Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

BOSSES WAGES UP: ‘SAVINGS’ DOWN

When Labour councillors voted in November for a TEN PER CENT pay rise for the council’s senior bosses as part of an organisational restructure, they assured us that £750k would be saved by employing less bosses.

Alas, just a month later and with an internal consultation on these management changes underway for the next few months, news is SNEAKED OUT that savings will now only be £500k. And, of course, there’s no guarantee this figure won’t drop further before the restructure is complete.

Looks like it’s another con to increase wages at the top in exchange for fuck all.

UPDATE:
Oddly, an entirely different story emerged directly from the mouth of the Reverend Rees regarding these ‘savings’ (as opposed to the traditional term ‘cuts’).

When questioned this week about how much his new senior management structure would ‘save’ us, the Reverend claimed the figure had risen to £830K. Somewhat different to the £500k savings figure stated in his own finance report he signed off in December.

Relevant sections of the reports are here:

Meanwhile a presentation to the HR committee just today still claims the savings are £750k:

So where did this magical new pr-friendly £830k savings figure the mayor’s spouting come from? And why are the HR committee still being fed an old figure discredited in finance reports in December?

And what – to use the Reverend’s own farcical management-speak bollocks – is the “single version of the truth”?

DICK ED NEXT TO TACKLE DOCKS SHAMBLES

“Dick” Edrich: the latest boss drafted in to sort out the council’s docks and markets shambles

Over FOUR YEARS after we told them so, Bristol City Council finally notice that their HARBOUR OFFICE and MARKETS SERVICE are expensively mismanaged basketcases.

The council is now threatening some sort of ACTION after finally publicly acknowledging, “poor governance arrangements; a poorly managed balance between commercial rigour and democratic accountability; a failure to maintain the Harbour assets and poor management” at its Harbour Office.

This comes four years after The BRISTOLIAN revealed that turd in human form, Harbour Master, Cap’n Tony “Ahab” Nichol, was a serial and, apparently, unsackable BULLY who has got away with MULTIPLE BULLYING OFFENCES towards staff over many years. 

The docks infrastructure that he’s responsible for, meanwhile, remains at near-collapse after years of CHRONIC MISMANAGEMENT by underqualified Ahab and his handpicked team of clueless over-promoted supervisors and absent civil engineers.

We’re told that Bill “Dick” Edrich – the man who helped set up the loss-making Bristol Energy fiasco – has been urgently drafted in to BANG HEADS TOGETHER at the Harbour Master’s Office and in Markets, managed, for no coherent reason, by one of Ahab’s hapless minions in recent years.

However, those with longer memories may recall that recently departed property boss, Robert “SPUNKFACE” Orrett, was similarly ordered by Mayor No More Red Trousers – back in 2014 – to sort out the embarrassing management shambles exposed by The BRISTOLIAN in docks and markets.

Although the opposite happened when Spunkface left Ahab to reorganise the docks service as he saw fit. Ahab then used the opportunity to FIRE any experienced workers who had complained about his bullying and incompetence while ensuring his useless crew of management and supervisory bullies were kept on with enhanced salaries.

We can probably look forward to not much happening for a few years yet then

I SPY BENT COUNCIL BOSSES

News is emerging that paranoid loons Mayor No More Ferguson, his Chief Exec – the revolting Nicola “Lady Gaga” Yates – and their Business Change buffoon Max Wide “Boy” set up an ILLEGAL SURVEILLANCE and SPY NETWORK across the council to snoop on staff and, possibly, others. The system may have even have been used to spy on elected representatives.

A low-key council report tells us that in 2015, Wide Boy, the Strategic Director for Business Change, took the decision to introduce a DLP (Data Loss Prevention) system to the council. This was after a series of what Wide Boy paranoically described as “UNAUTHORISED LEAKAGES of information outside of the Council”.

Wide Boy identified a DLP system that could track ‘tagged’ documents on computers and record the movement of emails. He then SECRETLY DEPLOYED it on some – as yet – unknown computers at the council and, maybe, beyond. We understand “particular groups” were targeted based on “the level of sensitive data they could access”.

Following the TOP SECRET installation of the DLP, a member of staff complained. Their representations included claims that Wide Boy’s spy network was ILLEGAL because the system was deployed IN SECRET without the targets’ knowledge.

The original allegations were investigated by the council’s Data Protection Officer at the time and she recommended a further review, which is now complete. The new review concludes that data protection LAW WAS BROKEN because “the implementation of the system was not open and not communicated to those affected”.

So-say “SWIFT CORRECTIVE ACTION” has now been taken and a decision taken to ‘switch off’ and uninstall the system while all data collected by the system “has been/will be (sic) deleted”.

However, questions around ABUSE of RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) laws by Wide Boy and Lady Gaga – who were supposed to use and regulate these powers for the council – appear to have been glossed over. As has the question of whether council bosses SPIED on elected councillors, partner organisations or members of the public.

Presumably this is so that the involvement of Inspector Knacker and m’learned friends is NOT REQUIRED?

Yet.

ROTTEN COMRADES: ‘REDUNDANCY PAY CUT SHOCKER’

by Less-Than-Pragmatic Dwarf

Another month, another shambles as Bristol City Council’s dodgy unions bend over backwards to help the employer. This time it’s redundancy pay that’s at risk but, instead of telling the employer to go “do one”, our comrades have, er, bravely thrown in the towel.

Citing the obvious line that if unions don’t go along with the cut, the employer will change their contracts anyway, our reps have come up with a piss-poor, face-saving formula that they will add “checks and balances” to the proposals.

Management would threaten unilateral changes to contracts, wouldn’t they? It’s the first – and oldest – trick in the book. Instead of saying “nice try sunshine!”, our not-so-bright colleagues scratched the top of their heads, fell over their clown shoes and surrendered.

One of the “checks and balances” reported to our Industrial Correspondent is an increase to voluntary severance payments. A windfall that, for ordinary workers, is as rare as hen’s teeth. Besides, what manager proposing a restructure will choose the more expensive, but more equitable, voluntary route to redundancy when it’s cheaper just to choose who to fire?

Back when they had experienced reps, the unions argued that it was better to let volunteers go than to fire people who are desperate to keep their jobs. This will strike a death knell for such an idea. Unions agreeing to this proposal will change the contracts of thousands of staff, even non-union members, which is actually worse than doing nothing.

If nothing is agreed and the proposals are imposed, at least one or two brave members of staff could challenge it. Perhaps with the help of an ambulance chasing lawyer or a union that has somehow managed not to compromise itself? Because, of course, redundancy pay is part of your contract and enforceable in law. “Checks and balances”, even placed in a policy, won’t be.

However, it’s not a done deal yet. Although the reps are agreeing it in principle, the unions will need to consult with their members (watch out for some frighteningly Orwellian fact distortion in your inbox). They want the effects of this not to kick in for a couple of years. But they intend to agree it now and tie it down in such a way that nobody can claim, in say three years’ time, that it was a surprise.

It’s not just Unison this time, the blame lies with Unite and GMB as well. They’re all complicit in this. If you catch anyone from the unions defending or promoting these proposals, in the Counts Louse or elsewhere, do yourself a favour: make them a dunce’s cap to wear and ask them to resign.

 

MARV’S KINGDOM CON, WORKERS WILL BE DONE

Another win for our on-the-ball Reverend Mayor. His new force of outsourced Environmental Enforcement Officers recruited to fine locals for littering and anti-social behaviour – and launched in a blaze of publicity – are being paid BELOW his own living wage!

Adverts all over the internet from dodgy outsource specialist security firm Kingdom are offering the jobs for £8.00 AN HOUR when the Reverend’s formal living wage rate for all council workers and their contractors is £8.45 AN HOUR!

Adding to the sense gross incompetence emanating from the Reverend’s witless LABOUR ADMINISTRATION, the living wage rate was introduced by them just last year with much song-and-dance. Not least when Labour councillors claimed they had to raise senior bosses’ salaries by up to 20 per cent to get their FLAGSHIP living wage policy through.

A year later and their policy for the low paid is in TATTERS while the huge pay increase for bosses not only remains firmly in place but has been INCREASED by another 10 per cent by Labour councillors this year!

Meanwhile, reviews from Kingdom’s former Environmental Enforcement Officers from around the country do not bode well and suggest workers’ rights may be a low priority in the Reverend’s new LITTER FREE PARADISE.

“Worst company ever,” says a former Kingdom officer in Canterbury. “Diabolical company. Work long hours with hardly any break and get pushed to issue a certain amount of tickets when targets are illegal … Managers and colleagues disrespectful and ignorant. Did not even speak to me properly if at all.”

“Run by Neanderthals!” claims another former employee from St Helens. “Worked here only because I was desperate. You must record when you have had conversations with “management” as they deny you ever contacted them. No one can take responsibility or make a decision. No support. Do not bother, you deserve better.”

 “Make sure you read your contract,” advises another former employee from Hampshire. “Told it wasn’t targeted and is to extent. But they try to performance manage you out. Was not allowed to take breaks in an 8 hour shift. Have to pay for second hand uniform.”

Yet another emerging shambles from the Reverend’s useless council. Will anyone be taking responsibility for this?

ST-MARVIN’S-UP-THE-CREEK PARISH NEWS #11

Greetings at this very special time of year. “A good time to bury bad news” as our Parish communications professional Mr Slocombe always reminds me over a glass of dry sherry in the rectory as we blue sky our Christmas ‘grid’ for the co-production of seasonal excellence in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Although, please note, any mention of my own father and his colourful past remains banned and will not be tolerated as Mr Slocombe detailed in the comprehensive legal threat delivered to the entire congregation last week along with my Christmas card.

This year’s Christmas action points are as packed as ever and have been branded by Mr Slocombe as ‘Tough Christmas times, High New Year hopes’. Especially relevant due to the soft launch of our almost partially transformed Church Hall. I’m assured by our independent development consultants from London, the Jerry Bilt Associates, that the hall will enter completion phase “sometime next year” and that a temporary tarpaulin roof in the meantime is first class solutioning even if there is a small upper-percentile risk of freezing draught at times.

Please do not be put off attending St Marvin’s Christmas events including our transgender light operatic passion musical “Oh Christ!” and, again, this year St Snoots Academy Renaissance Orchestra and Choir’s OFSTED ‘outstanding’ quality Christmas carol production. Although please note tickets are limited, as this year we are being joined by various finance partners, the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club and the local United Grand Lodge of Freemasons. If you’re lucky enough to get in – don’t forget your woollies!

I’m led toward an understanding that the Dave Spart Academy Community Choir are performing at the Cathedral in a seasonal Songs of Praise this year. It’s partially noteworthy that our local OFSTED ‘Needs Improvement’ comprehensive has been identified as a seasonal token gesture by the BBC. Although it’s unfortunate I shan’t be able to attend as core parish leaders and I have a prior engagement in London at the Jerry Bilt Associate’s annual Christmas black tie dinner and dance at the Soho Club. As my mentor, the Texan psychotic preacher and notorious anti-communist homophobe, the Pastor Righteous Loon says, “And lo, it will come to pass that a toot of blow at Christmas does no one any harm.”

This year’s Christmas Charity Appeal is for the Cheney family. You may know Mr Cheney as he’s one of the morons who make up the numbers on the Parish Committee that I haven’t fired yet. Unfortunately without your help, due to the unpreventable evil of Tory austerity, his eleven children will be sleeping under a small bush in the churchyard this Christmas. With only an old soaking wet Peppa Pig blanket for warmth and a bowl of porridge to share for Christmas dinner, their plight is truly desperate. We must especially pray that poor Tiny Tim Cheney even makes it to Christmas. Please give generously.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Vicar

TAX EFFICIENT EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

Francombe earning more than the PM for managing four employees!

Please step forward Fiona “Luvvie” Francombe, winner for ‘Outstanding Management and Leadership’ at this year’s Bristol Post & Bath Chronicle WOMEN OF THE YEAR Awards.

Fiona works MOST DAYS for the city council as Site Director at the Bottle Yard film studios from a city council office in a city council building using city council equipment. She even has a city council email address and spends lots and lots of city council and taxpayers’ money managing the state subsidised filmmaking facilities.

None of this seems to stop her setting herself up to get paid TAX EFFICIENTLY and avoid the little people’s PAYE obligations right under our noses, however. Fiona is also the Company Secretary for the Purcell Partnership Ltd and, it seems, her wages – at a DAY RATE OF £625 – from Bristol City Council are conveniently routed through the council’s employment agency, Guidant, to avoid prying eyes, difficult questions and, even, the attention of council auditors who tend to have an interest in high-earning council officers.

Why would Bristol City Council choose to pay a full time, permanent, middle-ranking member of staff who manages four staff a SIX FIGURE SALARY as a temp through an employment agency enabling them to AVOID substantial amounts of tax?

I think we need to be told …

MENTAL MARVIN

The Reverend Rees took to his pulpit for World Mental Health Day on October 10. “Time taken off work due to mental health illnesses was an “economic consideration” for the Bristol region,” he blustered on Youtube in another EMPTY PR GESTURE designed to make him look like he gives a shit.

Although he is right. Mental health illness is an “economic consideration”. Especially in his own organisation, where 25 per cent of the 4,000 working days lost to sickness absence at Bristol City Council in the last six months were due to “ANXIETY, STRESS, DEPRESSION“.

This is almost entirely the fault of the Reverend’s incompetent, naval-gazing SENIOR BOSS CLASS. A relentless focus on their own terms, conditions and wages and the obsessive feathering of executive and managerial nests at the DIRECT EXPENSE of the public they serve and the people they employ is clear for us all to see.

It’s no coincidence that the lowest rates of sickness – with less than ONE DAY per person lost to sickness in six months – are in the pampered executive offices of the City Director. Here, the soft-handed Reverend and his well-heeled bosses and advisors drift from relaxed meetings with each other discussing how to fuck up our lives to laidback briefings among themselves to set-up their next salary uplift. They are UNSTRUCTURED, UNSUPERVISED and UNACCOUNTABLE.

Meanwhile, the highest rates of sickness are in frontline services – social services, adult care and housing – where the absence rates are TEN TIMES more for those doing the REAL WORK – dealing with the consequences of crappy, distant management decisions from a decaying and corrupt organisation.

The Reverend’s response to the MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS unfolding in front of his eyes in his own organisation was another PR announcement for organisations he’s not really responsible for. Launching an unfunded schools’ mental health initiative he explained he wanted “to help young people build emotional and psychological resilience”.

Presumably, then, the Reverend’s staff can just fuck off?