Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

SEND PARENT SPYING: DID THE COUNCIL LIE TO THE PRESS?

Yesterday, the Nazi Post and others ran with our story about the council spying on SEND parents. Naturally, Bristol City Council had a totally bizarre explanation for their actions.

An unnamed spokesperson from the council’s External Communications team – who are at the heart of the scandal after covertly collecting parents’ sensitive personal data from the internet and distributing it to Council House managers – explained:

“At the request of the Bristol Parents Carer Forum, we reviewed our own social media and passed onto the forum information relating to claims made about SEND services which included comments left by members. The forum had specifically requested this information to conduct an internal investigation into the conduct of some of its members.”

This is a bizarre excuse, which seems to be saying that a small, local voluntary group made the council do it. It also fails to address public concern that the council acted unlawfully in terms of data protection law (GDPR) and in terms of tight legislation around covert investigations by the state (RIPA).

It now appears the council statement was also a total lie. The Bristol Parent Carer Forum this morning issued the following statement:

BPC statement  21 07 2022

This is a pretty categorical statement that the forum did not ask the council to collect data about parents. What have the council got to say now? What’s gonna be their next excuse for their unlawful conduct?

This story is set to run and run …

LEAKED DOCUMENTS: SEND PARENT SPY MATERIAL REVEALED

Why has Bristol City Council’s External Comms Team been supplying wedding photos of SEND parents to Education Director, Alison “Pervy” Hurley? Is this normal?

We told you so. Now here’s the evidence. Bristol City Council’s SEND department has been systematically spying on SEND parents on the internet and social media. Then collating and cataloguing the results and sharing them with senior Bristol City Council education managers, including that useless oaf and third class human being, Education Director, Alison “Pervy” Hurley, as well as various third party organisations. Who the fuck are these people? Bristol’s own Stasi?

The first document we can reveal is an email to Hurley and her freakish gang of unethical education bosses outlining the people spied on and the methods deployed to gather the information. A table of information and PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS of the parents in question were attached to this email.

SEND  email-1

Of particular note is the comment at point 2 in the email ” … External Comms deduced this is XX as image is the same as wedding photos on XX’s personal Facebook site. Attached”

Yes, you read that right. Members of BCC’s creepy External Communications team, paid to communicate with the press and public, have been hunting through SEND parents’ personal photo collections on Facebook, downloading highly personal pictures (wedding photos FFS!) and sharing them with grateful Council House bosses.

Has Hurley now got wedding photos of SEND parents with large pins stuck in them all over her attic? Or is she up to something really weird and kinky with them?

We’re reliably informed that external comms staff would have had to search for the wedding photo in question. It wasn’t a Facebook profile photo in front of them. It was buried in the user’s photo folder with lots of other personal items.

Leaving aside that this is likely unlawful as it would classify as covert surveillance, it is also vile, anti-social behaviour and a wholly unacceptable way to be treating members of the public who pay your wages. All those responsible should be hanging their heads in shame and considering their positions.

Did no one involved in this think that the material they were accessing was way too personal and intrusive and complain to their bosses that the work was demeaning? What’s wrong with them? Would they want their wedding photos and details of their personal lives collected and randomly circulated, without their knowledge or agreement, to Hurley and her freakshow of Council House bosses to use for god knows what?

The Head of External Comms is, of course, The Reverend’s disgraced personal PR bully Saskia “Hindley” Konynenburg. When not bullying local journalists, it seems this unbalanced individual spends council time secretly rifling through strangers’ personal photo collections on Facebook and gleefully sharing the contents with her colleagues. Lovely stuff. What a wonderful person and exceptional public servant.

The second document is a table listing some harmless social media comments, mainly from just two SEND parents. A further three parents are also identified in the document as “critical commenters”. A number of local SEND campaigning groups are also thrown in and named and shamed for Hurley’s benefit.

The table was circulated to the Hurley education freakshow and to third party organisations. This type of surveillance and sharing of people’s social media activity is unlikely to be lawful. But, again, the critical issue is as much one of basic taste and sensibility.

What the fuck do these Council House freaks think they’re doing with our personal information and why?

SEND  FB comments-1
SEND  FB comments-2
SEND  FB comments-3
SEND  FB comments-4

There is a statement on this matter from the Bristol City Council and a response from the Bristol Parent Carer Forum here.

It’s a library Jim … but not as we know it

What’s going on at Clifton Library? It appears to have been taken over by a group of local worthies, the Friends of Clifton Library (FoCL), an “unincorporated association”, who have installed a bar and started charging the public for free events. Listed among their committee members is Tory masquerading as Green councillor, Paula “Taking the Mickey” O’Rourke who is currently fancy dress mayor for the city.

Paula-ORourke-Lord-Mayor
O’Rourke: new fancy dress mayor running a library sting operation

Bristol Radical History Group were approached by FoCL to do some talks at what they thought was a public library where they’ve done free talks for no charge on many occasions. They agreed and arranged five dates for five talks. Then they discovered, via the internet, that FoCL are charging the public £10 a ticket to hear their free talks! To add insult to injury, when the history group approached FoCL to ask what was going on, they discovered that FoCL usually pays speakers a £150 fee, which was never mentioned when the history group were booked.

The Radical History Group have now cancelled their talks at this dodgy library for the wealthy. Not because they aren’t being paid, which they never are, but because people are excluded by being charged for a free event in a space that should be inclusive and free at the point of use. Having tried to rip off the poor and a local group of volunteers to fund their exclusive library with a bar operation, FoCL told the history group when they cancelled that they were “grossly unprofessional”.

Bit rich coming from a bunch of wealthy conmen openly destroying our public services.

REFUGEE WATCH

City of Sanctuary

The barely concealed joy of council bigwigs at the first Ukrainian refugee family through the door at Bristol City Council last month was quickly silenced when the family told the assembled reception committee that they “don’t want to live next door to any coloured people”!

The constant media and political frenzy around the arrival of white European refugees has also overshadowed the plight of  the – now – unfashionable Afghani refugees in the city. We’re reliably informed about 95 per cent of our refugees from Afghanistan are still to be housed. Most are still being put up in hotels.

Welcome to a City of Sanctuary.

CREATIVE ANTI-UNION NETWORK

Sandy-scaled
Bufton-Tufton: posh bloke who hates uppity workers?

There was a bit of a fuss recently after the Reverend instructed one of his idiot sidemen, Craig “Crapita” Cheney to veto a multimillion WECA grant to the Creative Youth Network, the former protectorate of failed Green mayoral candidate, Sandy “Bufton-Tufton” Hore-Ruthven.

Unfortunately the Reverend was unable to personally deal the deathblow to the grant himself as he was otherwise indisposed. Destroying the planet by jetting to Vancouver to deliver a live and pointless TED Talk for the benefit of billionaire clown Elon Musk.

A lot of people are claiming the veto was revenge by the Reverend on Bufton-Tufton for daring to run against him in last year’s election. And there may be some truth in this. However, trade unionists can take a small crumb of comfort from the Reverend’s latest display of thin skinned pettiness.

Mark-Coates
‘Mussolini’ Coates leading ‘Rainbow Lanyards Against the Workers’

Because, we learn that, during his time as CEO at the Creative Youth Network, the city’s great Green progressive alternative, Bufton-Tufton, consistently refused to enter into a voluntary  recognition agreement with a union. Instead, in typical Tory bully boss-with-head-up-his-arse style, Bufton-Tufton told the union that their services weren’t required as he had set up a staff forum where staff could raise any issues they had. 

No doubt, Bufton-Tufton’s “door was always open” too? So far, Creative Youth’s new chief exec, Oxbridge twit, Mark “Mussolini” Coates, hasn’t done anything to change Creative Youth’s robustly anti-union approach either.

Hands up who gives a toss if this kind of right wing shit is turned down for grants from the public purse?

KNOWLE PARTY POOPED!

Councillor Gary Hopkins now leader of an imaginary political party (watercolour & crayon, 2013, Guriben)

Another big shout out to “L’il” Tim O’Gara, the half-trained lawyer and full time posh twit the Rees administration has made their Head of Legal and Monitoring Officer.

At the Annual Full Council meeting on 24 May, L’il Tim presented a report to councillors, ‘Allocation of Committee Seats 2022-23’. The purpose of this was to “review and approve the allocation of seats on committees in accordance with the statutory requirements concerning political balance.”

According to L’il Tim, Gary Hopkins’ whacky new political vehicle, the Knowle Community Party, were entitled to an allocation of 2.86% of seats on committees because they had two out of seventy councillors.

Hence Hopkins and his Knowle sidekick Christopher “Copper” Davies nabbed a seat on the Communities Scrutiny Commission, the Resources Scrutiny Commission and the Public Safety and Protection Committee.

All well and good except for one small detail. There’s no such thing as the ‘Knowle Community Party’ as a simple check on the Electoral Commission’s Register of Political Parties confirms. This means the Knowle duo are actually sitting as unaligned independent councillors.

They are therefore entitled to an allocation of the square root of fuck all of committee seats!

WOMAN COINING IT

Bamford
Bamford: coining it

With the ink freshly dried on Bristol City Council’s pay policy, we’re pleased to reveal the first City Council worker we’ve discovered breaking it. Please step up, er. Stepping Up Director, Christine “Wonky* Bamford. She’s the lucky recipient on the receiving end of a trail of payments of over £22k a month to run the Reverend’s scheme to promote more black people into management roles at the council. 

Rather than paying someone around £50k a year to run their pet project, the Reverend and his cabinet sidekick, Asher “The Slasher” Craig, have decided that they need to fork out in excess of £250k a year of our money to Stanford educated HR wonk, Bamford instead.

The route the council has chosen to take to pay Wonky is intriguing. Rather than running a competitive recruitment process to appoint a proper member of staff, the council is paying a procurement firm, Bloom, over £22k a month to pay London-based recruitment firm Davidson and Partners, a firm with no employees. It then appears that this recruitment firm pay a fee to Wonky, who describes herself as Davidson and Partners’ ‘Head of Talent and Leadership Development’.  

The stench of tax efficient payments is strong with this one. Although it doesn’t stop there. Training fees for Stepping Up totalling £30k were also paid to a company called Smart People Solutions back in 2020. And the owner of Smart People solutions? Please step forward Christine “Wonky” Bamford.

Yet another of Wonky’s network of firms is Women’s Coin, a cryptocurrency firm “for social good”. Wonky is listed as the CEO of this firm. While Asher “The Slasher”, the cabinet member responsible for Stepping Up and its odd approach to the employment and pay of Wonky, has been appointed chair of Wonky’s firm’s charitable wing, the Women’s Coin Foundation.

All very cosy!

BEA-CON?

The Reverend’ Rees’s not just an idiot. He’s an innumerate idiot. His amazing plan to spend over £100m on an upmarket concert venue for the city’s snooty culture set to hang around air kissing each other and talking pretentious bollocks in might not be going to plan.

In the council’s Statement of Accounts for last year that are just about to be signed off by our confused councillors, the Bristol Beacon is currently valued by the council’s external auditors at, er, ZERO.

What a great investment.

IN PLAIN SIGHT

guild

To the The Guild of Guardians website, which tells us that this obscure invitation-only organisation for the wealthy “is a registered charity that aims to improve the quality of the Civic life of the City of Bristol. In partnership with the City, the Guild continues to support and enhance the Mansion House and Office of Lord Mayor.”

So far so exclusive, dull and conservative but then it tells us, “It is unique in that through its membership it affords the opportunity for the private sector to discuss with senior politicians the policies of the City Council.” 

How nice. Selected wealthy members of the private sector get to discuss the policies of the city council with its politicians in exchange for donations to do up the Mansion House and crawl up the Lord Mayor’s backside.

All perfectly normal and above board for Bristol.

FOI WATCH

An intriguing request appeared on What Do They Know, a public Freedom of Information request website, on 19 February 2022. Subsequently, in early March, ‘extraneous material’ was removed from the request. Here it is with the ‘extraneous material’ unremoved. What can it all mean?

Spencer Penny

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