Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

VENTURERS GAG DEMOCRACY

bristol port

For years a Bristol City Councillor has sat QUIETLY, INEFFECTIVELY AND INCONSEQUENTIALLY as a non-executive director of the Merchant Venturer-run PORT OF BRISTOL COMPANY at Avonmouth. This councillor is supposed to protect our public investment in the firm as well as independently oversee the company, its finances and management to ensure it’s acting lawfully.

Now, at last, a councillor has stepped up and admitted that he QUIT this non-Exec role two years ago as he was PREVENTED from effectively overseeing the firm as the law requires and he was concerned this CONFLICTED with his responsibilities under the council’s code of conduct

Green Councillor Clive Stevens told a council scrutiny committee that the demand from the Port of Bristol Company that he sign a GAGGING ORDER preventing him from discussing any issues regarding the company shackled him from independently overseeing the company and conflicted with his primary role to be OPENLY AND DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC .

It also raises further questions. Like what the hell port owners, the scummiest of Merchant Venturer scum, David Ord “Ure” and “Tory” Terrence Mordaunt, think they’re doing NOBBLING DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES AND INDEPENDENT NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS of their firm? Or why our councillors have colluded with this legally dubious corporate management culture for years and why were they putting up with anti-democratic bullshit from a couple of wealthy Tory boys on the make?

The council’s Head of Legal Services has agreed to look at the matter and produce a report. Will he have learned anything from the 2008 banking crisis and the need for genuinely independent non executive directors TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC FROM THIEVING CORPORATE BASTARDS WITH NO MORALS?

We await the results with interest …

LEADERSHIP NEWS

cartoon-i-wasnt-listening

The Reverend Rees and Bristol City Council continue to bang on incessantly about their tired Blairite concept of “LEADERSHIP”. A few buccaneering individuals, we’re led to believe, with the right background, skills and talent must be set free to manage modern public service organisations in their image and inspire us plebs with their dazzling abilities. SO HOW ARE THESE BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL “LEADERS” ACTUALLY DOING THEN?

Well, according to the council’s recently published staff survey, ABYSMALLY BADLY. These highly paid and pampered leaders achieved ratings more in line with used car dealers or estate agents than the cream of senior public service management or anything we might associate with genuine “leadership”. On the question of whether there is GOOD LEADERSHIP within council from the senior leadership team, only 34% of staff agreed. Meaning a MASSIVE TWO-THIRDS OF STAFF felt these highly remunerated individuals were delivering poor or indifferent results.

Worse, on the vital question of “I believe senior leaders are TRUSTWORTHY AND ACT WITH INTEGRITY“, just 36% of staff thought this the case. Meaning 64% of council staff do not believe the leadership at the council CAN EVEN BE TRUSTED. If their own staff can’t trust these ‘leaders’ why should the people of Bristol? How can you possibly lead people if the vast majority view you as a shower of untrustworthy liars and cheats?

When asked if “LEADERS UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGES OF MY DAY-TO-DAY WORK“, just one fifth of staff agreed. Meaning 80 per cent thought these “leaders” had NO IDEA WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THE ORGANISATION THEY PURPORT TO LEAD. Meanwhile, less than a third of staff thought their leaders were “Interested and listened to views of employees”.

These self-styled council leaders, then, are not only UNABLE to deliver anything resembling good leadership, they don’t even have the ability to create the impression they give a toss about those they work alongside every day. Shouldn’t they all now acknowledge they’re failures and RESIGN?

Like real leaders …

STUBBY COVERS ARSE

STUBBY
Stubby enjoying a tall story …

The latest interim consultant ON AN UNDISCLOSED DAY RATE to run Bristol City Council’s half-arsed, partially legal education service is cheery Bath resident, Alan “Stubby” Stubbersfield. Like most jobbing consultants, Stubby’s main concern, rather than the education of our children, is to cover the arses of any fellow consultants so that they can keep their lucrative gravy train on the rails for a few more years yet.

Stubby was recently CONFRONTED at Bristol Schools Forum meeting about the relationship between a gormless predecessor’s decision to CUT payments to educational psychologists and the current inability – ON STUBBY’S WATCH – of the council to complete Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for children with special educational needs.

The cuts were large too. Spend on educational psychologists in 2016 – 17 was £1,159,000, by 2018 – 19 it was £797,000. So, at present, the EHCP process, which should take 20 weeks is taking 40 – 50 WEEKS and without an EHCP a child is deprived of any support in school and – in some cases – even a school to attend.

Stubby’s response was cheerily oblique. “If you look at the attempts to save High Needs Block spend on psychologists … I think probably AN UNFORESEEN CONSEQUENCE of that is in terms of that team’s ability to turn around assessments in a timely manner,” he blandly explained

Exactly what kind of fucking moron is it that can’t foresee that IF YOU CUT STAFF FUNDING, YOU CUT STAFF AND YOU’LL GET LESS WORK DONE? And why would anyone pay this level of moron a six-figure sum of council taxpayers’ money? Stubby, of course, sees it differently and AVOIDS BLAMING HIS INTERIM PREDECESSOR AT ALL COSTS

“I think there’s a question there about the extent to which we are appropriately supporting the ability of the Local Authority through its Education Psychology service to do what’s necessary,” he explained as if it’s all our fault.

There’s another question here too. Why are we paying interim consultant after interim
consultant stupid money for stupid decisions they’re never around to account for.

 

CARRY ON UP THE SEND

CARRY ON UP THE SEND
The doc prescribing another dose of paralysis and panic

A BIZARRE AND RAMBLING SPEECH from city council social services director, Jacqui “Trust Me I’m a Doctor” Jensen, to Bristol’s long-suffering SEND parents at an event in June achieved little beyond richly demonstrating that Jensen is not up to the job.

As an opening gambit, Jensen admitted that the judicial review launched and won by SEND parents last year to reverse the council’s unlawful cuts to special needs budgets – cheerily implemented by Jensen two years ago – created “A KIND OF MIX BETWEEN PARALYSIS AND PANIC” in the SEND department. A department that she’s paid a fortune to run competently.

SO WHAT ARE WE PAYING JENSEN BIG MONEY FOR EXACTLY? Couldn’t we just get someone in off the street on minimum wage to create “a kind of mix between paralysis and panic” in the council’s SEND department? Jensen then went on to make the weird claim that the judicial review, won at great cost in time and money by Bristol parents, was, er, “A TECHNICAL PIECE OF CONSULTATION“.

Who knew? When did the council start doing public consultations at the High Court with the expensive help of a judge, solicitors and barristers working together to deliver a multi-million pound bill to council taxpayers at the end? Is this a new best value approach to consultations from our council tax?

“Not good enough,” heckled one frustrated parent at Jensen. We agree.

CASTLE PARK DEVELOPMENT SHOCKER

WANKY FLATS FOR WANKERS ON CASTLE PARK?

MORE WANKY FLATS FOR WANKERS ON PUBLIC LAND

News reaches The BRISTOLIAN that the Reverend’s council has quietly put a part of Castle Park on the market. The council’s parks department depot, which lies within the boundary of the park, is UP FOR SALE and nine developers visited the site on 7 June to measure up this prime city centre site for luxury flats.

The strategy being pursued by the council to cash in big time by disposing of our park is becoming clear. With Merchant Venturers Deeley Freed holding a development option and biding their time to grab more land at St Mary-Le-Port at the west end of the park, the council is now opening up the east end of the site for development. There’s A PINCER MOVEMENT TO BUILD ON OUR PARK!

Does anyone really believe that expensive bridge between the park and the old Courage Brewery where Channel 4 ponces are moving in to SNOOTY OFFICES soon was ever for the benefit of park users? Of course not. It’s for the wealthy to cross from one well-appointed luxury mixed-use development to another. The only playground we’ll be left with in Castle Park will be a PLAYGROUND FOR THE RICH.

Details of what will happen to the Castle Park depot are, naturally, TOP SECRET and therefore sketchy. However, expect another development based around luxury flats, open plan commercial space for ‘creatives’ and a few expensive food outlets. A further LAND GRAB from any potential developer of the depot also will be inevitable as they will claim they need more park land to make their development “VIABLE“.

They must be stopped.

ASHER’S ASSETS UP FOR GRABS

With our libraries “SAVED” until next year after the mayoral election, the Reverend’s trusty deputy, Asher “The Slasher” Craig has embarked on another bloody “CONVERSATION” about libraries in the city.

The focus this time around has been on talking to PEOPLE WHO DON’T USE LIBRARIES. Presumably on the basis that, maybe, they’ll be more sympathetic to The Slasher unloading a prized public service on to volunteers than our organised and informed local LIBRARY CAMPAIGNERS AND SUPPORTERS?

The Slasher, not keen on libraries and not too bothered about making wild remarks regarding them either, has not passed up the opportunity to wade into this conversation herself. Brazenly announcing to the press, “one of the issues in our city is we have TOO MANY ASSETS, TOO MANY BUILDINGS IN OUR PUBLIC SECTOR.”

Really? And how many businesses have you ever heard complaining that they have “TOO MANY ASSETS“? Is the Slasher, by any chance, seeking to dispose of some more community-based assets and any service they might contain to fund some more AIMLESS VANITY PROJECTS at College Green?

The Reverend, too, has joined “the conversation”. In response to a question at a Full Council meeting, he announced, “THERE IS NO DOUBT THE LIBRARY MODEL IS NOT FIT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY“. Who says? As this claim appears despite A LACK OF ANY RECORDED EVIDENCE held by the council of residents wanting change to our libraries, even after two consultations and a report costing £40k.

Is the Labour Party arranging to wreck our library service regardless of what we think?



BIG WEDGE FUDGE

Marvin-Rees-and-Anna-Klonowski

More heat than light generated last month when councillors were finally allowed to publicly discuss the absurd £100K PAYOUT handed to Reverend Rees’s failed Chief Executive, Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski in September 2017. The Reverend alleged at the time that Big Wedge resigned for “FAMILY REASONS” without notice and so she would not normally be entitled to any money whatsoever.

Councillors bombarded the Reverend with questions after council auditors, BDO, published a partial, if DAMNING, report on the affair. However, the questions were batted away by an embattled Mayor with TWO HALF-TRUTH EXCUSES: that there were no formal processes to follow for senior officer departures and that his legal advice said the pay-off was “contractural”.

NEITHER EXCUSE HOLDS WATER. The process for senior officer departures appears in the annual Pay Policy Statement and plenty of pay-offs have been approved by the HR Committee of councillors in the past. Under questioning the Reverend REFUSED to explain why this did not happen in this case beyond claiming that there was “NO PROCESS” to follow.

Meanwhile, the legal advice the Reverend relied on, labelled as “SURPRISING” by the auditors, remains shrouded in mystery. Despite demands by councillors, the Reverend WOULDN’T EXPLAIN why he didn’t get this advice through his legal department. He also POINT-BLANK REFUSED to release the request for this advice, the actual advice or, even, which of two firms of lawyers named in the BDO report provided the hookie information. The Reverend insisted that this was “THE LAW“.

A claim that is NOT TRUE. While the law allows legal advice provided to local authorities to remain confidential if they choose, it does not prevent them publishing it if they want to. Why is the Reverend SCARED SHITLESS of publishing anything to do with the advice he received or the circumstances surrounding it?

The only nugget of information the Reverend released during his pointless session with councillors were the names of the two chief officers advising him on this generous payout – “JACQUIE AND NICKY“.

Step forward  Jacquie “You’re Fired!” McGeachie – a former Tesco HR, now a local authority interim manager trading as Jacquie McGeachie HR Consulting Ltd, charging £1,000 a day – and Nicky “Chocolate” Beardmore, a local authority management failure from Shropshire APPOINTED BY THE REVEREND as interim Head of Paid Service on £1,200 a day in the autumn of 2017.

The involvement of McGeachie is especially intriguing as she was a COLLEAGUE of Big Wedge’s – then trading as Elka Solutions Ltd – in Barnet in 2014 and Big Wedge personally brought Jacquie McGeachie HR Consulting Ltd to Bristol when she became Chief Exec in early 2017. It then looks as if McGeachie RETURNED A HIGH-ROLLING FAVOUR by signing over a six-figure sum of public money to Big Wedge as she departed.

After a FRUITLESS COUPLE OF HOURS querying the pay-off, councillors agreed that the three-quarters of the auditor’s report not published could be debated in public at the Audit and HR committees and again at Full Council.

We think this is pointless. Isn’t it time Inspector Knacker looked into how Big Wedge ended up with £100k of public money in her personal bank account?


WEST WING WATCH

west wing ii

Efforts by the Reverend Rees and his point man ‘Slo’ Kevin Slocombe to create their own new season of THE WEST WING up on the third floor of the Counts Louse brings predictable results.

Having EXPANDED the Mayoral Office budget to the best part of £1MILLION A YEAR and styled themselves as fast talking power dressing power players who get things done, their efforts to slickly command and control a council of 7,000 employees SPENDING A BUDGET OF A BILLION is more Jedward than Jed Bartlet.

The latest MAYORAL FAILURE finds the Reverend unable to get a simple ‘corrective’ brass plaque attached to the statue of Colston in the Centre. This might be because following the original mayoral decree for a plaque, there was NO MEANS to communicate back to the Mayor or his team what was going on with a project easily highjacked by the Merchant Venturers from council officers.

Similar problems have haunted the Reverend’s response to institutional racism at the council where the HR officers and managers responsible for the problem have filled any MANAGEMENT VACUUM by stepping in to solve their own problem to suit themselves.

The most recent fiasco followed the removal of valuable 1930s street lamps from south Bristol to leafy Stoke Bishop. “THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN,” insisted Slo Kev on Twitter. “Any street lamps removed are used for spare parts only,” he explained. Alas, within minutes of Slo Kev’s claim, a photo appeared on Twitter of a newly installed street lamp from south Bristol in Stoke Bishop!

The obvious solution of appointing one of 40-odd Labour councillors to oversee something like the plaque project through to completion has been OVERLOOKED by both the Reverend and Slo Kev. Both naively believing they can achieve anything at the council, no matter how minor, by SWAGGERING COMMAND or LENGTHY PRESS RELEASE fired out from the third floor executive suite.

In reality simple projects are FAILING and poor decisions are MULTIPLYING due to the Reverend’s West Wing fantasy. There’s a bottleneck at the top of the council. Too many issues for too few mayoral staff to cope with and council officers end up running the show with little oversight. Labour councillors, meanwhile, the natural workforce to force Labour policy through a recalcitrant council, hang about IDLE, BORED and IGNORED.

When will the Reverend figure out how to run his council?

NHS AIN’T AIR POLLUTION

bristoljam

The Reverend caused a minor scandal at a recent council meeting by appearing to ATTACK THE NHS when he responded to a petition from a couple of junior doctors DEMANDING ACTION on air pollution in the city.

He told the pair, “the NHS generates FIVE PER CENT OF ALL ROAD JOURNEYS IN THIS COUNTRY. This is from the NHS’s own numbers. They contribute 735 deaths through air pollution, they cost us 8,844 life years, contributing 85 deaths and 772 major injuries, and they create £650million-worth of demand on NHS services.”

The Reverend, presumably, is referring to such PLANET DESTROYING SPONGERS as health visitors, community nurses and occupational therapists. All NHS workers who regularly visit people in their homes to support, often complex, PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS. What’s the Reverend proposing here? That, in future, NHS patients crawl to their nearest health centre for treatment to reduce pollution?

If the Reverend’s concerned about the amount of car journeys made by public sector organisations, he could start NEARER TO HOME. How many car journeys are his adult care workers, social workers and OTs making? Is it significantly LESS THAN THIS ALLEGED FIVE PER CENT OF TRAFFIC courtesy of the NHS on our local roads? Maybe the Reverend could start targeting some of his own sick, dying and vulnerable and tell them to get on their bikes to lower the city’s pollution levels?

Alternatively, he could start with all those FREE PARKING SPACES he dishes out to fit and healthy COUNCILLORS and SENIOR BOSSES at the Council House. They all seem intensely relaxed about poisoning the rest of us because they can’t be arsed to walk, ride a bike or take a bus.

COUNCIL LAWYER’S PUBLIC RANT AT WHISTLEBLOWERS

Saida-Bello--768x769
Bad judge?

Our attention has been drawn to THE BIZARRE CONDUCT of Saida “Ding-Dong” Bello, the chair of Bristol City Council’s BMEG group, which is supposed to represent the interests of the council’s long-suffering black employees. Such as the ones who had to go and WHISTLEBLOW to the Nazi Post in January to get heard.

When not BMEGing for the council, Ding-Dong Bello is a part time lawyer at the council and also a PART-TIME JUDGE sitting on the Valuation Tribunal for England. So the establishment is strong in this one.

Before her colleagues’ brave appearance in the Nazi Post complaining about a cover-up of ENDEMIC RACIST BULLYING at the council, we hear Ding Dong Bello fired off a FURIOUS ROUND ROBIN EMAIL to members of BMEG. “It has come to my attention that the issue of ongoing complaints has been leaked inappropriately to the press and that it is due to be printed in the near future,” she ranted.

“This behaviour is CONTRARY to our five organisational values of ownership, respect, curious, collaborative and dedicated,” she raved at whistleblowers LEGALLY ENTITLED TO PROTECTION from the council.

Presumably, then, BULLYING black workers, FAILING to investigate their complaints properly and then UNLAWFULLY insinuating they’re breaching their contract of employment by complaining is a fine example of these amazing new organisational values in action? In the circumstances, the response by the whistleblowers to Bello’s attempt to bully and threaten them was remarkably COOL and SANGUINE.

“Her comments have not been sanctioned by the group as a whole,” they pointedly observed