.3 What advice was given by each?

5.4 What was the cost of obtaining external the external legal
advice?

6. Please supply copies of any correspondence between the Cabinet
Member for Sustainability, Strategic Planning, Property and
Transport, (Councillor Peter Greenhalgh) and the Director of Law
and Democratic Services which pertain to the grant given to the
Swindon Dial A Ride Service.

6.1 Please supply copies of any correspondence between the Cabinet
Member for Sustainability, Strategic Planning, Property and
Transport, (Councillor Peter Greenhalgh) and other directors of
officers of Swindon Borough Council which pertain to the grant
given to the Swindon Dial A Ride Service.

Yours faithfully,

Geoff Reid

A discussion topic on the Talkswindon Forum is open here, please feel free to drop by and join in :)

Posted on
Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
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One Comment to “FOI: Swindon Councillor Claims Euro Law makes £300,000 Grant To Local Dial A Ride Charity ‘Illegal’”

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Penndragon, Geoff Reid. Geoff Reid said: Blogged: FOI: #Swindontory Councillor Claims Euro Law makes £300,000 Grant To Mobility Charity 'Illegal' http://bit.ly/aFoV5Q [...]

August 22nd, 2010