Richard “Wanksy” Hanks has ‘resigned’ as Bristol’s Director of Education but is officially on ‘sick leave’ for now. Allegedly, Wanksy got a bollocking by the cabinet over SEND just before his ‘resignation’
His replacement, Reena “Dolores” Bhogal-Welsh from the University of Bolton is an interim appointed outside any normal processes.
Sources say she’s “totally out of her depth” and is especially shit-scared of the Bristol Parent Carer Forum. Probably wise. They’ve seen off three of her predecessors in the last three years – Stubby Stubbersfield, Pervy Hurley and now Wanksy.
Also heading for the exit is Head of Education Psychology Vikki Jervis who, seems to have spent most of her work time on Twitter reading parents’ feeds and circulating the material around the council.
Who will be next out the revolving door before independent investigators arrive to look at the SEND spying issue?
Has the council just given up paying for some SEND provision they’re legally obliged to provide?
A lot of children require so-called ‘Alternative Provision’ (AP) in Bristol because they are unable to attend school. This may be because the council is unable to provide a school appropriate for the child.
Or it may be because the child has been thrown out of school because their parents have attempted to assert their child’s legal right to SEND provision that the school has taken funding for and then not provided.
Many of these children are taught by private tutors paid by the council. However, The Bristolian is receiving news that “one-by-one families with kids in AP or EOTAS (Education Otherwise Than At School) are having provision stopped because the council has stopped paying the bills for it.”
So far the council has provided no notice to parents and no reason why they’ve stopped paying for this provision. Our information comes from SEND parents who would probably be viewed by the council as “troublemakers” but we’re assured the problem is now “widespread”.
What’s on earth is going on? Why is our council randomly cancelling SEND children’s education?
At the scrutiny meeting where councillors discussed SEND spying, senior council boss, Vikki “Mata Hari” Jervis also tried to convince councillors that refusing to sign-off funding for the Bristol Parent Carer Forum, who council bosses hate for supporting parents and encouraging some to take legal action against the council was fine.
Instead, explained Jervis, the money and work could be split among the 22 groups that make up a new so-called “Community of Groups” selected by the council to best represent the interests of SEND parents by never mentioning legal action.
Jervis’s claim is not true. Contact, who actually administer this grant Jervis is trying to award, say on their website, “Contact administers, and pays a grant of up to £17,500 available to ONE parent carer forum in each local authority area of England, funded by the Department for Education (DfE).”
Is anything council management say about SEND true?
Our old friends at Private Eye have picked up on the SEND spying scandal.
They picked up on the farcical ‘fact finding’ report produced by the council’s none-too-bright Deputy Head of Legal Nancy “Rollercoaster” Rollason which claims she found “no evidence” of “systematic monitoring”.
A strange conclusion when emails in the public domain between SEND managers openly state that they’re “working hard to uncover concrete evidence”!
Perhaps they worked hard uncovering unsystematically?
A random and incomplete selection of documents obtained under FoI shed light on what might be the point of the SEND spying affair.
Many of the documents released reveal that Education Director, Alison “Pervy” Hurley and her SEND managers were taking a lot of interest in FoI requests made by parents and in posts on social media between parents regarding legal action or judicial review.
For starters, council officers should not be interfering in the public’s use of FoI. This is laid out in FoI legislation as unlawful. Hurley and her spy team have therefore broken the law by obtaining evidence of FoI requests by parents and using them to discourage parents who were members of the Bristol Parent Carer Forum from making further requests.
On the question of legal action and judicial review, are People Director, Hugh “Cares” Evans and his Education Director Hurley running an informal demand management policy in SEND?
This is a money-saving policy used by public service managers to prevent take-up of services, often through obstruction. Council tactics may include slow and confusing processes, ignoring correspondence and communications, forcing people into long complaints processes and simply refusing people services they are entitled to.
The last thing Evans and Hurley need is parents taking legal action to obtain the services they are entitled to as this creates a double cost to the council. The cost of providing the service they’ve tried to avoid delivering and also the cost of any legal action.
Who agreed to pay our council bosses large sums to block people from asserting their legal rights to services?
We learn that the appalling Saskia “Hindley” Koynenburg, Bristol City Council’s Head of External Comms and one of the Reverend’s main council flunkeys has quit the council. Her last day was September 30. Was that a small cheer we heard from her long-suffering staff as she left the building?
Hindley’s days always seem numbered at the council after she shot to national notoriety on Youtube this summer for trying to stop the Nazi Post’s LDR journalist, Alex Seabrook, asking the Reverend a question at a press conference because that “wasn’t part of his job description” or some such nonsense.
Matters then got worse for the embittered failed journalist when she was discovered at the centre of the SEND spy scandal. It was Hindley’s sicko team trawling parents’ social media accounts and supplying juicy nuggets of personal information and photos of parents of vulnerable children to Bristol’s SEND managers.
It rather looks like Hindley is fleeing the scene of a crime doesn’t it?
Bristol City Council have been insisting via a ridiculous ‘fact-finding’ report authored by their ridiculous head of legal Nancy “Rollercoaster” Rollason that no ‘systematic monitoring’ of SEND parent’s social media ever took place.
Now a video clip, from the summer, briefly comes to light, before disappearing again into the internet shadows, starring one of the council’s ‘weak men’, People Director, Hugh “Cares” Evans. The “brains” behind the hapless surveillance operation, Evans says:
Would you want to read from your partner organisation or colleagues something on social media the like of which we’ve been reading on social media?
Leaving aside why Hugh’s being paid £180k a year to read the general public’s social media, are we to believe Hugh and his SEND manager mates must have been regularly accessing parents social media in a totally unsystematic way?
Or has he been lying through his teeth to a council lawyer?
“A cowardly power play against a random council estate mum”
SEND spy victim Jen Smith made a statement today to Bristol City Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Board. As she finished she looked the council’s new underqualified and over-promoted chief exec, Stephen “Preening” Peacock in the eye, the statement speaks for itself:
Will Peacock manage to get a grip on an issue that his predecessor Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson failed to? Or will our latest Chief Executive chump let the SEND spying issue spiral further out of the control of the council?
Is he just another useless senior council boss: all fat wallet and no morals?
Not much information emerging from the Rev Rees on the scale of cuts in public services he’s proposing over the next year*. Instead the inane egoist seems to be focussing his PR efforts on boasting about how many ‘hits’ his ridiculous Canadian TED Talk is getting on Youtube and his fantasy plan for an underground network in Bristol.
What we do know is that of the £11.7m of savings planned for delivery in 2021/22, only 46% were achieved.Leaving around £5.5m to be brought forward to this year. We also know around £29m of ‘efficiencies’ and ‘transformations’ were announced in this year’s budget. That’s a total of about £34.5m cuts to be made to public services this year then.
But what will be cut? Council documents, carefully hidden from view, have identified “six key areas for service reviews”. They are: property and capital; be more business-like and secure more external resource; improving efficiencies; digital transformation; reducing the need for direct services and, er, redesigning, reducing, or stopping services.
Property appears on these cuts lists every year and delivers nothing; the council being “more businesslike” is a hollow joke and that last time they tried digital transformation it delivered a £30m deficit senior bosses tried to hide from the mayor and public.
It’s therefore likely all the cuts will come from “improving efficiencies”, euphemism for staff cuts; reducing the need for direct services, which means trying to stop the public accessing services they’re entitled to (see SEND) and redesigning, reducing, or stopping services, which means scrapping services altogether.
So the Reverend’s plan is to fire staff, bully council taxpayers into not taking up services and cut anything else that’s not nailed down to save £34.5m
No wonder he wants you to look the other way at his stupid TED Talk.
*Since this article was published Bristol City Council has published a press release acknowledging they may need to make £31.1m next year. What they didn’t mention was an annex to a finance report to cabinet that suggested these cuts might be as much as £87.6m!
So it’s farewell, then, to Bristol City Council Chief Exec Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson. He’s off to the London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Richmond upon Thames to become their joint chief exec trousering £300k pa, the largest local authority salary in the country.
And what a legacy he leaves behind. £60m pissed up the wall on Bristol Energy; a £50m overspend on the Colston Hall; censures from the ombudsman for not bothering to reply to correspondence; a SEND service OFSTED say parents have lost trust in and a gobsmacking unlawful spying operation of parents with SEND children. Lucky old London managing to headhunt this useless money wasting fucker.
Before he left, Billie Jean delivered to indifferent staff the benefit of his wisdom. “I’m an economist by training,” he chuntered, “and specialised in economic geography. I started my local government career as an economic development officer in Birmingham. I’m fascinated by places – what makes the character of a place, why some places succeed economically and others struggle. And most importantly, trying to work out how best to improve the life chances of people who live in that place.”
Well, we’re no economists Mike, but we reckon that some places succeed because you spend £100m on a concert hall at the drop of a hat for them while other places that are far poorer get fuck all. If you want to improve the life chances of people who live in that poor place spend the £100m there you thick twat.