States 'failed to control care inquiry costs'

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A LEGAL costs experts has criticised the States for failing to control the spiralling costs of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

On the day the inquiry publishes it findings, Jim Diamond, who has assessed legal costs for 35 years, has spoken of his frustration that the States took no action to control the costs of the inquiry, which currently stands at £23 million.

The figure is almost four times the initial projected spend of £6 million.

He also alleged that there had been a lack of effective oversight as the deadline to appeal against legal fees charged by UK firms had now passed, meaning that the issue could not be properly addressed.

His comments come as the findings of the historical child abuse inquiry were due to be made public at 3 pm today – nearly three years since evidence was first heard by the inquiry panel, chaired by Frances Oldham QC.

Mr Diamond said that he made both Treasury Minister Alan Maclean and External Relations Minister Sir Philip Bailhache, who is a former Bailiff, aware of the services he offers to control the costs of large legal cases, but still no action was taken to appoint him or a similar professional to oversee the inquiry spend.

As at February 2017, the inquiry’s costs stood at £14,994,857, of which £10,541,841 was spent on ‘fees and expenses’ – in large part lawyers’ fees.

One of the main recipients of that money was London-based firm Eversheds, which provided ‘solicitor services to the inquiry’.

In addition to the money spent by the inquiry team, the States had spent a total of £6,637,327 at the end of February, more than two thirds of which was spent on lawyers.

It is estimated, therefore, that the inquiry has cost the taxpayer somewhere in the region of £15 million in legal fees.

Mr Diamond added that he had also spoken to Senator Maclean about controlling legal costs when the budget for the States’ Low Value Consignment Relief [LVCR] case in 2011 spiralled to £1 million from £350,000.

‘I think some serious questions need to be asked of Senator Bailhache and of Senator Maclean,’ said Mr Diamond, who has worked on large cases in the city of London.

‘Why would Sir Philip in his position as one of Jersey’s senior ex-judges not be interested in controlling costs? I sent him the report I did so it was not as if he did not know about it.

‘They should have appointed me or someone like me to control the costs of inquiry but they didn’t.’

The latest breaking news on the inquiry's findings to be published on Monday afternoon.

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Comments for: "States 'failed to control care inquiry costs'"

karaoke joe

London based company Eversheds . This could be a new name for our Government as they are forever shedding our tax dollars lol.

S2

The only winners are the lawyers; what a surprise. And I believe a similar, but much larger, enquiry in the UK cost a fraction of this.

The Moaning Old Bugger

Sorry Jim, but you obviously are not a member of the old boys club, as you have a lot of common sense and intelligence by them taking you on would actually show them for the thick idiots they really are!!!!!!

BeanThereDoneThat

At least the States are consistent in their approach when it comes to spending money. Looking at all the over spends on projects, consultants, legal fees, etc it all comes down to the same.

There is always more where that came from attitude continues to run through the veins of our states members, we need the Rolls Royce service, the best of the best, never mind what it costs.

And again I bet there will be no one accountable, I wonder if the final figure will stop at £23m with the enquiry going back to 1945 I very much doubt it.

One thing is for sure the victims in all of this will receive far, far less than the lawyers, solicitors, panel members et al.

And that is the greatest shame in this fiasco.

DiggerBarns

The costs of this Inquiry have been obscene but are we surprised?

Deputy Montfort Tadier wanted wide ranging Terms of Reference because he had it in his tiny head that there had been a Government conspiracy to cover up child abuse !!!!

Also the Care Inquiry Team have had to deal with over 2 years worth of abusive Tweets and e-mails from his side kick Stuart Syvret. Who, amazingly never partook in giving evidence anyway !!!!

You couldn't make it up !!!!

Squawkie L Pelican

Oh my gosh! Please tell us more of the drivel that you have just made up.

PeggyP

What do you mean 'You couldn't make it up' ? You just have.

Sotte Voce

To quote the report:

10.19 We have briefly recounted in the Report the events following on from Senator Syvret's scathing public criticisms of the performance of his own department, of which he had been Minister for eight years, to his dismissal as a Minister. We find that Stuart Syvret highlighted relevant issues about child abuse that needed to be addressed to ensure the protection and safety of children in Jersey. His actions did not amount to political interference with Operation Rectangle.

DiggerBarns

Yes and to also quote the Report -

" We agree that Mr Syvret’s public criticisms of civil servants were inappropriate and did not assist his cause. We accept that Frank Walker and Bill Ogley were genuinely troubled by his conduct in this respect, and we do not believe that the attempts to remove him were conducted with the intention of covering up child abuse."

So in other words he was a bully and made false accusations.

A fine Politician of his time.

Sotte Voce

True, but the bigger picture is one of a Senator who was doggedly trying to get at the truth. As the report found, he did succeed in doing so.

So, no false accusations at ll.

D.A.M

More of our hard earned Tax payer’s money wasted, the truth has just come out,

One more to pop out of the States of Jersey closet, OMG it is one beg closet,

I have to think if Treasury Minister Alan Maclean and Minister Sir Philip Bailhache, a former Bailiff were not interested in overspending the Jersey Tax payer’s monies what hope in hell do we the people of Jersey have in getting our politicians to see sense and stop wasting the monies we give them to look after our island,

Is it not time we get proper people running the States, people who have run their own businesses without the luxury of a bottomless pit of funds to fall back on,

Just think what this wasted money could have been used on instead of these extreme legal fees,

Seems the lawyers did better than the victims and the politicians say our States members have our best interests at heart,

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but in this case there was Mr Diamond who made Minister Alan Maclean and Minister Sir Philip Bailhache aware of the services he offers, but still no action was taken to appoint him or a similar professional, WTF!!!

So in truth these two Ministers knew better than a professional who does this for a living, I don’t think so, are they going to refund these monies that they could have saved out island but wasted from their own funds, No but they will still get over paid from the Jersey Tax payers pot,

Like Ozouf these members should offer to resign and leave the States but we know this won’t happen,

Time for new people to come forward to run our island and the people of Jersey to vote them in and get rid of the idiots who think they are so much better than the people they represent that they can do as they like due to being in power,

Squawkie L Pelican

If only we had a massively overpaid legal professional with manservant heading up our government to oversee this sort of thing.... he was probably too embarrassed to come out in the silly hat and tights.

Sotte Voce

He did, however, give an extremely long winded statement to the enquiry!

LivedThereOnce

Almost can't believe what I'm reading here - not just on this thread, but across he entire subject.

It seems the focus of the Jersey public is the cost of the enquiry to the tax payer and that the legal profession stands to profit most, rather than the devastating effects on the victims of this unforgivable, institutional betrayal of trust.

This was the second story on the national BBC 10 o'clock news so if ever there was a time to do the right thing and sod the expense, surely this is it. Despite the self-congratulatory headlines you read in the JEP on a daily basis, the only national and international news coverage Jersey gets is bad news stories.

To diminish the findings of the report by bleating about financial costs portrays the Island as insensitive and uncaring. For once, accept that the cost of doing the morally correct thing is worth more than the pure monetary outlay.

Cardo

WALKER never lies 'falsehoods, halftruths, misleading statements' or worse, but lying never!

Syvret dismissed a civil servant because of abuse.

Syvret replaced him with a Whistleblower who brought to Syvret's notice the ABUSE.

Now, WALKER sacked the Whistleblower and replaced him with the original 'ABUSER'!

Now WALKER says the report was 'horrendous'!

Empty words, GORST should get WALKER removed from ALL posts he holds on STATES/ALO Boards!

If GORST does not then his words are as empty as WALKER's.

The States had to pay the civil servant that WALKER sacked £100's

of thousands in compensation!

SYVRET told the TRUTH WALKER said the opposite!