Bristol City Council is using council tax money and government public health handouts for Covid to, er, promote nightclubs!
£15k from the Covid Outbreak Management Fund and £15k from the council’s Growth and Regeneration budget were used last year to pay the council’s ‘Night-time Economy Advisor’.
This year the money will come from the government Covid cash and from the council’s private sector partner, Sound Diplomacy, “an international consultancy” who are going “to develop a framework to capitalise on the cultural, social and economic benefits that night-time industries offer the city”.
Other partners in the Sound Diplomacy project include Master of the Merchant Venturers David Freed’s Deeley Freed; Merchant Venturer Marti Burgess’s Lakota nightclub; Motion nightclub; the University of Bristol; the Bedminster and City Centre BIDs and PfP Capital Limited
So who’s likely to benefit from the public money handouts that are likely to emerge from this corporate night time industry framework then?
How many thefts must an auditor ignore With their head in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the public pay Before they’re finally paid?
The answer, my friend, is whisleblowin’ in the wind The answer is whistleblowin’ in the wind
(With apologies to Dylan)
An interesting document emerges from their Audit Committee about whistleblowing at Bristol City Council last year.
It reveals that eight decent workers stepped forward between April 2020 and March 2021 with serious allegations that met the legal criteria for formal whistleblowing. These criteria are
– a criminal offence has been committed; – someone’s health and safety is in danger; – there’s a risk or actual damage to the environment; – there’s a miscarriage of justice; – the organisation is breaking the law; – you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing;
So far so good but then we learn from the council’s report that the result of seven of these complaints was that the claims were “unsubstantiated” while the other one was “not considered a whistleblowing matter”. Which raises the question of what is it doing in a whistleblowing report then?
Five of the eight complaints emerged from the Growth and Regeneration department, run for much of the year by the second highest paid local government officer in the country. That’s our dear old friend, Colin “Head Boy” Molton, and the complaints about his department included allegations of, er fraud, corruption, perjury and drug abuse!
However, we are told that in a couple of cases that “control issues [were] identified, and internal audit review commissioned,” which sounds just like something has been substantiated doesn’t it?
The question that needs to be asked here, then, is what was done to substantiate these whistleblowing claims and who was responsible? For example, if you don’t investigate a complaint then it will remain unsubstantiated won’t it?
Or if, as the council often does, a claim of wrongdoing is investigated by the manager directly responsible for the matter in question, an investigation will fail to substantiate perfectly reasonable and evidenced claims.
Alas, the report put before the Audit Committee contains no detail about how these whistleblowing complaints were dealt with other than to announce they were all “unsubstantiated” and therefore no boss at the council appears to have done anything wrong (again) in any of the cases.
It’s nothing short of risible that this is the case for eight separate whistleblowing claims and this does nothing to encourage whistleblowing at the council. Why bother to potentially ruin your career to get a sentence in an obscure report stating your claims are “unsubstantiated” without explanation?
”Yes ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head pretending he just doesn’t see?”
The council’s recent announcement of a four per cent average ‘GENDER PAY GAP’ between men and women’s pay at the council disguised some DISTURBING ANOMALIES. Please step forward Colin “Head Boy” Molton, the man who no one appointed as head of the council’s Growth & Regeneration department on a pro rata rate of £350k a year.
News reaches The BRISTOLIAN that Head Boy’s department, which GIFTS PUBLIC LAND AND ASSETS TO CORPORATE DEVELOPERS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, has the largest gender pay gap of any department at the council with the boys trousering 22 PER CENT MORE for performing secret favours for corporate high rollers than the little ladies back in the office doing the work. The days of men in suits with dubious morals earning big money for seeing each other all right are not behind us then.
We’re also informed that the pay gap in Head Boy’s department would be CONSIDERABLY WORSE if his own pay packet was actually taken into account. However, as an “interim”, his £1,500 day rate isn’t included in any pay stats collected by the council for some obscure reason that no one understands. Rumours from councillors also suggest that there’s been some “GENDER BEHAVIOUR ISSUES” in Molton’s department that aren’t being addressed by this wealthy male boss.
Why the hell are we still paying unapologetic sexist twats a fortune to run things at the council?