You may remember many moons ago when we investigated the contract between Westminster Council and Creighton and Partners solicitors.
We discovered that WC had been making multiple payments totalling over £3 million to the firm:
This is part of an FOI request we sent to WC:
” According to your spending data you have made many payments ranging
from £500 to £50,000 to Creighton and Partners.
This money has been paid through both Adult and Children’s
The only Creighton and Partners listed is Company Number 00395943
but this is a dissolved company.
Due to the high value of payments made I request a speedy response
if possible to this FOI request:
a) The total number of payments made by Westminster Council to
Creighton and Partners including details of which were charged to
Adult Services and which to Children Services.
b) Any invoices for the payments made
c) The VAT and company number of Creighton and Partners
d) Any other documentary evidence showing why the payments vary so
much in amount and what services have been provided.”
For some unknown reason WC would not provide any details of their links to the dormant/dissolved company or even a valid VAT number.
We then found that Creighton solicitor’s were ex-employees of Westminster Council who for some unknown reason had left the council and set up shop on their own.
They were immediately rewarded for their efforts when WC gave them a lucrative multi-million pound contract.
Helen Davies, a legal assistant at WC gave this response to a previous FOI request about Creightons:
“Details of any contract awarded by Westminster City Council to Creighton’
solicitors. Including dates awarded, contract worth and tender bids
Contract awarded 1/4/2006
Contract ends 31/3/2011
Contract value £2,994,810
Confirmation that solicitor/solicitors employed by Creighton’s were
previously employed by Westminster City Council thus giving rise to a
possible conflict of interest:
The fact that these 3 solicitors previously worked for the City
Council does not give rise to a conflict of interest.
How many children have been taken into care following advice given by
Creighton’s solicitors to Westminster City Council?
We are unable to provide you with information regarding how many
children have been taken into care following advice by Creighton’s as we
don’t record this information in our database. In order to obtain the
information, we would need to go through all of the individual files for
children looked after by Westminster during the period of the
Creighton’s contract. The cost of doing so would be c£25k. This would
exceed the appropriate limit and this aspect of your request is
Why are WC being so evasive about this contract?
Why did they award it to a firm of ex-employees?
Why wouldn’t WC say how children had been taken into care on the advice of Creightons?
Where exactly do children end up who are taken away from their parents by Creightons and WC?
Are Creighton’s involved in a sinister conspiracy with the council?
We haven’t got the faintest idea.