The only game in town – North Ayrshire Council – Sturgeon-Evans and the PFI Scandal

A contract was signed by North Ayrshire Council (NAC) for a PPP/PFI deal to build 4 schools. The council is now paying £1million a month to service the debt, and will be until about 2038.

At the time and leading up to its signature there were concerns amongst councillors about lack of transparency and procedures. A police investigation was launched in 2006 and “found no criminality”.

But the investigative skills of reporter Campbell Martin exposed clear evidence casting doubt as the probity of the bidding procedure (one of the two competitors was clearly a shell company created to give impression of multi-bidding. So there was no competition. The police missed the obvious!!! Did they really investigate as they claimed they had?

Campbell Martin’s exposure rattled cages in the council and wider afield and in February 2018, the Council, despite an amount of obfuscation and delaying tactics by senior Council officers asked the police to investigate the allegations again.

Feedback from the police revealed nothing new. Reporter Campbell Martin submitted a number of Freedom of Information requests to the police which went unanswered. And despite a formal intervention from the Data protection ombudsman to release full details of their investigations not a lot was released

But the ever dogged Campbell Martin kept on digging and finally revealed a “can of worms” so rotten even Sturgeon would not take the bait.

A bitter pill for the taxpayer to swallow was the action of a senior civil servant member of the government’s PFI team responsible for the imposition of the then Coalition government’s PFI policies

She convened a meeting with North Ayrshire Council councillors and stonewalled it shutting down any questioning revealing little information of any consequence. The civil servant was Leslie Evans!!!


6 replies on “The only game in town – North Ayrshire Council – Sturgeon-Evans and the PFI Scandal”

I’m not sure if this is connected to PFI Hospitals in Scotland, Borders/Dumfries & Galloway.
A number of these hospitals are coming to an end of their contracts. The big issue being, under the contracts the ‘landlord’ is required to maintain the buildings by spending X amount over the rental period before being handed back to the trust.
This has not been happening which has engaged the trust into a battle to retain monies to bring the buildings up to standard.
The cost to the trust if not successful will be billions which in effect, will come out the budget.
Putting it simply, landlords are happy to take the money, but not part with it as per the terms of the PFI contract.

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Excellent investigative journalism by Campbell Martin. See also his book “WAS IT SOMETHING I SAID? Mair than a few skeletons lyin dormant in there as weel!

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I agree with Robert McAllan, and thank goodness for this type of journalism.; furthermore, there are numerous honourable journalists that recognise and report on potential and actual Dictatorships. .. Eventually, after Scotland regains its Independence in this world, we will have changed the mistakenly recognised ‘UK’, and our relationship with the evolving EU; and perhaps join the European Free Trading Association, as well?

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