Tag Archives: Bundred Report

BUNDRED: AUDITORS OFF THE HOOK?

After FIVE YEARS of reporting continuous improvement for themselves and the council’s finances to their Audit Committee, the council’s crisis-hit Internal Audit Department makes another historic U-TURN.

They are now reporting to councillors that their “required Internal Audit Plan is not deliverable within existing resources” because of the “scale of finance improvements required”. How can this be when they’ve reported nothing but fantastic IMPROVEMENTS in finance management at the council for the last five years?

Also, in a sloppy piece of DROSS that will be remarkably familiar to anyone who’s seen a child’s homework thrown together five minutes before deadline, the Rev’s Chief Exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski’s meek and mild whitewash – ‘Response to Bundred Review’ (sic) – published last month, singled out the Internal Audit Department for criticism.

“We will seek to improve how reports produced by the internal / external auditor, other regulators and inspectors are dealt with and shared and continue to strengthen our approach for responding to recommendations,” she ambiguously wrote. Presumably this is the formal response after finance investigator Steve Bundred discovered, while looking at Bristol’s £30m overspend, that independent Internal Audit reports for councillors had been secretly REWRITTEN by senior bosses to make it look like they had achieved savings they hadn’t?

Big Wedge went on to say “a peer review of the Internal Audit function has been commissioned which will also embed Key Audit deliverables in Service BAU [business as usual]. Additional resource has been appointed on an interim basis to support the improvement journey.”

So basically this useless department that’s been on a five year journey of FAILURE, INCOMPETENCE and deliberately MISLEADING councillors on finance matters until exposed by Bundred will now be treated to an inclusive, blame-free advice session from fellow-professionals who they know?

Where are the heads on plates?

BUNDRED: NOTHING GOING IN WRITING FROM REES’S BENT LAWYER

The Reverend Rees’s response to the Bundred Report into the council’s MULTIPLE FINANCIAL FAILINGS, being personally overseen by his chronically underperforming donkey of a new Chief Exec, Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski, is FALLING APART before it’s even started.

On Tuesday – in the middle of a General Election when politicians are looking the other way – Ms Big Wedge published her SEMI-LITERATE, ‘Response to the Bundred Review’ for the Cabinet to sign-off next week. Page 4 of Big Wedge’s rambling error-strewn drivel tells us:

“S[enior]L[eadership]T[eam] have agreed and the Chief Executive has recently reinforced the need for reports rather than presentations to be used as the basis of discussions and decisions.”

So come Thursday and Ms Klonwoski’s incompetent legal boss and Monitoring Officer, Shahzia “Dim” Daya – who personally oversaw and signed off the UNLAWFUL BUDGET of 2016 at the heart of the controversy – published her own report to councillors, ‘Scrutiny Structures and New Ways of Working – Hothouse Outcomes’.

This report is just one page long and tells councillors, “Full details of the outcomes of the Scrutiny review will be provided by Members VERBALLY at the meeting.”

So much for “the need for REPORTS rather than PRESENTATIONS to be used as the basis of discussions and decisions” then. Do the new rules not apply to lazy and bent Monitoring Officers?

The significance of all this is that councillors simply did not have the necessary ACCESS and INFORMATION they required to scrutinise what their bent managers were up to in 2015 – 17. This new scrutiny review is supposed to correct that.

Although it looks to us like councillors are being blatantly set up to fail all over again by exactly the same council bosses who conned them last time.

BUNDRED: GRAMMAR CLASS

OK. Here’s the Reverend’s new Chief Executive, Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski’s long-awaited ‘Response to the Bundred Review’ going to cabinet next week.

The Bundred Review, you may recall, discovered that Bristol City Council was a financial basketcase where senior managers were running amok committing a variety of offences in order to massage our council’s accounts for their own benefit.

Many of us have been hotly anticipating clear and bold action from the Reverend and his well remunerated sidekick, Ms Big Wedge, to clear up this fiasco and nail the culprits once and for all. Alas, it looks like we may be disappointed.

One of Bundred’s many recommendations raised by Ms Big Wedge in her new report is:

“The Council should take steps to build on recent improvements in the quality of reporting and document management. Where necessary guidance should be issued, or training provided, to report authors emphasising the importance of clarity, transparency, analysis and advice (paragraph 121).”

Another is:

“Members should be less tolerant of poor quality reports than they appear to have been in the past (paragraph 120).”

OK then. Who’s gonna tell Ms Big Wedge the standard of English, grammar and syntax in her report is simply not good enough? Here’s a few random examples from the first two pages:

“To ensure that cross directorate saving proposal [sic] or proposals that covered [sic] more than one Directorate are achieved, each savings proposal has been allocated a named Strategic and Service Director lead as accountable officers.”

And:

“Further consultation will be required in respect of some areas of savings proposals and will commence when the General Elections [is there more than one?] have concluded. This has required Officers to consider further mitigations to assure delivery of the budgets in these unusual circumstances.”

And:

“In addition, Directorates will be challenged to explore alternative options for meeting the cost pressures faced within their existing resources or seek supplementary estimate [sic] to increase the directorate spending limit.”

And:

“This has now been put into implementation [sic] and should ensure there is a shared understanding and approach to council processes across the organisation that supports all Members.”

For fucks sake, “Put into implementation”? Isn’t there a word for that – ‘implemented’? Have the Reverend, Big Wedge or the council never heard of proofreading?

Meanwhile moving on to the subject of ‘clarity’. Try some of these for size:

“We have also reviewed, aligned and combined the monthly mechanisms for managers and their Service/Strategic directors to submit a holistic view of savings delivery from a financial and action focussed perspective.”

If anyone has the foggiest idea what Service/Strategic directors will be physically submitting and to who, please get in touch.

Or try this nightmare piece of prose from the depths of hell:

“Member oversight is a new element of this governance process that now includes a Delivery Executive. This involves attendance by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor (Finance, Governance and Performance) who is the chair of the new Delivery Executive. This meeting provides an opportunity to discuss the savings proposals, delivery and implementation and provides an additional challenge, enables further investigation of the detail, reviews any mitigating actions and provides a formal feedback loop to Cabinet with an overview of progress on savings delivery. Relevant Portfolio holders also attend these sessions, providing joint ownership and accountability for savings by both members and officers.”

This seems to be suggesting “member (ie, councillor) oversight” will be a matter for a “Delivery Executive”, which includes only one member out of 70 – the Deputy Mayor – plus possibly “relevant portfolio holders”. This meeting will then provide a “formal feedback loop”  to Cabinet members (although in order to be a “formal feedback loop” wouldn’t it have to return to the Delivery Executive where it came from?)

So Big Wedge’s “member oversight” stretches to around nine cabinet members if we’re generous and include those in her new-style “formal feedback loop”. The other 62 normal councillors who aren’t in the executive can presumably fuck off then?

Now try this bollocks for size:

“A one-off investment fund has been allocated to support savings related change activity across the council, this also includes funding a proportion of the change resource within the council. The resource is limited, making the threshold for allocation of this resource high, therefore promoting local ownership of service change and savings delivery, whilst mitigating against increased savings targets in future years for replenishment once this resource is fully used.”

We’ve no idea either. And what’s “mitigating against” all about? Meaning is so lost in there that it’s hard to tell whether it’s a straightforward error mistaking ‘mitigating’ for ‘militating’ or whether it’s the tautology ‘mitigating against’.

And finally (as we can’t stand any more of this half-arsed meaningless drivel):

“To ensure the achievement of long term improvements in the function, it will be necessary to take an end-to-end approach, combination of top down and bottom up initiatives, take along those involved in the execution of the operations; optimise the finance functions by removing waste and re-focus on core and value add activities.”

Excellent use of cliché, ambiguity and vague platitudes that could mean anything from Ms Big Wedge here.

Wouldn’t it all be so much simpler and provide a helluva lot more ‘clarity’ if she just fired the arseholes who fucked up the accounts in the first place and instead employed some people who can write reports competently in plain English and implement the proposed plans?

Bundred Response Recommendations FINAL-2