Author Topic: 3. The Scrutiny Process  (Read 15610 times)

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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2010, 12:26:19 PM »
Whilst I can't say I'm saddened by the demise of the Audit Commission, it's worth considering whether we would have fared any better if SBC's auditors were one of the big commercial audit companies, which is what is being proposed.

Say SBC was audited by the likes of Price Waterhouse Cooper. Would anyone have known who to write to in PWC if they felt there was something they thought the auditor should know? Even if they did, would they ever have got any feedback on their concerns? Commercial auditors tend to work quietly in the background. Openness (in the form of open criticism of those they audit) is not usually part of their approach.

The Audit Commission was nothing more or less than a Prussian Railway Timetable of petty frogging criteria, that would print off reports and denouncements that were something akin to Soviet Tractor Factory Statistics, the only difference was instead of the Gulag you were shamed and exiled to the Siberia of nil stars.

As regards private audits David Cameron thinks we are taken in by his cutting of public jobs, all he is doing moving them to the private sector.
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Offline Alex

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2010, 01:32:55 PM »
Whilst I can't say I'm saddened by the demise of the Audit Commission, it's worth considering whether we would have fared any better if SBC's auditors were one of the big commercial audit companies, which is what is being proposed.

Say SBC was audited by the likes of Price Waterhouse Cooper. Would anyone have known who to write to in PWC if they felt there was something they thought the auditor should know? Even if they did, would they ever have got any feedback on their concerns? Commercial auditors tend to work quietly in the background. Openness (in the form of open criticism of those they audit) is not usually part of their approach.

The Audit Commission was nothing more or less than a Prussian Railway Timetable of petty frogging criteria, that would print off reports and denouncements that were something akin to Soviet Tractor Factory Statistics, the only difference was instead of the Gulag you were shamed and exiled to the Siberia of nil stars.

As regards private audits David Cameron thinks we are taken in by his cutting of public jobs, all he is doing moving them to the private sector.

I've always had concerns about private audits who clearly have a vested interest in reflecting, in their results, the desires of their paymasters. Look at most companies' published Financial Accounts or Annual Report and show me where it openly addresses concerns of the actual employees - its just there to reassure the shareholders.

We need a completely & truly independent, properly managed source of auditing- neither of which we have ever had.   >:(

Offline Ringer

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2011, 01:45:52 PM »
The word on the streets is wifi is rumbling again like a grumbling appendics it wont go away will it.
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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2011, 02:05:41 PM »
I sometimes wonder whether the whole Wi-Fi thing may just have been quietly dropped... had it not been for the outcry amongst some quarters.

It seems that the Council now probably feel they have to press ahead and waste even more money in order to get the daft project working.
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Offline Chris Watts

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2011, 03:48:57 PM »
I sometimes wonder whether the whole Wi-Fi thing may just have been quietly dropped... had it not been for the outcry amongst some quarters.

It seems that the Council now probably feel they have to press ahead and waste even more money in order to get the daft project working.

Fair point, although the outcry was more about the SBC Administration decision making process, not so much Wi-Fi.
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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2011, 03:55:17 PM »
Fair point, although the outcry was more about the SBC Administration decision making process, not so much Wi-Fi.

Indeed. Stupid/pointless initial decision which has been spurred on by people making a big song and dance about it. I just hope they don't squander too much more money attempting to save face.
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Offline Chris Watts

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2011, 04:19:19 PM »
Fair point, although the outcry was more about the SBC Administration decision making process, not so much Wi-Fi.

Indeed. Stupid/pointless initial decision which has been spurred on by people making a big song and dance about it. I just hope they don't squander too much more money attempting to save face.

Amen to that.

For the future though, The upside is, if a hypothetical 'known business associated' of a 'generic council administration' was to waltz into a Civic center with a speculative business plan asking for, lets say for the sake of argument, half a Mil' and all the trimmings "but lets keep it our little secret" type of deal, then the 'hypothetical council leader' of the 'generic council' may think twice about how he/she should proceed. Perhaps.  :santa_smiley:
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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2011, 04:36:22 PM »
For the future though, The upside is, if a hypothetical 'known business associated' of a 'generic council administration' was to waltz into a Civic center with a speculative business plan asking for, lets say for the sake of argument, half a Mil' and all the trimmings "but lets keep it our little secret" type of deal, then the 'hypothetical council leader' of the 'generic council' may think twice about how he/she should proceed. Perhaps.  :santa_smiley:

It'd be nice to think so... somehow, though, I have a feeling they'd do it all over again (and I mean either 'team').
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Offline Mart

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2011, 09:03:48 PM »
The Audit Commission was nothing more or less than a Prussian Railway Timetable of petty frogging criteria, that would print off reports and denouncements that were something akin to Soviet Tractor Factory Statistics, the only difference was instead of the Gulag you were shamed and exiled to the Siberia of nil stars.

Neat, not a fan then?

How about this puppy?

http://www.economicvoice.com/another-year-another-eu-audit-saga/50013995#axzz1ACFbtbSn

I can, now and again, when provoked, appear cynical. I reckon, when in that mode, that it would be a pretty short list of Government departments that would score A+ after a truly robust and independent audit.

I have no doubt everything would be within the rules but there would be a whiff of something icky.

I think we require a short period of auditing zealots equipped with all manner of probes, braziers and stretching equipment, chances are we might even rustle up a few bob.

I've got a soldering iron.

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 Richard Symonds

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2011, 12:32:50 PM »
I sometimes wonder whether the whole Wi-Fi thing may just have been quietly dropped... had it not been for the outcry amongst some quarters.

Dropped 20?  How can it be?  It involved £450,000 of our money.  Don't you think someone, somewhere, should be accountable for that fact?

This will not go away until it is either successful, however unlikely, or fails in which case it will take a few people with it.  Any money on who will take the can?

I wonder if the good people of Shaw and Nine Elms approve of this little 'investment' with their money and that their Councillor Garry Perkins is on the Board of Digital City and therefore responsible for 'safeguarding' this money?  If it fails it will give the opposition parties a wonderful opportunity to assail this Tory bastion, if they can be bothered.  But then I guess everything could change for 2012 as we will know for sure by then exactly what will have become of this 'Inovative' and 'Vibrant' Initiative.
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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2011, 02:08:34 PM »
Dropped 20?  How can it be?  It involved £450,000 of our money.  Don't you think someone, somewhere, should be accountable for that fact?

This will not go away until it is either successful, however unlikely, or fails in which case it will take a few people with it.  Any money on who will take the can?

I would actually admire an admission that it was a difficult project that was found to be unviable and the funding input stopped before more good money went after bad. The company involved should ultimately carry the can, with the politicians involved being accountable at the ballot box - anyone can be taken in by consummate conmen, that's the reason they're consummate conmen.

What I fear is that more and more money will be pumped into a service that will be made to 'work', but only to the barely functioning/operational level. It will then be even more of a waste of everyone's time and money yet will allow the shysters involved to proclaim a triumph.

There's nothing wrong with admitting a mistake, there is a lot wrong with continuing to throw away our money in order to pretend no mistake was ever made.

It's odd, we seem to demand honesty from our politicians but then almost make it impossible for them to be honest.
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Offline Des Morgan

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2011, 02:33:43 PM »
Quote
There's nothing wrong with admitting a mistake, there is a lot wrong with continuing to throw away our money in order to pretend no mistake was ever made

Indeed.

This project should have been stopped in March 2010 when it was clear that the targets set out and agreed in October had not been met.  Let me remind folk that 'sales against performance targets was considered the correct measurement to determine the commercial viability of the project' It therefore follows that 'poor sales performance, never mind no sales performance' equals zero commercial viability.


Offline Ringer

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2011, 03:21:23 PM »
What if the politician(s) Asked a company/individual to come up with the means to provide it for them? What if a company has a contract with the council and  hold the council to it?  If the council owns a share in a company surely it can it sell it at any time it wants to? There is always a business plan for a venture like this to measure progress against. A contract may have break clauses or loss of profit clauses that can be invoked if progress has not satisfied a progress measure?

More questions on top of questions,  the council should review this project now, it is well over 1 year since it was launched and we need to know if it is doing well or to the contrary. It could be 2 stars with promising prospects?

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Offline Spectre

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2011, 04:38:03 PM »
What if the politician(s) Asked a company/individual to come up with the means to provide it for them? What if a company has a contract with the council and  hold the council to it?  If the council owns a share in a company surely it can it sell it at any time it wants to? There is always a business plan for a venture like this to measure progress against. A contract may have break clauses or loss of profit clauses that can be invoked if progress has not satisfied a progress measure?

More questions on top of questions,  the council should review this project now, it is well over 1 year since it was launched and we need to know if it is doing well or to the contrary. It could be 2 stars with promising prospects?


My recollection of this wifiasco is:-

Q1.  It was the opposite way around. The company/individual came to the Council/politician(s) with
        the proposal to provide the service if the Council financed the project by the means of a loan.

Q2.  The Council have met their part of the contract by providing the loan in full even though the
        company/individual had not met its/their side of the agreement to provide a service with an
        agreed number of paying customers within an agreed time .

Q3.   If the Council have shares they could only sell them for their market value. As the company
         is in debt to the Council to the tune of £450,000 and the service has not been completed,
         who will they sell to?

The business plan was flawed from the onset and this was pointed out by Chris Watts and Des
Morgan, as well as others, at more than two scrutiny meetings and in writing to the relevent politicians. All of this is well publicised on this forum.


         

Offline Ringer

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2011, 05:12:35 PM »

My recollection of this wifiasco is:-

Q1.  It was the opposite way around. The company/individual came to the Council/politician(s) with
        the proposal to provide the service if the Council financed the project by the means of a loan.


Are you absolutley dead positively sure of that one? The councillor(s) could easily have gone to someone with the idea, where minutes kept of the meetings? There is a thread on here where councillors have met developers for  information sharing and minutes not published. Why not with wifi? I posed the question because it appears odd that  a councillor(s) were so taken with the idea they pursued it, when many other councillors it appears were not.

Who came up with the idea of a canal? Who came up with buying the tabernackle stones?  Who came up with the idea of the Pisseur? Who came up with using Lagbi money to pay for the R1BW? Who Gave us the Central Library? Who came up with the idea of the Big Screen? Was it a Councillor (s) Or were they all ideas from the business community? 
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Offline Spectre

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2011, 05:25:01 PM »
Ringer, are you crediting certain Council "leaders" with being capable of formulating an idea?

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2011, 05:35:32 PM »
Quote
Are you absolutley dead positively sure of that one

let me refer to the agenda of the Scrutiny Committe of 8 April 2010 and in particular the draft minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 31 March 2010.

Appendix 119 para 7 and two thrids of the way down - Coun Bluh states: ....that this had not been a procurement exercise by the Council but a response to an investment opportunity brought to it by a new local business. I would also point out that Coun Greenhalgh confirmed the way in which this 'opportunity' to invest £450k was brought to the attention of the Council - see para 6 of item 120 in the same report. He said "An investment opportunity had been put forward to the Council that it had examined and decided to act on"

Offline Ringer

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2011, 05:40:08 PM »
Quote
Are you absolutley dead positively sure of that one

let me refer to the agenda of the Scrutiny Committe of 8 April 2010 and i aprticular the draft minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 31 March 2010.

Appendix 119 para 7 and two thrids of the way down - Coun Bluh states: ....that this had not been a procurement exercise by the Council but a response to an investment opportunity brought to it by a new local business. I would also point out that Coun Greenhalgh confirmed the way in which this 'opportunity' to invest £450k was brought to the attention of the Council - see para 6 of item 120 in the same report. He said "An investment opportunity had been put forward to the Council that it had examined and decided to act on"

Des

Has everything around wifi been exactly as the minutes have noted ie have the council done everything they said they would do in the minutes a one word answer will do (if you can do that please)  you old wily wordsmith you.

Remember you are more than a tad sceptical unhappy about the accidental director bit of this project uncovering roll out.
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Offline Ringer

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2011, 05:41:21 PM »
Ringer, are you crediting certain Council "leaders" with being capable of formulating an idea?

Vison, its Vision its all you need to be a leader old chum!
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Offline Des Morgan

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Re: 3. The Scrutiny Process
« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2011, 05:46:24 PM »
Quote
Has everything around wifi been exactly as the minutes have noted ie have the council done everything they said they would do in the minutes a one word answer will do (if you can do that please)

No