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God give me patience - but hurry!

Graham Smith | 19:04 UK time, Sunday, 6 February 2011

On 22nd December 2010 I asked Cornwall Council several questions about the Local Enterprise Partnership and its interim chairman, Sir John Banham. For weeks I have been promised an answer "soon" and last week I made repeated calls to see if I could get my answers without recourse to an application under the Freedom of Information Act. Each FOI application costs taxpayers an average of about £250 to deal with. By close of play on Friday - not a squeak. So with a heavy heart, and in the hope that common sense might yet prevail, I have just despatched another email:

Please take this email as an application under Freedom of Information legislation to find out:

(a) The cost to Cornwall Council of Sir John Banham's engagement as interim chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership
(b) To whom this money is paid (presumably Johnson Matthey - just checking)
(c) Details of any memos of understanding, or contract with Johnson Matthey, outlining the amount of time Sir John was expected to work on the LEP. Specifically I want to know how many days Sir John worked on the LEP project and therefore understand his daily rate.
(d) The date on which Sir John was first asked to work as interim chairman - as his first draft prospectus is dated early December, I expect this date to be sometime in November or possibly even earlier.
(e) The date on which Sir John's role as interim chairman is expected to end.
(f) A list of all correspondence between Cornwall Council and Sir John about the LEP - indeed, unless it is exempt under FOI, I would like to inspect the file.

Many thanks



  • Comment number 1.

    Keep it up Graham! Will be v.interested in the outcome.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hello Graham,

    Just thought I would add to your questions and tell you what has been communicated to me about Sir John.

    I am advised that the cost of Sir John is £2,000 per day, with an upper limit of £98,000 in the year. This is apparently paid direct to Sir John and has been signed off by Kevin Lavery, Alec Roberson and a Michael Crich.

    Sir John was written to on the 25th of November inviting him to take up the post. The letter stated that it had the support of the FSB - which it did not.

    Further examples of the way the Councils are progressing. On the 21st of January 2011 the Cornwall Business Forum presented them with a very positive prospectus and lead on how the LEP should progress. The forum represents some 9,000 businesses in the County and IOS. The Council have yet to acknowledge that document.

    Part of that document said that the recruitment of the private sector members of the board should be recruited completely independently of the Council or the interim Chairman. This position was endorsed in writing to the Councils by Cornwall Chambers of Commerce and Cornwall Manufacurers Forum. In spite of all of this, the Councils have commissioned a London based firm to recruit the Chairman and Non Exec Directors with adverts going into The Times today. They are using the same firm that was commissioned to recruit the board of CDC. It would seem that the Councils have little regard for the spirit or intent of the words "Local" "Enterprise" or "Partnership".

    We have had to endure a two to three month stall of the LEP progression and it seems the Councils are hell bent on continuing with the stalling process. The business community are keen willing and able to progress in partnership just as soon as our public servants prove similarly willing.

    Kind Regards

    Kevin Oliver


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