Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

INTERNATIONAL CUTS WATCH

Bristol City Council seems to be avoiding cuts in some areas. Please step forward the Reverend Mayor, Marvin Rees, who’s decided there should be NO CUTS at all in his personal office; his new chief executive’s office or to his senior leadership team. Areas that have all chronically UNDERPERFORMED over the last five years and cost us a lot of money.

Not that the Reverend gives a shit about saving money when it comes to himself, his self-regarding PUBLICLY FUNDED international lifestyle or his personal office team of EGO PAMPERERS on the rates.

Back on November 30 the Reverend SUSPENDED non-essential spending at the council for ordinary staff delivering services. By Tuesday 6 December he was touching down in China, pretending he was on some sort sales mission.

What the fuck was he selling them? CREAKING, underfunded local public services? SUBSIDISED film studio facilities in Hengrove ideal for overblown costume drama? CHEAP tickets for dodgy middle class comedians at the Colston Hall? The USELESS services of the shittest Internal Audit team the world has ever known?

If a pointless ‘trade mission’ to China by a SMALL and FAILING municipal body led by a pompous, preening figurehead isn’t non-essential, what the fuck is?

CAPITULATING COUNCILLOR WATCH

The Man of Steel: not to be pissed off?

The planning committee meeting last month where the proposed Chocolate Factory development in Greenbank with SOD ALL affordable housing was considered (again) provided excellent opportunities for ridiculous GRANDSTANDING from useless councillors prior to their complete capitulation.

Wallflower Labour councillor Steve “MAN OF STEEL” Pearce was among them. In January this tedious old fart announced on his blog, “I love sitting on Licensing committee” (sic).

The same blog also demanded that book deliveries to Bristol libraries “should be made via the Freight Consolidation Centre so that we can reduce the number of vehicle movements around the city”. So no surprise when he voted in February’s budget meeting to, er, CLOSE the freight consolidation centre!

So cometh the crucial planning meeting, cometh the man and the big fella didn’t fail to disappoint. Announcing to the audience that greedy developers ignoring affordable housing obligations “are starting to PISS ME OFF, and that you don’t want to piss me off”.

Really? Why not? Who on earth would be bothered about pissing off this FATUOUS LITTLE PRICK?

Naturally his committee went on to vote IN FAVOUR of the development!

LABOUR TIP MONEY INTO ENERGY BLACK HOLE

Our favourite proposed Bristol City Council budget amendment came courtesy of Tory councillor, Graham Morris “Minor”. “Reduce investment in Energy Company,” by £250k he cooed and use the money to “resolve the perennial flooding problem of Scotland Lane.”

The road in Brislington has been closed for months and Morris claims that there’s a “£30k cost to the Council of closing, cleaning and reopening this important transport route” every time it floods. So far, so Tory. But it was council finance officers’ response to this that was the real eye-opener. “It is not clear how this would affect the company,” they explained.

Excuse me? We’ve invested millions in an energy reselling company – Bristol Energy – and nobody at the council has the foggiest idea what affect this money has had? Apparently not a problem for the Bristol Labour Group who still voted Minor’s amendment down.

Better money’s tipped into a murky black hole for PR purposes than solving an actual problem in the city then?

PARK RAVING MAD

A nice little earner?

The Reverend Rees has kickstarted his amazing masterplan to CUT ALL FUNDING to Bristol’s parks and get them to somehow generate their own income with the help of local volunteers and the underemployed fairies at the bottom of his garden.

On 24 February the Rev’s Strategic Imbecile for Neighbourhoods, Alison “Three Jobs” Comley, presented a report to councillors – Parks and Green Spaces – moving towards cost neutral – about this parks finance CONJURING TRICK.

A brief glance at the report reveals that £130k a year council boss Comley and her hapless minion, £90k a year Service Director, Gemma “Ctrl-v” Dando have simply COPY AND PASTED sections of a recently published House of Commons Select Committee Report on parks into their own report and told councillors to read it and call it ‘scrutiny’

The parks privatisation pair also helpfully recommended that councillors take a look at 2006’s Paying for Parks by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, a Blairite Quango put out of its misery in 2011. The paper contains lots of ideas for New Labour politicians on how our parks can be PRIVATISED and MONETISED.

However, Three Jobs and Ctrl-v themselves are tight-lipped about how they will replace the £5 million budget they intend to cut for the Labour Party and how exactly our parks might achieve this deranged “cost neutral” FANTASY FUNDING MODEL by 2020.

Another parks fiasco is about to unfold. Watch this space …

RUNNING ON EMPTY?

Why’s there a rolling item on the council’s Resources Scrutiny Commission agenda action sheet that never gets resolved? It’s a request from the committee for the “revised business case for Park View” and it’s been OUTSTANDING now for months.

Park View is, of course, the council’s large suite of offices at Hengrove that’s surplus to requirements since the council decided to base all their operations at the Counts Louse and the Temple of Doom TWO YEARS AGO to save money. Staff who have recently visited the Park View, offices, capable of holding thousands, tell us, “the place is DESERTED. There’s barely 100 people working there.”

What’s going on then? Perhaps it’s time the property boss directly responsible, our old friend Robert “Spunkface” Orrett, explained what he’s doing and why we’re forking out for an empty office block?

Come on Spunkface show us yer Park View business case! (And feel free to include a resignation letter with it).

LEGAL VICTORY FOR GUARDIAN-TENANTS AGAINST SCAMALOT

The BRISTOLIAN is pleased to announce that Property Guardian Company CAMELOT, who, last month, were roundly defeated in Bristol County Court by Judge Ambrose and forced to recognise guardian Greg Roynon as a tenant, have also CAPITUALTED in their second ‘licensee or tenant’ court case, accepting by implication that he is a tenant, paying costs and a £1000 in compensation as well.

Happy days reign for the fearless ex-serfs at the captured castle of BROOMHILL EPH. And the rebellion is spreading, so at Speedwell Fire Station more ex-serfs are REFUSING to pay rent until repairs are carried out, while in Wandsworth, London, another Camelot property has been CAPTURED by its guardian-tenants. Watch this space for more hacking and slaying of the Scamalot beast.

The BRISTOLIAN demands that in light of the judgement above, Bristol City Council TERMINATES its contract with CAMELOT forthwith, and recognises all existing guardians as being interim TENANTS on its property. And as regards the Camelot/Meridian sub-let at Brentry (see below), it is also OBLIGED to similarly PROTECT all Meridian employees – who are only in this situation thanks to the scandalous, immoral behaviour of all parties concerned.

*We’ve learned today that Camelot will not be appealing the judgement against  them and that one half of the scam, Camelot Property Management Ltd, have gone bankrupt! They filed for insolvency on Monday: https://m.thegazette.co.uk/notice/2744127

CALLING PEOPLE “A DISEASE” IS INCLUSIVE SAY COUNCIL LAWYERS

Members of the public who complained about our idiot Lord Mayor, Jeff “CUNT” Lovell, calling them “a disease” for attending the council budget meeting in February have received a response from a couple of the council’s useless lawyers, Pauline “Cow” Cowley and Nancy “Boy” Rollason. Is this because Lord Mayor Cunt is too much of a PUSSY to respond himself?

Cowley and Rollason – who signs off as ‘Head of Legal’ – explain that they are writing on BEHALF of the Monitoring Officer, Shahzia “DIM” Daya, who “determined the issue” before disappearing on long term SICK LEAVE!

So why’s she off sick all of a sudden? Is Dim Daya’s oversight of last year’s budget and the CRIMINALITY involved finally catching up with her? And why is her colleague now Head of Legal? Has Dim Daya been relieved of some of her duties by any chance?

Naturally Daya’s response is FARCICAL. The dim one explains that “the complaint centres on the interpretation of phrases used by Lord Mayor Jeff Lovell”. No shit Sherlock! Although it’s a pity that Daya then doesn’t bother to identify – let alone interpret – any of Cunt Lovell’s phrases before concluding he used “language that is designed to foster an INCLUSIVE atmosphere”!

The rest of the letter is a load of irrelevant CARPING from the lawyers about conduct in the public gallery at the meeting, which nobody’s complained about.

How do these overpaid fuckers get away with producing this shit?

The full correspondence is below:

Complaint to Monitoring Officer regarding Jouncillor Jeff Lovell

Date of Complaint                           24 February 2017

Name of Complainant

Allegation against                           Councillor Jeff Lovell

Nature of Allegation                        Disgraced the office

 

Outcome: The Monitoring Officer can decide either that

  • no action should be taken (with reasons) or

  • refer the matter for investigation or

  • take other action (including mediation or training).

Details: This complaint relates to the behaviour of the Councillor Jeff Lovell at Full Council meeting on 21 February 2017

Decision: No further action to be taken

Reasons for the decision:

I have viewed the web cast from 20 minutes on. The webcast shows the chair, Lord Mayor Jeff Powell managing the budget presentation by the Mayor. The complaint outlined in the email of 24 February centres on the interpretation of phrases used by Lord Mayor Jeff Lovell, acting as Chair in this meeting.

I note that prior to the alleged incident, there were a number of interruptions from the public gallery, starting at 21 minutes. These last on average half a minute. There are at least 9 interruptions which affect the delivery of the budget by the Mayor. Swearing is audible at times, although this subsided to low level heckling.

Throughout, the chair demonstrates a desire to run the meeting efficiently and with due process. He uses a tone that is polite firm and fair and uses language that is designed to foster an inclusive atmosphere. He gave repeated warnings and an explanation of the powers of the Chair.

I do appreciate that this was an emotive meeting and that people wished to protest against cuts, the outcome of which would mean changes over which they have little control.

Shahzia Daya, Interim Monitoring Officer, Bristol City Council

27 March 2017

WHISTLEBLOWING WATCH

Lies, bullshit and waffle emanated from the Reverend Rees within minutes of his ‘Bundred Report’ into the council’s finances being published on 9 February. Former Audit Commission boss, Steve ‘Sticky’ Bundred, provided the Reverend with TWELVE recommendations he could implement to improve his council’s shit management.

Here’s number 8: “The incoming chief executive should be invited to consider and report on the steps needed to improve the management culture within the Council recognising that any necessary changes will take three to five years to embed. There should be an emphasis on greater openness, professionalism, delegation, mutual respect and better internal communication, but with fewer large and lengthy meetings.”

The Rev Arsecover immediately responded: “quick improvements include a recent update to our WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY to make it easier for staff to flag up concerns,” he blathered. However, a brief search on the council’s website turns up a Whistleblowing Policy last updated on 2 JUNE 2016 because “[the] scope [was] widened to include employees of LA maintained schools”.

Is last July RECENT? And how the fuck does including school staff “make it easier for staff to flag up concerns”? Is this even the recently updated version the Reverend’s referring to? Does it exist? And, if it does, how the hell is it easier for concerns to be flagged up if no one can access the bloody thing?

A further search also reveals the Rev’s new all-singing, all-dancing whistleblowing policy has been NOWHERE near a council committee or an elected representative in the last year, let alone out for public consultation or run past a trade union rep or employment lawyer who might have a few things to say.

All-in-all, the chances of this mystery document – drawn up in secret by unknown officers beyond public and democratic oversight – being fit-for-purpose must be somewhere near ZERO. But then that’s the point with whistleblowing isn’t it? Council bosses hate it and want it to fail and politicians go along with them.

How long before the Reverend has to call a large and lengthy meeting to sort this new mess from his managers out then?

AUDIT UPDATE: BUNDRED EXPOSES BENT CHIEF AUDITORS

We don’t like to say that we told you so, but … We told you so! That staggering pair of arseholes, Alison “Mullet” Mullis and Melanie “Joe” Henchy-McCarthy, Bristol City Council’s Chief Internal Auditors – who are supposed to protect our money at the council – have been EXPOSED as BENT and USELESS by the council’s ‘Bundred Report’ into its dodgy finance reporting.

According to independent investigator Steve “Sticky” Bundred, the pair of idiot auditors gave the basketcase ‘Single Change Programme’ – that was supposed to deliver £64 million worth of corporate savings to the council by March 2017 and didn’t  – a clean bill of health and a ‘GOOD‘ rating in July 2015. Although it was plainly apparent, even then, to anyone allowed to look that it wasn’t delivering the savings that it should.

While the two auditors researched their report in the summer of 2015, Sticky Bundred tells us that the man in charge of the savings, strategic director Max Wide “Boy”, had “developed SERIOUS DOUBTS about the achievability of the planned savings …   as [his] Directorate was clearly failing to deliver savings expected from investment in commercial property.”

Bundred also says, “These CONCERNS were apparently expressed by [Wide Boy] to the then City Director [Nicola “Lady Gaga” Yates] in a one to one meeting on 13 July 2015 and again in a presentation to an SLT (senior leadership team) awayday.”

Bundred further notes, “on 11 June 2015 the Service Director, HR [Richard Billingham] and the Service Director, Business Change and ICT  [Paul “Arrogant” Arrigoni] met with the then City Director [Gaga] and the Strategic Director, Business Change [Wide Boy] to express concerns that benefits from the Change Programme were “DRIFTING“.”

So how did these two audit experts and super-sleuths employed by us to protect our money miss these OBVIOUS signs of a big problem in a programme they were investigating and manage to rate it as ‘GOOD‘ to councillors on the Audit Committee instead? Who knows? Because the Reverend Rees, so far, can’t be arsed to find out and neither can his Audit Committee.

Our intrepid auditors then went on to do a further investigation, specifically into the financial benefits of the ‘Single Change Programme’ in August 2015. Their draft report was issued to Wide Boy and his Single Change managers in November 2015. This draft report correctly identified cost reductions through a high-profile redundancy scheme in 2014 had NOT BEEN ACHIEVED.

Sticky Bundred explains, “Auditors believed posts were being deleted that had been vacant for a long time so there was NO ACTUAL SAVING and when actual people were released they were often replaced by interims/contractors or casual staff. In consequence, the draft [auditors] report identified RED RISKS in several areas.”

However, by November 2015, says Sticky, the Chief Internal Auditors had allowed the bosses in charge of the underachieving ‘Single Change Programme’ [Wide Boy, Arrogant and the Change Services Manager] to REWRITE their report for them!

The honest pair of auditors then proceeded to tell councillors on the Audit Committee in January 2016 via a ‘summary’ of their full report  that the Single Change Programme was operating at an ‘ACCEPTABLE‘ level without a ‘Red Risk’ in sight! When in fact it was FAILING to the tune of £29 million as all the bosses and both Chief Internal Auditors knew perfectly well.

This is straightforward LYING to our elected representatives. Why the fuck are this pair of bent audit bosses still in post and not at the Job Centre or, even, in a police cell?

THE DIRTY THIRTY: REVEALED

THIRTY Bristol City Council bosses – all members of the ‘Change Board’, responsible for overseeing a council-wide cuts programme – deliberately withheld from councillors and the public a £30 million LOSS in the 2016 – 17 financial year.

Their actions – at the very least – are GROSS MISCONDUCT and they should all be SACKED. Not least because while they were keeping their huge financial loss from us, they were also engineering pay rises for themselves of up to TWENTY PER CENT on the basis of their exceptional ‘TALENT‘!

They may also have committed a CRIME. In what other line of work can you deliberately engage in false accounting and not have committed a serious offence?

Today we name these thirty shameless CROOKS still earning huge sums of money at our expense. And The BRISTOLIAN says THEY MUST ALL GO and GO NOW.

Membership of the change board, December 2015:

Nicola Yates
City Director

Max Wide
Strategic Director: Business Change

Alison Comley
Strategic Director: Neighbourhoods

John Readman
Strategic Director: People

Barra Mac Ruairi
Strategic Director: Place

Lucy Murray-Brown
BWP Programme Co-Director

Becky Pollard
Director of Public Health

Stephen Hilton
Service Director: Bristol Futures

Paul Arrigoni
Service Director: Business Change & ICT

Angela Clarke (Interim)
Service Director: Care & Support Children & Families

Mike Hennessey
Service Director: Care Support & Provider Services (Statutory Director of Adult Social Services) Adults

Patsy Mellor
Service Director: Citizen Services

Gillian Douglas (Interim)
Service Director: Clean and Green

Alistair Reid
Service Director: Economy

Paul Jacobs
Service Director: Education & Skills

Bill Edrich
Service Director: Energy

Julie Oldland (interim)
Service Director: Finance

Mary Ryan / Steve Barrett (job share)
Service Director: Housing Delivery

Nick Hooper
Service Director: Housing Solutions

Richard Billingham
Service Director: Human Resources

Shahzia Daya
Service Director: Legal and Democratic Services

Di Robinson
Service Director: Neighbourhoods

Zoe Willcox
Service Director: Planning

Michele Farmer
Service Director: Policy, Strategy & Communications

Robert Orrett
Service Director: Property

Netta Meadows
Service Director: Strategic Commissioning

Peter Mann
Service Director: Transport

Alison Mullis / Melanie Henchy-McCarthy (job share)
Chief Internal Auditor

Sarah Toy
Chief Resilience Officer

Dominic Murphy
Chief Service Officer for Cities of Service Programme

Got any stories about any of the DIRTY THIRTY? Contact The BRISTOLIAN:

The Bristolian
Box ‘Gurt Shush
Hydra Bookshop
34 Old Market Street
Bristol BS2 0EZ

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