Tag Archives: GDPR

News Release: Bristol IWW defending whistle blowers and free speech in Bristol City Council

iww

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.

Steve Mills, National Case Worker, Bristol IWW

November 2018

BOSSES’ DATA FLOP

The Reverend Rees continues to a run a Rolls Royce bureaucracy. If the Rolls Royce in question is a BURNED OUT WRECK on the hard shoulder of the M32 currently acting as the temporary home for a family of small rodents.

On the 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will replace the Data Protection Act, supposedly to better protect our PRIVACY and PERSONAL INFORMATION from rampant corporate crooks and mendacious public sector bureaucrats. The changes have been in the pipeline for years and organisations across the country have been working flat out to make sure they comply with the new regulations and protect OUR RIGHTS.

Not, however, at Bristol City Council. Despite an endless procession of expert managers on six figure salaries coming through the revolving door over last few years, none of them has BOTHERED to prepare for the launch of the GDPR in May. Although the council openly admits, “GDPR will have a fundamental effect on all Bristol City Council processes and systems that hold personal data and will require significant change to working practices across all Directorates.”

Instead, the council – with four months to go – ADMITS that there’s NO formal project plan in place to implement GDPR across the Council; that NO governance arrangements for GDPR exist; that NO resources have been allocated to deliver GDPR and NO statutory Data Protection Officer, as required by the legislation, has been appointed. Nor does anyone seem to know where this new post might fit in the staff structure.

Council bosses promised councillors that they would URGENTLY report back to them about the GDPR through the Audit Committee at the end of January. But, alas, that particular item fell off the meeting agenda with NO explanation. Wonder why?

Good to see our privacy, personal data and rights are being so well looked after by the Reverend Rees and his expensive bosses isn’t it?