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?
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?
A brief check-in with Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission on Monday. A sprawling meeting with lots of questions and very few answers.
In a lovely twist, many of the public’s questions were ignored and went unanswered on the basis that SEND management were “too busy” preparing for an OFSTED inspection next week. Because a load of tweedy school inspectors wanking over spreadsheets takes priority over elected councillors, abused SEND parents and the public, apparently.
The meeting generated a huge amount of content of variable quality so we’ll confine ourselves to a few things that grabbed our attention and leave the heavy lifting to the mainstream press who turned out in numbers for the meeting.
The first question of the day came from internet SEND scourge Chopsy aka ‘Data Subject 2’, one of the targets of the council’s SEND ‘fact finding report’ (Bristolian passim).
She rather nicely set the scene when she enquired of the council’s Deputy Head of Legal Services, Nancy “No Evil” Rollason, who cheerily admitted to authoring the daft SEND spying ‘fact-finding’ report along with an absent colleague, why she had described a public information meeting any member of the public could book on via the internet as ‘confidential’ when it wasn’t?
Cue much umming and aahing from a perplexed Ms Rollason before she eventually explained she may need to, er, “verify and correct information received from officers.”
First question complete and this much-vaunted ‘fact-finding’ report appeared to have been urgently downgraded to ‘draft’ and retitled ‘Wild claims from desperate council officers about our SEND surveillance mess’.
A further question from Chopsy enquired whether council officers had been using their personal accounts to access parents’ social media? A question that got a resounding no from Ms Rollason who was at pains to explain access to parents’ accounts was all above board and would have been carefully managed through official and accountable council channels.
An answer, unfortunately, on a direct collision course with the truth as Chopsy had already been sent information through an FoI that clearly showed a SEND manager accessing SEND parent social media accounts from their personal social media account. Here’s a screenshot:
If this was a court case, the case would have been thrown out at this point and Rollason bollocked by the judge as a clueless timewaster. However, as a meeting of city councillors, they simply shambled on as though one of their senior lawyers sitting in front of them spouting bare-faced lies was business-as-usual. Which, let’s face it, it probably is.
Some questioning from Easton’s Green Councillor Barry Parsons also caught our attention. Parsons queried Rollason’s claim that any surveillance was not ‘systematic’ because it only took place on two occasions for two specific investigations.
He reeled off a series of dates contained in the report, when monitoring of parents accounts took place. A claim rebuffed by Rollason who insisted, despite evidence, that there were only two ‘specific’ occasions only when parents’ social media was accessed.
A claim rendered unbelievable by more of Chopsy’s FoI material. This includes screenshots of Tweets collected just hours after they were made rather than as part of a, later, retrospective investigation:
What Parsons didn’t ask, which also may have been interesting, was, if there were two investigations, where were the investigation reports, who were the investigating officers and who commissioned the investigations? All requirements of Bristol City Council’s Investigation Policy that management and officers are obliged to follow.
There was lots and lots more at this meeting, including a brief reference to the Bristolian’s evil Twitter twin @bristol_citizen. We’ll return to this at some point as the chair of the meeting Lib Dem Tim “Little Ass Hat” Kent correctly described the account’s inclusion in an investigation document cobbled together by SEND management fuckwits as “ludicrous”.
What wasn’t included at this meeting was also instructive. No one mentioned the social media protocol produced by Rollason’s colleague Kate Burnham-Davies in May 2020, which completely contradicts Rollason’s conclusion that the surveillance undertaken of SEND parents was lawful.
Who at the council is going to tell the Emperor he’s wearing no clothes?
Inactive “activists” and non-campaigning “campaigners” star in desperately shite sham report that council’s top lawyer is pretending isn’t anything to do with him
A little late but, as promised by outgoing Chief Exec Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson, Bristol City Council has published a heavily redacted ‘fact-finding’ report into their SEND spying scandal.
This is the scandal of senior education bosses casually obtaining personal information from the internet, including wedding photos, on parents with SEND children. With no regard for the law, this personal information was then gleefully shared among City Hall bosses and third party organisations to undermine the local Parent Carer Forum and the parents it supports.
The education bosses even appear to have attempted a spot of what’s popularly called “doxxing” by obtaining what they considered identifying information from the internet on parents and then outing them to third parties.
Luckily for the officers involved in this potentially unlawful conduct, their names have been redacted in the report. However, in order not to protect the guilty and help you avoid some massive tossers, we’re happy to name some of the key arseholes in the council’s senior education team involved in the spy operation: Alison “Purvey” Hurley, Director of Education; Vikki Jervis, Principle Education Psychologist; Virginia Roberts, WSOA/SEND consultant; Gale Rogers, Head of Children’s Commissioning; Jess Baugh, Commissioning Manager.
A number of unnamed individuals in the council’s external comms team, managed by failed journalist Saskia “Hindley” Koynenburg were also involved. Information on these individuals welcome. Why should they be allowed to skulk in the shadows and fuck with us?
The report, itself, is a grim farrago of half-arsed backside covering attributed to Bristol City Council’s “Legal Services”. Largely because legal boss “L’il” Tim O’Gara may not want his name anywhere near such a political document that may cost some of the idiots involved their jobs.
O’Gara’s report is just ten slim pages. Eight of which are wholly irrelevant and dedicated to a nakedly political and obsessive attack on the Bristol Parent Carer Forum (BPC), which two parents at the centre of the scandal are involved with. The council’s main angle on the pair is that they were “activists” and “campaigners” against the council and its SEND team and this was a conflict of interest with their roles at BPC.
The obvious response to this is, so fucking what? And what right do council managers and directors have to spy on “activists” and “campaigners” anyway? Do residents of Bristol effectively forfeit basic human rights and their dignity if the council randomly labels them “activists” and “campaigners” on the basis of unreliable evidence gleaned off the internet?
Having dehumanised their SEND spy victims as “activists” and “campaigners” with no rights, the council’s report fails to identify anything resembling a “campaign” or “action” from either parent. Instead the parents’ only apparent action was to discuss the poor quality of Bristol’s SEND offer on social media with each other!
When did conversing with friends, acquaintances and relatives become “activism” and “campaigning”? Who made up this nonsense, which is basically cover for a crude state assault on the free speech of Bristol SEND parents on the internet? And a blatant attempt to stop dissent and criticism of a failing local public service so that the incompetents running it can pump out cheery fake news about the service instead and continue to bank fat salaries they don’t deserve.
Helpfully, the report clearly indicates that this “campaigning”/”activist” schtick is all a load of bollocks. Para 16 says:
Remarkably, the report is openly acknowledging that its “campaigning”/”activist” concerns may not even be true but concludes that doesn’t matter because some fantasists at City Hall think they might be true! A piece of Alice in Wonderland logic that opens the door for council bosses to unlawfully investigate citizens on the basis of false facts and fictional concerns. So that’s all right then.
Another purpose of all this meandering drivel seems to be that it allows O’Gara to avoid the actual purpose of his report, which should be an investigation into spying on parents by council bosses.
A leaked email from the Bristol City Council education managers at the heart of the SEND spying scandal reveals them plotting over what information they would provide to Bristol Parent Carer Forum.
The email clearly indicates that Education Director Alison Hurley was personally overseeing what sensitive personal data from parents should be unlawfully released to third parties
At the time, Vikki Jervis was Principle Education Psychologist at Bristol City Council. What parents were saying on social media had to do with education psychology is something of a mystery. Although she appears to be the council’s expert on RIPA and GDPR and releasing personal information obtained through surveillance to third parties.
Virginia Roberts is a consultant brought in as SEND lead for Bristol’s Written Statement of Action for OFSTED. It’s her job to oversee an improvement in SEND in Bristol after its terrible OFSTED inspection. How does monitoring and sharing parents’ social media posts relate to improving Bristol’s SEND service? Has Roberts shifted her focus to silencing parents rather than improving her service?
Maybe SEND management are more concerned with monitoring parents’ social media and supplying gossip to third parties than doing the jobs they are handsomely paid to do?