Tag Archives: City Hall

FROM AGILE TO FRAGILE: HOW SENIOR COUNCIL BOSSES HAVE SCREWED THEIR STAFF #1

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

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’ - There'll be hell toupee with him in charge...

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’!

Marvin: talked shit and lost to a red trousered arse

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 DAY on 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!

That’s gonna work like a dream isn’t it?

SWANKY OFFICE WATCH

George buys 100 Temple Street for a bargain £18 million

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!

Stop Press: TREBLES ALL ROUND AS RUNAWAY COUNCIL MANAGERS TROUSER A WEDGE!

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 UNUSUALLY LARGE 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:

Secrecy

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-offhow Jan Ormondroyd avoided her own redundancy rules to trouser her own secret wedge