Author Topic: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?  (Read 13201 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« on: January 30, 2010, 12:57:24 AM »
 
 
So when did work on de-coupling SCS start exactly?

I ask because Rikki Hunt, (real name John Richard Hunt), says he's been:

Quote
"helping SCS prepare for arms length for free for 3 years"


Just in case this Tweet should be vanish, here's a piccie:




I think I'll leave that thought with you for the weekend......




Offline Ringer

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2010, 08:28:28 AM »
Am I missing something? It says 3 years :idiot2:
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2010, 08:36:38 AM »
 
Exactly. Three years.

So I'll ask the question again, with a slightly different emphasis and tack a supplementary question on the end:

Q1:  In which year did all cabinet members of Swindon Borough Council become aware that Swindon Commercial Services was to be de-coupled from the council itself?

Q2:  Is this another example of a 'delegated decision' being deliberately misused to wrongly describe a whopping great big major event as 'minor' or 'day-to-day' decision to keep it out of view of the members?

If I were a member, (Councillor to the rest of us), I think I'd be feeling a little queasy about past use of delegated powers and wondering what else is hidden behind other delegated decisions.

 :popcorn:



Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2010, 09:30:01 AM »
Geoff

I may be able to shed a bit of light here? I was on the Swindon Contractors Board Only for a short time I think I replaced Cllr Glen Smith, Cllr Ray Fisher was on it along with Cllrs Foley and I believe Cllr Perkins. At the time I was there, there had been a move to take it from Swindon Contractors to Swindon Contracting Services SCS.

I joined at a point when it was SCS to become SCS Swindon Commercial Services. I did not stay on the board long enough to find out what was "in train" (This is not denialability) I even think Justin had been on the board, it is possible he would have been aware that things were changing as he was lead member for Leisure services at the time. I think until he left the cabinet to concentrate on his campaign for MP.

I think what I am saying is that it could well have been 3 years ago as I left the board. I think it may have been a little longer I recall they  then Brought in external people and I think Sir Mike Pitt who was no longer working for SBC joined the board. I am happy to be corrected on this as it was sometime ago and memory is a bit slow this morning.
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2010, 09:53:48 AM »
 
Thanks Steve.

It might be nothing, just indicative of the way councils conduct 'their' business-as-usual, but it's interesting and relevant nevertheless.

I'm coming to regard SBC as something of an iceberg which is drifting dangerously along with 59 councillors perched on the visible 10% and the rest of us paying for, and being affected by, the invisible 90% of its bulk lurking below the surface.

Talkswindon, on the other hand, is like an inverted berg, with our invisible 90% being the regular TS readers who don't post.  I'm sure some of them will know the answers, or if not the answers maybe they can also shed some light by emailing Talkswindon

New Lamplighters are always welcome  :)
 

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2010, 10:19:08 AM »
Geoff

Oh its odd you mentioned iceberg and in an earlier post Richard Shaw mentioned Titanic and deck chairs, what next the singing in unison of My heart will go on  ;) :banana:

(NB unison as in all singing together nothing to do with the name of any organisation no pun intended)
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Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2010, 10:20:20 AM »
Wheels within wheels within wheels.

What the hell is going on in SBC?

It sounds as though it is being like a private club with someone else paying all the fees!!

AndyH

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2010, 10:52:37 AM »
I can certainly remember the idea being floated during my time on the council during some of the BSTG discussions.

I also remember muttering along the same lines from some members of the Procurement Board back in 2005.

However in qualifying this I must add that certain parties have constantly shown a learning towards outsourcing all the council services particularly the councils own SCS  and housing. The theory for them being that the council should be a the commissioning agent and not the provider.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2010, 11:15:15 AM »
 
Oh its odd you mentioned iceberg and in an earlier post Richard Shaw mentioned Titanic and deck chairs, what next the singing in unison of My heart will go on ?


Did he?, I don't know, I don't read every post....

.... but I do remember from whom I plagiarised the iceberg idea from. 

It was you  ;)



Anyway, irrelevant off-topic sarkiness from Councillors aside, a long missive about Swindon Commercial Services has just dropped into the leakline inbox. 

Off for a cup of tea and a quiet read  :)


Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2010, 11:34:15 AM »
Actually Geoff only 10% of Icebergs are visible and that is only if it is white ice, dark ice is not visible at night and also in other weather conditions. That is why Titanic did not see the iceberg.  I have always said the problem with the current Executive/cabinet system is that it is like a iceberg, only the top is visible and only a small percentage of  of cllrs are involved.

Andy are you saying that you were part of some small selective group that was operating under the surface of the governance procedures?  I have heard the rumours that star chambers do exist, but I have never been able to enter into one, so please tell me if you were in the know I am intrigued.

PS Geoff I will not charge any copyright fee ok ;)
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Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2010, 11:47:08 AM »
Geoff here is what I said!!

Interesting manoevres at the Council, comments from Degeneration Phil one minute and then an initiative from planning the responsibility of the ever so quiet Councillor Peter Greenhalgh.

Are they moving the deckchairs on RMS Titanic before it sinks beneith the 'waves of Wi-fi'?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2010, 12:42:04 PM »
I have always said the problem with the current Executive/cabinet system is that it is like a iceberg, only the top is visible and only a small percentage of  of cllrs are involved.

That's what I remember you saying  :)


Anyway, Andy said:

I can certainly remember the idea being floated during my time on the council during some of the BSTG discussions.

I also remember muttering along the same lines from some members of the Procurement Board back in 2005.

Andy's quote reminded me that I've previously heard mention of clandestine working groups of Councillors.  Is their existence a matter of public record, and if not, why not?

The changes which took Swindon Contractors to Swindon Contracting Services to Swindon Commercial Services and then ultimately to SCS as a 'standalone' company seems to have been achieved quite stealthily.

In an age where government and local government are supposedley moving towards greater transparency, a surprising number of stealthily-arrived-at projects are suddenly bobbing to the surface.

So, how many of these submarine groups are there, what do they do and who's in them?   I'm sure many of us would like to know what our votes and tax £'s are enabling....

...so if you know, why not let us know  in a clandestine way by emailing us anonymously

 

AndyH

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2010, 12:54:36 PM »
Andy are you saying that you were part of some small selective group that was operating under the surface of the governance procedures?  I have heard the rumours that star chambers do exist, but I have never been able to enter into one, so please tell me if you were in the know I am intrigued.

No Steve that I never was a member of that inner circle but as you pointed out in a previous post……

Andy
The one thing that is huge about you is your sense of humour and I know that you can remember the little details that make up the political tit bits hidden amongst the Buffet of mediocrity politics.

As you know discussion threads in meetings often go off at tangents and ideas get bounced around.

I do remember most clearly questions being asked why the council made double glazed windows as the Swindon Services depot when there were loads of glazing firms locally. The answer quite simply was that Swindon not only made them cheaper but we supplied loads of other councils and made a profit.

It was during one such discussion, although not that one in particular, that I first heard the idea floated regarding Swindon Services becoming a stand alone company or an ALMO. The idea of making profit from council services to subsidies council tax was not an uncommon one in the early days of the new Tory Administration, The Procurement Board was another example of how buying in bulk and selling on at a profit was explored.

As you know the Conservative group decided to keep a lot of their plans in house by having “Advisory Groups” made up of purely Tory councillors. From that point on opposition councillors were in the dark and the administration used their majority to push through what the lead member and these groups had thrashed out.

As I’ve said before, and I will keep repeating until someone takes notice, the fact that these same “Advisory Group” members also then sit of the Overview & Scrutiny committees that review the decisions taken by the lead members I believe undermines the whole democratic and independent role that scrutiny is supposed to take when scrutinising council decisions and policies. 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 02:09:35 PM by AndyH »

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2010, 01:22:11 PM »
 
I've remembered where I saw 'clandestine' mentioned most recently, and who said it  :)

http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=4773.msg30100#msg30100

Councillor Dave Woods (Eastcott Lib Dems), said, in relation to the re-surfacing issue of elected leader:

Quote
"The other night I was passed a copy of the agenda of the "Clandestine Governance Review Working Group" of 11th Jan."


Is this another SBC Star Chamber ?


sbc voice

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2010, 07:20:31 PM »
This started in 2004/05 in Sir Mike Pitts day. A report was commissioned from PWC (at a cost of £30,000) on the options for the future of SCS. PWC suggested partnering with a private sector utility company. The report was damning of SCS's accounting and operational practices.
PWC have been paid for at least 2 further reports since then.

sbc voice

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2010, 07:26:11 PM »
AndyH said:
I do remember most clearly questions being asked why the council made double glazed windows as the Swindon Services depot when there were loads of glazing firms locally. The answer quite simply was that Swindon not only made them cheaper but we supplied loads of other councils and made a profit.

According to PWC, SCS made a loss on the windows sold to other Councils, and these were subsidised from other Council services (ie You and I). The Director in charge of this was of course John Short, now Tory Councilor for Highworth.

AndyH

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2010, 06:51:42 PM »
AndyH said:
I do remember most clearly questions being asked why the council made double glazed windows as the Swindon Services depot when there were loads of glazing firms locally. The answer quite simply was that Swindon not only made them cheaper but we supplied loads of other councils and made a profit.

According to PWC, SCS made a loss on the windows sold to other Councils, and these were subsidised from other Council services (ie You and I). The Director in charge of this was of course John Short, now Tory Councilor for Highworth.

This is Bull, figures clearly showed we made a PROFIT which was ploughed back into the council

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2010, 07:13:30 PM »
Andy not sure when you had anything to do with that windows contract. I do remmebr the PWC report that came at the end of JS tenure. The goods and services act 1970 was a difficulty I had to work with until 2003 which was a bind.

http://www.apse.org.uk/charging-trading/trading.html  I am sure people will find the acts interesting as it allows more freedom for LA to trade.

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/151702.pdf
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Offline Mart

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2010, 07:36:20 PM »
That is why Titanic did not see the iceberg.

Nope, it was cos it was optically challenged, not one of it's 46,328 tons was given over to eyeball provision.

I prefer to see SBC as Titanic where the iceberg was spotted and the lookouts were told to shut their fecking gobs. They were having far too much fun in first class to interrupt the party.

Don't think White Star outsourced the stokers though.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2010, 07:38:50 PM »
I don't wonder that people can't keep up with the in, out, in, out, shake it all about, strategies of SBC. 

At some point the windows were made outside, I remember a locked window needing a new key and being told that the person needed to contact the  window makers - Startbright or some such if I remember rightly. 

Mart, wasn't the Titanic sink caused by someone not keeping their eye on the ball because some big wigs wanted a trophy and refused to listen to reason?.
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Offline Mart

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2010, 07:52:24 PM »
Wiki say:

The investigations found that many safety rules were simply out of date, and new laws were recommended. Numerous safety improvements for ocean-going vessels were implemented, including improved hull and bulkhead design, access throughout the ship for egress of passengers, lifeboat requirements, improved life-vest design, the holding of safety drills, better passenger notification, radio communications laws, etc. The investigators also learned that the Titanic had sufficient lifeboat space for all first-class passengers, but not for the lower classes. In fact, most third class passengers had no idea where the lifeboats were, much less any way of getting up to the higher decks where the lifeboats were stowed.

Or of course, if you want to really want to uncover the truth:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081400/

Loads of SBC relevant analogies, where's Dirk Pitt when you need him eah?
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Ringer

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2010, 07:57:46 PM »
Did the captain of the Titanic go down with the ship? Or is that just anothe analagy?
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Offline Mart

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Re: When? - When did de-coupling SCS start exactly?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2010, 08:07:57 PM »
Or did he cross the floor to Cunard?
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.