Bristol City Council’s Executive Director for People, Hugh “Cares” Evans, finally comments on his scandal rocking the city:
A leaked email from the Bristol City Council education managers at the heart of the SEND spying scandal reveals them plotting over what information they would provide to Bristol Parent Carer Forum.
The email clearly indicates that Education Director Alison Hurley was personally overseeing what sensitive personal data from parents should be unlawfully released to third parties
At the time, Vikki Jervis was Principle Education Psychologist at Bristol City Council. What parents were saying on social media had to do with education psychology is something of a mystery. Although she appears to be the council’s expert on RIPA and GDPR and releasing personal information obtained through surveillance to third parties.
Virginia Roberts is a consultant brought in as SEND lead for Bristol’s Written Statement of Action for OFSTED. It’s her job to oversee an improvement in SEND in Bristol after its terrible OFSTED inspection. How does monitoring and sharing parents’ social media posts relate to improving Bristol’s SEND service? Has Roberts shifted her focus to silencing parents rather than improving her service?
Maybe SEND management are more concerned with monitoring parents’ social media and supplying gossip to third parties than doing the jobs they are handsomely paid to do?
Anyone heard anything lately about Bristol Heat Networks Ltd, the council company with no business plan and no recorded assets that’s supposed to be managing all of the city’s heat network assets?
The company is supposed to be handed over to Swedish multinational Vattenfall for free as a crucial part of the City Leap deal that will see the private sector decarbonising the city for fat undisclosed fees. A cabinet report in April assured us that “this asset transfer will be sought via a separate cabinet report currently anticipated to be coming forward in June 2022.”
So where is it? What’s the delay? Because without this asset transfer the whole City Leap project, which has cost us around £7.3m in procurement fees so far, goes tits-up. Are those “gaps and financial and operational risks” in relation to Bristol Heat Networks that the council’s Bristol Holding Company execs warned us about back in February still an issue?
Indeed, some people tell us that the city’s heat networks funded by central government aren’t the council’s to give away to a Swedish multinational. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.
After all, we don’t want another Bristol Energy shambles do we?
A new message just in regarding Bristol City Council spying on SEND parents’ social media:
“I know of one case where the comms team reported a Bristol parents tweets to the SEND team. Screen shots were taken and then a SEND manager sent the tweets to the parents school. I’ve seen the evidence.
“This family’s vulnerable and already facing accusations of fabricated or induced illness (ffi), so they dare not do anything.”
Yet again, sensitive personal data of parents, unlawfully processed by Bristol City Council External Communications Team, is casually handed over to a third party to further process unlawfully. In this case a school is involved.
We will be endeavouring to find out which school this was. Then we can arrange a visit from the Information Commissioner (ICO) for the school to explain why they think that holding parents’ sensitive personal data, obtained and shared via unlawful surveillance without permission, is OK.
What a mendacious shambles our city’s education sector is.
A gushing and not altogether clear media release arrives. From the pen of the massively overspent Bristol Beacon (formerly the Colsunall. Ed) we’re first treated to some introductory corporate word salad about “core values” and “sustainability, diversity and creativity” before the main event. An excitable announcement from the Beacon’s useless management, who have managed to spend £104m on a £54m concert hall refurb project that’s resulted in the venue being valued at, er, zero.
The big news from this whacko state funded culture gang is that their worthless venue is going into a “corporate partnership” with local TV production firm, Plimsoll Productions. Plimsoll will produce two videos to showcase and “raise awareness of the work done by Bristol Beacon” and they will collaborate with Bristol Beacon on a number of creative projects in local communities.
What this work might consist of isn’t made very clear. Neither is it very clear how much we’re forking out via the Beacon for Plimsoll’s “expertise in video production and storytelling”. And neither have the Beacon managed to tell us that one of the non-executive directors of Plimsoll Productions is the Reverend Rees. The man signing the £100m cheque for the 1000 seat venue’s inane refurb!
How nice that the Reverend has managed to get himself a paying gig out his own overspent crackpot culture project. No conflict of interest there at all.
Back in the first pandemic lockdown of 2020, Bristol City Council decided that for the small traders in and around St. Nick’s Market, “all fees would be payable” – despite the fact that they would be unable to generate any income for almost another year.
The fees included not only rent, but also electricity charges, cleaning and maintenance of toilet areas etc, despite the fact that for the period the Markets were locked and empty 24/7. As is often the case, it is difficult to track down exactly who was responsible for this divine proclamation from on high, but the familiar names of current/former BCC career bureaucrats like Mike Jackson, Stephen Peacock, Jacqui Jensen and old friend of The BRISTOLIAN, Richard Fear, cropped up in our investigation.
An appeal was launched and apparently a trader meeting was held with some of these individuals in December 2020, but no progress was made – the fees were still “payable” and that was that. Fear was presented with evidence that many other English councils were supporting traders and not charging them for the space – in fact the vast majority – but for Fear, Bristol was resolutely determined to join the minority of refusing/indifferent councils in a “Lockdown Hall of Shame”.
Under pressure, he conceded he would consult with other “core cities” and give traders a concluding reply by January 2021, but nothing was received. Tucking this achievement into his glorious record, Fear next waltzed off from BCC in April ‘21 into some other high-paying bullshit management job somewhere else.
Good fucking riddance!
A statement on the SEND spy scandal has emerged from the Green group at Bristol City Council. They’re the first party to go on the record. We anticipate seeing more statements on the matter in the coming week:
“The recent reports in the local media about leaked information showing that parents/carers of children and young people with SEND have had their on-line social media communications monitored by senior council officers and then shared with an external agency, have raised serious concerns for councillors across the council.
“The administration have confirmed that this happened but claimed it was at the request of the parent carers forum, a claim that organisation denied in a statement released on Thursday.
“This area of work falls within the People Scrutiny remit, the vice-chair of which is Green Party Councillor for Southville Christine Townsend. She is working with other elected representatives in trying to get to the bottom of exactly what has happened as the media reports are confusing and contradictory.
“Greens, and councillors from other parties, believe that these accusations are so serious that an external investigation is required in order to ensure full transparency. Only this will help to restore the trust of our residents in this area of the statutory education service.”
We broadly agree that an independent inquiry would be helpful. However, chances of the Reverend launching such an inquiry into his own administration are near zero. We also believe that any inquiry needs to be run by an independent QC, not by some ex-local authority time-server in a pin-stripe suit on a fat consultancy fee. We need someone who knows how to nail the guilty, not cover-up for bent council bosses.
Onwards and upwards through the shit!
An unnamed spokesperson from the council’s External Communications team – who are at the heart of the scandal after covertly collecting parents’ sensitive personal data from the internet and distributing it to Council House managers – explained:
“At the request of the Bristol Parents Carer Forum, we reviewed our own social media and passed onto the forum information relating to claims made about SEND services which included comments left by members. The forum had specifically requested this information to conduct an internal investigation into the conduct of some of its members.”
This is a bizarre excuse, which seems to be saying that a small, local voluntary group made the council do it. It also fails to address public concern that the council acted unlawfully in terms of data protection law (GDPR) and in terms of tight legislation around covert investigations by the state (RIPA).
It now appears the council statement was also a total lie. The Bristol Parent Carer Forum this morning issued the following statement:
This is a pretty categorical statement that the forum did not ask the council to collect data about parents. What have the council got to say now? What’s gonna be their next excuse for their unlawful conduct?
This story is set to run and run …
Our postbag has been bulging since our shocking revelation yesterday about education managers at Bristol City Council circulating wedding photos of SEND parents around the Council House and beyond
I went round Alison Hurley’s house once and she showed me her attic. It is indeed covered in wedding photos skewered with pins and there’s a great big purple pentagon painted on the floor. She told me that she and her partner regularly perform sex magick rituals up there.
I thought the whole thing was a bit weird to be honest but at least I know where she got all the wedding photos from now.
Many thanks for all the hard work.
I went up to Alison Hurley’s attic the other day and imagine my surprise when I discovered Bristol City Council’s Executive Director for People, Hugh Evans, chained up there in a crotchless gimp suit masturbating over a photograph of a young woman in a wedding dress! Not a pretty sight I can tell you.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me, otherwise I’d have got a photo and circulated it around work.
Maybe next time? Keep up the good work.
I walked into Executive Director Hugh Evans’ office last week and he was on a Zoom meeting with Education Director Alison Hurley from her attic.
Imagine my surprise when I noticed he was completely naked below the waist and was aggressively stabbing pins into a wedding photo of a young woman that clearly wasn’t his wife!
I was so surprised I forgot to take a photo. If I had I would have circulated it among my colleagues
Keep telling it like it is!
(That’s enough letters to the editor. Ed.)
Why has Bristol City Council’s External Comms Team been supplying wedding photos of SEND parents to Education Director, Alison “Pervy” Hurley? Is this normal?
We told you so. Now here’s the evidence. Bristol City Council’s SEND department has been systematically spying on SEND parents on the internet and social media. Then collating and cataloguing the results and sharing them with senior Bristol City Council education managers, including that useless oaf and third class human being, Education Director, Alison “Pervy” Hurley, as well as various third party organisations. Who the fuck are these people? Bristol’s own Stasi?
The first document we can reveal is an email to Hurley and her freakish gang of unethical education bosses outlining the people spied on and the methods deployed to gather the information. A table of information and PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS of the parents in question were attached to this email.
Of particular note is the comment at point 2 in the email ” … External Comms deduced this is XX as image is the same as wedding photos on XX’s personal Facebook site. Attached”
Yes, you read that right. Members of BCC’s creepy External Communications team, paid to communicate with the press and public, have been hunting through SEND parents’ personal photo collections on Facebook, downloading highly personal pictures (wedding photos FFS!) and sharing them with grateful Council House bosses.
Has Hurley now got wedding photos of SEND parents with large pins stuck in them all over her attic? Or is she up to something really weird and kinky with them?
We’re reliably informed that external comms staff would have had to search for the wedding photo in question. It wasn’t a Facebook profile photo in front of them. It was buried in the user’s photo folder with lots of other personal items.
Leaving aside that this is likely unlawful as it would classify as covert surveillance, it is also vile, anti-social behaviour and a wholly unacceptable way to be treating members of the public who pay your wages. All those responsible should be hanging their heads in shame and considering their positions.
Did no one involved in this think that the material they were accessing was way too personal and intrusive and complain to their bosses that the work was demeaning? What’s wrong with them? Would they want their wedding photos and details of their personal lives collected and randomly circulated, without their knowledge or agreement, to Hurley and her freakshow of Council House bosses to use for god knows what?
The Head of External Comms is, of course, The Reverend’s disgraced personal PR bully Saskia “Hindley” Konynenburg. When not bullying local journalists, it seems this unbalanced individual spends council time secretly rifling through strangers’ personal photo collections on Facebook and gleefully sharing the contents with her colleagues. Lovely stuff. What a wonderful person and exceptional public servant.
The second document is a table listing some harmless social media comments, mainly from just two SEND parents. A further three parents are also identified in the document as “critical commenters”. A number of local SEND campaigning groups are also thrown in and named and shamed for Hurley’s benefit.
The table was circulated to the Hurley education freakshow and to third party organisations. This type of surveillance and sharing of people’s social media activity is unlikely to be lawful. But, again, the critical issue is as much one of basic taste and sensibility.
What the fuck do these Council House freaks think they’re doing with our personal information and why?
There is a statement on this matter from the Bristol City Council and a response from the Bristol Parent Carer Forum here.