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Saturday, 6 February 2016

smell a rat? adam simmonds pcc northamptonshire questionable involvement with wootton hall free school

The proposed Free School at Wootton Hall in Northamptonshire continues to draw controversy due to its proposed location which will necessitate the current Police HQ vacating the premises. According to PCC Adam Simmonds: ".....it is simply not cost effective for Northamptonshire Police to remain at the current site." 

Simmonds claim to be "independent" of the Northampton Free School Trust blatantly contradicts several pieces of evidence, which in my view, suggest that he is very much involved, and that he actually created the Trust:

".....incidentally Simmonds claimed to have created the 'Northampton Free School Trust' on his personal website consisted of ex colleagues, a fellow conservative MP and county councillor." http://www.conservativehome.com/localgovernment/2014/09/adam-simmonds-labour-and-the-lib-dems-want-to-ditch-police-accountability.html

Simmonds' personal website (now closed) contained the statement “Early on in my first term I created the Northampton Free School Trust."

An FOI request showed that Simmonds and members of his office are behind the school -  conveniently the link has been closed!

Justin Brown reported that the initial concept of the school originated with Simmonds, and that two members of his staff, namely, Luke HARKIN and Kathryn BUCKLE were actively involved in its promotion.

13th June 2013 - Northamptonshire Herald and Post: 
"A Trust for the school will soon be created and Mr Simmonds would be on the Board of Governors."

Simmonds Interview With The Jesus Army in 2014: 
"We’re hoping to open a free school here at Wootton Hall in September 2016. It’s my response to thinking about crime prevention through early intervention with kids. It won’t be an elite school – I want anyone in Northamptonshire or outside to be able to come to it. A school founded on vision and values. A pastoral system that looks after every single child. A strong ethos, clear discipline and a proper uniform. Its specialism will be public service, volunteering....." 

6th March 2014 - Northampton Chronicle:
Simmonds: “In discussions with a lot of people, not to mention several head teachers, I felt that if we were going to change a generation and lift a generation out of crime, we had to start pretty young and we had to start in a school.... I thought I would propose the idea of setting up a school.

Simmonds made no effort to deny his association with the Trustees.. Northampton South MP Brian Binley and former Education Chief of Northamptonshire County Council Andrew Sortwell. Neither did he deny that he encouraged their efforts to set up a Trust

"The head of a local school said that the plan was proposed without local consultation. At a Police and Crime Panel meeting on 6 March 2014, members of the public questioned Simmonds's relationship with trustees of Northampton Free School Trust, Brian Binley MP and Andrew Sortwell, and charged that Simmonds aimed to help his associates profit from the establishment of the school. Simmonds responded to the accusations by saying that there are no profits involved." 

6th May 2014:  "Lib Dem leader Brendan Glynane said he had been contacted by the head of a school near the Wootton Hall site concerned about poaching Northampton Free School Trust pupils. Abbeyfields School contacted the councillor about concerns over losing potential pupils." 

September 2015: Opposition Leaders Criticise Outgoing Northamptonshire Police And Crime Commissioner’s Record In Power:

Lib Dem leader Brendan Glynane:“His term as Police and Crime Commissioner has been terrible, defined by empire building, jobs for his mates and cuts to proper policing – he leaves behind a poorer service than he took over, financially and otherwise. Good luck, goodbye, and good riddance.”

Councillor Danielle Stone, Labour leader on Northampton Borough Council and Police and Crime Panel member:“I have been very critical of Adam Simmonds tenure as Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire. From the start he faced much criticism about appointing friends to top jobs and his office costing more than the old Police Authority.....Gradually building up his staff, repeating his wish to merge with the Fire Service and his plans for Wootton Hall has sometimes smacked of empire building. This has happened whilst increasing the Police Precept on the council tax bill....."

3rd February 2016: Northampton Chronicle: 
Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Panel Meeting (2nd February 2016):

Objections to the proposed school were submitted from South Northants Councillor Lizzy Bowen, Councillor Danielle Stone and Councillor Mary Butcher (Lab, Corby).

Councillor Lizzy Bowen: “I am not sure enough due diligence has been done on what else the land could be used for apart from a school.”
  • "Northamptonshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, said he is 'not discounting' a 'relationship' with the new Wootton Park School, which is planned for part of Police Headquarters site."
  • ".....so flogging wootton hall for an undisclosed amount the transparently clause states PCC have publish all facts and figures as elected servants which has not in this case been adhered to which is against the law as laid out by the home secretary."
  • "Why are we letting Adam Simmonds get away with misappropriating Wootton Hall? Adam Simmonds has got away with more and more outrageous behavior during his failed term in office and now in the last months of his tenure means to force through a highly dubious scheme to benefit himself and his chums, this from a man that claims to be a Christian!Simmonds will say anything to push through his school scheme as he will not be accountable in a few months, he is a thoroughly despicable man."  
  • "You have misused public finances although I'm not sure if the women you left your wife for was involved in this. You are to be a Governor of the school that will be situated in the soon to be redundant Wootton Hall Police Station. How about having some morals for a change????!!???"

The Petition for a Public Inquiry into Wootton Park School & The Northampton Free School Trust is now closed, but the wording and the comments say it all:
We request a public inquiry to determine what degree of involvement the PCC and his office have in relation to this School, how it benefits Northamptonshire Police, how it benefits the people of Northamptonshire and why has Adam Simmonds seemingly colluded with Political allies and previous colleagues in pushing forward this School. Who really stands to benefit?” https://www.change.org/p/keith-vaz-mp-chair-of-home-affairs-select-committee-public-inquiry-into-wootton-park-school-the-northampton-free-school-trust 

No more Simmonds Community: "It is amazing that these are the lax rules/regulations on record retention/disposal for the OPCC. It is no wonder a massive cover up can take place and transparency curtailed."

Office of Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Have the decisions on the site already been taken? 

A: No decisions have been taken. There is evidence that the current force headquarters is no longer fit for purpose as a police building.

The plan to relocate the police headquarters is unnecessary according to Police Federation officials: Leonie Tromans, Chair of the Police Federation, stated that the headquarters are "fit for purpose" as a police base. 

Q: If the school was to become a reality, will the Police and Crime Commissioner or any of your the OPCC staff be linked to it either in a paid or voluntary capacity?  

A: No decision has been taken on a school. All issues of paid employment and voluntary opportunities with the school would be matters for the Northampton Free School Trust, Governing Body and Principal. Neither the PCC nor any of his staff are Trustees.   

Despite the above statements, it very much appears that the school is a DONE DEAL - applications for places for September 2016 have been advertised for some considerable time! 

I could go a lot further with this little resumé of Adam Simmonds, but time does not permit!

I do have one particular question: Why doesn't Simmonds register his full interests?

Simmonds was* Director and Trustee of Trinity Life Church in Leicester, which is an Assemblies of God Pentecostal Denomination. His claim to be a "committed Christian" really makes a mockery of anything we might call true Christianity. The damage this man has done is incalculable.

* It appears that Simmonds is no longer a Director or Trustee of Trinity Life Church in Leicester:

"In answer to your question regarding whether or not Mr Simmonds is a Director or Trustee at the Trinity Life Church, I can confirm that the current published register of interest accurately reflects the fact the Mr Simmonds no longer holds any such role at this, or indeed any other organisation."

From John Neilson 
Active Chief Executive
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Dated 15th February 2016


The Northampton Chronicle: "Wootton Hall consultation results reveal 69 per cent ‘disagreed’ with police moving out of Northampton HQ."  http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/wootton-hall-consultation-results-reveal-69-per-cent-disagreed-with-police-moving-out-of-northampton-hq-1-7246664

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