A loss of balance How the ipcc bungled the Grunshaw expenses investigation - Part 1

"Mr Grunshaw made 37 claims...which the evidence indicates, according to the Code for Crown Prosecutors, could potentially have been proved to be incorrect..."
"In addition it appears that Mr Grunshaw did not submit around 28 claims to which he was entitled and this suggests that no financial gain was sought."

Crown Prosecution Service Press Release 9 January 2014

These 28 "no claims" had been compiled by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but the list was in doubt, and the IPCC began investigating their own investigation!

How many of the 28 'no claims' did they get right?

28? Er, no...

They had said he hadn't claimed for a 30 June 2009 Resources Committee meeting but somehow missed he had claimed the day before for, what do you know, a Resources Committee meeting.

Mr Grunshaw had put the wrong date down but, to be fair, the IPCC put the wrong date down in their report on what went wrong - 20 June instead of 30 June.

Well, did they get 27 right? No - They had to admit there was no entitlement to claim for 4 February 2010.

26? No - they had to admit they had confused 23 May 2010 with 23 May 2011, which he actually claimed.

25? No - They found no entitlement to claim for 9 December 2010.

24? No - They had to admit that he had claimed for 17 February 2011.

23? No - They had to admit there was no entitlement to claim for 22 November 2011, 3 January 2012, 11 January 2012, 3 February 2012, 14 March 2012 and 11 April 2012. Which leaves 17. Did they get 17 of the 28 right?

At first the IPCC said Mr Grunshaw didn't claim for a Wyre Borough Council meeting on 26 April 2012, but you can see it here.

The IPCC then switched to talking about 25 April 2012, but Wyre Borough Council have since said there was no council meeting on that day for which he could have claimed.

16? Surely they got 16 right? No, they had to admit there was no entitlement to claim for 6 June 2012, 21 June 2012, 10 July 2012, and 17July 2012. Two of these are particularly notable...

...and not only because they are a straight cut-and-paste of each other, but also because they are wrong. The dates the IPCC relied on in their original report were 16 July 2012 and 21 August 2012 (See below) - 21 June and 17 July weren't mentioned. Did anyone check their second report before they sent it out?

Perhaps they got 12 right? No - They had to admit there was no entitlement to claim for 15 September 2012, 19 September 2012, 29 September 2012, 27 October 2012, 30 October 2012, and 8 November 2012. Some of those were Saturdays. Why was Cllr Grunshaw accessing the County Hall car park in Preston City Centre on a Saturday, when there were no meetings at County Hall?

Which leaves 6? They must have got 6 of the 28 right? No - They had to admit there was no entitlement to claim for going to County Hall on 13 December 2012. You'll see that for that day he actually claimed for going to Manchester to meet Yvette Cooper, the nearest thing he has to a boss in the Labour party. Who knew you could claim off the taxpayer for that?

So did they get 5 right? No - the reinvestigation simply ignored their original suggestion that Mr Grunshaw hadn't claimed for 17 December 2012, but you can see above that he actually did claim from the Office of the PCC for that.

So there were claims the IPCC had missed, dates they have got wrong, mistakes they have made in one report then ignored in the other and 19 instances where they had invented an entitlement that never existed. If you think the IPCC didn't really make this many mistakes about entitlements, have a look at this quote from their second report.

So only 4 out of 28 'no claims' were right, except...

Those on 6 and 26 September 2012 would only have been made after Mr Grunshaw knew his expenses were being investigated, so can't help us establish his state of mind before he knew about the investigation.

So only 2 of the 28 were relevant "no claims".

So the IPCC had made at least 24 false claims, providing an unsound defence for Mr Grunshaw that even he hadn't offered, and these influenced the decision not to prosecute. Their first report had these 24 errors on one page alone, which is all very embarrassing, given that it had spent months in their "quality assurance" process.

And "quality assurance' remains an issue, given their latest report that was supposed to put things right has, so far, 6 errors identified above.

You'll never guess what they did next.

To be continued...

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