Derby City Council chiefs ran a malicious and libellous smear campaign against a whistleblower who tried to draw attention to incompetence and mismanagement by senior council officers. Since 2009, David Gale has being trying to bring the loss of £20 million* relating to Derby City Council’s Information Technology (IT) and Transformation strategies to public account. (* revised 2015 estimate = £40million)
David Gale said, “Despite having briefed the leaders of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats face to face over the past three years, all three have tried to sweep this inconvenient truth under the carpet. I briefed Chris Williamson in 2009 and he assured me that Cllr Bayliss would look into it. No response. Furthermore, Paul Bayliss was the member responsible for overseeing IT and has also been briefed personally by me. In 2011, I received numerous tip-offs that senior council directors were liaising with other council staff and ex-employees to contrive a smear campaign against me in an attempt to ‘close down discussion’ around my awkward questions.”
“I submitted a Subject Access Request for sight of any documents that referenced me. What I got in response took even me by surprise as it became clear that a wide-ranging effort had been made to trawl through council records, contact ex-employees, and generally contact anyone that might have information about me. There is written evidence of fabricated, malicious and damaging allegations being made against me over a prolonged period. Council records demonstrate that the IT Director has even accessed records that relate to my child’s education.”
“I sent the council a ‘cease and desist’ letter to protect my name, as well as evidencing, using the council’s supplied documents, thirteen inaccurate or libellous points communicated by senior council officers. I received an apology (see picture) on just one item from the Council’s IT Director relating to his fictitious claim that I had sued an ex-employer, Egg. I have never sued Egg, nor have I ever been an employee of Egg or contractually linked to them in any way.”
“I received a further letter from Stuart Leslie, the council’s Chief Legal Officer, stating that, in refusing to respond to the outstanding points, he had the support of both the Leader of the Council, Philip Hickson, and Chief Executive Adam Wilkinson. In effect, they were saying ‘take us to the High Court if you can afford it’”.
The council’s Chief Legal Officer Stuart Leslie is also the Returning Officer for the forthcoming local elections. Since January 2012, David Gale has regularly asked public questions at full council meetings about the missing £20 million and has provided extensive documentary evidence of the council’s mismanagement of public funds.
Conservative leader Cllr Philip Hickson claims the support of Labour’s Cllr Paul Bayliss in refusing to answer further questions on the subject, despite recent evidence of £millions of unnecessary overspend. In a disturbing revelation at a full council meeting on 5 March 2012, Cllr Hickson admitted that no formal records are kept of questions asked live in full council meetings other than on the council chamber’s web cam. The web cam system has been experiencing ‘technical difficulties’ since January 2012.
David Gale said, “It’s completely unacceptable that senior councillors have failed to hold officers to account on a matter that continues to cost the public many millions of pounds. There appears to be a very cosy relationship between senior officers and senior councillors. You would have to ask what is the point of having councillors if they’re not going to hold officers to account.”
In September 2011, Derby City Council announced 500 redundancies in an attempt to save £20 million.
28th April 2012