Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

COSTLY CARBON NEUTRAL FUTURE JOY

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Our old friend Old Sparky from Private Eye’s ‘Keeping The Lights On’ column cast his eye over municipal ENERGY RESELLING COMPANIES again in January. He explained that Notttingham City Council’s Robin Hood Energy would require its THIRD bailout in a year very soon.

He then observed, “the municipal energy supply model is FINANCIALLY UNVIABLE“. A message virtually everybody now gets except the Reverend Rees and his gormless sidekick, responsible for council finance, Craig “Crapita” Cheney.

Early in January, on the day Bristol City Council-owned Bristol Energy announced a further LOSS of £11.2million for 2018, Cheney cheerily announced that the company was at a “at a turning point where it can now begin to play a greater role in the city’s journey towards a CARBON NEUTRAL FUTURE.”

What a load of bollocks. How can running up a DEBT, now standing at over £30million – that will never be repaid – help our future? Carbon neutral buzzwords or not?

The Reverend and Cheney need to shut their energy business fiasco down today and apologise to the people of Bristol for wasting their money.

DERANGED ACADEMY TRASHES PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

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Cotham School’s determination to fence off their Stoke Lodge playing fields to “safeguard” pupils and keep the local community OUT has moved quickly from a little over-enthusiastic to stark raving bonkers in a remarkably short space of time.

The BATTLE over Stoke Lodge has been RAGING since 2011 and efforts to keep the city council land, used as recreational space by the community since 1947, public were finally thrown out by the High Court last year when it rejected a Town Green registration by Bristol City Council.

Now Cotham School are going ahead with their unpopular £160k plan to fence off most of the 26 acre site using dubious ‘PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT’ rules signed off by council planning officers. These rules conveniently stop the issue coming to a planning committee, despite the fact that the school’s plans are OPPOSED by the community, their councillors and their MP, Darren “Dipshit” Jones.

Although all is not quite going to plan for the school, who, since moving contractors on to the site in January, have been caught UNLAWFULLY attempting to put fence posts through the roots of ancient and protected trees and close enough to a badger sett to endanger the animals. Both actions are unlawful and the school already has been forced to quickly redraw their plans TWICE while on site.

Quite why the school needs to fence off the land, let alone DESTROY our city’s NATURAL HABITAT in the process, is something of a mystery. Many schools use public land WITHOUT FENCING as playing fields and, even, OFSTED, has agreed there’s no safeguarding reason why the land should be fenced off and the community effectively THROWN OFF THEIR OWN LAND.

Why can’t this annoying little school run by destructive nature-hating loonies share the space?

WHISTLING IN THE WIND

WHISTLING IN THE WIND

Council bosses continue to deliver a pile of NONSENSICAL CRAP instead of working WHISTLEBLOWING ARRANGEMENTS for their staff.

Delivering their ‘Annual Review of Whistleblowing Arrangements’ to the Audit Committee, bosses trumpeted to councillors that their review included “a survey of 100 CITY COUNCIL EMPLOYEES“.

Although the sheepish bosses went on to admit “the response rate to the survey was limited with only 22 RESPONSES RECEIVED“. This means around 0.3 per cent of council staff were actually surveyed, which seems a rather small amount to be building a working policy around.

The information gathered from the small amount of staff brave enough to respond was, however, deeply worrying. As staff admitted they have not reported concerns due to “FEAR OF REPRISAL” and “CONCERN THAT NOTHING WOULD BE DONE.”

Audit bosses response to this, supported by the city council’s hapless HR department, was to advise the Audit Committee that they needed to “REINFORCE THE MESSAGE“. Even though “the message” coming through to staff appears to be “don’t you dare blow the whistle at Bristol City Council”

After discussing the matter for a while, councillors concluded that their HR department needed to take responsibility for “REINFORCING THE MESSAGE” so that staff understood that whistleblowers have legal protections and any allegations of malpractice are taken seriously (honest guv, ed).

An odd decision since their current Director of HR and Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, appointed last year, was working as a senior HR consultant in Wakefield in 2006 when six social workers were SUMMARILY DISMISSED for trying to reveal serious children’s SAFEGUARDING CONCERNS.

The concerns were regarding children living in care homes run by Wakefield Council who were being exposed to DRUGS and were at risk of SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. Within a month of making their complaints in January 2006, the whistleblowing workers were FIRED. Wakefield Council then tried to get the six workers placed on a government blacklist usually reserved for SEX OFFENDERS.

Bedwetter scarpered from Wakefield in March 2006, before the fallout from the affair, which cost the council £1 MILLION in an out of court settlement to the exonerated social workers. There was also red faces all round at the council when it publicly emerged that they had sought to protect potential CHILD ABUSERS at the expense of WHISTLEBLOWING SOCIAL WORKERS.

Is Bedwetter Walsh really the best person Bristol City Council can find to promote a better deal for whistleblowers?


STREET LIFE

Within days of the cops announcing in November that they had gained more funding to create jobs within STREETWISE, the council and cops’ joint anti-begging initiative for Broadmead, undercover cops had taken to the streets.

One service user told a voluntary support group that two undercover plain clothes officers approached him and asked him to leave Broadmead IMMEDIATELY and said that if by the time they were back out in uniform he was still in the centre he could get ARRESTED. He was also told they want to try to stop voluntary outreach groups supporting the homeless.

Happy New Year!

BACKWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

Increasing concern EMERGES from the Council House at the number of evangelical christians the Reverend Rees seems to be surrounding himself with. Critics say Rees can’t cope with the CRITICISM that comes with political debate, so over time he’s shut out the Labour Party and all politicians except his mates.

Among those named as having the ear of the Reverend are HOPE CHAPEL regulars “Thick” Ed Rowberry, Andy “Deadend” Street and Jonathan “Christopher” Lee. Rowberry is Chief Exec at BRISTOL AND BATH REGIONAL CAPITAL, a front for the Merchant Venturers promoting “bespoke investment opportunities” that create “a financial and social return and support local projects”.

In other words, yet another BIG SOCIETY make-a-profit-from-the poor outfit, much in vogue under the Reverend who seems to think his Christian do-gooder cult mates can replace our public services while earning themselves a cut. Being a small world, Street, a waste consultant, is the joint chair of Rowberry’s Big Society investment outfit as well as being on the board of the Reverend’s still-born CITY FUNDS initiative.

City funds aims to raise money from local businesses to spend on what were PUBLIC SERVICES before the Reverend cut them. Although – so far – business appears resistant to handing over money to the Reverend to fund his council. Can’t imagine why?

The final member of the Hope Chapel Three is Jonathan “Christopher” Lee, chief exec of Crisis Centre Ministries, which has a chequered history of providing services to the homeless and the vulnerable alongside a strong and slightly CREEPY Christian message.

FEW WOMEN appear to be in the Reverend’s Christian circle, not least because evangelicals tend to prefer it if the little ladies stay at home breeding and baking. However, the one woman in the mix is Rachel Milano who is some kind of faith sector link person for the Reverend. She was also the admin for his election campaign and officially works one day per week.

So where does that leave the MASS MEMBERSHIP Labour Party in the city? “Marvin doesn’t really like the Labour Party and he hardly ever goes to Labour meetings,” we’re told. “Even the Labour councillor group. He pops in occasionally and then spends all his time on his iPad.”

Has our city been seized in a coup by the Christian right?

RUNNING OUT OF ENERGY

This story was published in our paper version earlier this month. Bristol Energy MD, Peter “High Pay” Haigh, has subsequently left the organisation as we reported yesterday. The reasons for his departure, like everything else about this shit show of a company, are shrouded in mystery.

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So it’s farewell, then, to NICK JORDAN, chairman of Bristol Energy, who’s quietly sloped off somewhere or other to do something else instead and left behind a cool £30million tab for council taxpayers to pick up.

Nick has RUSHED FOR THE EXIT just behind Bristol Energy’s finance director, Laura Flowerdew and he’s replaced by Alex Wiseman, one of the few remaining directors at Bristol Energy and the owner of consultants Alex Wiseman Associates.

Meanwhile, staff at Bristol Energy tell us that the Operations Director, Dave Ford, and the Sales Director Phil Biddle were made REDUNDANT last month and they’ve not been replaced. This comes after three heads of department at the company were made redundant over the summer while others have simply DEPARTED without explanation. None have been replaced.

Bristol Energy staff tell us there is very little funding left and that they are being managed by consultants and very inexperienced managers as the whole operation winds down, apparently heading for BANKRUPTCY.

The only question seems to be when will the business go to the wall? Before the mayoral election in 2020 saving council taxpayers further DEBT. Or after the election? To improve the Reverend’s chances of re-election?

And cost the council taxpayer further millions ….

BUNDRED BUFFOON LIES ON CV

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The city council’s not so new HR BOSS, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, described by his own staff as “a mentally disturbed twat”, was appointed in June after a year long stint working the post as an interim on a cool £750 A DAY. Bedwetter, however, has form in Bristol as he also worked as a HR consultant at the council in 2014.

“Recognised as an award winner for the quality of my work, my previous role at Bristol City Council was to lead the Transformation work to deliver £83M savings which was achieved within 12 months,” booms Bedwetter from his CV on Linkedin, which he uses to desperately try to grab MORE lucrative public sector consultancy work.

That’s impressive isn’t it? £83MILLION in savings achieved for Bristol City Council? How did he do that then? What award did he win? “I completed an assignment leading a major change project at Bristol City Council. Tasked with leading a 12 strong team to produce in year savings of £82M through restructuring over 120 service areas within the Council, the targets were delivered within timescales with all service areas being realigned to meet customer requirements,” he assures FUTURE EMPLOYERS.

Very impressive. Not least as Bedwetter’s not sure if he saved £82m or £83m. But when did he do all this amazing work in Bristol? Er, in 2014 implementing a major redundancy programme that was later the subject of an INVESTIGATION in 2017’s Bundred Report into crap financial management at the council.

Bundred says this about Bedwetter’s 2014 programme, “It ASSERTED that workforce reductions agreed up to that point would generate savings with a full-year effect of £21.023m but only £15.882m in 2014/15, £6.118m below the budgeted target.”

So, there NEVER was £83million of savings, just £21million and Walsh only delivered £15million of that. Achieving about 18 per cent of the savings claimed on his CV. Walsh then completes his spectacular LYING CV by claiming “Over 800 employees left the organisation but only 9 were made compulsory redundant.”

Not according to Bundred, “The original estimate was that to generate savings of around 15% of budgeted staff costs a headcount reduction equivalent to around 700fte would be needed. The ACTUAL ACHIEVEMENT being proclaimed as a success was 509fte.”

And even these redundancies failed to deliver much. Bundred says,  “A draft audit report issued to managers in November 2015 found that payroll costs HAD NOT in fact been reduced. 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.”

Why’s Rees put an incompetent fantasist who’s already failed once in charge of his HR service?

THE BATTLE OF THE BEARPIT

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by Ben Ritchie, communications attaché to the BDF

Pitch your tent and man the BARRICADES! The Bearpit has been taken! Staring down the forces of gentrification, the ragtag militia of the BEARPIT DEFENCE FORCE (BDF) have dug in deep and are preparing with their allies for a long, hard winter campaign.

New Labour’s General Rees holds the eastern front, flanked by his psyops commander Kevin Slocombe and Kamikaze pilot Asher “THE SLASHER” Craig. Pumping out the propaganda, The Slasher has claimed that “the Bearpit experiment is over” and has promised the bourgeois forces a ‘creative hub’, coffee bean mushroom farm and EVICTION of the homeless residents.

After hearing this news the residents have used BDF support to OCCUPY strategic areas on the battlefield. The residents now have access to water, shelter and security.

New Labour’s proxy zealots ‘THE CIRCLE’ corporation are spread across the Northern front, cutting off supply lines to the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft and hoping to intercept new recruits.

New Labour Circle puppets Miriam ‘Carbs’ Delogu, Simon ‘Fundsurfer’ Green and Robin ‘Spent’ Halpenny have sought resupply from TRIODOS BANK and RESONANCE to continue their fight, despite closing their Bearritos command centre three times in 2018 (it was dissolved at companies house in August 2017).

The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft remain engaged in street fighting within their capital, dragging out pitched battles near HAMILTON HOUSE and TURBO ISLAND. We hope that PRSC freedom fighters will soon break the northern lines of the Circle and deliver much-needed paintbrushes and decorative ceramics to the cause.

On the Southern front intelligence suggests that The GOLDEN KEY, a shady multi agency placeholder for the homeless will be holding a meeting with Broadmead Improvement District’s (BID) Gruppenfuher John ‘thehomelessareaterroristthreat’ Hirst and Golden Key’s own Nick ‘TENTSNATCHER‘ Hooper at John Wesley’s Chapel, 36 The Horsefair. Heavy artillery is moving into place to ensure that there will be no treaty signed between the Circle corporation and BID.

We call on the people of Bristol to stand on legs that have rested for far too long and fight with hands that have for too long been held behind our backs. Homeless, renting, squatting, boating or whatever your situation, STAND UP NOW! Stand up to neoliberal New Labour politicians, stand up to developers taking a slice of OUR city, stand up to unelected fundraising children who throw a tantrum at the sight of a rough sleeper!

Get your dirty hands dirtier! Join the BDF and gender-neutral pronoun the barricades

Rotten Comrades: “Equalities Champions on the March!”

Human Resources have been in a flap recently. Not only has the issue regarding underpayment of “scores” of staff (see Smiter passim) been reaching boiling point but the fur has been flying regarding racial discrimination as well.

Now, I haven’t written much about racism in The BRISTOLIAN – if at all – but issues regarding race have cropped up from time to time at the council and have been painfully slow to resolve.

The fact that we have a black mayor, that we have a duty to promote equalities, that we have an old and well-organised community of BME citizens and that it is illegal to harass or discriminate on the basis of race should make it pretty unlikely that anyone will get away with doing that sort of thing at Bristol City Council. Or at least, if someone felt like engaging in a spot of racism they would, at least, hide it really well so that they wouldn’t get their arses kicked out of their jobs.

Well, it would seem some of our more dumber managers haven’t given it much thought and have carried out their innately resentful and hate-filled agendas anyway. So much so, they have attracted the attention of Bristol City Council’s equalities ‘self led groups’ who in turn have contacted HR and the Head of Paid Service, Mike “shh-mo” Jackson. “Scores” of incidents have been quoted as having taken place and very little has been done about them.

HR is not happy at this new source of interference in their strategy of keeping a lid on everything. This has been especially galling as they have spent years controlling, diverting, and in some cases “letting go”, the more uncontrollable middle-ranking trade union reps – what I call your experienced barrack-room lawyer. Instead, cultivating the more useless and amenable trade union reps into positions of high influence, where it can all be jolly-hockey-sticks and fluffy kittens.

Anyway, a new form of barrack-room lawyer – the equalities champion – has arisen, as if from nowhere, to pick up the baton the unions have dropped. A bit of competition can only help, don’t you think? The unions don’t like this at all. It is – at least theoretically – their patch. Well, our equalities champions want to know: why have the unions been ignoring desperate people with just grievances begging them for help?

And the answer seems to have come back: well, they didn’t fill in the right form and other such useless excuses. A “frank exchange of views” reportedly broke out after that. And then, when it was asked, why are the unions not supporting staff at stage one of the grievance process, Unison’s reply was: they weren’t sure they should be doing that anymore. The exchange of views got franker.

I’ve been told the equalities people came away with the impression that the unions were in some way compromised, which I think pretty much sums it up. Which is not to say that there aren’t good barrack-room lawyers in the unions – I could count ten or so across all of them – it’s just a waste of time seeking help from the unions if you are given the wrong rep, as sad as that might sound to all of us.

The underpayment scandal update.
I had actually drafted an article announcing that management had seen sense over this and done the right thing. But then it seems a lack of common sense had intervened at the last minute.

I was told that one of our better reps was ambushed in the Count’s Louse by some of our worst reps, on his way to deliver a list of names of people prepared to sue the Council over the underpayment scandal. Our protagonist’s opponents – the three stooges (as I like to call them) – were reported to have staged a Dick Turpin style corridor intervention where they made it clear our protagonist was showing them up and it was their case now.

Our hero cried out: ‘no justice, no peace’ and brushed them aside. But he was not quick enough – the three stooges made their own offer to HR based on the sort of insane formula made up by people who don’t know anything about contract law.

In essence, they screwed it up, making the sort of offer that led to HR leaning back and rolling their eyes into their heads. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, our useless, “rotten comrades” will now no doubt flap their arms about a bit before losing interest, thus letting our hero have another go.

Well, hopefully …