County Hall. Picture by James Ram. REF: 0906JR01312guyan

Picture shows : Mr Andrew Kerr, CEO of Cornwall Council.

Article published by Laura E. Thomas on 2nd April 2015.


At the end of Cornwall Council Corruption  Part 2 onlined in January, I left various managers huddled in their corner of a metaphorical boxing ring.

In January, I reported Mr R. A. Williams’s You Tube antics and Principal Legal Officer Mr Simon Mansell displaying racy and inappropriate online photos of his lady friend to the Solicitors Regulation Society though I am informed that the racy poses have now changed ! Solicitor Laura Baglow was also mentioned for her inability to sign letters sent from Legal Services.


Mr Simon JR Mansell MBE.

The SRA replied in their letter dated 21st January that while the above are not serious enough to warrant action, they say this information `can be used with other sources to identify trends and behaviour.` Pretty shoddy behaviour, actually.

They continue, `This may result in follow up action in the future` and `we will retain the information to create a complete profile of the individuals and the organisations we regulate.`

So there you are. The SRA is keeping an eye on all you lads and lasses in the Legal Dept.

At today`s date of 2nd April those managers are still in their corners. No one at Cornwall Council has responded. There have been no more empty threats and no more unsigned letters for which I am grateful. They may be too embarrassed to reply, anyway.

At the end of January, I received another email from someone who claimed to have been an ex-Cornwall Council employee. To reiterate, this is the person who describes Cornwall Council as having `a disproportionate number of bigots, bullies and racists etc who abuse their power and authority.` This person wishes they `had never worked there` and they `still feel haunted` by their time there.


This ex-employee has given me permission to record their emails. As they have moved away, I feel that their career and life would be ruined if Cornwall Council were ever able to identify them. Cornwall Council had no problems with allowing certain managers to bully and threaten me, a single disabled woman living alone so I doubt they would have any scruples about bullying anyone else. Therefore, I shall refer to this ex-employee as `Anonyscribe`.


I am transcribing their latest email exactly :

Aside from the fact Cornwall Council was the worst place I ever had the misfortune to work, here`s one of the more lunatic anecdotes :

One of the staff members in the office next to me was employed off the record. The department (called `Adult Social Care` at the time) was paying her wages direct into her bank account – completely bypassing the payroll.

Of course, this can only mean there was no advertisement or official selection process of any kind for this role. The individual was being paid monthly outside the PAYE system so no income tax, NI or anything was deducted at source. This special little fraudulent arrangement ran for several years and could be still be going on.

Sssshh, don`t tell HMRC that Cornwall Council owes a significant sum of Employer NI on her earnings. Did I mention that she was being paid at a rate of exactly £20 p/h, 7.5 hours per day, working 3 days a week. Nice for some ! The `face fits mates` culture wins again. One can only hope that the income is being declared to HMRC !

The above is hardly Government toppling fraud and maybe common practice at other councils but it is still very naughty. There seems to be a whiff of hypocrisy here when Cornwall Council will prosecute tenants for non payment of rent or council tax and will send the bailiffs for unpaid car parking penalties but conveniently forget to pay Employer NHI or maybe income tax.

On 6th February I wrote to Head Office HMRC at Newcastle enclosing copies of Anonyscribe’s emails to me as detailed above. On 10th March I wrote enclosing same to the HMRC Tax Evasion Freepost address in Cardiff. Anonyscribe`s identification was removed. It is not surprising that I have received no reply from either of them.


Anonyscribe continues :

About two months into my employment with Cornwall Council I needed a list of everyone in the department (2,000+ I believe) to update a list of training records. Imagine my surprise when I was given a spreadsheet extract from payroll, containing not only the 2,000+ staff names but also their home addresses, NI Numbers, Date of Birth, Contract Start Dates, Pay Increment Dates and EVERY conceivable data field about their pay and pension contributions. I am thinking to myself “You`ve got to be kidding me.”

Within a few weeks of working for the Council I knew things weren`t right, but this was off the scale. When I first started, I was told by at least two members of staff that males were treated less favourably than females (yep, never heard anything like it).

I was also informed that males were deliberately paid less than female members of staff i.e. any female recruit, irrespective of skills or experience, is commenced on a higher salary point than male recruits. Naturally, I have a gander through the payroll spreadsheet which lo and behold confirmed that every female member of staff around me started off on a higher pay increment than the males.

This was the team that promotes (preaches) `Equality and Diversity` to all staff and people in the private sector. Funnily enough, Cornwall Council failed to achieve any standard of the Local Government Equality Standard (c2008 – 2009) Was I surprised ? Not at all.

While many females throughout the land will be yelling, `Whoopee ! Women are paid more than men !  Not before time…`  this seems to clash with any notions of equality. If you want company on the Feminist soap box, you contact Oprah Winfrey. Me ? I want fairness for everyone.

However, I should not allow my own feelings to cloud what Anonyscribe alleges. But for what it is worth,  Anonyscribe sounds believable. Why would they need to invent such things when there will be records of the bank payments to the lady whom it is alleged worked 3 full days a week at £20 per hour off the cards for several years at Adult Social Care ?

And checks can be made on all the comparable starting salaries of female and male recruits at Cornwall Council.


Anonyscribe ends their email to me :

Thirdly, it was evident that people were being employed into back office roles in Adult Social Care without employment checks being carried out. I was in and working within 1 week of applying and someone else was employed BEFORE any work references arrived – one arrived that was very negative (!!) and the Council still employed them until they walked off the job.

People in power and authority need to be held to account.

Yes, Anonyscribe, they certainly do.


While the Right Reverend Tim, The Bishop of Truro assured me in his letter dated 8th December `14 that he would look into my experiences of corruption at Cornwall Council, he never replied. I am not surprised, feeling that again, lack of response may have been due again to embarrassment.

It brings to mind the August `14 meeting with Housing Director Peter Jarman and Rev Tony Stephens who said, `Laura, I think you will find there is corruption in most large organisations…`

Yes Boss, I accept that. But I don`t want it coming through my letterbox or sitting at my dining table. I regret allerting Bishop Tim to all this. He has enough to contend with.


Cornwall Council Chief Executive Mr Andrew Kerr was recently interviewed on what should be the compulsive listening Radio Cornwall `Laurence Reed` programme. Mr Kerr was heard agreeing, rather hesitantly I thought, to answer more questions from the general public in about 6 months time.

Mr Kerr, I hope we can chat then about the way you run Cornwall Council. On air. Please do not insult me or anyone else with more unsigned letters or letters clearly intended to threaten or intimidate.

I hope this will be the last of my CORNWALL COUNCIL CORRUPTION articles. Trawling through the working lives of certain managers at Cornwall Council makes me feel rather grubby.

Laura E. Thomas                                                             2nd April 2015

Further reading : CORNWALL COUNCIL CORRUPTION via @wordpressdotcom


WEIGHTGATE. via @wordpressdotcom

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