Two Bristol City Councillors are the subject of a formal complaint from the council’s ridiculous pair of senior Human Resources bosses Mark “Bashar” Williams and John “Bedwetter” Walsh. This is the result of the councillors standing up for the Council’s cleaning and security staff, which Cabinet agreed last month should be outsourced to Bristol Waste Company to help disguise a large hole in the company’s budget.
The BRISTOLIAN hears that Tory councillor Richard “Bunter” Eddy and Lib Dem leader Gary “Meathead” Hopkins are presently being investigated by the Council’s Legal boss “L’il” Tim O’Gara after complaints were received from senior officers about the conduct of a Human Resources Committee on 18 February 2021. Both councillors expressed robust concerns about the outsourcing at the meeting.
The same two councillors were the subject of a formal complaint alleging breach of confidential information three-and-a-half years ago following the controversial departure of former Chief Executive Anna Klonowski. who bagged a reported ‘Golden goodbye’ from local taxpayers of £98,000. Following an expensive independent investigation, both councillors were cleared of the daft allegation made by present Cabinet Member Cllr Kye “The” Dudd.
Bunter has confirmed to friends that he is the “subject of a complaint under the Members’ Code of Conduct” and denies any wrongdoing. He also told friends, “I am particularly surprised to receive a complaint from senior officers with telephone-digit salaries with reference to my attempt to defend the interests of some of the Council’s hardest-working and poorest-paid staff at the Human Resources Committee in February.
The timing of the complaint has also raised eyebrows. No complaint was made in the month following the HR Committee or the outsourcing decision made by Cabinet on 18 March 2021. Instead the managers have waited until the Local Elections to lodge a complaint.
Are this pair of HR scrotes trying to interfere in our election?
Further analysis of the Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) for the transfer of Bristol City Council cleaners and security to Bristol Waste reveals that over 36 per cent of the staff involved are black, not 34 per cent as we claimed last week. The increase is because we didn’t include groups such as Pakistani and Black Caribbean/White who are underrepresented among cleaners and security.
It is also noteworthy that, despite allegedly running a ‘comprehensive’ consultation with these staff, the council does not know the ethnicity of 42 out of 215 of them. That’s 19.5 per cent of this workforce. This is over double the ‘unknown’ figure for the whole city council workforce, which stands at 9 per cent. Could more work have gone into the council’s ‘comprehensive’ consultation of cleaners and security?
The EqIA is also unfinished. Here’s what we find at the end of the report:
Will Bristol City Council go ahead and outsource staff on the basis of an unfinished EqIA and a one page ‘comprehensive’ consultation that fails to state what staff said about the transfer? Is such a set of circumstances even policy compliant?
Meanwhile, the council’s Equality and Inclusion Progress Report 2019-20 tells us ,“a review of our Equality and Diversity Function in 2018 identified that equality impact assessments were often undertaken after, rather than before, service design or service changes have been proposed.”
Nothing’s changed since 2018 then.
Maybe proper EqIA’s are only needed for jazzy management and professional job changes at Bristol City Council?
THE REVEREND’S ATTEMPT TO OUTSOURCE VULNERABLE CLEANING AND SECURITY STAFF TO BRISTOL WASTE GOES NUCLEARDURING HR CONFLAB
The passing resemblance of last Thursday’s HR Committee Meeting of Bristol City Council to a Handsworth Parish Council Zoom session wasn’t just down to useful-idiot HR Director Mark “Bashar” Williams’ accidentally misinforming himself over whether or not he was still paying Colin “Head Boy” Molton the second highest local government salary in the country.
The meeting also had a special ‘Chair’s Business’ section dedicated to Director of Workforce John “Bedwetter” Walsh’s half-arsed plan to outsource his low paid council security and cleaning staff to Bristol Waste to save money.
It was this issue that had barking Tory nutjob Councillor Richard “Bunter” Eddy telling Bedwetter that his description of the outsourcing proposal was “worthy of Dr Goebbels and the Third Reich.”
The comment drew a weak Claude Rains impression from Bedwetter as he attempted to feign shock at being branded, on the public record, as a liar by a senior councillor. It’s also noteworthy that staunch right winger, Bunter managed to outflank the Reverend Rees on the left with his views on this outsourcing issue,
Bunter’s comments came partly in response to Bedwetter’s ludicrous claim that the staff he had formally consulted were entirely in favour of a move to Bristol Waste and Bedwetter didn’t recognise Bunter and the trade unions’ version of events.
Versions outlined in a series of public statements and comments to the meeting. Bunter said that the staff he had spoken with were “scared and mystified” and were “terrified of losing their job” if they spoke directly with councillors or made public statements, as is their right, at council meetings.
The GMB told the meeting “Not one member of BCC staff … has expressed a wish to move across” and “the vast majority, many of whom are long service, wish to stay with BCC”.
Unison’s Tom “The Red” Merchant got even more to the point. He told the meeting, “The affected staff are very angry indeed over this and we don’t see why we should be shielding anyone from what is an understandable disaffection on the part of our members”
Tom the Red was also bemused that Bedwetter had managed to consult with cleaning staff, many of whom did not speak English and require an interpreter for Unison to be able to speak with them. He summed up, “staff who face transfers feel like they are bought and sold like cattle and though this phrase really upsets HR it is how the staff feel and I don’t see why I should be shielding the organisation from this level of disappointment from so many staff.”
Who’s telling the truth then? Bedwetter or the unions and councillors? One way to find out could be to read Bedwetter’s formal “best practice in consultation” document. It’s published with cabinet papers about the outsourcing and is scheduled to be rubberstamped by the Reverend and his Labour Cabinet next week.
Bedwetter’s consultation report is just one page long and while it goes into some detail about the process Bedwetter used to consult staff (which didn’t include using interpreters), there’s no mention anywhere about what staff actually said about his proposed transfer.
It’s an odd omission for a consultation report to have no content. It also means Bedwetter is unable to provide a shred of evidence, despite having apparently canvassed their opinion in a month long formal process, to back his claim that staff he has subsequently tried to gag are in favour of his plan.
Who should we believe? Notorious Director of Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, called out at the meeting as a liar and unable to produce written evidence from his own consultation for his self-serving claims, or councillors and elected trade union officials who directly represent the workers in question?
Chair of the meeting, limp Rees brown-noser and University of Bristol PhD perpetual student prat, John “Welly” Wellington, did manage to apologetically squeak at one point, “I don’t think you’re a liar John.”
Although the Labour Councillor for Windmill Hill, who’ll be quitting in May after a futile term of unquestioning loyalty to the Reverend’s right wing crap, didn’t offer any explanation as to why Bedwetter had attended his meeting and talked his typical brand of bollocks.
But let’s leave the last word to professional Lib Dem gobshite Councillor Gary “Hefty” Hopkins who told Welly’s HR meeting, “I don’t believe a word of what’s been presented to us by the management side.”
Chaos at a Bristol City Council HR meeting today as hapless HR Director Mark “Bashar” Williams cheerily announced that Town Hall Fat Cat Colin “Head Boy” Molton, our very own semi-detached senior officer on £1,500 a day, no longer worked for Bristol City Council.
This was shortly before Tory Boy councillor Richard “Bunter” Eddy described Bashar and his boss, Head of Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh’s statements on outsourcing cleaning and security staff as “worthy of Dr Goebbels and the Third Reich”!
Alas, Head Boy’s surprise disengagement from the second highest paid local authority job in the UK was short-lived after a member of the public asking questions about Head Boy’s whopping £274k pa pay packet piped up that Molton had attended a Temple Quarter and St Philip’s Marsh Cross Party Working Group on 22 January!
This left Bashar to foolishly mumble that “this is the information I have been given”. While who provided such an outright lie to Bashar – peering out from Zoom beside his boss, notorious liar, Head of Workforce, John Walsh – to feed to a committee of elected councillors was not made clear.
Irish Tory councillor, Paula O’Rourke who creeps and crawls around the Counts Louse under Green branding made a feeble attempt to ride to Bashar’s rescue explaining that she chairs the Temple Quarter and St Philip’s Marsh Cross Party Working Group and that everything was above board and Head Boy was being paid by “projects”!
So that’s all right then. All sorted. The man earning the second highest local authority salary in the UK does not work for Bristol City Council, he’s just paid by them while doing their work?
As the dust settles on the Reverend’s underwhelming and overpriced ‘BATTLE OF THE BEARPIT’ eviction assault on the city’s street homeless, People’s Republic of Stokes Croft and Bearpit Improvement Group stalwart, Chris “The Pot” Chalkley should allow himself a wry smile at the council’s thinking behind this latest turn of events. The Reverend Rees unleashed his PRIVATE STORMTROOPERS to clear the Bearpit of squatters and the homeless on 19 June after what he called “escalating public fears” following a low-key statement from the police that a man had suffered aminorfacial injury in the Bearpit.
The Reverend’s assault led by ineffective community worker turned ‘Street Czar’ Kurt “Wendy” James appeared to be devised as a HIGH PROFILE MEDIA EVENT and troops were piled in ready for a headline-grabbing scrap with the squatters of the Bearpit. Although things didn’t go quite to plan when just one man was arrested for a non-violent offence while the rest just drifted away from the Bearpit with a “fuck you” to the Reverend’s para-military bailiff team. Within a few hours bailiffs were stood around with the press in the middle of, possibly, THE MOST EXPENSIVELY SECURED ROUNDABOUT IN HISTORY.
The Battle of the Bearpit took place after an eviction hearing at Bristol’s Court of Justice where the city council arrived with a swanky barrister on top-dollar who proceeded to fail to prove the council owned the Bearpit. The court, instead, had to make do with a statement from ‘Street Czar’ Wendy claiming the council did own it but just couldn’t prove it at the moment. The barrister also blustered to the court that there was “AN URGENT NEED FOR “REDEVELOPMENT AND REGENERATION” at the Bearpit.
Really? An urgent need to expensively redevelop and regenerate a concrete underpass beneath a roundabout? This is why Chris The Pot should be pissing himself laughing. When he announced ten years ago that he intended to turn this ABANDONED, UNLOVED and UNDERUSED underpass popular only with the street homeless into an important cultural quarter, vibrant public space and open-air art gallery there were gales of laughter. Followed by a shrug of the shoulders from anyone in authority who had spent years pursuing a policy of “TARGET HARDENING” and “DISSUASION OF USE” in what studies had discovered was THE MOST FEARED SPACE IN CENTRAL BRISTOL. Certainly, no mention then from snooty bastards about “an urgent need for redevelopment and regeneration”.
So what’s changed? When did the Bearpit become valuable real estate? Who changed it and how? And who gets to cash in?
It’s trebles all round for the variety of FAILING BUSINESSES run by our council. At last month’s Cabinet meeting, politicians not only agreed a further £6MILLION HANDOUT for Bristol Energy, which has now had £37.7million of our money, but decided that Bristol Holding, the parent company for Bristol Energy, Bristol Waste and their low key data gathering firm, Bristol is Open, now needs AN EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN on a cool £150k a year.
This expensive appointment is the prelude to the council’s City LEAP energy venture where public assets and infrastructure such as wind turbines, solar panels and local heat networks will be handed over to Bristol Holding, basically A PRIVATE FIRM outside any useful public oversight. The holding company will then be able to use these assets as sweeteners to attract private sector investment. A plan that has all the characteristics of yet ANOTHER COUNCIL GIVEAWAY TO THE PRIVATE sector.
The Reverend’s finance chief, Craig “Dick” Cheney, also used City LEAP as the excuse for keeping his LOSS MAKING SHAMBLES of an energy firm afloat for reasons he didn’t make very clear. Will we end up funding this LOSS-MAKING VANITY FIRM indefinitely while the private sector gives it a wide berth and cherry picks other valuable public assets for PROFIT? It was also quietly announced at the same meeting that Bristol University was pulling out of the underperforming joint venture data gathering firm Bristol is Open. Although it’s not yet clear whether the university JUMPED or were PUSHED.
How long before our council is handing any ‘smart city data’ they’ve gathered about us over to the private sector hawks that are circling?
In March 2018 a FW ( fellow worker) working in Child Protection for Bristol City Council (BCC) was suspended from his post. He was charged with issues under the code of conduct, and most of the first set of allegations against him related to a closed Labour Party Facebook page. The group are made up of labour activists, who regularly discuss policy and procedure in BCC. The FW was conversing with a union shop steward about the Walter Ayles anti-war artwork. This had been taken down after orders from BCC. But after an outcry, the Council had to apologise, and the artwork was replaced.The face book posting had been given to the council by Mayor Marvin Rees. Therefore, rather than just speaking to the labour party member, he tried to get them dismissed from their post in Child Protection. He also, by his actions, closed down a labour party face book group, and shut down free speech concerning BCC’s activities. Furthermore, he may have breeched rights of members under data protection legislation. All in all, Mayor Rees has attacked his own party members, and stopped them discussing his own policies. Hardly a beacon of democracy, and more will be forthcoming about this. Probably just prior to his reselection attempts.
Marvin failed to get the activist sacked for this, but then BCC forwarded more allegations, and tried to refuse our FW trade union support. The Head of Workforce, a Mr John Walsh wrote in an email, that the IWW secured, that the caseworker must be “shut down”. Hardly in line with the ethos of an open and transparent disciplinary process. Walsh carried on in his attempts to carry on with out the FW having representation, until BCC employed an expensive consultant. This consultant had to explain to Walsh that he could not do this, and also, he had to follow his employer’s own policies. This consultant even had to explain to Walsh what “will” meant, in the context of employment legislation; unbelievable when you consider that this person’s wages equate to a couple of libraries being kept open.
The other allegations revolved around a twitter account, held by the Bristol Citizen. The Citizen regularly criticises BCC’s officers, councillors and policies. The democratic Mayor and his officers cannot stand this and were determined to prove that our FW was the Citizen. One small problem, they did not have a shred of proof, not a smidgen, absolutely bugger all. Their main “proof” was that it was common knowledge in the Public Relations Office, and the Mayor’s Office, that the FW was the Bristol Citizen. Come the day they could not supply a single statement, or witness. The IWW contacted the Bristol Citizen, who did provide a statement, and some interesting information.
Whilst this incompetent mess could be seen as the council just being completely out of their trees. The FW does have some history with BCC. In 2012 he whistle blew that a six figure some was missing from Bristol markets. This figure could build a children’s centre, or similar. Rather than a full investigation, he lost his job and was lucky to be redeployed. To this day, the money is still missing and there has not been any disciplinary process, other than against the whistle blower. No other FWs in the council have had to put up with this level of incompetence relating to disciplinary. So we can only conclude that these bizarre allegations, and the victimisation that followed, were due to him being a whistle blower. He even phoned the Council’s whistle blower’s helpline, to get an answer phone, and no help.
Our FW is made of stern stuff though, and he had the support of the best Union in the world. After 8 ½ months on suspension. 15 allegations, the employment of 2 external consultants, and hundreds of officer’s hours, all at a great cost to the tax payers of this city. He won his hearing, as everything was unfounded. He will go back to his Child Protection role, supporting vulnerable children in our city. But, we are not finished. There are serious questions to be answered, both from the Mayor, but also Mr Walsh. He started by trying to deny the FW his trade union rights, interfered in the case, and even instructed the FWs witnesses not to engage. Furthermore, the Bristol Citizen tells us that he has history. He was involved in the sacking of several whistle blowers in Wakefield. The Citizen has tweeted this, and the IWW will be investigating further. We do not need these people in our City. We need proper, transparent public services, run by a democratic council. If they cannot do this, we will.
A bizarre new turn in the neverending saga of the non-appearance of a RECYCLING CENTRE for south Bristol on Hartcliffe Way.
The centre, readers may recall, was signed off to be built by the Lib Dems in 2012 and then kicked into touch a few months later when recently elected Mayor No-More Ferguson decided to pursue his environmental goals through the medium of CIRCUS PERFORMANCE and FREE PIES for the wealthy.
In May 2016, at his inauguration speech, The Reverend appeared to resurrect the plan, PROMISING south Bristol a recycling centre on Hartcliffe Way as outlined in his ‘Our Bristol Plan’ manifesto. Since when, NOTHING WHATSOEVER has happened to deliver the centre.
Now, in 2018, we find that the south Bristol Labour Party has set up a PETITION. “We the undersigned call on Bristol City Council to take steps to deliver the long-promised recycling centre on Hartcliffe Way.”
Er, that’s right. The Bristol Labour Party is petitioning itself to get their own manifesto promise delivered by 2019! What a shambles.
Councillors, with bugger all to do since the Reverend Rees decided he didn’t want them scrutinising his work in detail any more, are finally ASKING QUESTIONS about the council’s two companies – Bristol Energy and Bristol Waste.
Councillors from all parties have been querying whether, in legal terms, Bristol Waste – a so-called ‘TECKAL COMPANY’ that can be selected to deliver council services without going through a procurement process – should be treated in the same way as a Council directorate for audit purposes. In other words, should there be FULL PUBLIC ACCESS to the company’s income and expenditure accounts like any other council department?
The Reverend and his panicky bosses have, so far, responded by trying to SHUT COUNCILLORS UP. They claim that a secret “independent review” of the companies has required Bristol Waste to establish its own audit committee while Bristol Energy had already established an audit committee. This is enough oversight argue the Reverend’s gophers.
Councillors, however, concerned at mounting LOSSES and excessive SECRECY at the companies, are reputed to be less than happy with the Reverend’s response and his insistence on constant secrecy for his failing companies. Especially as, at present, only ONE COUNCILLOR, the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board, is permitted to attend Shareholder Group meetings and only as an observer.
Shareholder Group meetings are where the finances and management of these companies are discussed. But, “due to the commercial sensitivity of the matters discussed”, the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board is then BANNED from SHARING any information with other councillors.
Many councillors, permanently out-of-the-loop and concerned at the LOSSES and the general CONDUCT of companies they’re responsible for, are now saying that it’s “too limiting to maintain a situation whereby only one non-executive Council member is given access to information.”
How much longer can the Reverend keep his “commercially confidential” company bandwagon on the road? It increasingly looks like pressure is mounting from both the public and councillors for exactly the kind of TRANSPARENCY the Reverend promised us during his election campaign.
As the amount of homeless people on our streets grows due to government austerity measures, the Reverend and his mates have a plan.
So, who’s in charge? Social Care? No. Health? No. Er, Bristol Waste are carrying out the new procedure. They’re now threatening to steal what little property rough sleepers have in an attempt to clear the streets of homeless people so that shoppers can consume without having to trip over them.
People don’t choose to become homeless. This is a direct effect of austerity that has cut funds to services. The Nazi Post did a study of rough sleepers and discovered people who had lost their business, broken their back and couldn’t work or got kicked out of a flat when their dad died of cancer.
Most of these human beings are at their wits end. They have tried to get help but to no avail. So they’re sleeping on the streets with their worldly possessions. Many have been beaten up. One comrade was dragged from his tent, beaten with a golf club and told to “fuck off back to his own country”. Do they mean Somerset, which is where he came from? Others have had their possessions burned.
Now the Council are joining in. One young woman told a reporter that she was scared to go to the toilet in case council bullies stole her stuff. This is theft. She was even trying to sell a few trinkets, so that she would not be forced into prostitution and the Council stopped her doing that. This is just bullying people who lack the resources to fight back. Why is Bristol Waste even handling this? Human beings are not garbage. The remaining stuff they have is theirs, just like ours in our homes.
Maybe, the next time our Mayor leads the “masses” on another march against his austerity measures, he doesn’t want to trip over the casualties of his own endeavours? Spend some of your reserves you cunt! We also understand that when he has his jolly for fellow global mayors later this year, they do not want to see people lying in the streets. It might put them off the canapes and champagne as they discuss what a terribly difficult job they do.
Stealing people’s stuff will not make them go away. Until the authorities in this city stand up to central government, it will get worse. Bullying is not the answer. They teach you that at school Marvin. Also, remember, many working class people are one paycheck away from becoming homeless themselves. It can happen to anyone in Tory Britain, which is a sobering thought.
Please try to give some cash to the homeless. They do not choose to sleep out in a damp sleeping bag during winter. And if you see the council bullies stealing property from the homeless, stop them. Talk to them. See where they are taking the stolen property and try to help the human being who is being attacked.
They are not a problem, the inequalities of wealth are. The Mayor is a fucking hypocrite.