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The Nifty 250: News of the day in so many words

<b>Monday Nov 9:</b> LDL to go out to tender, mobile phone drivers fined £1.2m, social service sickness rates soar and houses left to rot

Published on November 9th 2009.

LEGAL EXPERTS HAVE RULED that Liverpool City Council’s controversial £78m-a-year IT deal with BT must not be extended any further and other companies should be given the chance to bid for the huge deal.

The joint venture Liverpool Direct Limited was set up in 2001 and was intended to last until 2012. But three years ago the contract was extended to run up to 2017.

The city council has now spent more than £223,000 with consultants investigating the LDL contract. Now the council will not be able to extend it again and must put it out to tender.

Under the current terms, the council can pull the plug in 2012, but it could have to pay BT as much as £20m to do so.

Although the chief executive of LDL, David McElhinney, is still employed by the city council his contract states that he must work in the “best interests” of LDL.

MERSEYSIDE MOTORISTS WERE FINED £1.2m for using their mobile phones while driving in the past year. Police ticketed more than 20,000 drivers for using handheld mobiles while in charge of their vehicles between April last year and September this year. A driving instructor was among those fined. City leaders and police authority members have said the figure is just “the tip of the iceberg”, with the real number being much higher.

STAFF SICKNESS COST SOCIAL SERVICES 78 YEARS in nine months. Staff sickness totaled 28,727 days off between January and September according to a Freedom of Information request submitted to Liverpool City Council. It works out each member of staff has had off 12.7 days compared to the North-West public sector average of 10.7 days.

COUNCIL LEADERS ARE REFUSING to use laws to tackle Liverpool’s rising number of houses left to rot by private landlords. The dwelling management orders have been branded “expensive and cumbersome” by Liverpool City Council, despite there being 14,459 empty homes.

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AnonymousNovember 9th 2009.

Liverpool Direct became known to many at Liverpool’s Great Wall of Silence. While it boasts winning loads of awards and offering a 24-hour service, it has effectively acted as barier between citizens and the public servants who they pay to run the city. No longer can you call a council officer, all calls are filtered through Liverpool Direct and those people seem to use a set of pre-written answers.

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