Tag Archives: Bundred Report

COUNCIL CORRUPTION – OUT OF CONTROL?

Paul Arrogant: “procurement rules are for the little people”

Big shout out to PERFORM GREEN LTD, the lucky recipient of a number of lucrative IT contracts with Bristol City Council. The main one being a contract with the council’s brand spanking new snooping operation (surely state-of-the-art CCTV Traffic Control Centre? Ed.).

This lucky company have scooped £248k so far this year for their selfless public service efforts. Big shout out too to PAUL ARRIGONI, appointed a director of Perform Green Ltd last November, just six months after starting work with the firm in May 2016.

And what remarkable progress this star employee’s made. Unbelievably, since he began employment with the firm, their earnings from the city council have LEAPED from around £5k a month to £28k a month!

But hang on, Paul “Arrogant” Arrigoni? Wasn’t he the Service Director, Business Change and ICT at Bristol City Council until April 2016 when he scarpered in DISGRACE? The man at the centre of the Bundred scandal after his useless Business Change department missed their savings target by a cool £30million and then created an UNLAWFUL BUDGET in 2016 to disguise the losses?

Indeed, so perspicacious was Arrogant in covering his tracks while at Bristol City Council, he even went to the effort of REWRITING an Internal Audit Report for councillors in autumn 2015 assuring them all was well with his savings efforts when it wasn’t.

Adding to this sense of OUTRIGHT CORRUPTION at the heart of Bristol City Council and its endless merry-go-round of bent bosses filling their boots, we’re reliably informed that NO procurement process was undertaken before Perform Green Ltd were awarded their six-figure sum control centre deal with the city council.

Shouldn’t someone be calling Inspector Knacker? (He may even be spending some time at Arrigoni’s control centre …)

BIG WEDGE’S BULLY SHAME

The Reverend with his Bully-in-Chief

WAS REES RUNNING A BULLYING CULTURE FROM THE TOP AT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL?

Why has the council’s chief lawyer and Bundred crook, Shahzia “Dim” Daya started threatening councillors with legal action if they discuss the recently departed council Chief Exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski with the press?

Total mystery surrounds the sudden RESIGNATION of the Reverend Rees’s representative on Earth and chief bag carrier. Big Wedge, barely six months into a role filling her boots with extraordinary sums of public cash while leading an inane “improvement journey” at the council quit on Monday 4 September for “family reasons” taking a payoff reputedly in the region of £70k. What for?

This, so the story goes, is because Big Wedge suddenly discovered her parents were seriously ill and she needed to to look after them. We can only sympathise with this SUDDEN and SIMULTANEOUS deterioration of these executive parents, both of whose health apparently collapsed in the six months since Big Wedge began her latest well remunerated public sector “improvement journey”.

No doubt Big Wedge watchers are pleased that she’s continued to display her remarkably ordinary intellect and way with a tired old cliche to the very end. Isn’t quitting for “family reasons” a hackneyed old code in political circles for “JUMPING BEFORE I’M PUSHED“? So what has Big Wedge really been up to?

Creating and running a systematic BULLYING CULTURE at the top of the council is what. We understand that in early September a letter began circulating claiming that Big Wedge had personally bullied 14 Service Directors out of Bristol City Council over the last year and had then paid them off to keep them silent.

Intrigued, a local reporter called the council’s PR department where they were greeted with barely-concealed PANIC at the mention of Big Wedge and bullying. The reporter was promised they would receive a call back with a statement. Obviously this never came.

Instead, for the rest of the week, local newspaper editors received regular calls from various senior bosses and PR types at the council BEGGING them not to run any bullying stories in relation to Big Wedge. Then – after a weekend, apparently considering her position – Big Wedge announced the following Monday morning she was quitting “for family reasons”. Coincidence or wot?

What’s even stranger, however, is why the Reverend and Big Wedge ever thought bullying bosses out of the organisation and paying large compensation packages was necessary? (Were they getting a kick out of bullying their staff?) Because didn’t they have a brand new INDEPENDENT REPORT (kept secret from us) into their managers’ conduct around financial management in 2015 – 16 and the unlawful budget set in 2016?

So why wasn’t this report used as the basis for DISCIPLINARY ACTION against these bosses? This would have saved us a fortune and ensured none of these crooks ever worked in local government again. Surely a win-win?

Or maybe this secret report contains some rather more uncomfortable facts that need to remain secret? For example, Klonowski started working in a SENIOR ROLE in finance at Bristol City Council in 2015. What exactly did she know about HIDDEN DEBTS and UNLAWFUL BUDGETS?

Similarly, council lawyer Shahzia “Dim” Daya, who’s still got her feet firmly under the table at the Counts Louse and is now threatening councillors all over again, OVERSAW the council budget meeting in 2016 where an unlawful budget was set with her FULL KNOWLEDGE. Alison “Three Jobs” Comley – still raking in a six figure sum – also knew all about the unlawful budget, according to PUBLISHED MINUTES, and she continues in post trashing parks and unlawfully refusing to house the homeless.

Then there’s the pair of BENT CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITORS who knew lots and lots about unachieved savings and inaccurate reports to councillors. They, too, are still collecting generous salaries for their mendacity and failure.

Isn’t it time the Reverend published his secret new report into his bent bosses so we can find out what’s been going on inside his useless council and we can sort it out if he can’t?

NB. Any legal threats in relation to this article to the Bristolian’s email please.

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