An exciting Counts Louse agile workspace. Admire the colour scheme;
ignore the cost?

An expensive SEVEN YEAR FIASCO of ‘agile working’ continues unchallenged at Bristol City Council. There’s still NO EVIDENCE that the council’s plan to buy the Temple Street Lubianka for £18m and expensively refurbish the Counts Louse at a further cost of £16m while selling off council offices across the city has delivered any savings.

Alongside the pricey property arrangements came a ‘Workplace Programme’ promoting HALF-BAKED TECH SOLUTIONS and fashionable MANAGEMENT CONSULTANCY NONSENSE. This claimed the council could create money-saving “new agile working environments” for their workforce by issuing staff with laptops, smart phones and tablets and promoting home-working and mobile working to save money.

The expensive plans, put together by UNACCOUNTABLE MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS, originally came with promises of £60m of savings by Max Wide “Boy”, one of the many execs who have rolled in through THE COUNCIL’S REVOLVING DOOR over the last few years to scrounge a six-figure salary.  Wide Boy arrived in 2013 and departed out again in 2016 leaving a £30 million agile working-shaped DEBT in his wake.

Fast foward three years and the ‘Agile Working’ fiasco continues. A recent report to councillors on the latest AGILE WORKING FAILURE in adult care – where the implementation of tablets and tech on the advice of consultants has belly-flopped – explains, “there still isn’t a clearly defined and available benefits document for the Agile Working Project”.

In other words after seven years of forking out HUGE SUMS OF MONEY on the advice of management consultants procured by high-earning council directors, no one HAS MEASURED THE COST EFFECTIVENESS of their ‘agile working’ strategy. Consequently the obvious conclusion that cutting back staff and giving those that remain a tablet will NOT SAVE ANY MONEY is still yet to be reached.

Although any targets for rewarding failure among council execs and their management consultants continue to be exceeded.

1 thought on “AGILE STILL FRAGILE?

  1. Sue Forbes

    At last… a factual news article rather than just a (usually foul-mouthed) political rant. Much better and more informative.

    More please… like how much it cost for Bristol City Council to get rid of HP desktop PC’s in favour of more expensive Dell laptops (and is now getting rid of [some of] the Dell laptops in favour of eye-wateringly expensive Lenovo tablets in their also expensive protective cases). All tied to ‘Fragile Shirking’ of course…

    This is for the plebs… the ‘mucky mucks’ at the top continue to get top-end iPad Pros… about 4 times the price of an HP desktop. (Or more when you add on the cost of the ‘oh so necessary’ accessories like Bluetooth keyboards and cases).

    (Don’t bother to ask why the original MDM controls were relaxed so games and other non-corporate apps could be installed from the Apple store by users themselves. This can of worms happened years ago… a certain Cllr. H*l*n H*ll*nd was in the vanguard and helped set the precedent. BCC IT subsequently lost management control over its iPads following a diktat by Mayor G**rg* F*rg*s*n… and has never recovered. On the plus side, many kids and grandkids of ‘mucky mucks’ have benefited, as well as ‘mucky mucks’ themselves if you look over their shoulders at meetings.)

    It’s a shame that you failed to mention one of the subsequent and inevitable knock-on effects of ‘Fragile Shirking’… that whilst ‘mucky mucks’ diktats have meant BCC has significantly reduced office space over the last few years – and thus availability of desks, its lower-middle management are now increasingly reducing ‘working at home’ availability…. so there’s now not enough ‘seats for bums’. It’s a very quiet and well-hidden war between the plebian workforce, middle-management and its rulers. (Suffice to say that actual ‘productivity’ has plummeted… at all levels.)

    This wee problem is all hidden from public scrutiny (of course) because none of the ‘mucky mucks’ wants to admit that the whole ‘Fragile Shirking’ idea has failed miserably… thanks almost entirely to highly-paid consultants (or ‘sharks feeding on a carcass’ as they are more accurately described)… but that’s what invariably happens when you try to outsource an entire council, following the advice and aided by CONsultants.

    How come you did not mention (unaware?) how the current head of BCC IT (and Digital Transformation), Simon Oliver just – let’s face it – absolutely hates BCC IT, his own area of responsibility. Yay you, Simon, for how your venom motivates your (rapidly dwindling) workforce. What a joy it is to work for you (not!)… and what a godsend you continue to provide for temporary employees at grossly infllated daily rates.

    The only current area of growth at BCC appears to in be the number of minions tasked with dealing with FOI requests. (And by ‘dealing with’, I really mean ‘avoiding at all costs’.)

    Happy days for a failing council desperate to avoid further central government scrutiny and equally desperate in its reliance on a once-wholly-internal IT department that the ‘mucky mucks’ have decimated over the last 5-7 years.


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