“Useless and Underperforming” Comrades: A Weaponised Human Resources Team

By the Dwarf

I really feel I am getting somewhere now; I am enjoying my work and I feel valued by my employer. But not everyone is so lucky in the council because I’ve received a constant stream of leaks and complaints about the treatment dished out at the hands of HR and management. Over the last couple of years a trickle of shit has turned into a torrent.

I must admit, I’ve had to rewrite this article several times because a number of things I was gleefully writing up have been suddenly resolved, to the obvious relief of the staff affected. This is annoying. There are still a number of nasty problems in the pipeline, though, but I like to offer the other side an opportunity to really stick their necks out before writing them up. So, I’m going to take an overview of what’s going on (rather than a detailed expose) and hope to get across to you the experience of our staff, generally.

Anyway, I couldn’t at first understand what has been going on. Equalities used to be a high priority for management. It has recently stopped being so. My impression was that managers would find themselves with a tightened budget and would wonder to themselves whether or not staff really needed those visits to physio, modified duties, lighter duties, small breaks, time off to recover from operations, Dragon software, ramps over steps; that sort of thing. They, of course, took advice from HR.

HR used to give the advice that reasonable adjustments were a legal right, because the culture of equal opportunities used to be strong. Now they are replying that if it is a ‘need of the business’ they can justify taking it away (or not allow it) and HR will back the manager up. This is one of the reasons why it has been suggested that HR has become weaponised by someone ruthless at a medium to high level. This wrong advice is so widespread that it can only be a conscious strategy.

A new bit of advice from HR is that ‘you don’t have to change the job’ when designing reasonable adjustments and this is also incorrect. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (who are in charge of this) have a list of examples and several of them ‘change the job’. Total bollocks.

But another reason I know it is a conscious strategy is that they have been open about stopping certain things named as reasonable adjustments by the EHRC. And there is an element of incompetence in this in the sense that they were only so candid about what they were doing because they were so poorly informed.

One of these is medical redeployment. A person with a new disability (or a worsened one) and who is having trouble being productive even with reasonable adjustments (should they be able to get them at all), should be redeployed into a job where he can be productive, as an alternative to dismissal. Reasonable adjustments come first, obviously. HR have been open that they don’t intend to do this anymore and so have Occupational Health who have told us that they were told not to offer it. He who pays the piper calls the tune. But unfortunately that approach is illegal, and there is plenty of case law showing this.

The only time medical redeployment can be arranged (in HR’s view) is when there is a stage three sickness meeting, which means either the worker struggles on in a workplace that has been made artificially dangerous to them or they go off sick for a year. Hardly a sensible situation is it? Some just leave and join better employers.

Social Care is the worst culprit. They have had the nerve to tell us they have no temporary light duties even for people returning from life-saving operations. Of course they have light duties; do they think we are fucking stupid? If someone with the “eye of Sauron” needs to look anywhere, it needs to look there.

Anyway, this series of articles is not about HR; its long running theme is about how compromised public sector unions can become because of their relationships with politics. Well the good news is I’m upgrading them from ‘fucking corrupt” to “useless and underperforming” after a much improved couple of months. Pats on backs all round. There is still incredible timidity from some of our most senior union leaders but there have been the odd micro victory. All of which we have failed to communicate to our members.

One of the most entertaining events of the last week has been watching Unison refuse to be the Labour party’s bitch any longer. Somehow someone from Unison was allowed to oppose the Labour party (publicly) on its decision to amend a motion that called on the divestment of fossil fuels from the company pension. This was at full council. Their amendment, apparently, amended the words ‘divest’ to ‘look into divesting’, or so I was told. A Unison rep allegedly wasn’t happy at all and said so. Quite right!

THE MAYOR’S CULT, EPISODE 3: RACHEL MOLANO

BETHEL TO BRISTOL small

in previous issues, The BRISTOLIAN has been exposing how an EXTREMIST WEIRDO Californian Christian cult known as BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY (BSSM) wields UNDUE and DISTURBING influence over Our Reverend Mayor, challenging the secular nature of his office.

Readers are now encouraged to visit a very good report by independent journalist Joanna Booth on BSSM “graduate”/cultist Rachel Molano who wormed her way into The Mayor’s confidence, found at https://medium.com/@jo.stillawake/who-is-marvin-rees-faith-adviser-and-what-effect-does-she-have-on-him-3fd67c3737d2

Despite claims that Ms Molano no longer works for the council, it seems she still has an ACTIVE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL EMAIL ACCOUNT. Why? And what else can she access at the council?

This story has become a CAN OF WORMS. The BRISTOLIAN continues its investigations.

A REBELLION YEARNING FOR EXTINCTION

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Council blocking Bristol Bridge on Monday morning to facilitate week long protest.

By The Fly On The Wall

Buzzing around Bristol Bridge on Monday, THE FLY was able to savour the delicious aroma of GREENWASH BULLSHIT served up by MIDDLE CLASS TWATS. Yes, it was the start of a week long ‘protest’ in Bristol city centre organised by our favourite WELL HEELED, CORPORATE-BACKED ‘environmental emergency social movement’, Extinction Rebellion.

The surreal sight that assaulted The Fly’s compound eyes from all directions included flags and banners, a few stalls, gazebos and tents, a bright pink yacht in the middle of Bristol Bridge, a DJ sound-system, meditation groups, signs that said ‘Get In The Boat’, or ‘Get On Your Bike’ (a sore point maybe for those of us from the bug world with long memories), a samba parade blanketed in the COPYRIGHTED XR logo with one or two active ‘callers’ and a mass of passive ‘responders’, and hippie stoners chatting away to the cops, some of them openly skinning up only feet away from the ever-smiling filth.

There were legal observers too, in case anyone got arrested (for lighting up a joint just a bit too close to a cop maybe?), but obviously with not much to do. Bristol City Council and their cheerful cop friends were so obliging that BCC even PROVIDED CONCRETE BOLLARDS later on to give the ‘protest’/love-in an air of permanence, all paid for through one of their contractors.

Taking shelter from the sun and the overt Glasto-hippie atmosphere under the ‘information’ gazebo, The Fly overheard one Bristol punter ask questions as to how XR was organised and how its decisions were made. The punter was told that all XR decisions were made by ‘those people with influence and qualification in the movement’, in what was described as a ‘post-democratic structure’(?). Feedback from the plebs however was possible, through the (remember Occupy, anyone?) format of pass-the-mike-and-idea-with-biggest-cheers-gets-accepted ‘peoples assemblies’, a few of which the decision-makers and their wow-celebrity friends might deign to consider at some point in the future.

Later on, the samba parade shuffled off through the city centre, blocking off streets and trailing round the Bear Pit – not once but twice, and perched by a bus stop as multi-colour ragged hippies leafleted the queues of traffic drivers and patiently waiting bus queues, The Fly listened in to the reactions of some more Bristol punters. The overall response was one of bemusement, sighs, weary laughs, and in some cases frustration and anger.

The punters were by and large FULLY AWARE of the issues and how SERIOUS they are, but DIDN’T CONNECT in any way to the XR protestors or their activities. Questions were raised like What’s the point of such tactics? What’s the message here, beyond sound bites? ARE THEY ALL HIPPIES? Why stop our public transport to make a point about private cars on the road? Why don’t they instead OCCUPY the head offices of the offending FOSSIL FUEL corporations and their COLLABORATOR government agencies? Might support them then… Listening to these authentic Bristol voices, The Fly rubbed its legs together in contemplation. Clearly, such voices were NOT going to get the biggest cheers at the ‘peoples assembly’ of yogi-flyers levitating above Bristol Bridge.

So what exactly have XR achieved in their first year or so of existence, beyond some empty ‘declaration’ by government bodies of a ‘climate emergency’, followed as always by business as usual? XR don’t get that a changing-of-the-guard that ‘works within’ an alleged ‘green’ capitalism is going to do fuck all – this way we get at the most a few years respite from disaster, plus a whole bucket-load of bullshit betrayals that in addition may discredit the entire environmental movement. Are XR ever going to realise that the ONE AND ONLY POSSIBLE chance of saving our world from the onrushing Four Horsemen is to DESTROY CAPITALISM UTTERLY, to dig it out root and branch once and for all through A GLOBAL SOCIAL REVOLUTION?

That will sure as hell mean you lose your happy, obliging cops, the fair weather friends, the nice friendly politicians and media coverage, but you GET THE PEOPLE, and can instead authentically call up the MASS MOBILISATION necessary to bring in the total-system-changing measures that are required to get our planet through the mother-of-all-shit-storms that’s coming.

Without such an understanding, XR is itself yearning for extinction. As for THE FLY, it and its scorned, despised, ignored fellow bugs prepare to pad over the soon-to-be decomposing corpse, seeking the orifices in which to lay their eggs and start anew.

MARVIN’S BITCH ON BORROWED TIME?

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“She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene”

Already, less than a year in post and many at the Counts Louse are unhappy with the Reverend’s new Head of Paid Service, MIKE “I’M YOUR BITCH” JACKSON, the £165k a year replacement for the highly costly and abysmally useless, Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski.

Indeed Lib Dem Anthony “Arthur” Negus is already demanding a “FUTURE DISCUSSION ON THE POST OF HEAD OF PAID SERVICE“. This comes after what Negus describes as the “politicising of replies to members’ questions at Full Council that cross the line.”

This is a reference to the Reverend Rees’s increasingly SAD AND BITCHY RESPONSES to any opposition councillor trying to hold him to account at their monthly q&a sessions. These catty political responses, it seems, are often PERSONALLY DRAFTED FOR THE REVEREND WITH GREAT PRIDE BY JACKSON who, despite being a neutral civil servant, appears to enjoy pleasuring the mayor in this way.

The big problem here is that unelected Jackson, having spent a year BITCHING AND SNIPING AT ELECTED COUNCILLORS opposing the Reverend, may find they will not want to work with him if they gain office next year.

Who could blame them? Meanwhile, Green councillor Clive “Shakin” Stevens has also been expressing his RESERVATIONS ABOUT JACKSON and especially the close relationship and strong male bond there appears to be between this objective and independent senior local government officer and the elected Mayor. “IT’S NOT POSSIBLE TO TRUST THIS ARRANGEMENT,” says Shaky darkly.

Shall we start organising Jackson’s leaving party for next May now as few are likely to be prepared to work with a former Mayor’s bitch? And why should they be?

THE EMPEROR’S NEW WAGES

THE EMPEROR'S NEW WAGES

The annual debate at Full Council on the city council’s pay policy had a certain fairytale quality to it this year, entirely due to the Reverend’s hapless OVERPAID EXECUTIVE ARSEHOLE, Colin “Head Boy” Molton’s unorthodox employment and salary arrangements – yet again – taking centre stage.

“The salary for Executive Director roles will range from £135,000 to £165,000 with a mid-point of £150,000,” chirped the Reverend’s LUDICROUS REPORT prepared by HR committee chair and Labour loyalist councillor John “Smelly” Wellington, entirely overlooking Executive Director, Head Boy’s £350K A YEAR PRO RATA HANDOUT.

“The Council’s top earner will be on a salary of up to £165,000 and the lowest-paid person will be on a salary of at least £17,364. This means that the Council’s top to lowest salary ratio is 9.50:1,” Smelly Welly’s report SHAMELESSLY continued, entirely overlooking Executive Director, Head Boy’s £350K A YEAR PRO RATA HANDOUT.

THIS COMPLETE AND UTTER BOLLOCKS attracted the attention of quite a few opposition councillors and even left many Labour councillors shifting uncomfortably in their seats at the Reverend’s latest BRAZEN INSULT to the people of Bristol and their elected representatives.

Although it was Tory Richard “Bunter” Eddy who, perhaps, best summed up the mood. “Since the interim director of growth and regeneration receives £275,000 and this is not reflected in the pay policy table, this makes a COMPLETE MOCKERY of the report,” said Bunter.

“This report is utterly bogus and not worth the paper it’s printed on,” he concluded.

VENTURERS GAG DEMOCRACY

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For years a Bristol City Councillor has sat QUIETLY, INEFFECTIVELY AND INCONSEQUENTIALLY as a non-executive director of the Merchant Venturer-run PORT OF BRISTOL COMPANY at Avonmouth. This councillor is supposed to protect our public investment in the firm as well as independently oversee the company, its finances and management to ensure it’s acting lawfully.

Now, at last, a councillor has stepped up and admitted that he QUIT this non-Exec role two years ago as he was PREVENTED from effectively overseeing the firm as the law requires and he was concerned this CONFLICTED with his responsibilities under the council’s code of conduct

Green Councillor Clive Stevens told a council scrutiny committee that the demand from the Port of Bristol Company that he sign a GAGGING ORDER preventing him from discussing any issues regarding the company shackled him from independently overseeing the company and conflicted with his primary role to be OPENLY AND DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC .

It also raises further questions. Like what the hell port owners, the scummiest of Merchant Venturer scum, David Ord “Ure” and “Tory” Terrence Mordaunt, think they’re doing NOBBLING DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES AND INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS of their firm? Or why our councillors have colluded with this legally dubious corporate management culture for years and why were they putting up with anti-democratic bullshit from a couple of wealthy Tory boys on the make?

The council’s Head of Legal Services has agreed to look at the matter and produce a report. Will he have learned anything from the 2008 banking crisis and the need for genuinely independent non executive directors TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC FROM THIEVING CORPORATE BASTARDS WITH NO MORALS?

We await the results with interest …

THERE IS A LIGHT AND IT NEVER GOES OUT

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FANATICAL REMAINER, Labour’s goth MP for Bristol East, Kerry “And the Banshees” McCarthy, took an interesting approach to the final weekend of campaigning in the recent Euro elections, which were a disaster for Labour.

On the Saturday before the elections, the pint-size goth announced on Twitter she was NOT campaigning in East Bristol but going to Wales to walk up Mount Snowdon with fellow 80s indie music nerd, Labour Deputy leader, Tom “Student Grant” Watson.

How many voters Labour’s indie odd couple canvassed on top of the mountain is unclear. What is clear, however, is that another move on Corbyn’s leadership by Labour’s Parliamentary Party BLAIRITE ULTRAS and REMAINERS, blaming him for the inevitable election defeat, is a foregone conclusion.

This latest assault will come from exactly the same people who didn’t lift a finger to campaign for Corbyn’s tricky Euro compromise against the massed ranks of Brextremists and Remoaners DOMINATING AN ELECTION NOBODY CARED ABOUT with dumbass slogan politics.

In the circumstances there are, at least, two things we can be pretty sure will be remaining. One is the indie music odd couple’s SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT over the Labour Party; the other is the country’s leading allotment holder remaining as Labour leader. Because the chances of Kerry, Tom and the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party installing some heir to Blair militant remainer as Labour Party leader is NEAR ZERO.

Indeed, there’s more chance of a double-decker bus crashing into us.



LEADERSHIP NEWS

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The Reverend Rees and Bristol City Council continue to bang on incessantly about their tired Blairite concept of “LEADERSHIP”. A few buccaneering individuals, we’re led to believe, with the right background, skills and talent must be set free to manage modern public service organisations in their image and inspire us plebs with their dazzling abilities. SO HOW ARE THESE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL “LEADERS” ACTUALLY DOING THEN?

Well, according to the council’s recently published staff survey, ABYSMALLY BADLY. These highly paid and pampered leaders achieved ratings more in line with used car dealers or estate agents than the cream of senior public service management or anything we might associate with genuine “leadership”. On the question of whether there is GOOD LEADERSHIP within council from the senior leadership team, only 34% of staff agreed. Meaning a MASSIVE TWO-THIRDS OF STAFF felt these highly remunerated individuals were delivering poor or indifferent results.

Worse, on the vital question of “I believe senior leaders are TRUSTWORTHY AND ACT WITH INTEGRITY“, just 36% of staff thought this the case. Meaning 64% of council staff do not believe the leadership at the council CAN EVEN BE TRUSTED. If their own staff can’t trust these ‘leaders’ why should the people of Bristol? How can you possibly lead people if the vast majority view you as a shower of untrustworthy liars and cheats?

When asked if “LEADERS UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGES OF MY DAY-TO-DAY WORK“, just one fifth of staff agreed. Meaning 80 per cent thought these “leaders” had NO IDEA WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THE ORGANISATION THEY PURPORT TO LEAD. Meanwhile, less than a third of staff thought their leaders were “Interested and listened to views of employees”.

These self-styled council leaders, then, are not only UNABLE to deliver anything resembling good leadership, they don’t even have the ability to create the impression they give a toss about those they work alongside every day. Shouldn’t they all now acknowledge they’re failures and RESIGN?

Like real leaders …

JET SET TROUGH JOY

JET SET TROUGH JOY

The Reverend and the corporate land sales team he’s expensively assembled continue to impressively piss public money up against the wall while the rest of us are forced to tolerate austerity because “THERE’S NO MONEY”. The latest wheeze from the Reverend and his crew is another all-expenses trip to Cannes for that annual abomination, MIPIM: “the international gathering of property sharks” (surely “property professionals”? Ed).

A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST reveals that this year’s four day jolly to the Cote D’Azure for the UNACCOUNTABLE to shift our assets to the UNPALATABLE cost council taxpayers almost £12k.

Accompanying the Reverend at our expense was our dear old friend Colin “Head Boy” Molton, the £1,500 a day regeneration boss without a proper contract of employment; Nuala “Hoop” Gallagher, Director of City Growth, Investment & Infrastructure at the council and the Reverend’s handpicked RELIGIOUS LOONEY FRIEND from his Hotwells church for evangelical nutters, Jeremy “I’m no housing expert” Sweetland, the Director of Bristol Housing Festival, keen on shoving the poor into small, airless boxes to solve “the housing crisis”.

The £12k bill this little lot landed us with included rooms for each delegate at around £800 A NIGHT for three nights and a £200 TAXI FARE to get Head Boy from Nice Airport to Cannes following his premium £900 FLIGHT from the UK. Presumably because a man as idle and important as Head Boy can’t possibly get a bus to save us some money?

At the conference the group served up top nosh, drinks and hospitality at a variety of events and receptions on behalf of some very FAMILIAR INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE NAMES doing some very good business in Bristol – YTL, Skanska and Arup. Schmoozing services were also provided to local outfits such as Business West, property company Savills and the Merchant Venturer front organisation, Invest in Bath and Bristol.

And the point of all this? Who knows? Any purpose and outcome of these expensive trips is, always, shrouded in mystery and not revealed to the plebs who foot the bill.

STUBBY COVERS ARSE

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Stubby enjoying a tall story …

The latest interim consultant ON AN UNDISCLOSED DAY RATE to run Bristol City Council’s half-arsed, partially legal education service is cheery Bath resident, Alan “Stubby” Stubbersfield. Like most jobbing consultants, Stubby’s main concern, rather than the education of our children, is to cover the arses of any fellow consultants so that they can keep their lucrative gravy train on the rails for a few more years yet.

Stubby was recently CONFRONTED at Bristol Schools Forum meeting about the relationship between a gormless predecessor’s decision to CUT payments to educational psychologists and the current inability – ON STUBBY’S WATCH – of the council to complete Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for children with special educational needs.

The cuts were large too. Spend on educational psychologists in 2016 – 17 was £1,159,000, by 2018 – 19 it was £797,000. So, at present, the EHCP process, which should take 20 weeks is taking 40 – 50 WEEKS and without an EHCP a child is deprived of any support in school and – in some cases – even a school to attend.

Stubby’s response was cheerily oblique. “If you look at the attempts to save High Needs Block spend on psychologists … I think probably AN UNFORESEEN CONSEQUENCE of that is in terms of that team’s ability to turn around assessments in a timely manner,” he blandly explained

Exactly what kind of fucking moron is it that can’t foresee that IF YOU CUT STAFF FUNDING, YOU CUT STAFF AND YOU’LL GET LESS WORK DONE? And why would anyone pay this level of moron a six-figure sum of council taxpayers’ money? Stubby, of course, sees it differently and AVOIDS BLAMING HIS INTERIM PREDECESSOR AT ALL COSTS

“I think there’s a question there about the extent to which we are appropriately supporting the ability of the Local Authority through its Education Psychology service to do what’s necessary,” he explained as if it’s all our fault.

There’s another question here too. Why are we paying interim consultant after interim
consultant stupid money for stupid decisions they’re never around to account for.