Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

AGILE STILL FRAGILE?

agile
An exciting Counts Louse agile workspace. Admire the colour scheme;
ignore the cost?

An expensive SEVEN YEAR FIASCO of ‘agile working’ continues unchallenged at Bristol City Council. There’s still NO EVIDENCE that the council’s plan to buy the Temple Street Lubianka for £18m and expensively refurbish the Counts Louse at a further cost of £16m while selling off council offices across the city has delivered any savings.

Alongside the pricey property arrangements came a ‘Workplace Programme’ promoting HALF-BAKED TECH SOLUTIONS and fashionable MANAGEMENT CONSULTANCY NONSENSE. This claimed the council could create money-saving “new agile working environments” for their workforce by issuing staff with laptops, smart phones and tablets and promoting home-working and mobile working to save money.

The expensive plans, put together by UNACCOUNTABLE MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS, originally came with promises of £60m of savings by Max Wide “Boy”, one of the many execs who have rolled in through THE COUNCIL’S REVOLVING DOOR over the last few years to scrounge a six-figure salary.  Wide Boy arrived in 2013 and departed out again in 2016 leaving a £30 million agile working-shaped DEBT in his wake.

Fast foward three years and the ‘Agile Working’ fiasco continues. A recent report to councillors on the latest AGILE WORKING FAILURE in adult care – where the implementation of tablets and tech on the advice of consultants has belly-flopped – explains, “there still isn’t a clearly defined and available benefits document for the Agile Working Project”.

In other words after seven years of forking out HUGE SUMS OF MONEY on the advice of management consultants procured by high-earning council directors, no one HAS MEASURED THE COST EFFECTIVENESS of their ‘agile working’ strategy. Consequently the obvious conclusion that cutting back staff and giving those that remain a tablet will NOT SAVE ANY MONEY is still yet to be reached.

Although any targets for rewarding failure among council execs and their management consultants continue to be exceeded.

WALSH’S WHISTLEBLOW JOB FLOP

MAYOR GETTING RACY

More problems for Bedwetter Walsh emerge as his useless HR department is UNCEREMONIOUSLY DUMPED from managing whistleblowing matters at the council. Responsibility for whistleblowers now sits with the Chief Internal Auditor as bosses’ and councillors’ trust in their OVERPAID HR MANAGEMENT CLOWN and his MALFUNCTIONING DEPARTMENT evaporates after a series of highly avoidable mishaps.

The new arrangements arrive after staff REPEATEDLY told council bosses and councillors that they had NO TRUST in the whistleblowing process under the bizarre management of Bedwetter who’s hobbies appear to include targeting whisleblowers for the sack.

It’s now general knowledge around the Counts Louse that this useless lying fruitbat was working at Wakefield Council in a senior HR role when six whistleblowers were PAID £1MILLION IN COMPENSATION after being FIRED and placed on a register of POTENTIAL SEX OFFENDERS for trying to expose CHILD ABUSE in Wakefield children’s homes.

How much longer can this dangerous fool survive in Bristol?

COUNCIL’S BEDWETTING PAEDO PROTECTOR BREAKS HIS OWN RULES

falling-pounds

Friend to any passing paedo and DANGEROUS ENEMY of decent social care workers everywhere, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, the council’s weirdo Director of HR and Chief Mayoral Arselicker, is at it again. His latest wheeze is TO EXPLAIN AWAY to gullible councillors his authorisation of the continued employment – ON £1,500 A DAY – of his executive colleague and the Reverend’s best buddy, Colin “Head Boy” Molton.

Despite Head Boy being REPLACED as Head of Growth and Regeneration in the autumn by his former colleague, another regional development bureaucrat, Stephen “Preening” Peacock, Head Boy CONTINUES TO WORK FOR THE COUNCIL ON A HUGE WEDGE. This bizarre arrangement was first described as “a sensible period of handover between Colin and Stephen to ensure a smooth transition and to maintain momentum with major projects” but more recently it has been slightly rebadged as “remain[ing] involved in a small number of projects for a short while to make sure there is a smooth transition.”

How long is a “short while”? AND HOW MUCH WILL THIS “SHORT WHILE” COST COUNCIL TAX PAYERS? Bedwetter finally made himself available to the council’s HR committee in December –   two months after he PERSONALLY AUTHORISED this generous arrangement at a cost to us, so far, of around £66k – to explain all. However, two key problems emerged from Bedwetter’s HR Committee appearance.

Firstly, the item was EXEMPT, meaning the public, paying for this EXECUTIVE THEFT, will not be told anything about this carve up by two public sector managers with a dubious relationship to truth, honesty and the rules. Secondly, Bedwetter’s ‘verbal report’ conveniently leaves NO PAPER TRAIL and NO ACCOUNTABILITY for a decision that puts large sums of public money into an individual’s pocket for no coherent reason.

Bedwetter’s dodgy ‘verbal report’ also ignores the Bundred Report, expensively prepared for the Reverend in 2017 to explain how to run a council lawfully and competently. The report demanded that “REPORTS rather than PRESENTATIONS to be used as the basis of discussions and decisions”.

Why, then, is Bedwetter deliberately breaking his own council’s rules to help line Head Boy’s pockets with our cash? Rules that he’s paid handsomely to uphold.

FORWARD THINKING?

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Shocked councillors

Who’s this irate councillor looking concerned in the pages of the Nazi Post? Step forward Paul “Wolfie” Smith, Labour’s cabinet housing supremo. He’s “SHOCKED” and has “LAUNCHED A BLISTERING ATTACK” on the University Hospitals Trust Bristol, who run the BRI, for leaving 20 of their 36 flats on Eugene Street empty “WHILE PEOPLE ARE SLEEPING IN THE STREETS”.

The homes are currently empty as the hospital was refused planning permission for A MULTI-STOREY CAR PARK on the site by the council in March and are now appealing against the decision. However what the fuming councillor isn’t telling us is that the homes in question were sold for A FAST BUCK to the hospital by the council in 2008 for, er, “REDEVELOPMENT PURPOSES“.

And who on Earth was running the council in 2008 selling off our council homes? Step forward our dear old friends in the angry and irate LABOUR PARTY. Then under the clueless leadership of one of Wolfie’s old colleagues Peter “HOPELESS” Hammond and his deputy – one of Wolfie’s current colleagues – prize-winning councillor HRH HELEN OF HOLLAND.

What goes around …

ARUP PLANNING TAKEOVER

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More news drifts in regarding the slow but inexorable OUTSOURCING of the whole of the city’s planning system and its oversight to private firm Arup.

We already know that Arup have been, for some time, supplying agency staff to the council’s planning department to specialise in ‘MAJOR PROJECTS’. Then came the news that Arup were involved in developing the Reverend’s options for his ‘Western Harbour’ plans at the Cumberland Basin.

So it should come as little surprise to learn that Arup were also involved in drawing up BRISTOL’S LOCAL PLAN. Specifically, the private firm were responsible for SITE ALLOCATIONS and POLICY DEVELOPMENT for this detailed development blueprint for the city that WILL MAKE LOTS OF PRIVATE INTERESTS LOTS OF MONEY.

When will we get the chance to vote on a manifesto promising to hand our city’s planning system over to multi-national companies looking to make a profit?

ELECTED FOOLS BELIEVE INVENTED RULES

Mike-Langley-council-meeting-tribute2

The DISDAIN and DISREGARD that the Reverend Rees and his council boss friends hold for our elected councillors and the public was on full display when the Reverend decided to REFUSE to answer public questions at a Full Council Meeting because some of them may have proved HIGHLY EMBARRASSING.

 The Reverend’s senior managers went to work for the mayor convincing councillors and our idiot Lord Mayor Jos “Halfwit” Clark that ‘rules’ PREVENTED the Mayor answering public questions during a general election. Councillors eagerly accepted this ‘advice’ from their expert officers, apparently oblivious to the fact NOTHING in national nor local election guidelines prevents either mayors or council leaders answering public questions at meetings during an election.

 To add insult to injury, at this very same council meeting where council officers were busily INVENTING RULES on behalf of their coward mayor, councillors were asked to consider an updated ‘Member – Officer Protocol’. A document outlining how councillors and council officers needed to treat each other with ‘RESPECT‘! Might this reasonably include the expectation that council officers tell councillors the truth about election rules?

 However, the real kick in the teeth came the next day when council officers used the council’s official Twitter account to PUBLISH A PHOTO OF THE REVEREND and his cabinet sidekick, Anna Keen, promoting some crap mayoral initiative in Southmead in direct contravention of, er, ELECTION GUIDELINES TO COUNCIL OFFICERS. These simple guidelines state, “councils should ‘not publish any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party’”.

 How could council officers possibly not think a photo of two senior members of the Labour Party PROMOTING their initiative in the middle of a general election would not appear designed to affect public support for Labour?

The officers involved are bent and biased

FULL FARCE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL

FULL FARCE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL

by CITIZENS ROBESPIERRE & MURAT ably assisted by Dr J.I Guillotin

November’s Full Council meeting saw an outbreak of ‘MARIE ANTOINETTE SYNDROME’ among entitled councillors in official foppery pitted against a SEETHING MASS of unwashed sans-culottes in the public gallery. Controversy began when Lord Mayor Jos Clark decided (without historical precedence in Bristol or nationally) to SUSPEND PUBLIC QUESTIONS to the Mayor due to “lack of time, because of the national election”.

The Lord Mayor had informed public questioners by email that they could NOT ASK QUESTIONS in the Council Chamber and that the Mayor would not offer any verbal answers. Instead, questioners would receive a written response within 10 working days. The BRISTOLIAN, analysed these questions and – lo and behold – many were POTENTIALLY EMBARRASSING to the Reverend Rees. Raising issues such as the gentrification of Cumberland Basin, jobs for Marvin’s evangelical pals and the contra-BCC policy of hiring trade unionist BLACKLISTING CONSTRUCTION FIRMS.

Chaos reigned in the public gallery as, first, questioners were told that THEY COULDN’T SPEAK OR GET ANSWERS. Then they were told that, maybe, they COULD ASK QUESTIONS BUT NOT RECEIVE ANSWERS and then, finally, they were told that the original ruling would stand. Breathless council flunkies dashed around the chamber with leaflets and ‘clarifications’ as each modification was made up on the spur in council back offices. Adding to the confusion, it also turned out that some questioners were unaware of this ARBITRARY DECISION until they arrived.

Next, onlookers in the public gallery were confronted by BRISTOL’S COUNCILLORS SWANNING IN to pose in Hawaiian shirts for a photographer. Why was this? It was supposed to be a tribute to Hawaiian shirt fan Cllr Mike Langley, who had recently died. Shirt-clad councillors posed with arms around each other before going off to their benches and delivering 40 MINUTES OF SPEECHES in memoriam to their deceased colleague.

Those who knew Mike – A GENUINE SOCIALIST – were confronted with the unedifying spectacle of Tory, Blairite Labour, Lib Dem and the rest competing to see who could deliver the most NAUSEOUS HYPOCRISY while shedding CROCODILE TEARS as most of them had hated Mike. One councillor even announced … ‘In the words of Mike Langley, Vive la Revolution!’ The whole SORRY SPECTACLE resembled one of French Queen Marie Antoinette’s ‘soirees’ where she and her courtiers would dress up to play peasant shepherds and shepherdesses while real peasants starved outside the gates.

After their PRIVATE FANCY DRESS PARTY, the public presence in the gallery was finally acknowledged by the Versailles Court and farce descended into ABSURDITY. When ‘no-question’ time was announced, ONE PLUCKY PROLE stood up and asked why procedure had changed from what was in the council constitution?

Lord Mayor Clark tried to shut down this unseemly interruption to her travesty in motion while security goons twitched in anticipation on the gallery stairwell. Their services were unnecessary, however, as the prole sat down after shouting – to thunderous applause from angry sans-culottes in the gallery – ‘YOU’RE A DISGRACE – YOU SHOULD RESIGN!

Rumours of scythes and pitchforks being sharpened in Bristol’s outlying suburbs cannot be confirmed.

OFFICIAL: “WE’RE INCOMPETENT” ADMIT SENIOR COUNCIL BOSSES

contract

The enthusiasm with which our serially useless senior council bosses are suddenly embracing advertising their INCOMPETENCE is a new and novel innovation for our Counts Louse’s Third Floor DEPARTMENT OF DUNCES.

Their public confessional follows a report from Green Councillor and Audit Committee vice chair Clive “Shakin'” Stevens into how former chief exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski walked away from Bristol in 2017 after just SIX MONTHS’ OF INDIFFERENT WORK with £98k in her pocket. Shaky, was given access to carefully selected top secret documents by dodgy council bosses and has devised a personal “MOST LIKELY SCENARIO” regarding the payout.

Shaky claims it was all down to SERIAL INCOMPETENCE and council bosses are queuing up to cheerfully admit it. Not least because their only other option would be to admit to UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY. What Shaky alleges transpired is that Big Wedge’s colleague and associate, Jackie “You’re Fired!” McGeachie – the former Tesco exec turned jobbing senior local authority HR interim – “ACCIDENTALLY” sent the wrong Chief Exec contract to lawyers in 2017, which allegedly entitled Big Wedge to a big wedge and, er, nobody noticed it was the wrong contract until it was too late.

However, Shaky’s “most likely scenario”, which we’re invited to believe over “the conspiracy theories”, raises as many questions as it answers. For instance, if the payment to Klonowski was an error, WHY AREN’T WE ASKING FOR IT BACK? And what type of contract was sent by Big Wedge’s personally appointed HR boss that allows someone to resign and scarper with immediate effect but contractually obliges the employer to fork out six months’ pay in lieu of notice? AN UNPRECEDENTED ARRANGEMENT Shaky fails to explain.

Of course, this mysterious ‘top secret ROGUE CONTRACT remains safely locked away from the public, despite, by Shaky’s definition, being an out-of-date generic document and not personal information relating to a named individual. Shaky also says he discovered evidence of “GROSS OBFUSCATION” or “A COVER-UP” from bosses over the payment. Only to meekly announce “they should be ashamed”. But why isn’t Shaky recommending IMMEDIATE DISCIPLINARY ACTION against them? Why would anyone want bent and dishonest bosses to remain in post running our council?

Is it because these bosses might start revealing what really happened and who authorised paying Klonowski £98k of hush money that we weren’t obliged to pay?

KING PRAWN RISING

king-prawn

UKS Group are at it again. The company built a block of flats in Bishopsworth in 2017 – Litfield Court – that was LARGER than they had planning permission for (see  ‘PLANNNING NEWS’, BRISTOLIAN 36), pissing off many locals in the process. After the REFUSAL of a retrospective planning application by the council, the company finally got permission for the enlarged block on appeal.

Now one of UKS’s directors Sam Litt, is trying to REPEAT THE TRICK at 32 – 38 St John’s Lane, Bedminster, where a blatant OVERDEVELOPMENT of ugly housing has sprung up with a glaring problem. Some of the properties are listed on the planning application as 3-BEDROOM, with a much smaller floor space than actually constructed. In reality they are 4-BEDROOM PROPERTIES.

Now Mr Litt, to overcome this little problem, is applying to the city council’s planning department for a ‘variation of conditions’ to make “MINOR AMENDMENTS” to his original planning application. And the planning officer dealing with this? Step forward our dear old friend ANGELO “KING PRAWN” CALABRESE, who had to be hastily shifted out of Avonmouth after a series of UNLAWFUL officer-delegated planning decisions favourable to the Port of Bristol Company and various corporate waste firms came to light.

Has King Prawn learned any lessons? Or is he overseeing dodgy planning decisions in South Bristol instead?

SOUTH BRISTOL: “YOU CAN’T HAVE GREEN SPACE”

broadbury
Plans at Broadbury Road

The Reverend Rees’s deranged efforts to build his way out of his carefully branded “HOUSING CRISIS” is hitting south Bristol and its open spaces very hard. Following last month’s unveiling of the Reverend’s IKEA/BOKLOKS housing solution, giving his loopey evangelical mate Jez “I’m no housing expert” Sweetland free rein to build 200 IKEA chipboard homes for the DESPERATE and the VULNERABLE on the narrow verge of a trunk road in Hengrove, comes news of another attempt to grab open space in south Bristol.

Filwood residents expressed their displeasure at Rees’s madcap “CHIPBOARD AND PRAYER” plans for the Airport Road at a cabinet meeting last month and community GROUP KNOWLE WEST FUTURE asked that the council, at least, reduce the number of homes planned for the small and narrow tree-filled site to 100. The group said, “A possible 400 people emanating from this site would be a significant addition to that area and if that is to happen other parts of community retail and infrastructure need to be improved.”

Meanwhile, less than a mile away at Broadbury Road in the heart of Knowle West, Curo Housing Association have unveiled plans for 47 homes on a small piece of COUNCIL-OWNED OPEN SPACE WITH A PLAYGROUND behind Broad Plain House. And the community are not impressed that their wildlife and rights of way are to be traded away by the council for concrete, traffic and overshadowing by large buildings.

Residents have also pointed out that the site is part of GARDEN CITY PLANNING PRINCIPLES and that the area was built to have green spaces. However, principles, planning or otherwise, are in short supply at Rees’s DUMBED DOWN FREE MARKET COUNCIL or at even dumber Curo. Instead Curo Communications Manager Valentina Warren gives the game away by gormlessly explaining the complex planning vision underpinning the Reverend’s “housing crisis”. “You can’t build new homes and have green space at the same time,” she’s announced.

So that’s south Bristol’s NEW ENVIRONMENTAL AND PLANNING STRATEGY sorted by Rees and his ragbag of religious looney mates, voluntary sector morons and second rate Counts Louse planning officials, then:

“No green space for you – losers.”