Tag Archives: STS Finance & Procurement


A political row has broken out after the last BRISTOLIAN exposed Bristol City Council for signing off gagging orders to staff at the rate of TWO A MONTH.

Within just days of The BRISTOLIAN hitting the streets, Bristol North West’s Tory MP ‘Sugar Ray’ Charlotte Leslie was calling for Bristol City Council to implement an immediate ban on these orders due to their CORROSIVE EFFECT on open and honest government.

Sugar Ray Charlotte’s efforts eventually elicited a bizarre response from the Shitty Hall’s West Wing-obsessed public schoolboy twit of a PR boss Peter ‘Claudia Jean’ Holt, who claimed Bristol City Council “has used 54 compromise agreements in the last five years,” adding that they “are only ever used in exceptional circumstances”.

Going by Claudia Jean’s figures that’s a rate of just one month… So that’s okay, then. Except it’s not – because it’s BULLSHIT. According to information provided by Bristol City Council in 2011, they signed off 46 of these orders in 2008/09 alone, and a further 54 in 2009/10 – that’s one hundred gagging orders in just two of the last five years! No figures are yet available for the years 2010 – 2013 but on present evidence it looks like Claudia Jean’s misreported the numbers of these orders by a factor of about four…

It’s also interesting to note that there was a MASSIVE SPIKE in the use of these gagging orders in 2008 when Bradford Sun Queen Jan Ormondroyd arrived in Bristol as Chief Executive. In the year immediately before she arrived – 2006/07 – Bristol City Council signed off none. Within two years of her arrival, staff were being legally gagged at the rate of one a week.

So not only did she introduce a bloated, under performing management structure and enormous pay hikes for the chosen few, but she proactively gagged any staff who attempted to criticise her mess. And remember: this is the management that gave us the hated BRT, the loathed green spaces strategy, and attempted to destroy the Bristol and Bath Railway Path – all whilst promoting utter nonsense like promising to spend £50m on hosting the 2018 World Cup – a kamikaze pledge that cost Bristol £363,000 with nil return.

So just how many people tried to sound the alarm and got gagged?

Get in touch if you were one of the ones silenced…


A young mum in Easton has thanked your super, soaraway BRISTOLIAN for its help in getting a £500 nursery fee overpayment refunded by the council – after more than a month of being FOBBED OFF WITH EXCUSES. She is thought to be one of hundreds across Bristol overcharged and awaiting a refund by the cash-strapped city council following its disastrous installation of a new computer system and countless job cuts.

“I spent weeks chasing this up on my own, being told there was nothing that could be done,” she said. “Yet having asked The BRISTOLIAN who in the council to contact, it TOOK ONLY HOURS TO SORT OUT.”

After getting in touch with the city’s premier scandal sheet for advice, the mother-of-one then emailed senior managers across Bristol City Council as well as her local councillors, using the magic words “misfeasance in public office” and threatening to go to the papers.

She quickly received the personal assurance of Finance Director Peter Robinson that the money she was owed would be returned to her straight away – and MIRACULOUSLY it was.

“It really made life difficult as I have to stick to a tight budget just to make ends meet,” the Eastonian told us. “I just wonder HOW MANY OTHER PEOPLE OUT THERE ARE IN THE SAME BOAT as I was, and why this mess happened in the first place.”


Council holds onto cash thanks to major problems with new ‘cost cutting’ system

‘Balancing the books’ in the realm of King George - robbing from the poor to pay the rich?

‘Balancing the books’ in the realm of King George – robbing from the poor to pay the rich?

When is a theft not a theft? As many people across the city are discovering, in Bristol it’s when the council takes more money than it should from overstretched families, and doesn’t give it back.

The BRISTOLIAN has uncovered a massive ongoing – and possibly unlawful – scandal in which Bristol City Council REFUSES TO REFUND overpayments of any kind in spite of its legal obligations, thanks to chaos caused by a new computer finance system. Attempts to obtain a refund for overcharged Council Tax, allotment fees, nursery charges or other services have been routinely rebuffed, leaving many unable to settle other essential bills, pay rent or even buy food.

Blaming a software changeover – for which most workers have received NO PROPER TRAINING and have only just been issued manuals – the council refuses to say how long people will have to wait until they get their wrongfully-withheld money back.

It is understood that the council is currently holding onto refunds owed to dozens if not HUNDREDS OF BRISTOLIANS.

Sources suggest that staff have been ordered to stonewall demands for immediate refunds, to refuse to give out names, telephone numbers or email addresses for supervisors or managers, and to offer misleading and contradictory information – anything to buy time and avoid the inevitable shitstorm of complaints and rolling heads.

With a cloak of secrecy descending over the council’s now seriously understaffed phone banks, and a CULTURE OF CONTEMPT for ordinary Bristolians trickling down from the upper reaches of Shitty Hall, it is not entirely clear why this is happening.

However, insiders have pointed The BRISTOLIAN towards a contract awarded by BCC to bring together its Finance, Human Resources and Asset Management into a single ‘integrated Back Office System’. The five year project was won by outsourcing specialists Agilisys (“one of the UK’s most innovative IT and business services providers”), who provided the lowest tender – a snip at a mere £40 million.

And the magical, problem-solving, cost-cutting, budget-saving gizmo in question that’s costing every man, woman and child in the city around £95 each? That would be the bells-and-whistles Agresso Business World Local Government Platform from Unit4. The impressive-sounding new toy – being rolled out by the council’s veteran Finance & Procurement Manager RUSSELL ‘OH MY’ DARLING under the supervision of Corporate Finance supremo GRAHAM ‘THANK FUCK IT’S’ FRIDAY – is meant to bring everything together into one easy-to-use package.

Unfortunately, it seems to be a somewhat sticky-fingered piece of software, if the experiences of the out-of-pocket Bristolians we have spoken to are anything to go by.

What lengths Shitty Hall will go to to silence whistleblowers amongst its hard-pressed frontline staff or unhappy members of the public remains to be seen.

What does seem certain is that no one upstream of a junior council manager will be to held to account – and definitely nothing will stand in the way of a juicy £40 million gravy train.