Category Archives: Shitty Hall

Our fine local authority – all about Bristol City Council and the Mayor

BUNDRED REPORT: PANIC AT THE TOP?

A sense of DISARRAY and PANIC at the top of Bristol City Council is emerging as public anger and a determined effort to rid ourselves of the THIRTY bosses who hid a £30m budget black hole from the Bristolian public and their councillors in 2016 grows by the day.

The latest tactic from Bristol City Council’s CRIMINAL gang of Strategic and Service Directors – who presented a set of bent accounts to the public just prior to thieving a 20 per cent pay rise for themselves on the basis of their ‘talent’ – is to IGNORE their correspondence and AVOID replying to Freedom of Information requests.

A recent Freedom of Information request asking that the council supply the minutes of their CHANGE BOARD – where the £30 million scam was cooked-up – has been deliberately delayed. Because, claim panicking bosses, of the “COMPLEXITY” of the request.

What a load of bollocks. Retrieving files from a computer system and supplying them to the public involves no complexity whatsoever. IT’S A SIMPLE TASK. How can a £3 million a year high talent management team not be able to complete this simple task in a month and, instead, resort to weeping about the complexity of it all?

No wonder they struggle with traffic management and house building if obtaining files off a computer is too difficult for them. They are beyond PATHETIC and useless LIARS to boot.

Meanwhile, why is Shahzia “Dim” Daya – the council’s legal boss and Monitoring Officer right at the centre of the corruption scandal – IGNORING the straightforward request published below? Why’s she so bothered about involving external auditors? What could possibly be her problem with that?

From: steven norman <>
Sent: 17 February 2017 12:04
To: shahzia.daya@bristol.gov.uk
Subject: RE: RIGGING OF 2016 LOCAL & MAYORAL ELECTION BY 30 OFFICERS

Ms Daya

Perhaps someone could confirm whether Bristol City Council will be formally requesting that their external auditors conduct a Public Interest Investigation into the following:

– the 30 senior officers/Change Board that withheld information from councillors and the S151 officer that resulted in a material misstatement in the 2015 – 16 accounts and material misstatements in the budget for 2016 – 17 agreed by Full Council in February 2016.

– The Chief Internal Auditors who, in April 2015, found the Change Programme governance arrangements to be ‘good’. A perverse conclusion entirely at odds with the Bundred Report.

– The Chief Internal Auditors over a further Internal Audit report produced in November 2015 and finally published in December 2015 – ‘Change Programme: Financial Benefits Realisation” – that reported ‘acceptable’ levels of control across all areas of the Change Programme after the report was altered by the following officers – Change Services Manager, Service Director, Business Change & ICT, and Strategic Director, Business Change.

– The Chief Internal Auditors presenting the December 2015 report above to the Audit Committee in summary form and with no indication it had been substantially rewritten by officers/managers running the failing Change Programme.

Only it appears to me that an attempt was being made to rig the election by 30 officers who knowingly withheld vital and important information from elected officials and the general public

Kindest Regards

Mr Stephen Norman

If Bristol City Council’s sleazy management scum are avoiding answering these simple questions to DELIBERATELY avoid bringing in the external auditors as they are legally required to do, then they need to quit now so some bosses can come in who are prepared to OBEY THE LAW.

COUNCIL ENERGY FIRM ABOUT TO BELLYFLOP?

The smell of FAILURE hangs heavy in the air around BRISTOL ENERGY, Bristol City Council’s energy reselling business set-up at great expense with public money.

Despite the council’s best efforts to keep the financial performance of the year old company TOP SECRET, it’s widely known that the company’s original business plan has FAILED.

“The energy market is showing significant price volatility,” is the current form of words being deployed by council bosses for this deplorable state of affairs. While, behind CLOSED DOORS, large sums of our money are being conjured up and another business plan hastily cobbled together by a secret committee, safely hidden away from anyone who might call it like it really is.

We also understand that council bosses have been FORCED to set up an Audit and Remuneration Committee for the firm. Although many might say this kind of basic financial oversight committee should have been in place before the company began trading.

Strenuous efforts are also being made by the Mayor’s office to avoid consolidating the company accounts into the Council’s accounts for 2016/17. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the council, it’s standard accounting practice that their wholly-owned energy company’s accounts are PUBLISHED alongside the council’s in its annual reports. Hardly ideal if you’re trying to hide losses into six or, even, seven figures from the public!

Meanwhile, the architect of this UNDERPERFORMING SHAMBLES, council Service Manager, Bill Edrich, has been instructed by the Rev Rees to ensure an “orderly exit strategy” forms part of the company’s new business plan.

Watch this space.

SELLING OUT, CASHING IN

It’s not taken long for Labour councillors in Bristol to get their feet under the table and use their large new majority on the council to begin the enormous political challenge of, er, lining up LUCRATIVE CONTRACTS and work for their employers!

 Please step forward Craig “MR CRAPITA” Cheney, a junior employee of hellish public sector contractors and serial outsourcing cock-up artists CAPITA. He currently masquerades part time as ‘Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance and Performance’, wandering aimlessly around the Counts Louse accompanied by a chorus of whispers of “this one’s totally out of his depth isn’t he”?

 But now it looks like Mr Crapita has taken his first key decision. To appoint a new Treasury consultancy team from, er, CAPITA!

The Treasury team basically takes decisions around borrowing and investments at the council. Although why a private firm at a further COST to us now needs to do this work rather than the council’s highly paid “EXPERT” in-house finance bosses is not made clear by Mr Crapita, who is yet to publicise his self-serving, private sector career-enhancing decision.

Meanwhile on 24 November at the Counts Louse, the Rev Rees PERSONALLY HOSTED ‘The Big Conversation: Development by Bristol City Council’.

“Help shape the future development of Bristol,” gushed the publicity, squarely aimed at big money CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT INTERESTS who were promised ACCESS to not only the Rev Rees but the opportunity to “Join Cabinet Lead for Homes and communities Councillor Paul Smith; Cabinet Lead for Place Councillor Helen Holland; and Cabinet member for Transport, Councillor Mark Bradshaw.”

Among the agenda items was ‘De-risking the development process and the role of planning’. Presumably the aim being to simplify things for corporates wanting to BUILD SHIT quick for a FAST BUCK in Bristol? However, what really caught the eye about this event, held at the Counts Louse with Bristol Labour politicians and Bristol City Council bosses in attendance was that it wasn’t organised by Bristol City Council.

Instead, THIS INVITATION-ONLY EVENT to meet influential senior Labour politicians and council bosses for “TABLE DISCUSSIONS” was organised by a corporate lobbying firm, JBP. Who happen to specialise in … Wait for it … “complex planning and construction projects in retail, house building and major infrastructure development.”

How terribly cosy for all involved. Even more so when you realise that the JBP employee who organised the event at the council was one Nicola “LA LA” Beech. La La, when she’s not shilling for corporate development interests, also happens to be a LABOUR COUNCILLOR for St George Central!

It’s a small world isn’t it?

BRISTOL UNISON ELECTION: BACKSIDE BLASTS ROBBO

PANIC is breaking out at the South West regional branch of Unison following the hasty RESIGNATION of their Bristol Branch Secretary, Steve “Backside” Crawshaw after he was exposed in The BRISTOLIAN cutting a SECRET DEAL with the Rev Rees to help smoothly deliver controversial staff cuts at Bristol City Council with a minimum of trade union opposition.

Backside actively tried to make his sleazy deal with the Reverend while joint trade union Employee Side Secretary at the council, crudely EXCLUDING the council’s other trade unions and his own membership from these secret discussions. So it’s hardly surprising everybody’s lost faith in him and he’s slithering back to his protected £30k plus sinecure in the council’s bent property department.

An ELECTION is now underway for a new Bristol Branch Secretary, which pits a traditional left winger -Tom “RED ROBBO” Merchant, who wants to openly OPPOSE the Reverend’s stupid and brutal £110m Tory cuts programme – against a right winger, Jane “Wet” Carter – who wants to focus the branch’s attention on a load of middle class EQUALITIES bollocks for the next few years.

The election – and the simple choice it offers between traditional trade unionism or a load of useless liberal shite – appears to have thrown Backside’s Labour Party handlers at Unison’s regional office in Wine Street into something of a meltdown. So they INSTRUCTED Backside to urgently email out to members “in a personal capacity” to support the useless but Labour and Reverend-friendly Wet Carter.

Hapless neo-liberal jerk, Backside, has COMPLIED with his Labour Party handlers instructions to the letter. Because an absurd email, listing all the skills he believes a union branch secretary requires, arrived in Unison members’ inboxes. Accompanied by Backside’s view that Wet Carter “embodies, and can demonstrate, all these characteristics”. (Fancy that!)

Backside selflessly reveals his views on Red Robbo in his email too. “I cannot strongly discern the qualities listed above in Tom Merchant,” sniffily explains this inadequate sell out who has had to QUIT after conduct so DISREPUTABLE it’s resulted in local trade unionists’ total loss of confidence in him.

Backside finally advises his Bristol members, “to use your vote wisely and advise other members accordingly”. We concur with Backside entirely. Use that vote wisely Unison members. Do you want an ACTUAL TRADE UNIONIST fighting for your job and the services you run or a right wing APOLOGIST for huge cuts who will help make you redundant and trash local public services while creating a first draft transgender bathroom policy?

The choice is all yours comrades …

 

That email in full:

FROM: Steve Crawshaw
SENT: 27 January 2017 15:40
TO: Steve Crawshaw
SUBJECT: Branch Secretary Election – Bristol UNISON

Dear UNISON member

As you may know, I am stepping down as Branch Secretary after 3 years in the post as I have been asked to return to my substantive role in the council. There will now be an election for the role, and two candidates are standing. I am writing to you in a personal capacity to set out my views as to the merits of the candidates in terms of their
suitability for the role.

The position of Branch Secretary requires specific personal characteristics. In my view these are: sound judgement, resilience to stress, empathy, critical thinking and determination. As well as being the lead negotiator in the branch, they are also a manager and employer of a team four staff, so strong management skills are necessary. They need to be able to marshal an argument and communicate clearly. They need to think be able to think strategically, but also be prepared to pick apart a document in detail and respond to complex proposals intelligently. Importantly, they need to work with activists, members, employees and regional officers as part of a cohesive team. The branch secretary needs to understand and accept the organising principles in UNISON, where we empower members rather than service and put equalities at the heart of our practice.

In my view, only one candidate, Jane Carter embodies, and can demonstrate, all these characteristics. I will not repeat the text of her election address, but I can endorse all of what she says in it. She has a track record of running a large branch and I have been impressed with all the work she has done in our branch.

Unfortunately I cannot strongly discern the qualities listed above in Tom Merchant.

Bristol UNISON is the largest trade union branch in the South West and the largest union in the council. I believe we have a good reputation with members, employers and in the region. It is important that we maintain this to protect our members’ jobs and T&C’s. Having a strong and competent leader is a vital part of this, so I would encourage you to use your vote wisely and advise other members accordingly. The ballot materials will be sent shortly.

Kind Regards

Steve Crawshaw

ROTTEN COMRADES by -The Dwarf

Bristol Unison in action

A certain UNISON branch secretary was spotted lurking in the depths of City Hall last autumn.

UNITE reps – having been tipped off that devious shenanigans were in the offing from their opposite numbers in UNISON – were posted at strategic locations to intercept and follow him. The ensuing sneaking around was likened to something that might be achieved by Japan’s finest ninja assassins. Others likened it to a chase scene from Benny Hill.

Regardless, the upshot of it was that UNITE managed to find the location of a secret meeting with the Mayor. A meeting that they had every right to attend but the invites to which the UNISON branch secretary had mysteriously forgotten to send to UNITE! The branch secretary had a duty as “employee side secretary” to invite all the attendees but had conveniently forgotten to do so when an important discussion was to take place.

A discussion concerning the fate of thousands of employees and many services that might face cuts. It has been alleged that said secretary wanted time alone with the mayor to finesse things to his union’s advantage. It’s now being reported to us that shortly after this shoddy episode, the UNISON branch secretary now no longer holds the post of employee side secretary.The post is instead held by UNITE.

It’s also has been reported that UNISON is now finding it difficult to arrange meetings with the mayor. Strange, because the mayor seems to be meeting every Tom, Dick and Harry that asks. Only last week the mayor met with a couple of commies from an anti-austerity group that were hanging around trying to sell a few copies of the Morning Star. They were whisked inside and afterwards said the meeting had been “quite productive”.

ARE THEY PULLING OUR LEGACY?

“The establishment of the council’s energy company – Bristol Energy – will be one of the landmark achievements of Bristol’s year as Green Capital and one of its most significant legacies and that’s been recognised from way beyond Bristol,” blustered MAYOR NO-LONGER, George Ferguson, to any media that would listen in July 2015.

Although a somewhat lower key PR approach has been taken by Bristol City Council to the news this July that Bristol Energy – their wholly owned landmark achievement company – has made a LOSS of £3m already!

What a legacy! And you, dear taxpayer, will – of course – foot the bill.

FROM AGILE TO FRAGILE: HOW SENIOR COUNCIL BOSSES HAVE SCREWED THEIR STAFF #1

ON THE DAY IT’S FINALLY REVEALED THAT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL’S FORMER CHIEF EXEC, NICOLA “LADY GAGA” YATES LEFT LAST MONTH WITH A £196K PAY OFF FROM THE THE REVEREND MARVIN REES, WE START TO REVEAL THE APPALLING FINANCIAL BASKETCASE GAGA AND HER SENIOR BOSSES HAVE TURNED OUR COUNCIL INTO … AND WHO’S GONNA PAY FOR IT

How has Bristol City Council property boss Robert “Spunkface” Orrett already managed to run up a LOSS of £9m in his department this year? Surely there’s some mistake? Wasn’t Spunkface brought in from the super efficient, cash generating private sector to prevent just this kind of public sector waste and profligacy?

Spunkface

Spunkface: business pro who can’t identify a £9m loss?

A brief read of the Reverend Rees’s emergency finance report – expensively prepared by his highly-paid private sector finance consultant Anna “BIG WEDGE” Klonowski, managing director of Elka Solutions Ltd management consultancy – reveals that Spunkface has managed to turn a profit projected to be £7.5m in March’s budget into a LOSS of £1.5m five months later!

Most of the excuses concocted for this financial shambles float in a special space between useless and the absurd. According to Ms Big Wedge, Spunkface has flopped because he’s FAILED to increase return on investment property holdings; he’s FAILED to reduce running costs from the disposal of admin buildings and he’s FAILED to reduce facilities management costs as promised.

Since the rental income from INVESTMENT PROPERTIES was £10m in 2015 – 16 – slightly up from £9.5m in 2014 -15. It’s is hard to see how Spunkface or the council thought they could increase this income by £7.5m this year … So it’s nothing to do with that then.

Similarly, FACILITIES MANAGEMENT costs are just £4.3m a year so there’s no £7.5m savings to be made there … So it’s nothing to do with that then.

This just leaves the running costs saved from the disposal of admin buildings. A major part of recently departed strategic director Max Wide “Boy’s” SINGLE CHANGE PROGRAMME that was going to deliver £60m of carefully designed strategic cuts by March 2017.

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’ - There'll be hell toupee with him in charge...

MAX WIDE ‘BOY’: has packed up his Powerpoint slides and fled

The jewel in the crown of these proposals was the ‘WORKPLACE PROGRAMME‘. The plan being that council would create “new agile working environments” for all council staff in just TWO BUILDINGS – an expensively refurbished Counts Louse and the newly purchased £15m Temple Street base. Apparently this could save the council a fortune in office rentals and leases and by having less buildings to maintain and administrate.

The new ‘agile work environments’ are already universally loathed by staff as corporate, sterile and IMPRACTICAL. Relying on expensive half-baked tech solutions and fashionable nonsense in an attempt to appear modern, the offices have only found favour with sad and lonely senior local authority bosses who appear to gain a sense of importance wafting around the ‘flexible space’ with their iPads.

Alas, Wide Boy’s Single Change Programme and on-trend ‘agile environment’ plans may not have panned out quite as he had planned. Before legging it in June he alleged via one of his many vague (but extremely agile with the truth) Powerpoint presentations to GULLIBLE COUNCILLORS that he had managed to deliver just £30m of his promised ‘savings’ up to April. Meaning a further £30m savings had to be found this year.

But now we find that a £9m shaped HOLE has appeared in Property Services exactly where Wide Boy’s agile ‘Workplace Programme’ savings should be. That means that Wide Boy’s overall savings are actually £21m not £30m. A cock-up that 1,000 low paid council staff will now have to pay for with their jobs. Less ‘agile working’ and more ‘fragile working’!

Marvin: talked shit and lost to a red trousered arse

Reverend Rees: employed a new gang of twats on big money?

So why don’t council bosses openly tell us about this financial savings BELLYFLOP and their wholly misconceived corporate ‘agile’ cock up? Indeed, why hasn’t Spunkface – as a responsible public servant – prepared a proper detailed report on the finances in his Property Department for the mayor and councillors? As opposed to keeping his head down and trying to bury this enormous senior management CLUSTERFUCK in an opaque set of accounts?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that Marvin’s newly installed team of highly paid bosses – some pulling in a GRAND A DAY on temporary contracts; others tax efficiently creaming £80k A QUARTER – are just about to embark on yet another top-down reorganisation?

They’re promising, with lashings of corporate jargon, natch, lots more huge savings. So maybe they don’t want anyone noticing that the last reorganisation was a load of OVERPRICED BULLSHIT run by a bunch of highly paid INCOMPETENTS and cover-up artists?

Are The Reverend’s newly assembled little gang of greedy bosses and management consultants preparing to deliver their own under-powered reorganisation using the same old over-powered corporate PR techniques safe in the knowledge they, too, can do A RUNNER before the shit hits the fan?

And Look! Top of the new bosses’ list – promising to deliver £16m of savings by March 2017 – is Wide Boy’s utterly failed and useless SINGLE CHANGE PROGRAMME!

That’s gonna work like a dream isn’t it?

AUSTERITY MY ARSE

CultureIt hasn’t taken long for Marvin “The Reverend” Rees to turn into another nasty little Tory Boy RUINING THE LIVES of his low paid council staff so that he can FEATHER THE NESTS of the city’s wealthy elite has it?

Less than three months into his ‘REIGN OF ERROR‘ and Marvin has announced that he will need to make 1,000 staff at his council REDUNDANT to “balance the books”. Virtually all these staff will be low paid and will be working in ESSENTIAL public services like adult care, education, social services and housing.

These HORRIFYING CUTS have been spun by the Reverend’s new £63k a year trade union PR girl, Kevin “Slow Brain” Slocombe, as entirely the fault of Tory government austerity and Mayor-no-more George Ferguson. The dynamic business and corporate-friendly Labour duo claim that George left behind a £29m debt for 2016 – 17 of unachieved savings.

Really? So how come a report accepted by Marvin and his cabinet in July – just ONE MONTH before his cuts announcement – assured us, “This report shows that the Council has been able to deliver on its saving plans and balance its base budget in what continues to be a challenging fiscal environment.”

It then goes on to say, “The current financial strategy, consisting of the final year of the 2013-17 MTFS, will be sufficient to balance the Councils budget in 2016/17.”

So what happened in a month to create a £29m black hole in this balanced budget? WHO’S TELLING THE TRUTH? Marvin in July or Marvin in August?

Meanwhile, Slow Brain and the Reverend’s claim that they have no choice but to fire 1,000 staff on low pay fails to stand up to BASIC SCRUTINY when you start to look at the expenditure they’ve either already authorised or are intending authorise and for whom.

In late June Marvin and his cabinet had no problem in handing the COLSTON HALL £1.6m up front to develop their refurbishment plans while also agreeing in principle to chuck them a further £10m to achieve these plans.

At the same meeting, similar generosity was shown to the BRISTOL OLD VIC – who were awarded £1m to underwrite their refurbishment plans – and to another concert hall – ST GEORGE’S – who received £600k to help them with their rebuilding efforts.

And it doesn’t stop there. In September Marvin will award those famously poverty stricken organisations – BUSINESS WEST and the UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL – an undisclosed subsidy of over £500k to keep their ‘Set Squared’ creative industries ‘business incubator’ running the way they’ve become accustomed to at Brunel’s stylish ENGINE SHED at Temple Meads.

Also in the loop for an undisclosed public handout (of £500k plus) from the Reverend is the THE BOTTLE YARD film and TV studios in south Bristol. Because we can’t have austerity in the high-earning film industry can we?

This is all before we get on to the really high ticket projects Marvin is backing. He’s still committed to the £150m ARENA project, assuring anyone who will listen it’s affordable despite only having £100m to build it.

The other £50m will come from the council taxpayer until that income stream runs dry when Marvin, no doubt, will throw another few bodies on to his HUMAN BONFIRE and sack a few more staff running essential services to balance his crooked books.

Finally we have Marvin’s uncosted and unfunded EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE bid. To make himself look good in the ruins of the public services he’ll be running, the Reverend intends to make the city Capital of Culture in 2023 at an undisclosed cost.

HOW MUCH this will cost or WHAT USE it will be to any one not involved in of Marvin’s heavily subsidised high-earning creative industries is anyone’s guess. But what the hell? It’s only other people’s money and other people’s jobs isn’t it?

In less than THREE MONTHS Marvin’s mayoralty has turned into a hyopcritical farce and an elitist backscratching exercise.

“No one left behind” he says? Except for 1,000 council staff running essential services and their familes …

RISE OF THE ANTI-MAYOR: MARVIN TO SACK 1,000 STAFF

Anti-Mayor? The Reverend Marv stands in front of an inverted cross in his council chamber as he starts to invert everything he promised and ever believed in.

Following the Reverend Rees’s laughable ‘First 100 Days‘ PR effort last week – where he revealed he’d done NOTHING except sit on his backside and appoint a few committees  – our hapless new mayor today announced he intends to immediately SACK 1,000 council staff to balance the books.

This will effectively spell THE END of functioning local public services like adult care, social services, and youth services and is the polar opposite of what the Reverend promised just three months ago in his ambitious manifesto.

One member of the Reverend’s pissed off staff has kindly summed up the truth of this ABSURD PLAN for us:

“Just had a prick of a manager come down to basically say: no overtime, no more temps, working weekends for basic rates etc etc  And all brought in by a cunt on a grand a day!”

Not much we can add to that.

The council’s unions, meanwhile, have come out with a pathetic response, proposing a USELESS four point plan that will make no difference whatsoever:

“Responding to today’s announcement by the council, the unions have come up with a four-point plan to stave off the worst effects of the planned cuts:

•Meaningful consultations on a plan to deliver quantifiable savings to deal with the current budget shortfall and future savings
•A review of the decisions behind the budget shortfall in the 2014-2017 period
•A review of consultancy, agency and casual contracts to ensure value for money from these contracts in future
•The mayor Marvin Rees to make representations to Whitehall on the state of local government finance and the impact on Bristol’s 450,000 population of these cuts.”

What will this achieve? “Representations to Whitehall” my arse.The Reverend Marvin and his union friends need to come out fighting. REJECT the cuts outright; REFUSE to put 1,000 Bristolians out of work and REFUSE to destroy our local services.

Tell Theresa May and her piss weak DIVIDED GOVERNMENT to stick their Tory cuts up their Tory arses; set a proper budget to deliver the services we need and invite the Tories to come to Bristol and try to stop us.

Let’s see if May’s poxy little shit stain of a failing government is strong enough to take on Bristol shall we?

Come on Marv. You’re not a yes-man pussy public sector bureaucrat any more. Time to be a politician. That’s what we elected you for.