A freedom of investigation request asked the council to provide ‘the criteria for a company not owned or controlled by the Council to use City Hall, Ashton Court or the Mansion House as their Registered Office’?
The council responded that ‘no such criteria existed‘. So how are companies that are neither owned nor controlled by the Council using prestigious city council addresses for their Registered Offices?
For example, the Bristol Buildings Preservation Trust Limited (company 01549056), has their Registered Office at City Hall. Stepping-Up Leadership Community Interest Company (company 12533716), one of whose directors is cabinet member Asher “The Slasher” Craig, has their Registered Office at Ashton Court Mansions. While Parsnip Mash Ltd (company 07166972), has their Registered Office at The Lord Mayor’s Mansion.
Inactive “activists” and non-campaigning “campaigners” star in desperately shite sham report that council’s top lawyer is pretending isn’t anything to do with him
A little late but, as promised by outgoing Chief Exec Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson, Bristol City Council has published a heavily redacted ‘fact-finding’ report into their SEND spying scandal.
This is the scandal of senior education bosses casually obtaining personal information from the internet, including wedding photos, on parents with SEND children. With no regard for the law, this personal information was then gleefully shared among City Hall bosses and third party organisations to undermine the local Parent Carer Forum and the parents it supports.
The education bosses even appear to have attempted a spot of what’s popularly called “doxxing” by obtaining what they considered identifying information from the internet on parents and then outing them to third parties.
Luckily for the officers involved in this potentially unlawful conduct, their names have been redacted in the report. However, in order not to protect the guilty and help you avoid some massive tossers, we’re happy to name some of the key arseholes in the council’s senior education team involved in the spy operation: Alison “Purvey” Hurley, Director of Education; Vikki Jervis, Principle Education Psychologist; Virginia Roberts, WSOA/SEND consultant; Gale Rogers, Head of Children’s Commissioning; Jess Baugh, Commissioning Manager.
A number of unnamed individuals in the council’s external comms team, managed by failed journalist Saskia “Hindley” Koynenburg were also involved. Information on these individuals welcome. Why should they be allowed to skulk in the shadows and fuck with us?
The report, itself, is a grim farrago of half-arsed backside covering attributed to Bristol City Council’s “Legal Services”. Largely because legal boss “L’il” Tim O’Gara may not want his name anywhere near such a political document that may cost some of the idiots involved their jobs.
O’Gara’s report is just ten slim pages. Eight of which are wholly irrelevant and dedicated to a nakedly political and obsessive attack on the Bristol Parent Carer Forum (BPC), which two parents at the centre of the scandal are involved with. The council’s main angle on the pair is that they were “activists” and “campaigners” against the council and its SEND team and this was a conflict of interest with their roles at BPC.
The obvious response to this is, so fucking what? And what right do council managers and directors have to spy on “activists” and “campaigners” anyway? Do residents of Bristol effectively forfeit basic human rights and their dignity if the council randomly labels them “activists” and “campaigners” on the basis of unreliable evidence gleaned off the internet?
Having dehumanised their SEND spy victims as “activists” and “campaigners” with no rights, the council’s report fails to identify anything resembling a “campaign” or “action” from either parent. Instead the parents’ only apparent action was to discuss the poor quality of Bristol’s SEND offer on social media with each other!
When did conversing with friends, acquaintances and relatives become “activism” and “campaigning”? Who made up this nonsense, which is basically cover for a crude state assault on the free speech of Bristol SEND parents on the internet? And a blatant attempt to stop dissent and criticism of a failing local public service so that the incompetents running it can pump out cheery fake news about the service instead and continue to bank fat salaries they don’t deserve.
Helpfully, the report clearly indicates that this “campaigning”/”activist” schtick is all a load of bollocks. Para 16 says:
Remarkably, the report is openly acknowledging that its “campaigning”/”activist” concerns may not even be true but concludes that doesn’t matter because some fantasists at City Hall think they might be true! A piece of Alice in Wonderland logic that opens the door for council bosses to unlawfully investigate citizens on the basis of false facts and fictional concerns. So that’s all right then.
Another purpose of all this meandering drivel seems to be that it allows O’Gara to avoid the actual purpose of his report, which should be an investigation into spying on parents by council bosses.
An expensive SEVEN YEAR FIASCO of
‘agile working’ continues unchallenged at Bristol City Council. There’s still
NO EVIDENCE that the council’s plan to buy the Temple Street Lubianka for £18m
and expensively refurbish the Counts Louse at a further cost of £16m while
selling off council offices across the city has delivered any savings.
Alongside the pricey property
arrangements came a ‘Workplace Programme’ promoting HALF-BAKED TECH
SOLUTIONS and fashionable MANAGEMENT CONSULTANCY NONSENSE. This
claimed the council could create money-saving “new agile working
environments” for their workforce by issuing staff with laptops, smart
phones and tablets and promoting home-working and mobile working to save money.
The expensive plans, put together by UNACCOUNTABLE
MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS, originally came with promises of £60m of savings by
Max Wide “Boy”, one of the many execs who have rolled in through THE
COUNCIL’S REVOLVING DOOR over the last few years to scrounge a six-figure
salary. Wide Boy arrived in 2013 and departed out again in 2016 leaving a
£30 million agile working-shaped DEBT in his wake.
Fast foward three years and the ‘Agile
Working’ fiasco continues. A recent report to councillors on the latest AGILE
WORKING FAILURE in adult care – where the implementation of tablets and
tech on the advice of consultants has belly-flopped – explains, “there
still isn’t a clearly defined and available benefits document for the Agile
In other words after seven years of
forking out HUGE SUMS OF MONEY on the advice of management consultants
procured by high-earning council directors, no one HAS MEASURED THE COST
EFFECTIVENESS of their ‘agile working’ strategy. Consequently the obvious
conclusion that cutting back staff and giving those that remain a tablet will NOT
SAVE ANY MONEY is still yet to be reached.
Although any targets for rewarding failure among council execs and their management consultants continue to be exceeded.
ON THE DAY IT’S FINALLY REVEALED THAT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL’S FORMER CHIEF EXEC, NICOLA “LADY GAGA” YATES LEFT LAST MONTH WITH A £196K PAY OFF FROM THE THE REVEREND MARVIN REES, WE START TO REVEAL THE APPALLING FINANCIAL BASKETCASE GAGA AND HER SENIOR BOSSES HAVE TURNED OUR COUNCIL INTO … AND WHO’S GONNA PAY FOR IT
How has Bristol City Council property boss Robert “Spunkface” Orrett already managed to run up a LOSS of £9m in his department this year? Surely there’s some mistake? Wasn’t Spunkface brought in from the super efficient, cash generating private sector to prevent just this kind of public sector waste and profligacy?
Spunkface: business pro who can’t identify a £9m loss?
A brief read of the Reverend Rees’s emergency finance report – expensively prepared by his highly-paid private sector finance consultant Anna “BIG WEDGE” Klonowski, managing director of Elka Solutions Ltd management consultancy – reveals that Spunkface has managed to turn a profit projected to be £7.5m in March’s budget into a LOSS of £1.5m five months later!
Most of the excuses concocted for this financial shambles float in a special space between useless and the absurd. According to Ms Big Wedge, Spunkface has flopped because he’s FAILED to increase return on investment property holdings; he’s FAILED to reduce running costs from the disposal of admin buildings and he’s FAILED to reduce facilities management costs as promised.
Since the rental income from INVESTMENT PROPERTIES was £10m in 2015 – 16 – slightly up from £9.5m in 2014 -15. It’s is hard to see how Spunkface or the council thought they could increase this income by £7.5m this year … So it’s nothing to do with that then.
Similarly, FACILITIES MANAGEMENT costs are just £4.3m a year so there’s no £7.5m savings to be made there … So it’s nothing to do with that then.
This just leaves the running costs saved from the disposal of admin buildings. A major part of recently departed strategic director Max Wide “Boy’s” SINGLE CHANGE PROGRAMME that was going to deliver £60m of carefully designed strategic cuts by March 2017.
MAX WIDE ‘BOY’: has packed up his Powerpoint slides and fled
The jewel in the crown of these proposals was the ‘WORKPLACE PROGRAMME‘. The plan being that council would create “new agile working environments” for all council staff in just TWO BUILDINGS – an expensively refurbished Counts Louse and the newly purchased £15m Temple Street base. Apparently this could save the council a fortune in office rentals and leases and by having less buildings to maintain and administrate.
The new ‘agile work environments’ are already universally loathed by staff as corporate, sterile and IMPRACTICAL. Relying on expensive half-baked tech solutions and fashionable nonsense in an attempt to appear modern, the offices have only found favour with sad and lonely senior local authority bosses who appear to gain a sense of importance wafting around the ‘flexible space’ with their iPads.
Alas, Wide Boy’s Single Change Programme and on-trend ‘agile environment’ plans may not have panned out quite as he had planned. Before legging it in June he alleged via one of his many vague (but extremely agile with the truth) Powerpoint presentations to GULLIBLE COUNCILLORS that he had managed to deliver just £30m of his promised ‘savings’ up to April. Meaning a further £30m savings had to be found this year.
But now we find that a £9m shaped HOLE has appeared in Property Services exactly where Wide Boy’s agile ‘Workplace Programme’ savings should be. That means that Wide Boy’s overall savings are actually £21m not £30m. A cock-up that 1,000 low paid council staff will now have to pay for with their jobs. Less ‘agile working’ and more ‘fragile working’!
Reverend Rees: employed a new gang of twats on big money?
So why don’t council bosses openly tell us about this financial savings BELLYFLOP and their wholly misconceived corporate ‘agile’ cock up? Indeed, why hasn’t Spunkface – as a responsible public servant – prepared a proper detailed report on the finances in his Property Department for the mayor and councillors? As opposed to keeping his head down and trying to bury this enormous senior management CLUSTERFUCK in an opaque set of accounts?
Could it have anything to do with the fact that Marvin’s newly installed team of highly paid bosses – some pulling in a GRAND A DAYon temporary contracts; others tax efficiently creaming £80k A QUARTER – are just about to embark on yet another top-down reorganisation?
They’re promising, with lashings of corporate jargon, natch, lots more huge savings. So maybe they don’t want anyone noticing that the last reorganisation was a load of OVERPRICED BULLSHIT run by a bunch of highly paid INCOMPETENTS and cover-up artists?
Are The Reverend’s newly assembled little gang of greedy bosses and management consultants preparing to deliver their own under-powered reorganisation using the same old over-powered corporate PR techniques safe in the knowledge they, too, can do A RUNNER before the shit hits the fan?
And Look! Top of the new bosses’ list – promising to deliver £16m of savings by March 2017 – is Wide Boy’s utterly failed and useless SINGLE CHANGE PROGRAMME!
The current multi-million pound refurbishment of the Counts Louse will include the THIRD refurbishment of the building’s third floor management suite for profligate twats on six-figure salaries in SIX YEARS!
In 2009 former Chief Exec JAN ORMONDROYD spent a six figure sum refurbishing her office suite in the regal style with purple carpeting, bullet proof glass and the legendary strategic leadership fridge.
Then last year, new Chief Exec Nicola “LADY GAGA” Yates spent a load of money on furniture and IT kit to stamp her personal style on the third floor. Indeed, she even threw a tantrum and fired the council’s Workplace Programme Manager, GRAHAM SKINNER when her new furniture didn’t arrive on time and thus putting a £60m project into chaos!
Now, in this age of austerity, more money is being spent refurbing the management suite all over again! This time to create an ‘AGILE WORKSPACE‘ we’re told.
Let’s just hope when we get a new mayor next year they like the results or, no doubt, we’ll be forking out another six figure sum for new carpets, soft furnishings and an a la mode mayoral cappuccino machine!
Rumours of a Shitty Hall meltdown emerge as news reaches your caring, sharing BRISTOLIAN that no less than THREE senior Bristol City Council senior managers sensationally QUIT last week.
All – apparently – are unable to work any longer in Mayor Fergo’s shambolic ‘rule-by-Twitter’ and ‘manage-by-foolish-announcement-on-BBC-Radio-Bristol’ regime. Sources in the council have also revealed to us that these exits are being accompanied by UNUSUALLYLARGE CASH PAYMENTS from our cash-strapped council to some of the quitters.
The quitters so far identified to The BRISTOLIAN include senior finance boss, Peter ‘Robbin-us’ Robinson; communications boss, Peter ‘Claudia-Jean’ Holt and belly-flopping major projects manager Alun ‘It’s a Fuck Up’ Owen, the man in charge of the rubbish BRT project and who tried, a few years ago, to swap – with the city’s wealthiest man – a piece of our land at Ashton Gate worth millions for a few hundred cut-price health club memberships. A deal he laughably described as “good value”.
In a further extraordinary twist, a source has confirmed to The BRISTOLIAN that Peter Robbin-us, who fled for the shires on Friday, was handed £50,0000 of our money as he went out of the door. This is unusual as Robbin-us, who voluntarily resigned to take up a post in Hereford – deep in the Tory shires where, traditionally, bent accountants have oiled the wheels of commerce and power – would not usually be entitled to a redundancy payment. How many times have you voluntarily put in notice to take up another job and then been rewarded with a massive redundancy payment?
And even if this was a redundancy payment, the amount involved has raised eyebrows. Just three years ago, the council’s former Chief Exec, the BRADFORD SUN QUEEN, Jan Ormondroyd introduced strict limits on redundancy payments to senior managers ensuring all payments were capped to reflect a pay maximum of £35,0000 a year, less than half Robbin-us’s generous wage. So even in the unlikely event Robbin-us was entitled to the maximum amount of redundancy over the maximum time period, he’s still received an amount of our money some 50% over his entitlement!
Our source confirms that this is because Robbin-us did not receive redundancy at all. Instead he was paid handsomely for signing a COMPROMISE AGREEMENT with a convenient GAGGING CLAUSE agreed by Mayor Fergo’s new City Director Nicola ‘LADY GAGA’ Yates, who has a bit of form for shutting her staff up. Such agreements should be used to settle genuine legal disputes not cover-up dodgy public money payments to senior bosses. However, any details of this agreement are conveniently now secret thanks to this little clause in the deal:
What a joke! Bristol City Council has effectively GAGGED ITSELF from discussing with the public, its councillors or journalists its own dodgy pay outs to its former managers. Where’s the accountability? This news comes just a few months after a national scandal over the city’s excessive use of compromise deals to gag staff, which had senior managers assuring councillors that these deals “are only ever used in exceptional circumstances”.
Yeah. An exceptional circumstance like when they want to give one of their mates a generous, top secret pay-off.
Staff at the council, meanwhile, are said to be livid at the deal. Robin-us’s reputation at Shitty Hall is appalling. In the last year he’s purchased a new finance system from Agilisys, “one of the UK’s most innovative IT and business services providers”, as part of a £40m outsourcing deal, which has been described to the BRISTOLIAN reliably as, “a load of shit that doesn’t work … that must have been bought by a cretin who’s never operated a computer before”.
He’s also DELIBERATELY DRAGGED HIS FEET over locating £165k missing from the council’s Markets Service (BRISTOLIAN passim). Insiders tell us, “he’s more interested in COVERING HIS MIDDLE MANAGEMENT CRONIES’ ARSES than the sound management of public money.”
While so degraded was Robin-us’s financial management culture that his own internal auditors, responsible for investigating irregularity, fraud and corruption, are now openly admitting that they can no longer protect whistleblowers from what’s been described to us as “A SLEAZY CULTURE OF MANAGEMENT BULLYING AND COVER-UP”.
So, while kids go hungry, families queue at food banks and our streets remain uncleaned you can rest assured that our local authority’s former senior managers are all doing just fine, thanks.
SEE The BRISTOLIAN #4.7 (out in October) FOR EVEN MORE:
Robin-us’s parting shot –the finance boss’s exit plan to slash our services and create a Barnet-style ‘easyCouncil’
The Sun Queen’s pay-off – how Jan Ormondroyd avoided her own redundancy rules to trouser her own secret wedge