A holding statement regarding the spying by council education bosses and External Comms officers on parents with SEND children was put in to cabinet today by councillors.
The statement from senior councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Commission seemed intent on keeping its powder dry for the People Scrutiny Commission on Monday. When councillors with direct knowledge of SEND issues may have the opportunity to grill some of the moral and mental inadequates directly responsible for the spying as well as the authors of the council’s unreliable fact finding report.
The suspicion is that OSMB councillors know that a cabinet meeting dominated by the Rev Rees, who can talk his personal brand of tedious drivel long as he likes and take any decision he likes, may not be the ideal forum to address the issues at stake. However, the OSMB statement still makes a few useful points.
Firstly, they completely distance themselves from the council’s flawed fact finding report and dump responsibility for that hot mess firmly on the officers:
It is therefore an officers’ report not an OSMB report, and its conclusions are those of Legal Services not of OSMB members.OSMB statement to Cabinet – item 6 ,
OSMB also express some serious concerns about the director-level oversight of the spying. The direct responsibility of Education Director Alison “Pervy” Hurley and People Director Hugh “Cares?” Evans, both banking a small fortune in public money to, at least, get the basics right and leave an accountable paper trail behind them for their actions.
OSMB also has strong concerns about the statement in the report that there was “no formal written decision to authorise the gathering of these social media posts”. Although the officers’ report concludes that there was no legal requirement to undertake a DPIA, this has been concluded in retrospect and only after concerns had been raised in the public domain. There does not seem to be any evidence of the officers involved in the collation of social media posts considering whether a DPIA was necessary beforehand. There is also no evidence of any of the officers considering whether the action they were taking, (i.e. searching through personal social media of parent-carers of children with Special Education Needs) was morally or ethically appropriate.OSMB statement to Cabinet – item 6 ,
The OSMB statement concludes with a snub to the Reverend and his cabinet meeting with councillors not even bothering asking them for a comment or response on the matter:
It is hoped that further inquiry via the People Scrutiny Committee session on September 12th will provide further additional context.OSMB statement to Cabinet – item 6 ,
Full steam ahead to next Monday then. When some of the dodgy officers responsible for spying might have to show-up and explain themselves.
Book your tickets early.
*******A meeting of Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission will take place on Monday 12 September at 5.00pm for councillors to discuss this absurd report and next steps. People are encouraged to ask questions, make statements and, if possible, to attend and jeer at any spying director or manager scum in attendance (that’s if they have the balls to attend – look out for last minute sick notes). Details on asking questions and putting in statements are here under ‘Public Forum’.