Three Day Week for Cambs Police and Crime Commissioner Bright


Tuesday, January 21st, 2014. 12:52am

Excerpt from Police and Crime Commissioner Bright's Diary

Excerpt from Police and Crime Commissioner Bright’s Diary


Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright is only working a three day week.

Graham Bright’s Diary was released following a Freedom of Information request by Paul Lythgoe.

The released material appears to show Graham Bright is asking his staff not to schedule events during two weekdays each week.

In the week commencing the 9th of September 2013 the commissioner kept two weekdays free of commitments and spent two further days on the role he has taken in the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, leaving just one working day for activity as Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

While it appears the diary isn’t comprehensive presumably the days marked “keep free” or similar do indicate the days the Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright takes off.

The Commissioner has released his diary as scanned images of a computer print-out. This is far from as useful as pro-actively publishing his upcoming diary on his website would be.

Many of the entries are hard to read as the text is on a shaded background.

My Views

  • If Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright is not working a full week as Police and Crime Commissioner I can’t see how he can justify trousering his full £70,000/year salary.
  • The Commissioner’s diary shows a lot of his time is being taken up on his Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s role, rather than on his primary local role here in Cambridgeshire
  • The Commissioner employs a large staff, and has recruited an outreach worker to attend public meetings on his behalf in the North of the Police Area. I think the diary shows there is plenty of capacity for the Graham Bright to attend public meetings himself and cease delegating this core part of his role.

Commissioner Bright’s Days Off Q3 2013

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Week Commencing Monday Number of Weekdays Nothing Scheduled Notes

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September 2, 2013 2

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September 9, 2013 2 2 Further days on APCC event

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September 16, 2013 2 Half days marked free on Thurday and Friday

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September 23, 2013 2 1 hr meeting on Monda, half day Thursday, 2 hr Lunch at Carlton Club, Friday

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September 30, 2013 2 1 half hour phone call Friday; Conference Monday/Tues, all but hour of Wedneday off

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October 7, 2013 1.5 Half days Monday, Tuesday, Friday

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October 14, 2013 2 Half days Monday, Tuesday, APC Wednesday, Friday Free

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October 21, 2013 3 Monday Off, Thursday and Friday Marked as Annual Leave

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October 28, 2013 3 No events Monday, Tuesday, Friday

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November 4, 2013 1.5 Monday 2 1/2 hour phone calls; Tueday APCC, Friday nothing

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November 11, 2013 1 Thursday APCC, Friday nothing.

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November 18, 2013 2 1/2 days free on Tuesday and Wednesday; just 1 hr of Select Ctte Briefing on Friday

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November 25, 2013 2 One personal event on Friday, One APCC call Thursday, APCC Tuesday; just 2 days on Cambs.

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December 2, 2013 2 Monday and Friday free

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December 9, 2013 1 Friday free; lots of APCC events over the week

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December 16, 2013 1.5 Monday Free, Tuesday 1000-1430

24 comments/updates on “Three Day Week for Cambs Police and Crime Commissioner Bright

  1. bob

    This does raise the old question of who guards the guardian. Given that the Commssioner refuses to allow scrutiny by the County Council and others, who is responsible for making sue he does his job. Preumably his answer would be the electorate but 4 years is a long time to wait if someone is not turning up for work. Sir Graham has unwittingly, through his behaviour, thrown into question the need and viability of police commissioners and it is a great disappointment that when he was questioned by MPs they were not better briefed and/or did not ask the right questions. He has made no difference whatsoever to the policing of Cambridgeshire, has appointed a deputy without any apparent process, has broken an election promise on not raising his share of the council tax, has seemingly treated electe representatives with disdain and contempt and now, if you are right, works a 3 day week on a full salary. Why ACPO would want anything to do with this person is beyond me.

  2. Colin

    This seems like an awful stretch. Do you have any evidence at all that just because he has no scheduled meetings, he isn’t working? I get your point about the importance of being visible and accountable, but presumably the Commissioner has work to do other than just attending meetings…

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      I’ve been clear that the evidence on which I’ve commented is the diary which has just been released. I’ve linked to that from the article.

      It’s my view that the diary shows a clear pattern of 2 working days a week (usually whole days; but if not whole days then one whole day and two half days) being marked as “keep free” – ie. he’s telling his staff he’s only available 3 days a week. In addition to that there is substantial time spent on APCCs rather than his role in Cambridgeshire.

      I’ve noted the diary appears to be far from comprehensive.

      Being a Police and Crime Commissioner isn’t directly comparable to a job with working hours; but this FOI release does give some insight into his working pattern.

    2. Hester

      No fan of Sir Graham, but I would have assumed he was working from home 2 days a week. Such patterns are not uncommon where I work.

      May still be a question of office costs for an office he’s declining to use 40% of the time.

    3. Richard Taylor Article author

      That’s possible; highlighting his diary could prompt the Police and Crime Panel, Professional Press, and others in a position to do so to find out what’s going on.

      One argument against the free days being working from home is that no events outside the office are scheduled on them.

      As for the Camborne office; that’s an office for his ten or so staff as well as for him.

    4. Sam

      Working from home is shown differently (with Home as a location), rather than “keep free” which blocks out 2 days a week (sometimes with a call interrupting it, but the equivalent time often free on another day).

      Maybe he thinks he has an informal sharing arrangement with Julian Huppert MP, who seems to work 7 days and spends a lot of time on policing and justice issues… Although I’m not sure that Dr Huppert would necessarily have agreed to that…

  3. Paul Lythgoe

    Given the content of the diary why was the decision to publish under my FOI request held up for a further 20 days beyond the statuatory 20day time period. Ostensibly the reason given was to establish whether publication would not be in the public interest and would contavene exception S31 law enforcement. In the event the primary redacted information was the telephone number and pin code for the conference call facility for the APPC. I am not clear why this would take 40 days to decide not in the public interest to publish. Apart from this the only other redacted peice of information is a meeting at Marshall’s airport. Which only leads one to wonder who was he meeting and why? This redaction is the only one not marked S31.

    In reply to my request we are told that the Commisioner only keeps an electronic diary and yet this is a scanned document and not an electronic document. We are also told that he does not publish his diary on his web site as other PCC’s do, and that this is ok because having been audited his website is in the top half of PCC websites in terms of compliance to requirments to publish. The issue is then about a willingness to be transparent to his electorate for what he does. The purpose of elected PCC’s was in part to make transparent the oversight of the police, in this we are clearly not being best served.

    Richard having reviewed the diary I am sure you are right our PCC views his job as part time, the problem for us is that there is no requirement for him to work anything more than this. It is the job of the police and crime panel to challenge him, and to lay bare what he does to the public. In this our councillors have singularly poor. From your recordings of the meetings most come to the meetings unprepared and have not yet challenged him on his budget, his decisions, or his activity. With the publication of this diary maybe one of the panel will be brave enough to ask him some questions. The last meeting of the panel was on the 6th of November over 2 months later no minutes of the meeting have been published. We have only your record of the meeting to know what transpired. So, perhaps for the meeting on the 5th February the panel members needed to be provided with questions that their constituents would wish answered. Would you like to start this?

    I asked a FOI request on panel members attendance and contribution since having viewed your recordings and the meeting minutes I could see limited contribution s to the meeting and/or lack of attendance particularly by the co-opted members. The reply was in summary it is all in the minutes look for yourself, but by the way the minutes are a summary and not a record of the meeting. So the co-opted members say and do nothing but unless we attend we won’t know how pointless they are.

    One of the primary functions of the PCC is the setting of the budget for the police authority, and this has, of course, been fairly controversial. However, looking at the PCC website the Chief Finance Officer remains one of the two main officers being recruited for this office. One wonders who is preparing for the panels review of the budget on the 5th February.The other officer is a communications director, an appointment I will personally find dissapointing if successful since without a competent CD Sir Graham is always good value. Both these vacancies appear to have had moveable dates for fullfillment, and Sir Grahams diary lists only one meeting to consider vacancies on 3rd of October for 30 minutes. There have been no interviews listed in his diary, and no further consideration of recruitment. If Sir Graham fails to recruit a competent Finance Officer in short order the panel should surely question him on the risks to the police budget.

    You point out that one of the most frequent events in his diary relate to his duties for the APCC. This is not a surprise to me – his history suggests that having officer roles in relevant clubs is more important to him than endeavour in his chosen field. Leadership of the ex MP club for one, and Chairman of the artificial sugar soc for another are evidence of this.

    Fianlly, thank you for publishing more widely my FOI request – I do hope both supporters and otherwise of Sir Graham review it and offer their views.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      The audit just looks to see if each Commissioner’s website covers certain topics at all; eg. does it have any contact information, and information on decisions etc. It doesn’t look in depth to see for example if all decisions which ought to have been reported have been. As the audit report makes clear itself; it’s just a quick look not a detailed review.

  4. Richard Taylor Article author

    It has been suggested that the name Commissioner Bright took 40 days to consider redacting on law enforcement grounds was Christopher Walkinshaw, who is the Group Corporate Communications Director for the family-owned Marshall Group of Companies.

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      That’s certainly one of the individuals; it appears perhaps the S31 annotation might be misplaced and there’s an omitted explanation for the attempted redaction of the names of those the Police and Crime Commissioner met at Marshalls (there was another individual’s name he tried to redact too).

      If the phone number for the APCC conference calls is really material which is sensitive and it’s disclosure risks negatively impacting law enforcement nationally, as claimed, surely the commissioner ought have taken more care not to release it.

      Perhaps the commissioner ought do have done a better job of redacting that too – it’s 08444 737373 – given in public at conference call provider http://www.powwownow.co.uk/ a number of digits of the pin number are visible too.

      This raises questions including:

      • If the name of the Group Corporate Communications Director at Marshalls is being redacted; how legitimate are the other redactions the Commissioner has made from his diary?
      • In relation to the phone number redacted the Commissioner claimed:

        disclosure of the information which has been redacted could not only impact on Law Enforcement within Cambridgeshire, but law enforcement in other parts of the UK. The potential risk of undermining the partnership approach to law enforcement is therefore judged in this case to be high.

        If this is the way he treats information he himself in his response to the FOI request states, if released:

        places individuals at risk, or compromises law-enforcement tactics would ultimately jeopardise the ability of Police and Crime Commissioners and their Chief Constables to carry out their respective roles effectively.

        it raises questions about his, and his office’s, ability to handle material that really should be kept secret.

    2. Richard Taylor Article author

      Rupert Moss-Eccardt, who stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has commented:

      1. Sam

        I suspect that the use of PowWowNow means that those calls are politically sensitive, rather than actually sensitive.

    3. Stephen Ginns - - ambridge

      See https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/160732/response/396536/attach/html/5/business%20support%20manager%20JD.pdf.html for details of Business Support Manager vacancy. Bizarre to ask for A levels in English (which is mostly Literature at A level) and Maths (relevance of Complex Numbers, Imaginary Numbers, Polar Co-ordinates &c is very questionable). I would have thought a CIMA or Business Degree would be more useful. An organization of 13 staff, fancy titles, and this job seems to be a sweeper-up and Mr fixit for the PCC. What a waste of public funds!

      APCC website looks interesting. Their accounts (to March 31st 2013) show Director emoluments and expenses. How much is our PCC trousering from this sinecure?

    4. Paul Lythgoe

      The FOI publication of Sir Grahams diary and the comments here on the inadequate job done in redacting the contents of the diary have prompted the diary to be removed and replaced with a new version where the redactions have been more adequately done. One hopes that this has not been too difficult for the officer concerned.

      Nonetheless my view is that the published diary is either only a partial view on his workload, or he is, as you suggest, working part time. IF Sir Graham is working a 3 day week, what of his 3 day a week deputy. How many days is he actually working? For me the issue is about transparency.Sir Graham is an elected official and he should act at all times publicly and transparently. His inclination is not to do so. His website is poor by standards of other PCC’s and these all fail to meet Audit Commissions expectations.

      I would hope that at the next PCP meeting more members bother to do some research and ask proper questions of the PCC. How for example will the PCC be putting together a budget without appointing a finance officer, and why has it taken so long to recruit someone for the role. Sir Grahams diary suggests he has had little or no involvement in this process.

    5. Richard Taylor Article author

      The Commissioner has sent a further message to the FOI correspondence thread stating:

      It has been brought to our attention that information which was redacted in good faith in response to your request may in fact have been visible. I have therefore removed the old PDF from the Commissioner’s website and uploaded a new version which ensures none of the redacted information is visible. It has also come to my attention that a s40 annotation which should have accompanied the relevant redaction within the document was in fact omitted in my previous response. For clarification purposes I have now added this annotation, though the redaction itself is unchanged.

      1. Richard Taylor Article author

        It’s notable that the Commissioner has redoubled his efforts to hide the PowWowNow number.

        I’ve also just noticed that ironically the diary shows that two of the Commissioners staff spent two days on a FOI course on the 23rd and 24th of July 2013.

    6. Stephen Ginns - - Cambridge

      We should remember that Bright was a Member of Parliament, and that he will inevitably act like such! Especially regarding timekeeping, days off, expenses, involvement, no experience of police supervision, committee work rather than leading from the front.

    7. Paul Lythgoe

      In response to my FOI request a photocopied diary was produced from which Richard has concluded that SIr Graham is possibly working a 3 day week. A look at a simple and alternative approach to publishing the diary can be seen on the site of the Sussex PCC. A monthly update has been published. A comparison of Sir Grahams activities with that of the PCC for Sussex is revealing. She seems to have done more in one month than Sir Graham has in 6 months. Check it out at the follwoing address – https://www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/meetings-events/archive/ follow the link for the PCP panel meetings and you will find their fully webcast live, and they have a section for public questions. When Sir Graham pontificates on what is and what is not within his remit because they are operational matters, it is clear that the PCC for Sussexx takes a rather different view, and webcasts monthly meeting with the Chief Constable look at the September meeting http://www.sussex-pcc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcasts In this they discuss policing of the Balcombe protest and within this the use of police snatch squads and pressure holds as restraint. The discussions will not change police operational practice necessarily, but they evidence a PCC holding the Cheif Constable to account. In contrast we had this http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/News/VIDEO-Police-commissioners-Christmas-message-I-took-on-Cambridges-rogue-cyclists-saved-cash-and-held-up-the-front-line-20131225175216.htm. No content just self promotion, bluster and fluff.

      1. Paul Lythgoe

        It appears that within Sir Graham’s staff someone has taken the rather sensible approach of publishing his diary online. This has the following benefits for Sir Graham. No more pesky FOI requests, no further risk of redaction errors, no further attempts to try and see what lies under the black felt pen, and an opportunity to rid him of the part time monicker by a poorly updated diary. All of these things are worthwhile it certainly appears that our PCC has worked rather more days than he has in the past. I am sure the accuracy and relevance of the diary will be beyond reproach.

        Stephen Ginns asks how much Sir Graham was trousering from the APCC sinecure. The accounts suggest £113k splite between 6 Directors for 2013 plus 2 who were in place till March 2013. So very roughly £20k plus £2.5k of expenses per Director. Just to compare a full time PC will receive about this figure for a full time job involving some risk to personal safety. Sir Graham’s diary suggests that one day a month is sufficient to gain this remuneration.

      2. Richard Taylor Article author

        The latest Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ accounts are for April 2012 – March 2013 and Graham Bright was only appointed a director ten days before the end of that period. The accounts don’t show if the Police and Crime Commissioner directors of that organisation are paid for their role.

        As you know I’ve asked the Police and Crime Panel to look into Police and Crime Commissioner Bright’s role with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners but they were were hostile and dismissive towards that suggestion, with Cllr Curtis asserting the activity was clearly positive and suggesting, as I understood the thrust of the contribution, that it didn’t warrant any scrutiny.

        If Police and Crime Commissioners are paying subscriptions to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and then taking allowances from it then they’ve come up with a way of personally trousering more of the public money they are responsible for. I would be astonished if this was the case; although we see something very similar in relation to councillors and the Local Government Association.

        The diary appears quite deeply hidden on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website, it wasn’t under Events, Transparency information, or What’s New, or anywhere else I looked. I found it via a search, it’s at:

        http://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/commissioners-diary/

        The Police and Crime Panel have formally recommended the commissioner publish details of his outreach officer’s attendence at public meetings in advance. I hope the Commissioner will do the same for his own attendances at events. Currently only the private surgery events are listed in the upcoming events section of the commissioner’s website.

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