Remuneration 2021

The revelation in Bristol City Council’s draft accounts that former housing director and architect of the ‘Caridon Death Star‘ for warehousing the homeless, Julian “Luvvie” Higson scarpered from Bristol in December with a £27k payment as “Compensation for Loss of Office”, despite apparently resigning has raised a few eyebrows.

Not least because a report has just appeared from the council’s Internal Audit team identifying serious problems in the council’s Affordable Housing Grant scheme. A scheme worth tens of millions and meant to support “Registered Housing Providers (RP) and community led housing organisations for affordable rented homes which are within Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rent limits.”

In other words this was a scheme to hand large sums of our public money to housing providers to subsidise the building of affordable homes. The fund for this amounts to something like £47m over 2019 – 2024.

The disturbing Internal Audit report explains, “During the course of the audit both the member of staff responsible for grant administration and the newly appointed manager with responsibility for oversight left the Council.”

Having confirmed that the managers directly responsible have done a runner, the report then provides a helpful list of the scheme’s absolute failures:

  • There has been insufficient oversight of administration and record keeping, hence issues with data had not been promptly identified 
  • The Housing Delivery Board had met infrequently and had not set requirements for progress reporting of grant awards 
  • The Grant Tracker, the primary record of the progress of grant applications progress and grant award was not fit for purpose and had been poorly maintained. The source and accuracy of the data used for summarisation and reporting could not be relied upon 
  • Data requested by Internal Audit was not readily available and required reconstruction, which upon Internal Audit review were modified 
  • There was no interface between Pro-Contract, the Grant Tracker, and the ABW accounting system, and reconciliations could not be provided 
  • Data was not sufficiently granular to determine whether grants were only awarded within permitted criteria, delivery timelines, within budget, or to the expected build standard 
  • The legal advice in the Decision Pathway Report stating the importance of a robust monitoring process had not been fully implemented and the Council could not be assured that grants provided did not constitute over-compensation
  • No confirmation was received that the risk register referred to in the Housing Delivery Plan existed

To the untrained eye, this looks like a straightforwardly corrupt grant making process where tens of millions in public money has not been properly managed by the council and they’re unable to tell us what has happened to it.

A notion not entirely disabused by housing bosses’ promise going forward of “consistency and completeness of record keeping and evidence to ensure grants were properly awarded, the use of grants was monitored, and assessments made that grants provided value for money.”

Which all rather begs the question as to why the Director responsible, Higson, was paid £27k to disappear last December? Higson, who cut a deal last autumn that was very generous indeed to Caridon, one of the dodgiest landlord firms in the country, now has a lucrative new job in Harrow as Interim Head of Housing. So at least he’s all right then.

Meanwhile, rather than get the cops in to find out what Higson did with our money, Internal Audit have promised a further report in six months time. Something the council’s Audit Committee will discuss on Monday.

Are they doing enough?


  1. Thing

    Yes. Of course it has been managed properly. Infact it is a job very well done and not so dissimilar to the last one.
    The thing is- and there is a thing – a massive great whooping one. Is that it benefits the boss class. The Bristol City fucking boss class.
    Does anyone need any more evidence this Yale trained crook is only in it for himself ?

  2. Dinga

    Yours is a bloody good story and one that should be told (but notice – no one else is reporting this misappropration of public funds). I hope it gets picked up by bloggers though.

    Have you taken a trip round St. Philips recently? Around the abandoned sheds, car showrooms and yards behind Temple Meads ?

    When you watch Rees, be it speaking on solar energy –
    or listen to his barely tangible speechs and put downs in the Council House; it becomes clear he is only ever about cash flows and image.

    His miserable, bullying manner enjoys taking control of the city’s economy. For Rees, its less about the well being of Bristol’s citizens than about the projection of woke, a list of key phrases, in order to assert his position on the country’s or better still, the world’s stage. He aims to achieve this walking over the bodies of the poverty striken and vunerable. He strives to construct a new techno (SMART) aristocratic city state & collapsing democracy.

  3. Criminal record

    How about a list of money lost, over-paid or misappropriated by Rees ? The millions he has been reponsible for – is he up to the job ? Is he (and the over paid mayor’s office mafia) worth carrying on with ?
    We could stand it on the empty plinth for all to see.
    In no particular order-
    That severance pay early on in Rees’ dictatorship. Don’t recall the worker’s name at this point, £?
    £35 million plus on Bristol Energy
    £? Over spend on what was the sodding Colston Hall ? Beacon Centre
    £? unaccounted for above housing
    Flights £?
    Others ?
    e.g. City Leap £?,
    £? On electric van fleet,
    £? mayor’s pay rise
    Stolen and never recovered mayor’s gold chain £?
    Feel free to add to the list and/or fill in the amounts.
    Then finally we could guess how much more is yet to go ?

  4. Criminal record

    Don’t worry about posting this comment or the last one if you don’t want to. I’m just thinking allowed really.

    I’ve been going through your archieve. There’s a lot of interesting articles there. Funny how similar stories of corruption pop up. Bent auditors or familiar names. And each time under Marvin Rees’ watch. E.g. 20th March, 2017

    Then Rees is appearing on the TV and BBC radio 4. He drools on about his time at Yale in America. How he got all friendly with Alexei Navalny. Rees getting the attention proceeds to talk bollocks. Nothing of interest, just wanting the lime light. He drones on about getting a lift from the Russian and how their families would go on a pinic and pick apples together. Oh how fucking lovely.

    How Vladimir Putin must laugh at us here in Bristol, if he even knows we exist. At how we cannot keep our crooks in line.
    Navalny is currenty in prison, having been found guilty of large scale embezzlement. What is wrong with us here in the UK? That we cannot do the same with (crook) Rees ?

  5. Watching sparrow

    Some good news behaviour at last !

    Local newbe couniillor Amirah Cole turned out in the pissing rain and intervened on behalf of local tent dweller when council bullies and Street Prevention came round to evict.
    Result – no eviction.
    Nice one !

  6. Life of Pain. What is fun ?

    Regarding Rees.
    He came out of his corner quick. All in support of the uniformed uninformed filth. Typical bully called on his associates to condem Bristol youth. To condem and denounce, to disown those calling for justice. Many young women wanting security in the wake of Sarah’s murder by another twisted bully. Many who dared to sit on the floor !
    Infront of a police station. Has Rees stuck up for these young people or those that dared topple a pain inducing statue ? Has the Police Commissioner condemed those who bully and beat, pepper spray and brutilise ?
    Now we have the findings of an inquiry into there ‘trample them’ behaviour ? Answer- No. Cause they are bullies. With no interest in people let alone the vunerable – HOW DARE THEY WASTE THEIR TIME ! Rees is damaged. Never confronting his childhood. Never addressing his depression, his anger, his hitting out, his lack of empathy or the obvious unmet needs in his unconnectted life – lurching from one failed adventure to the next. Never having a childhood.

  7. Nuts

    Cunt Marvin is happy that disabled children don’t have their educational needs met. He is ok with this and the fact the children’s family suffers as well is of no concern to him

    Along the way if people’s quality of life is made a painful, embarrassing misery why should the rich selfish tosser care ? To hell with public toilets.
    As for well stocked public libraries he doesn’t see the point in these either.
    This self obsessed, secretive bully condons large amounts of city council tax payers money be handed lawyers and speculators instead (as long as he gets hit cut).
    In the last couple of days alone, it’s been reported that the tosser has ok’d an estimated £350 000 on a parking row up the Downs, while around a totally uncool, £43 million went to city robbers and swindlers talking bollocks about green fucking electricity.
    In the meantime workers lost their jobs and disabled children went without an education.

    Do the filth come tooled up, looking for nasty public enemy Rees ? Ready to crack his skull after they’ve kicked down the door. Eager to drag him before a merciless beak ?

    Not yet but the way this wanker is carrying on it can only be a matter of time before someone desides enough is enough and comes looking.


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