Last year Telford & Wrekin Council, under the previous Liebour administration, launched a company by the name of Transforming Telford to perform some of its statutory obligations.
I’ve mentioned the funny story around the company before but I’ll touch on it again because it’s a brilliant example of residents getting one over corrupt civil servants. The company was supposed to be called Telford First and had been operating in a shadow form, in secret, for over a year when a resident (John) spotted a reference to it in the £50k variances in the council budget. He did some digging and found that this company had spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers money but appeared to have done nothing. The “company” refused to publicise itself and both they and the council were withholding information. Eventually, John went to the local paper and outed them and they announced they would be starting trading the following Monday. But they hadn’t registered their company name at Companies House. So John – along with another resident called John – registered the name Telford First Limited with Companies House and told the council they could have the name back if they just came clean with residents and told them what this company was doing and how much it was costing. You’ll notice that I called the company Transforming Telford at the start of this post – the council, naturally, chose to maintain the veil of secrecy.
Anyway, that’s the brief history of this quango (which is part owned by the unelected regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands). I put in an FOI a few months ago to the council, which they have finally replied to, asking how much money this quango has spent and received. They have received almost £1.3m of taxpayers money and just over £74k of private money. They’ve spent their entire income which includes £112k on press and media yet the only adverts anyone has seen for them are job adverts offering hughly paid jobs to budding quangocrats.
The big question is, if private enterprise is only stumping up 5% of the funding, why are only 2 of the board members representatives of the taxpayers giving this quango 95% of its funding? Why is this almost exclusively publicly-funded quango controlled by unelected bureaucrats and businessmen when they are making such a pitiful contribution to the coffers?