The Bickerstaffe Record

Breaking News, Leisure and culture

A very mild telling off

05.26.08 | Comment?

Following my recent ‘invitation’ to meet with the Chief Executive and the District Solicitor of West Lancashire District Council  – I’m not sure it’d have remained an ‘invitation’ had I declined – I duly went along to see the Council offices the other day to see what was up.

 They advised me that:

a) my press release in March, which suggested the Audit Commission was ‘closing in’ on the ‘scandal’ that is Serco’s delivery of leisure services in West Lancashire, was a little bit close to the wire;

b)  Serco might have looked to take legal action against me for the original report on their activities, and that I should be careful in future. 

The implication in the latter advice was that Serco just hadn’t feel it important enough to pursue, or were feeling kindly towards me.  Of course, just as valid a reason for Serco not chasing me is that the report is an accurate assessment of the misleading data on price increase averages (I’ve never said that this is purposeful), and more generally their use of public funds in a way that promotes social inequality.   Another reason may be they’ve never bothered to read it!

I am of course grateful to the Chief Executive and the District Solictor for what are obviously well meaning attempts to protect me from myself – they are both patently decent people and I am not suggesting that their view of my press release (they didn’t mention the actual report) is anything other than duly cautious.

However, I stand by my report and will be continuing to investigate and shed as much light as possible on what I believe is incorrect use of public money by Serco, and ineffective governance by the west Lancashire Leisure Trust.   My full response to the meeting is here.

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