Mandy was his best man…

Thinks…What’s a ‘conflict of interest’?…I’d better ask Peter – he’ll know…

That’s probably all you need to know about him to have grave doubts about his ‘ability’ to spend public money, but Trevor Phillips has certainly been in the news a lot lately and this weekend is no exception.

“Who is Trevor Phillips?” you may ask.

Phillips heads the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – a quango that is funded by the taxpayer to the tune of  £70 or £80 million a year, depending on which paper you read.

He does this for a salary of £120 000 a year and has, in his own words, made serious mistakes in running the EHRC:

He admits there have been mistakes, but deftly suggests the rush with which the EHRC was established is partly to blame. “Was it reasonable of the government to ask us to bring together three big bodies within 11 months? In the private or voluntary sector, you’d take years to do something like this. Did parliament’s eagerness to get this commission into being contribute to some of the oversights that our management made? I just ask the question,” he says.

What about the payment he accepted for producing a report for the television industry through his private consultancy at the time of the Big Brother racism row in 2007? It led to accusations of a conflict of interest. “I think I may have been naive about the way some things might be seen. I was naive not to recognise that [people] could say it’s all a bit dodgy, even though there was never any risk at all of a conflict of interest.”

3 hours after this rather obsequious piece was published in the online Sunday Times, the online Mail on Sunday came out with this:

The head of the Government’s equalities quango was under fresh pressure last night over a £300,000 contract awarded to a company run by a close friend.

Trevor Phillips was heavily criticised last month when it emerged that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had broken European law when hiring Juniper Communications to produce 46 short video clips of celebrities talking about ‘difference’ called My Story.

Juniper is owned by Dr Samir Shah, a non-executive director of the BBC who made programmes at London Weekend Television with Mr Phillips in the Eighties and worked with him at a charity in the Nineties.

Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the £70million-a-year quango paid Juniper ten times what was proposed in the original budget.

Dr Shah’s firm was paid £308,000 for the My Story clips featuring TV fashion expert Gok Wan, comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar and paralympian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.

However, an investigation into the deal, passed to The Mail on Sunday, found the original budget for the films was just £30,000.

Oops…another ‘conflict of interest’…

Can you see a pattern emerging here?

Never mind that the EHRC is yet another waste of public money – don’t we already have laws in place to enforce people’s rights? – headed up by another overpaid official who seems to be both inept and possibly suspect and have poor judgement.

He’s just not any bloody good at his job and the people he works with think he’s bloody useless too:

Last night a senior EHRC source said: ‘The Juniper deal was all Trevor. The whole way he does business is sofa government, you know: “I’ve got a mate called Samir, he will sort it out.”

‘He is completely flaky. There is a constant stream of things that don’t get done properly. I don’t think he is intentionally corrupt, he’s just not up to the job. He can’t see that the commission awarding contracts to his personal friends without following due process is wrong.’

I don’t see what the problem is – he’s crap at what he does, so simply sack the bastard.

Then, dissolve the EHRC and let the legal system sort out any problems regarding equality and human rights.

Result – millions saved, less to shell out in the coming years of austerity and one less unwanted and unnecessary bureaucratic intrusion into people’s lives.

Then we can move on to the rest of these useless quangos and the overpaid incompetents that run them.

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