Tag Archives: Markets Service

WE’RE CRAP CONFIRM AUDITORS

More exciting news on the Rev Rees’s efforts to support WHISTLEBLOWERS at Bristol City Council.

We learn that the Rev’s hapless pair of CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITORS have investigated the state of whistleblowing at Bristol City Council and have discovered – after all these years – that there’s “a lack of co-ordination, no central or comprehensive recording of whistleblowing reports and no governance or review of the process.”

Well, we could have told them that. Remember the whistleblowers who were unceremoniously REMOVED from the council’s Markets Service in 2012 while in the care of Internal Auditors so that middle-ranking council bosses could spend 18 months COVERING-UP a comprehensive rip-off of the public?

And who was responsible for these useless whistleblowing arrangements at Bristol City Council?  Please step forward, er,  Bristol City Council’s CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITORS Alison “Mullet” Mullis and Melanie “Joe” Henchy-McCarthy who have been regularly reporting absolute bullshit about whistleblowing matters to the council’s Audit Committee  for years.

Now – presumably to keep their ineffective whistleblowing merry-go-round spinning aimlessly – the Chief Internal Auditors have announced they’re developing a NEW whistleblowing process for themselves and they’ll present an annual review of their work to the Audit Committee (as they have, in theory, always done). Plus ca change?

What whistleblower in their right mind would trust this pair of dubious chief auditors reporting – yet again – to the same soft-headed council committee of the gullible?

AUDIT UPDATE

 Promises by our dear old friends on Bristol City Council’s beyond useless Audit Committee to take a long hard look at the finances of the METROBUS PROJECT on our behalf are floundering after just a few months.

At their meeting on 23 September a question from a member of the public on the Metrobus fiasco could not be answered “as there was not a Transport Officer present”. However, the new chair of the committee, Labour’s Olly “Meadiocre” Mead promised a FULL REPORT would be presented at the November meeting.

Come November, however, and much to the surprise of the public and, we’re told, even members of Meadiocre’s own committee, NO REPORT APPEARED. While a glance at the committee’s detailed schedule for the next year revealed any reference to Metrobus had been carefully REMOVED by unknown council bosses.

So don’t expect any information from Meadiocre’s Audit Committee about your money and Metrobus as they appear to have been very crudely NOBBLED by elements in this city who don’t want you knowing how much of your money is being SQUANDERED on some over engineered bus lanes.

Meanwhile the five year old MARKETS SERVICE finance shambles (Bristolian passim) continues to stagger around somewhere in the vicinity of the Audit Committee like an aging drunk high on laughing gas. A promised report on the council’s DEPARTMENT FOR DISAPPEARING CASH was promised in September. This then inexplicably slipped to November. Now we’re promised something in January.

When this report finally appears will it explain the following statement currently doing the rounds in council finance reports regarding this year’s £30m overspend? “There is a £125K FORECAST SHORTFALL in income against the budget target for Markets as a result of an historic revenue target, which has not been met for the last 5 YEARS.”

That’s a cool £0.6million now pissed up against the wall while an army of useless auditors and an oversight committee of gullible councillors sit on their lazy arses.

MARKET FARCES: ‘REASONABLE’ LOSSES?

MarketsElsewhere in the latest markets report we’re assured that the OLD BENT MANAGEMENT of the service has now been moved on in favour of a new, young all-singing, all dancing team.

So how are the new team getting on? Well, a careful read of the report reveals they have managed to collect just 73 PER CENT of their total income for the year so far. This means over a quarter of the service’s income is going uncollected.

We calculate this amounts to a figure not unadjacent to £100K A YEAR that new bosses have failed to bank on our behalf.

Meanwhile Internal Audit assure us – after three years of constant work – that, “Controls are operating at an ACCEPTABLE level and management can take REASONABLE assurance that MANY of the risks to the service are effectively managed.”

Hardly fills you with confidence does it? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

MARKET FARCES: A WRITE OFF?

MarketsOur endless trudge through the city council’s farcically bent MARKETS SERVICE continues into another year …

Back in December, the authority’s ineffectual Internal Audit service dished up their FIFTH report in THREE YEARS about the service for the benefit of their gormless councillor overseers on the Audit Committee.

This time around, as well as the usual bland assurance that everything was improving, we got a wholesale REWRITING OF HISTORY. “An audit review of Markets operations was undertaken in November 2012,” they bluster.

And “Control weaknesses were particularly associated with two factors – the dominance of CASH COLLECTIONS, and utilisation of a dedicated and separate Markets ACCOUNTING SYSTEM which did not interface with the main finance system,” they blow.

An interesting theory … although unfortunately it’s total NONSENSE! Because the briefest glance at their audit opinion in 2012 says no such thing. It actually says that “a lack of urgency and willingness from MARKETS STAFF to quickly resolve all issues that were brought to their attention” was the problem.

Along with management’s FAILURE TO EXHIBIT OWNERSHIP of errors that contributed to the poor manual and electronic recording of financial and commercial transactions.”

In other words the problem was dodgy management and their criminally incompetent oversight of the service, especially its finances, not the “dominance of cash” or any technical issues with the accounting system.

The next paragraph of the latest report then blithely explains, “The Council’s debtors section is in the process of WRITING OFF HISTORICAL DEBT which is considered NON RECOVERABLE.”

In other words, money that simply disappeared without explanation due to the inexplicable actions of the OLD management is being quietly written off by the NEW management. Note also that the Internal Audit service have forgotten to tell us how much of our money is being written off.

In their last report they invented a so-say “DEBT“, apparently owed by no one, of £40k. Although the figure written into the council’s accounts in 2012 as “UNCOLLECTED LICENCE FEES” when they did their original investigation was as much as £165k.

So how much of our money have these clowns inexplicably lost and secretly written off? And why are they being so coy about it?

 

MARKETS: THE PERSISTENCE OF UNEXPLAINED AMOUNTS OF MISSING CASH

The Markets FileThe City Council’s Audit Committee chair MARK “NO” BRAIN’s presentation of his yearly report to Full Council in July proved to be hugely entertaining for public and councillors.

Sporting a dazzling Salvador Dali tie, perhaps to highlight the surrealism of it all, a visibly wriggling, flustered and confused No Brain finally had to come up – publicly – with an explanation as to what’s been going in the council’s MARKET SERVICE for the last three years and what his committee’s done about it. And what a gem of an explanation we got!

No Brain confirmed that at least £41k was indeed MISSING from the service. Although he creatively upcycled and rebranded this embarrassing and inexplicable disappearance of cash from his description last month of it as “A DEBT” (owed by no one) to a “NOT QUITE A LOSS“!

He then claimed – WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE – that the money definitely hadn’t been “misappropriated” and this “not-quite-a-loss” was the result of “mismanagement and bad accounting”.

Raising the immediate question of what the hell is “BAD ACCOUNTING” and how does it make £41k disappear into thin air?

Can we all do that? Or is it only city council middle managers who are allowed to run a set of accounts so shite that CASH CAN JUST RANDOMLY DISAPPEAR without any explanation and then get formally explained away by an idiot in a Salvador Dali tie as a “not-quite-a-loss”?

At least we’ve all now learned how to rip cash off the council. Just generally fuck up your accounts by inaccurately recording any cash going into those accounts; pocket the cash; forget to reconcile cash in the bank with your accounts and wait for the council’s Internal Auditors to formally sign it off as a “not-quite-a- loss” due to “mismanagement”!

This is all a change of tune from April, however, when finance bosses led by their Service Director Peter “What Crisis?” Gillett told No Brain and his committee of gullibles that the missing cash was “NOT thought to be the result of misappropriation or BAD MANAGEMENT

What’s changed since April? When did they decide that it was the fault of BAD MANAGEMENT? Are we seeing the wheels slowly coming off a poorly executed cover-up here as the excuses run out?

There’s plenty more questions to ask about all this too. Why are the council announcing this “not-quite-a-loss” now while a formal, FORENSIC AUDIT, announced in April, is still taking place? Until this audit is complete can the scale of their “not-quite-a-loss” really be officially confirmed?

So are council bosses still conspiring? This time to disguise any potentially bigger “not-quite-a-losses” from us?

An explanation is also needed about formal statements made on this matter over the summer of 2013 when both Mayor Bent Accounting and his sidekick Sir Gus Hoyty-Toyty publically insisted NO MONEY WAS MISSING from the Market Service.

Another, further, outright lie came in 2012 when the BBC were assured ON THE RECORD by the council’s PR department that NO MONEY WAS MISSING in markets and the whole episode was entirely down to an “antiquated” accounting system (even though the system was only a few years old!)

Council PR boss, Tim “Zombie” Borrett then briefed this exact same LIE to the Nazi Post in March 2014 when the bent little fucker bravely tried to blame The BRISTOLIAN for the suicide of his dubious colleague, Facilities boss Tony Harvey. The man DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE for the accuracy and coherence of the Market Service’s accounts.

At that time Zombie Borett was PEDDLING A LINE for shadowy senior council bosses and the mayor that butter wouldn’t melt in the mouths of any Market Service managers. They were poor innocents and unfortunates who had been horribly hounded by unscrupulous forces on the internet!

Zombie Borett also “forgot” to mention during his briefing to the Post that any money had gone missing in the Market Service. Now the very same markets bosses Zombie was aggressively defending are being fingered by senior figures within the council for “MISMANAGEMENT” and “BAD ACCOUNTING“.

It’s all slowly coming out isn’t it?

That Mark “No Brain” explanation of missing Markets money to Full Council on 21 July 2015 in full:

The issue of markets has been of some public interest in, er, some quarters.

Um (pause). Basically (pause). Um, er, we had an issue around management in the markets and the, er, loss, er, or not quite the loss (pause). The fact that £41,000 of marketing money. Er, rather markets money was unaccounted for.

Um (pause). Internal audit have investigated. They are of the view they will never find the £41,000. Um, er. They are of the view it hasn’t been misappropriated. It was just mismangement and bad accounting and that’s the reason we can’t find it. Rather than it’s actually been stolen … um.

 

 

DID THE BRISTOLIAN KILL A BOSS WITH A TOP SECRET SONIC DEATH RAY MACHINE?

A strange article appears in the Nazi Post regarding the death of Tony Harvey and featuring Bristol City Council’s PR boss and general odd bod ‘Dim’ Tim Borrett in various guises.

reich cloud buster

BRISTOLIAN boffins prepare their sonic death ray for action

Borrett accidentally overlooks his own council’s duty of care towards Harvey and appears to blame your caring, sharing BRISTOLIAN for Harvey’s death while painting a picture of the man as some kind of modern day saint.

Quite how The BRISTOLIAN killed Harvey is not made clear by Borrett or The Post. Can a few simple documented facts on a page kill? Or have we invented a secret sonic death ray machine?

Anyway, we’ve fisked and filleted the whole article for you.

BRISTOL City Council has defended a senior member of staff who was found dead after his department was investigated for financial irregularities and bullying.

That should actually read departments. Not only the council’s Markets Service but also their Security Services, responsible for the collection of cash across the council – which, coincidentally, Harvey ran – were under investigation. Why haven’t the council mentioned this as part of this generous mission to explain to the public?

Tony Harvey, 53, facilities manager in the markets department of Bristol City Council, was found dead at his home on January 9 this year.

The father-of-two’s department had been the subject of an internal audit following complaints from staff made to public services union Unison.

Complaints were actually first made to Harvey – who completely ignored them. Instead he started a “restructure” to remove troublesome whistleblowers – who were asking simple questions about glaringly dubious financial arrangements – from his department.

It is widely believed Mr Harvey may have taken his own life due to the pressure of allegations that were made public online, the Bristol Post understands.

It is widely believed by who? ‘Odd Bod’ Borrett by any chance? Or did Spunkface Orrett feed them that one?

A number of fact-based article, based on documentation regarding Harvey’s conduct, have appeared in The BRISTOLIAN (a newspaper). The content of these articles have never been disputed by Harvey or his employers, Bristol City Council. We also have a number of emails that show Bristol City Council was invited on numerous occasions to properly resolve the issues in the Markets Service internally. It refused.

But the council said Mr Harvey was not guilty of any mismanagement and there was no evidence of dishonest activity.

Can you be guilty of mismanagement? And as the article later points out, Harvey was never investigated, so it’s hardly surprising that mismanagement was not uncovered.

There was “no evidence of dishonest activity” because in November 2012 Harvey SPIKED any investigation that might have obtained the evidence. He preferred to leave around 20 allegations UNRESOLVED.

A spokesman said Mr Harvey was never investigated personally and was not suspended, but in fact he helped the council to resolve its accounting problems.

See! He was NEVER INVESTIGATED. So of course there was no evidence of mismanagement or dishonesty.

The “help” he provided to the council in resolving its “accounting problems” included:

  • SPIKING an investigation;
  • Starting a departmental restructure DURING an Internal Audit investigation;
  • Creating a new departmental staff structure that DID NOT COMPLY with the authority’s financial regulations;
  • Removing staff so that there was “A LACK OF RESOURCES AND EXPERTISE within the Markets operation to resolve all the outstanding issues.”

When he died in January, Harvey had been “helping” resolve accounting problems in the Markets Service for 20 months. Yet after nearly two years of this “help” the Markets Service accounts were still being described to councillors as “OF CONCERN”.

It appears complaints were first made about Mr Harvey’s department in May 2012, when a member of staff at the council contacted Unison.

No. A complaint was first made to Harvey personally in early April 2012, which he ignored.

Unison wrote a letter, seen by the Post, to Mr Harvey directly highlighting a number of concerns about financial mismanagement and bullying. But an official internal audit triggered by the letter found only a small sum of money unaccounted for. However, the audit did uncover irregularities and recommendations were made to bring it into line with council book-keeping policy.

The audit uncovered £165k of “uncollected licence fees” for 2012. About one third of the department’s yearly income. This figure is listed in a budget monitor report presented to councillors in January 2013. It is not “a small sum of money”.

It beggars belief that Harvey would not have noticed this amount of money apparently missing from a department he was monitoring and it beggars belief that he ignored a whistleblower who tried to tell him this in April 2012. And it is absolutely startling that he then removed the whistleblower from their job later that year.

And what “irregularities” were uncovered? They seem to be in bookkeeping. Usually, irregularities in bookkeeping require further investigation. This never happened. Harvey just tried to change the bookkeeping system and ignore what might have happened in the past.

Council spokesman Tim Borrett said any financial malpractice was down to a formerly “antiquated” system that had now been modernised with the full help and cooperation of Mr Harvey before his death.

Note Borrett acknowledges “malpractice” and then blames it on a ‘formerly “antiquated system”’. Systems don’t commit malpractice. People do.

In a statement released yesterday, a council spokesperson said: “He aided investigations into several allegations and managed the work to improve business operations.

He improved business systems by ignoring financial regulations, firing knowledgeable staff, ignoring whistleblowers and leaving serious investigations INCOMPLETE and allegations UNRESOLVED?

“While the limitations of the old financial practices meant that ability to reconcile and audit was inadequate by good practice standards, no evidence has been found of dishonest activity.”

That’s because Harvey stopped any investigation into wrongdoing in November 2012.

He added: “With regards to the tragic suicide of Tony Harvey, we cannot and will not speculate about the cause. To do so would be grossly irresponsible and risks more upset and harm being caused to his grieving family.

So, wait for it … Here’s the speculation about the cause:

“Suffice to say the anonymous implications made elsewhere that this somehow implies an element of guilt is simply not true.”

The BRISTOLIAN has never implied anything.

We have been upfront in naming Harvey and provided facts about his conduct that are not and  never have been disputed.

We are not anonymous. We can be contacted. We recently shrugged off soppy threats from crappy Bristol establishment solicitors Burges Salmon over defamation. So if Borrett fancies it…

He added there was no evidence that Mr Harvey should be criticised for his role in the situation, rather he “helped bring improvements to the financial management”.

Total bollocks. See above.

Mayor George Ferguson said: “It is clear that Tony was a much liked and a respected friend and colleague to many at the council.

This is a joke, right?

“He was diligent in sorting out the previous unsatisfactory financial management at the markets, for which we should all be grateful.

No he wasn’t. He spent 20 months “sorting out” markets and it still wasn’t sorted. At best he was a gross incompetent.

“He is sorely missed and our deepest sympathies have been extended to his family and all who knew him.”

Mr Harvey is thought to have taken his life on January 9. Neighbours at Hinton Drive, Oldland Common, said he appeared to be happy on the days leading up to his death.

A neighbour, who chose not to be named, said he had two daughters, but lived alone. She added that nobody had been to the house in the past three weeks.

An inquest into Mr Harvey’s death has been opened at Flax Bourton’s coroner’s court and has been closed again while further inquiries are made.

Unison chose not to comment on the matter.

MARKET FARCES: SPUNKFACE DANGLE HORROR

**** PRIVATE SECTOR TWIT DIDN’T LIFT A FINGER TO HELP HIS HUMILIATED EMPLOYEE HARVEY ****

**** EGOMANIAC BOSS COULDN’T HANDLE ‘LOSS OF FACE’ ****

Web ExclusiveMoonlighting private sector property boss, ROBERT “SPUNKFACE” ORRETT, took over line management duties for death riddle markets boss TONY HARVEY from MIKE “TAX EFFICIENT” WATTS in December 2012 soon after the markets The Markets Filewhistleblower had been successfully fired by Harvey and the humiliating audit report lay unread on Spunkface’s desk.

However, BNP Paribas employee, Spunkface was no new broom. he was more a stinking, shit-stained old mop soaked in the diseased and decaying excrement of Harvey and his useless old boss Mike “Tax Efficient” Watts.

For while Spunkface may now be publicly breaking down in tears in meetings over the grizzly fate of his employee, HE DID BUGGER-ALL to try to protect Harvey from being exposed and humiliated in the press when he had the chance.

The BRISTOLIAN understands a meeting took place with Orrett in early December 2012 to discuss the fact that a whistleblower had been proven to be unfairly removed from his job by Harvey and that all of the twenty-odd detailed allegations regarding markets finances remained “UNRESOLVED” after a pathetic six month non-investigation by the council’s rubbish Internal Audit department.

The BRISTOLIAN has been told, “Orrett basically said the investigation was over – he was resolving it by leaving it unresolved – and that what happened from now on was up to him and none of our business. He was not interested in the slightest in negotiation, discussion or any form of conciliation. He just looked down his snooty fucking nose at us.

1531867_ROBERTORRETT_CMYK

Spunkface – he might be crying now but he did NOTHING to help his employee, Harvey.

“It was clear the whistleblower had reached the end of line within the council. The council were more concerned with victimising and screwing a whistleblower than investigating their own bosses for potential fraud, theft and mismanagement of public money.

“It’s hardly surprising the whistleblower turned to the press and to the radical press at that. They’re the ones who will give scumbags like Spunkface and Harvey as good as they give in the total bastard stakes.”

And us total bastards at The BRISTOLIAN can report that once we started, early last year, rubbing the council’s nose in Harvey’s role in markets, neither Spunkface nor any other council manager bothered to contact the paper, the whistleblower or his union to attempt to resolve the situation or allege any inaccuracies in our stories (because there aren’t any).

In the ultra-macho management culture favoured by Spunkface and Harvey there’s presumably no place for compromise, climb-downs, loss of face or apology?

Spunkface, literally, preferred to let Harvey dangle than reconsider a crap decision. What a silly boy.

MARKETS: TONY HARVEY’S OLD BOSS GAVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO EXPOSE HIM IN THE PRESS!!!

**** ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER EMAIL COMES TO LIGHT ABOUT THE COUNCIL’S DERANGED MANAGEMENT OF THE MARKET SERVICE SCANDAL ****

**** UNACCOUNTABLE ‘TAX EFFICIENT’ CONSULTANT ON SIX FIGURE SALARY DROPS HARVEY IN IT AND BRAVELY RUNS AWAY! ****

Web Exclusive On 6 December 2012, Tony Harvey’s then boss, Mike “Tax efficient” Watts responded to a query from a  markets service whistleblower.

The whistlebloThe Markets Filewer was concerned that the recently published audit report into markets, which left every one of their complaints “UNRESOLVED” after six months of supposed investigation, was being ignored and buried by Watts, a highly paid consultant Service Director, and his useful idiot, Harvey who he had designated as his hatchet man.

Watts – or Capability and Performance Improvement Ltd as perhaps he should be known – was pointedly and directly asked about the whistleblower taking their complaints outside of the city council. Watts’ brusque reply was, “you are fully entitled to take up with any other authority you see fit and have been all along.”

MikeWatts

The tax efficient civil servant – “I don’t have to give a toss. Thanks for the cash and goodbye.”

So did Watts consider that the whistleblower might see the press as fit? And did this supposed human resources expert think through the potential implications of this for the staff he was responsible for and who would be in the direct line of fire?

But why would he give a toss? The greedy private sector consultant – who was not even an employee of Bristol City Council and who was paid by us council tax payers through a limited company to reduce his income tax bill – was off to take up another lucrative and unaccountable post waffling about HR for Southampton City Council!

So he wasn’t going to be around to pick up the pieces from his crap, macho man decisions was he? Talk about dropping other people in it …

WERE COUNCIL BOSSES SPOILING FOR A PUBLIC FIGHT WITH MARKETS WHISTLEBLOWER?

**** DEATH RIDDLE MARKETS BOSS PUT IN LINE OF FIRE BY SENIOR MANAGERS AND COUNCILLORS ****

The BRISTOLIAN has obtained a sensational letter from a Web ExclusiveMarkets Service whistleblower to the council’s former Monitoring Officer, Stephen McNamara sent in July 2012. The letter was also copied The Markets Fileto former strategic director Will Godfey and a handful of senior councillors responsible for financial oversight.

The letter is a formal complaint regarding suicide boss, Tony Harvey’s multiple failures in his treatment of a bona fide whistleblower and it particularly focuses on Harvey’s proposed ‘restructure’ of the markets service that he announced, in a remarkable coincidence, just days after the whistleblower came forward in 2012!

The letter explains that Harvey was undertaking this restructure of the department as a blatant means of getting the whistleblower out of their post while an investigation into serious financial irregularities in Harvey’s dodgy service had barely begun.

Remarkably, Harvey was refusing to suspend his dodgy restructure on the basis that “the [audit] investigation will not affect the review[/restructure]”. An absurd opinion. How could an investigation that would conclude with a considerable number of recommendations about the structure and practice of the department’s financial management not affect a review of the department’s structure and practice?

As The BRISTOLIAN has been told by a well-placed source, “Harvey’s restructure always looked like the act of some bent-as-hell management madman intent on sacking a whistleblower to cover up his own dodgy and incompetent management conduct rather than the cool-headed, well thought out professional restructure of a local authority department he was handsomely paid to produce.”

Stephen McNamara - another oafish decision someone else pays the price for?

Stephen McNamara – another oafish decision someone else pays the price for?

Indeed, the letter to McNamara highlights a number of major irregularities in Harvey’s restructure plan. Some proven accurate when the council later had to reach an out-of-court settlement with one of the whistleblowers due to the flaws in this very restructure.

The letter goes on to ask that Harvey’s restructure process be suspended until the financial investigation is complete and a proper, comprehensive restructure, including the recommendations from the investigation, could be produced. The whistleblower and his union even offered their wholesale help and support to such a process.

The conclusion of the letter is intriguing. Firstly it states:

You are entirely at liberty to continue on the course selected by Tony Harvey and I am at liberty to reach the conclusion that you’re not taking my complaints at all seriously and take them outside the organisation.

A clear indication that the whistleblower would make things public if necessary. They then go on to say,

My trade union representative and I are more than happy to discuss the issues raised in this letter with either yourself or Will [Godfrey] or another serious management representative that is not Tony Harvey.

A clear indication that the whistleblower was open to dialogue, discussion and negotiation. The letter concludes by saying,

I’m extremely persistent and deeply interested in the proper conduct of public affairs. I’m not going to go away and there’s certainly nobody in your authority capable of scaring me away. I’ve provided a number of reasonable ‘soft’ options worth pursuing in this letter. I would strongly encourage you to take one of them.

Alas, McNamara’s response was short, curt and dismissive. No discussion. No dialogue. No negotiation. Harvey’s dodgy process to remove a whistleblower from their job during a ‘live’ financial investigation would continue.

Unfortunately – for them – The BRISTOLIAN also does short, curt and dismissive. More effectively, many would say, than a jumped-up public sector lawyer like McNamara.

And so the die was cast. Senior council bosses proactively decided upon open conflict and a bruising public row rather than negotiation and compromise.

But did they bother to think through the implications of their decision? Did they consider the potential impact on their staff – such as Tony Harvey – on the frontline of any brutal and very public conflict? Did they consider their duty of care towards Tony Harvey?

Or was this another decision driven by sheer arrogance and the knowledge that someone else’s body could always be thrown in the way to deal with the consequences and to pay any price?

MARKET FARCES: HOW BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL’S ‘FRAUD-BUSTERS’ BELLYFLOPPED

CAN’T STAND UP TO MANAGERS – CAN’T PROTECT WHISTLEBLOWERS…

The Markets FileBack in mid-January, another meeting of the Bristol City Council’s crap Audit Committee offered up yet more shocking revelations of FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT AND SLEAZE in the seedy corridors of corrupt power at Shitty Hall.

The committee’s in-depth fraud reports (which have proved to be a hugely embarrassing feature of the last few meetings), have been quietly ditched. But another report catches the eye. With the unpromising title of ‘Internal Audit Compliance with Public Sector Internal Audit Standards’, it reveals the extent to which our council has operated for the benefit of bent bosses and against the interests of whistleblowers.

The report identifies “a few specific areas…where currently Internal Audit arrangements do not fully conform with the public sector Internal audit standards requirements”. Or, in other words, areas where the committee and its FEEBLE INTERNAL AUDIT TEAM have screwed up.

Top of the list is, “The Chief Internal Auditor should report to an organisation level equal or higher to the corporate management team and must be sufficiently senior and Independent to be able to provide credible constructive challenge to senior management.”

So the Chief Internal Auditor should report directly to the council’s Chief Executive? This has never happened. The Chief Auditor always reports to the Head of Finance – a level below corporate management. Until recently, when he scarpered sharpish, Head of Finance was Freemason Peter Robinson, who SPIKED ANY INVESTIGATION into the Markets Service and did nothing to discourage the victimisation of a whistleblower there.

We know he also once spiked an investigation into the dubious procurement of a fleet of Mercedes vans. On that occasion he victimised – then attempted to sack – an investigator in Internal Audit who uncovered and produced a report on that particular procurement scam.

Chief Internal Auditors have been NEUTERED and left powerless for years – and it’s a fact they admit. Last year in an email to a senior trade unionist the head of Internal Audit’s fraud unit, Andea ‘Chocolate Teapot’ Hobbs, admitted that they “cannot provide any assurances as to how management will respond if a whistleblower makes him/herself known to management as a whistleblower (as happened in the circumstance I believe you are referring to).”

The “circumstance” referred to is the way that Tony Harvey and his bosses responded to whistleblowing by victimising and bullying the whistleblower out of their job – apparently under the nose of Ms Hobbs.

Let’s face it, if you’re unable to stand up to a soppy little Facilities Manager and stop them doing over a whistleblower, or to call that manager out for being unable to account for £165,000, then the idea you can provide “a credible constructive challenge to senior management” is laughable.

The reverse is true. Middle managers have been able to IGNORE Internal Auditors with impunity, stamp on whistleblowers and do whatever they like with our money for years.

What a shambles.