Category Archives: Bristol City Council

Rotten Comrades: “Equalities Champions on the March!”

Human Resources have been in a flap recently. Not only has the issue regarding underpayment of “scores” of staff (see Smiter passim) been reaching boiling point but the fur has been flying regarding racial discrimination as well.

Now, I haven’t written much about racism in The BRISTOLIAN – if at all – but issues regarding race have cropped up from time to time at the council and have been painfully slow to resolve.

The fact that we have a black mayor, that we have a duty to promote equalities, that we have an old and well-organised community of BME citizens and that it is illegal to harass or discriminate on the basis of race should make it pretty unlikely that anyone will get away with doing that sort of thing at Bristol City Council. Or at least, if someone felt like engaging in a spot of racism they would, at least, hide it really well so that they wouldn’t get their arses kicked out of their jobs.

Well, it would seem some of our more dumber managers haven’t given it much thought and have carried out their innately resentful and hate-filled agendas anyway. So much so, they have attracted the attention of Bristol City Council’s equalities ‘self led groups’ who in turn have contacted HR and the Head of Paid Service, Mike “shh-mo” Jackson. “Scores” of incidents have been quoted as having taken place and very little has been done about them.

HR is not happy at this new source of interference in their strategy of keeping a lid on everything. This has been especially galling as they have spent years controlling, diverting, and in some cases “letting go”, the more uncontrollable middle-ranking trade union reps – what I call your experienced barrack-room lawyer. Instead, cultivating the more useless and amenable trade union reps into positions of high influence, where it can all be jolly-hockey-sticks and fluffy kittens.

Anyway, a new form of barrack-room lawyer – the equalities champion – has arisen, as if from nowhere, to pick up the baton the unions have dropped. A bit of competition can only help, don’t you think? The unions don’t like this at all. It is – at least theoretically – their patch. Well, our equalities champions want to know: why have the unions been ignoring desperate people with just grievances begging them for help?

And the answer seems to have come back: well, they didn’t fill in the right form and other such useless excuses. A “frank exchange of views” reportedly broke out after that. And then, when it was asked, why are the unions not supporting staff at stage one of the grievance process, Unison’s reply was: they weren’t sure they should be doing that anymore. The exchange of views got franker.

I’ve been told the equalities people came away with the impression that the unions were in some way compromised, which I think pretty much sums it up. Which is not to say that there aren’t good barrack-room lawyers in the unions – I could count ten or so across all of them – it’s just a waste of time seeking help from the unions if you are given the wrong rep, as sad as that might sound to all of us.

The underpayment scandal update.
I had actually drafted an article announcing that management had seen sense over this and done the right thing. But then it seems a lack of common sense had intervened at the last minute.

I was told that one of our better reps was ambushed in the Count’s Louse by some of our worst reps, on his way to deliver a list of names of people prepared to sue the Council over the underpayment scandal. Our protagonist’s opponents – the three stooges (as I like to call them) – were reported to have staged a Dick Turpin style corridor intervention where they made it clear our protagonist was showing them up and it was their case now.

Our hero cried out: ‘no justice, no peace’ and brushed them aside. But he was not quick enough – the three stooges made their own offer to HR based on the sort of insane formula made up by people who don’t know anything about contract law.

In essence, they screwed it up, making the sort of offer that led to HR leaning back and rolling their eyes into their heads. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, our useless, “rotten comrades” will now no doubt flap their arms about a bit before losing interest, thus letting our hero have another go.

Well, hopefully …

COUNCIL CORRUPTION – OUT OF CONTROL?

Paul Arrogant: “procurement rules are for the little people”

Big shout out to PERFORM GREEN LTD, the lucky recipient of a number of lucrative IT contracts with Bristol City Council. The main one being a contract with the council’s brand spanking new snooping operation (surely state-of-the-art CCTV Traffic Control Centre? Ed.).

This lucky company have scooped £248k so far this year for their selfless public service efforts. Big shout out too to PAUL ARRIGONI, appointed a director of Perform Green Ltd last November, just six months after starting work with the firm in May 2016.

And what remarkable progress this star employee’s made. Unbelievably, since he began employment with the firm, their earnings from the city council have LEAPED from around £5k a month to £28k a month!

But hang on, Paul “Arrogant” Arrigoni? Wasn’t he the Service Director, Business Change and ICT at Bristol City Council until April 2016 when he scarpered in DISGRACE? The man at the centre of the Bundred scandal after his useless Business Change department missed their savings target by a cool £30million and then created an UNLAWFUL BUDGET in 2016 to disguise the losses?

Indeed, so perspicacious was Arrogant in covering his tracks while at Bristol City Council, he even went to the effort of REWRITING an Internal Audit Report for councillors in autumn 2015 assuring them all was well with his savings efforts when it wasn’t.

Adding to this sense of OUTRIGHT CORRUPTION at the heart of Bristol City Council and its endless merry-go-round of bent bosses filling their boots, we’re reliably informed that NO procurement process was undertaken before Perform Green Ltd were awarded their six-figure sum control centre deal with the city council.

Shouldn’t someone be calling Inspector Knacker? (He may even be spending some time at Arrigoni’s control centre …)

DIPSHIT DAZ DOES A DEAL

Dipshit Daz: paints nails while Avonmouth suffers

Meanwhile, rookie Labour MP for Bristol Northwest, Darren “Dipshit” Jones weaves his own idiot spell around the Sims Metal plant. News reaches us that Darren Dipshit has written in SUPPORT of Sims’s request for a change of license to a waste transfer station so that “improvements” can be made.

Alas, it seems, Dipshit Daz, the eagle-eyed lawyer, approved the plan without reading the application properly! As the change of use allows Sims to EXPAND operations and, no doubt, increase the explosions and pollution already raining down on the boghoppers of Avonmouth.

What a surprise! This loudmouth Euro fanatic is more in favour of strong regulation of polluting industry in theory on election leaflets than in practice in Avonmouth.

POLLUTERS’ SECRET MEETING JOY

Lenin

Disquiet in Avonmouth after it’s revealed that their two idiot Labour councillors Donald “Lenin” Alexander and Jo “Stupid Hippy” Sergeant, have met in SECRET with corporate polluters Sims Metal, based at the Port of Bristol.

Both councillors are refusing to divulge any information about their meeting with a business that’s notorious for systematically IGNORING regulators’ instructions as well as being a site of regular and inexplicable explosions.

An FoI request reveals this mystery meeting had no agenda and no minutes were taken. Conveniently leaving no audit trail for future reference. This has created to a lot of SUSPICION in the village. Why did senior representatives of a serial polluter’s REGULATORY BODY have a secret meeting with the polluter? What happened? Were used banknotes exchanged? How would we know?

Stupid Hippy

Perhaps we should keep a careful eye on Lenin and Hippy’s holiday destinations next year? Will they be sunning themselves somewhere especially exotic while kids in Avonmouth get to stay home and be EXPOSED to carcinogens and the RISK of lung disease due to an ineptly regulated business?

Maybe this pair of hopeless councillors should take advice from their own council on matters

of CORRUPTION and how to avoid legitimate accusations of it? “All workers are required to avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of the Bribery Act 2010,” they’re advised. But perhaps this pair are too important to follow their own advice?

Dipshit

Although, at least, Lenin and Hippy aren’t quite as bent as Avonmouth’s former Tory councillor, Wayne “Dumb” Harvey, who managed, for a couple of years, to be a non-executive director of the Port of Bristol Company on behalf of Bristol City Council while also being an EMPLOYEE of the company!

No doubt, in the corridors of power at the Counts Louse the nonces running the place consider this a gold standard in independent company oversight? Although anyone in the real world would know Harvey had a BLATANT conflict of interest and it would be impossible for him to oversee, at board level, the running of a business that employed him at a junior level.

BristolCity Council’s latest non-executive director overseeing the Port of Bristol is our friend Green Councillor Stephen Clarke. He currently seems too busy running a small but profitable property empire and evicting vulnerably housed young people to worry about CORPORATE POLLUTERS in Avonmouth.

Plus ca change.

LABOUR RIMMER SERVICING GREEDY BOSSES

Rimmer – naff suit, stupid job title, increased expenses – ready to fuck the workers

Get a middle-ranking trade union bureaucrat in a naff suit, hand him a job title and an increased councillor allowance and he’ll have his TONGUE inserted up the ARSE of a boss quicker than a strategic director can say “get your tongue on my sweet spot Kye”!

Step forward Kye “RIMMER” Dudd, Labour’s new union firebrand chair of the council’s Human Resources Committee, responsible for dishing out ridiculous PAY RISES to failing bosses. Last year this useless committee decided to chuck senior council bosses a 20 PER CENT pay rise to reward their “talent” just weeks after all the lucky recipients of this taxpayer generosity had conspired together to set an UNLAWFUL BUDGET for the city.

Now the senior management pisstakers are back in front of the committee again on Thursday, recommending ANOTHER pay rise for themselves of 20 per cent. This time “TO REFLECT MARKET RATES“. All they now require is for Rimmer’s daft committee to sign their nonsense demand off as quietly as possible.

Naturally, an almighty fuss has accompanied the news of this latest HUGE PAY RISE demand from bosses in the midst of CUTS to council tax benefits to the poor, the closure of libraries and the sacking of school crossing patrols. And Rimmer is right on it … Servicing the needs of his bosses on six-figure salaries by trying to SILENCE DISSENT and steer this ludicrous pay hike through the council.

His first move has been to attempt to BAN gobshite councillors, Tory Richard “Bunter” Eddy and Lib Dem Gary “Fuckbucket” Hopkins from the crucial committee meeting on Thursday – even though he has no power to do so – claiming they have BREACHED confidentiality by discussing the useless recruitment process for recently departed Chief Exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski.

Clearly there’s no interest from Rimmer in working cross-party to put an END to these ridiculous and ever-increasing salaries for bosses then. For some reason it’s much more important for Rimmer to engineer a pathetic little party POLITICAL ROW in the finest tradition of thicko small town provincial politicians.

“As a trade unionist, I am horrified that unlike any other organisation in the world, these two force us to play out Human Resources issues in public, disrespecting the employment rights of employees and damaging the ability of the council to manage people effectively and the organisation cost-effectively,” HUFFS the idiot, Rimmer.

Because, “as a trade unionist” Rimmer’s main concern is obviously the employment rights of a Chief Executive earning £140k a year who received £70k for resigning? Mustn’t go around disrepecting useless, bullying, money-grabbing BOSS SCUM must we Rimmer?  Where’s the respectful SILENCE and CAP-DOFFING from the lower orders as greedy bosses assisted by trade unionists and the Labour Party openly rip us off, eh?

Rimmer is also, it seems, a bit CONFUSED about the role of his committee that meets in public to discuss, er, council human resources issues in public. This simple democratic oversight – according to Rimmer  – is now “damaging the ability of the council to manage people effectively and the organisation cost-effectively”. Of course, if only Rimmer and the Reverend could line the pockets of bent bosses and elitists IN SECRET it would be so much more cost effective wouldn’t it?

Meanwhile ordinary staff at the council, who Rimmer pretends to give a shit about for electoral purposes, will be told at the same meeting that they will have to wait until – at least – JANUARY to hear about their own wages.

A proposed salary restructure for the plebs, which, last year, his HR committee promised would be completed by April, has now been DELAYED by Rimmer until next year for reasons he won’t explain. More of those “confidential” and “cost effective” reasons no doubt? Or perhaps Rimmer’s just a CUNT who’s only interested in lining the pockets of wealthy bosses from public funds?

Up the workers!

CITY COUNCIL SENIOR BOSSES LINE UP ANOTHER PAY RISE

We’re not making this up …

Having awarded themselves pay rises of up to 20 PER CENT in 2016 for arranging an unlawful budget, Bristol City Council bosses are lining up yet another pay rise for themselves. “Independent” reports in front of the Human Resources Committee next week want to award senior bosses pay rises of up to 13 PER CENT!

The council’s latest Pay Policy Statement awaiting sign-off from gullible councillors next week says:

“For the period covered by this Statement, the salary for Group Director roles will range from £135,000 to £165,000 with a mid-point of £150,000. (Currently £136k)

The salary for Director (Level 2) roles will range from £100,000 to £120,000 with a mid-point of £110,000. (currently £98k)

The salary for Director (Level 1) roles will range from £85,000 to £105,000 with a mid-point of £95,000. (currently £98k)

Salaries at these levels will normally be between the minimum of the range and the mid-point. Payment above the mid-point is reserved for roles where there is clear evidence that the market rate is significantly higher than the mid-point.”

Meanwhile the pay and grading review for ORDINARY STAFF (which might result in significant pay rises to the lowest paid staff at the council  who are currently earning at near minimum wage levels) that was supposed to be completed in April is now delayed until, at least, JANUARY 2018.

What a total fucking joke. Bosses should be getting big pay cuts. They have failed to deliver time and again. They’re simply not worth the money.

BIG WEDGE’S BULLY SHAME

The Reverend with his Bully-in-Chief

WAS REES RUNNING A BULLYING CULTURE FROM THE TOP AT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL?

Why has the council’s chief lawyer and Bundred crook, Shahzia “Dim” Daya started threatening councillors with legal action if they discuss the recently departed council Chief Exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski with the press?

Total mystery surrounds the sudden RESIGNATION of the Reverend Rees’s representative on Earth and chief bag carrier. Big Wedge, barely six months into a role filling her boots with extraordinary sums of public cash while leading an inane “improvement journey” at the council quit on Monday 4 September for “family reasons” taking a payoff reputedly in the region of £70k. What for?

This, so the story goes, is because Big Wedge suddenly discovered her parents were seriously ill and she needed to to look after them. We can only sympathise with this SUDDEN and SIMULTANEOUS deterioration of these executive parents, both of whose health apparently collapsed in the six months since Big Wedge began her latest well remunerated public sector “improvement journey”.

No doubt Big Wedge watchers are pleased that she’s continued to display her remarkably ordinary intellect and way with a tired old cliche to the very end. Isn’t quitting for “family reasons” a hackneyed old code in political circles for “JUMPING BEFORE I’M PUSHED“? So what has Big Wedge really been up to?

Creating and running a systematic BULLYING CULTURE at the top of the council is what. We understand that in early September a letter began circulating claiming that Big Wedge had personally bullied 14 Service Directors out of Bristol City Council over the last year and had then paid them off to keep them silent.

Intrigued, a local reporter called the council’s PR department where they were greeted with barely-concealed PANIC at the mention of Big Wedge and bullying. The reporter was promised they would receive a call back with a statement. Obviously this never came.

Instead, for the rest of the week, local newspaper editors received regular calls from various senior bosses and PR types at the council BEGGING them not to run any bullying stories in relation to Big Wedge. Then – after a weekend, apparently considering her position – Big Wedge announced the following Monday morning she was quitting “for family reasons”. Coincidence or wot?

What’s even stranger, however, is why the Reverend and Big Wedge ever thought bullying bosses out of the organisation and paying large compensation packages was necessary? (Were they getting a kick out of bullying their staff?) Because didn’t they have a brand new INDEPENDENT REPORT (kept secret from us) into their managers’ conduct around financial management in 2015 – 16 and the unlawful budget set in 2016?

So why wasn’t this report used as the basis for DISCIPLINARY ACTION against these bosses? This would have saved us a fortune and ensured none of these crooks ever worked in local government again. Surely a win-win?

Or maybe this secret report contains some rather more uncomfortable facts that need to remain secret? For example, Klonowski started working in a SENIOR ROLE in finance at Bristol City Council in 2015. What exactly did she know about HIDDEN DEBTS and UNLAWFUL BUDGETS?

Similarly, council lawyer Shahzia “Dim” Daya, who’s still got her feet firmly under the table at the Counts Louse and is now threatening councillors all over again, OVERSAW the council budget meeting in 2016 where an unlawful budget was set with her FULL KNOWLEDGE. Alison “Three Jobs” Comley – still raking in a six figure sum – also knew all about the unlawful budget, according to PUBLISHED MINUTES, and she continues in post trashing parks and unlawfully refusing to house the homeless.

Then there’s the pair of BENT CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITORS who knew lots and lots about unachieved savings and inaccurate reports to councillors. They, too, are still collecting generous salaries for their mendacity and failure.

Isn’t it time the Reverend published his secret new report into his bent bosses so we can find out what’s been going on inside his useless council and we can sort it out if he can’t?

NB. Any legal threats in relation to this article to the Bristolian’s email please.

** STOP PRESS – two Broomhill EPH evictions 11AM 16.08.17, including an illegal one of a very ill young woman **

PRESS STATEMENT

The Real Reasons Why Broomhill Elderly Peoples Home (EPH)
Was Placed Under Occupation
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This statement refutes the spurious claim made by Director of Housing Cllr Paul Smith of Bristol City Council (BCC) in the Bristol Post, August 10 that the remaining guardian-tenants at Broomhill EPH were ‘standing in the way’ of the council’s noble mission – allegedly by occupying the building, preventing its demolition, and the building of 10 social housing units. This is a deceitful manipulation of the facts, which we will now present.
Background Information

Following the crash of 2008 and subsequent austerity, many supposedly unviable BCC public buildings fell into disuse, including schools, care homes, leisure centres, fire stations etc. Later on BCC leased these buildings to two ‘Property Guardian Companies’ – Camelot and AdHoc, under the knowledge that these companies would, on a temporary basis, house renters (known under the legally ambiguous term of ‘guardians’) therein.

BCC then promptly forgot about the buildings, their occupants, and their original plans for demolition, while Camelot and AdHoc took advantage of the situation to make a fortune out of charging rent to hundreds of people priced out of Bristol’s private renting racket in sub-standard-to-outright-dangerous BCC owned properties.

However, following the Roynon v Camelot case in Feb 2017, which established that all guardians potentially had the full rights of tenants, BCC terminated its contract with both Camelot and AdHoc with effect from Christmas 2017, with the understanding that the companies would evict all residents by this date.

Points and Demands

It is in this context that we wish to make the following seven points:

  • As owner of the properties concerned, Bristol City Council has a duty to properly re-house all the guardians it left to the tender mercies of Camelot and AdHoc. Because there was no provision made, despite assurances given by Cllr Smith to the contrary, for protecting all guardians during the transition back to BCC control. This is simply unacceptable and a blatant reneging of BCC’s word.
  • Also the tenant legally evicted today was the whistleblower who first brought this scandal regarding Camelot’s behaviour out into the open so that BCC could take action against the corporate criminals operating on its property. Is it Cllr Smith’s moral duty to now wash his hands of him and let him be kicked out into the street, from a BCC owned property?
  • In the case of the second tenant, she is a young woman who is recovering from a serious illness, and in addition she was kicked out illegally. Camelot are being told as a legal warning that she has a right to go back in as this goes to print. BCC simply cannot tolerate these cowboy evictions on its conscience.
  • While some of the ‘guardian’ properties are clearly best demolished due to their age or unsuitability, in the current housing crisis it makes more sense to bring the remainder up to standard again and use them as temporary homeless shelters, but this time regulated under direct BCC control and not ‘leased’ out again to third parties of any description.
  • In relation to point 5 above, Broomhill EPH was selected for occupation as being a prime example of such erroneous BCC policy. Broomhill is a relatively modern and sturdy building, yet is scheduled for demolition and supposed replacement by 10 ‘social housing’ units at some indefinite point in the future. Why is ‘cash-strapped’ BCC not questioning the time taken and money required for such a task, while the necessary repairs and refurbishing required for 40-50 quality units of homeless accommodation could be carried out in the building as it stands, and for just a fraction of the cost and time. Why is this not being done?
  • Finally, under the 1996 Housing Act, in the case of a publicly owned building scheduled for demolition, if an evicted tenant has not made him/herself ‘intentionally homeless’, then the local authority that owns the building has the legal duty to assist him or her in finding alternative accommodation.

In addition, we make the demand that any properties that BCC keeps in operation as homeless accommodation must NOT be leased to either private profiteers or to the many so-called charities that use the discredited ‘guardian licensee’ contract or its equivalent.

ILLEGAL BCC GATE-KEEPING POLICY REINSTATED

Word is spreading that rogue bullshit jobbers (ie. middle management) in Bristol City Council’s Housing Department re-introduced the illegal practice of “gate-keeping” last week, presumably to restrict Bristol’s homeless access to public services they’re entitled to under the pretence of “saving money”.

Obviously aware that the council had already been reprimanded for this practice by the Ombudsman back in 2012, our very own bullshit jobforce (on huge salaries at taxpayer expense, and including members of the Dirty Thirty) went around all of BCC’s front-line housing staff in person and told them that they were to refuse all help to young Bristolians turfed out of their family homes, under the pretence that they “do not qualify as homeless” until they “can provide proof in the form of a legal notice to quit (28 days) from their families”. As if this is going to happen! Never mind, because the undeserving poor can just sleep on the streets until they get them.

So the question must be asked: Is Housing Director Paul “Wolfie” Smith aware of such illegal, clandestine shenanigans amongst his subordinates? Or are they simply doing whatever they want? And what is Nick “Pooper” Hooper’s role in all of this? Is the high priest of BCC’s bullshit jobbers still in charge of “administrating” the Housing Dept, or has he, as rumoured, been moved on to blight another department?

Maybe another visit by the Ombudsman can give us the answers to all of this and more…