Author Topic: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?  (Read 4753 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« on: March 02, 2010, 12:43:14 PM »
Lamplighters #8

The civic is alive with rumour this week but, as they're all in the early stages, we have very few hard facts to go on.  As usual we'll try to firm these rumours up as being true or disregard them if the facts don't fit.  Generally speaking though, Swindons Lamplighters provide very high grade intelligence and I like to think that those of them 'in the know' are observing Nolans Seven Principles Of Public Life

The Seven Principles of Public Life

Selflessness : Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Integrity : Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity : In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability : Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness : Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty : Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership : Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.



So, without further ado let's examine what Lamplighters want us to know this week:


WiFi, Digital City & The Mysterious Case Of The Invisible Business Plan

Lamplighter Night Nurse tells me that she's heard the WiFi project is still suffering significant problems 'rolling out' and may need a significant amount of extra capital injecting into it.  Whoops?

The much vaunted and 'commercially confidential' business plan remains all but invisible and previous promises to show it to councillors have all come to nothing or have been so laden with non-disclosure caveats that many Councillors are refusing to see it under such un-transparent and onerous conditions.

Lamplighter Corky helpfully informs us that of the few Councillors who have asked to look at it several have been refused outright, but then were subsequently invited to 'one-on-one' briefings with Rikki Hunt.

The chair of the Scrutiny committee, Cllr Derique Montaut is still pursuing the 'Mysterious Case Of The Invisible Business Plan' and Lamplighter BuckCherry says Monty's requests have also been refused by the WiFi Illuminati but hints are being made that the Illuminati might  show it to Cllr Des Moffatt "because he knows about these things".

Councillor Moffat, for those that don't already know, is the vice-chairman of the SBC Audit Committee  It seems like the WiFi Illuminati are still determined to ignore the seven principles of public life, continue to ignore due process, redefine the meaning of 'transparency' and thwart local democracy.

How much longer can they get away with this?, not very long if members of Rods 'Gang of Four' start pressing their eject buttons en-masse....and even that won't save them from the attention of the District Auditor. (The Audit Commission).

Is the writing now indelibly on the wall for the Rod'igarchy?


Phil Young

Cllr Phil Young, Conservative member for Covingham & Nythe ward, cabinet member for Culture, Regeneration and Economic Development has apparently gone semi-public and told his conservative colleagues that he will not be seeking re-election on May the 6th.

Is he the first of the 'Gang of Four', (Rods cabinet within a cabinet), to see the writing on the wall over the multiple failures of regeneration projects, the misuse of the Local Authority Business Growth Initiative Grant to pay for the Radio 1 Big weekend party, Rod Bluh's vanity projects and the Getsignal WiFi Public/Private Partnership?

Perhaps Phil is going to take control of the New-New Swindon Company, (Forward Swindon?), or concentrate on his young family and own business, Stimulus Consulting.   Phil was once a regular contributor on Talkswindon but vanished about the same time that the regeneration good news stories stopped appearing. Phil probably won't answer our questions himself so if you know what Phil's up to, please tell us  :)  leaks@talkswindon.org

Hot Tip just received: Cllr Young not impressed with the re-launch of Ashfield Lands' plans for redevelopment of Old College site and reporting of same in this weeks adver. Is this tip on the money or wide of the mark?

Phils sudden departure must come as a blow/inconvenience to Justin Tomlinson who will now need to quickly find a replacement candidate for Covingham and Nythe  and plan their campaign, as well as running his own campaign for the 2010 General election.



The Rise and Fall of Rods Dream Team


The civic rumour mill is producing talk of several Cabinet members whose 'stars' are fading quickly and of backbenchers whose stars are in the ascendant.

Gary 'the invisible man of Shaw' Perkins is deemed to be on his last legs, Peter Greenhalgh, David 'I Tweet' Reynard and Brian 'I can't join the dots let alone sort CP2 out' Mattock are all rumoured to be on the way out.

On the way in: Likely candidates who were allowed to demonstrate their loyalty to the leader by speaking at last weeks budget meeting are:  Michael Dickinson, Stephanie Exell, Dale Heenan.  Can you shed some lamplight on these rumours for us?  email us: leaks@talkswindon.org

Hot Tip just received: Councillor Reynard regarded as favourite for position of Deputy Leader of the Council.   There is some fear in the conservative group that the £4,000,000 (4 million) pounds of efficiency savings Bluh needs to make, (to balance his risky budget), will be made in Councillor Reynards portfolio of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care.

If true, this means Bluh is likely to install a 'patsy' to Councillor Reynards vacant seat, someone who will then take the heat for making deep, deep cuts.....

.....so who would Bluh happily throw into the fire?  Councillor Dickinson is a name that springs easily to mind, but Michael says he doesn't want a cabinet role.


Gavin Jones & Swindons Car Parks


Gavin Jones, Chief Executive of Swindon Borough Council has recently made two very public statements about car parking policy in the town.  Did he 'overstep' the mark or is he now in charge of car parks?  I thought Peter Greenhalgh was the car-park Czar?

Reliant tells me that to park in the John Street car park will now cost £38 for the day.  Is Gavin Jones now complicit in 'managing demand'?, i.e, making it so expensive to park there that no one will use the car park meaning SBC can claim it's no longer needed and then be sold off or built on?

Do you know different? leaks@talkswindon.org

« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 03:07:35 PM by Geoff Reid »



Offline Jarvis

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2010, 03:51:53 PM »

How big is the John Street car park?  is it £ 4million big?

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 04:01:25 PM »
£38.00 to park for the day, that sounds a lot to me I am sure central councillors can confirm if that is the case? It sounds very expensive to me I suppose it depends on how you buy the ticket and that must be for 24hrs. I must say I have heard similar grumbles this week especially as SBC is boosting its revenue by £6 milion as per Adver.

On another note you are correct the CEO has spoken on car park policy over the last few days. I am certain he won't be making the policy. I am not sure if these were policy announcements, if they are some cllrs will be asking some questions?

The day SBC has a policy to stop charging for car parking is interesting. I think that policy would go through all the governace procedures including full council. So I think I have answered my own question, it could not have been a policy announcement after all.
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Ringer

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2010, 04:52:12 PM »
A whole new cabinet now that's an idea to contemplate :-X
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2010, 05:47:18 PM »
Is Gavin Jones seeking to price Swindon out of the shopping market?

Friends who have come here complain it was not worth the journey anyway so it looks like the end of the Unique Swindon  Shopping Experience.

Didn't Geoff recently post he was off to shop in Bristol.  How much did the Car Park cost Geoff?

Added to which it would appear that Phil Young values his career more than his association with the Council, but sadly his failure to regenerate Swindon during his tenure will follow him wherever he goes.  That is unless he is actually going to stay and tough it out and see the job through, however unlikely that may be.

I think it is time to come out and say something here Phil.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2010, 06:28:14 PM »
"so it looks like the end of the Unique Swindon  Shopping Experience."

The end?   Did it ever start?
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2010, 06:35:08 PM »
"so it looks like the end of the Unique Swindon  Shopping Experience."

The end?   Did it ever start?

Be careful, or you might end up getting a visit there. :coffee:

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2010, 10:19:24 PM »
"so it looks like the end of the Unique Swindon  Shopping Experience."

The end?   Did it ever start?


For those who have never seen this wait for 3rd from the end :2funny:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ACMcjbmniC8&amp;hl=en_GB&amp;fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ACMcjbmniC8&amp;hl=en_GB&amp;fs=1</a>

Says it all really and how old is this?

Mind you town won 1 - nil :banana:
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2010, 03:27:39 PM »

Unconfirmed tip:  Rikki Hunt will not be on the Board of Swindon Commercial Services after all.

Is this evolution pure coincidence or absolutely connected to the poor performance of Digital City?  tell us: leaks@talkswindon.org

Offline Chav

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2010, 09:28:10 PM »
£38.00 to park for the day, that sounds a lot to me I am sure central councillors can confirm if that is the case? It sounds very expensive to me

Yeah but you're really stingy anyway  ;D

only Joking Steve  ;)

£38.00 is very expensive, I do agree  :agreed:
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Offline michael dickinson

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2010, 12:44:01 PM »
Lamplighters #8

On the way in: Likely candidates who were allowed to demonstrate their loyalty to the leader by speaking at last weeks budget meeting are:  Michael Dickinson, Stephanie Exell, Dale Heenan.  Can you shed some lamplight on these rumours for us?  email us: leaks@talkswindon.org

.....so who would Bluh happily throw into the fire?  Councillor Dickinson is a name that springs easily to mind, but Michael says he doesn't want a cabinet role.

Do you know different? leaks@talkswindon.org

I will post this openly.

I do not want to be on the cabinet (not that I think it's likely that I would be offered a post on cabinet).

I do not have the time to be on the cabinet, it is really difficult to have a full time job and be on the cabinet, especially in one of the main jobs.

I, however, would like to carry on as chair of Audit.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2010, 01:28:56 PM »

Excellent, thanks for clearing that up Michael, we can adjust the SBC Cabinet 'Hokey-Cokey' sweepstake accordingly  :)

While you're here, any news on whether you have, as chair of the SBC Audit Committee, been given access to the Digital City/Getsignal business plan or is Councillor Bluh still treating the Audit committee as if it's been gerrymandered ?

Offline michael dickinson

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2010, 01:48:45 PM »

Excellent, thanks for clearing that up Michael, we can adjust the SBC Cabinet 'Hokey-Cokey' sweepstake accordingly  :)

While you're here, any news on whether you have, as chair of the SBC Audit Committee, been given access to the Digital City/Getsignal business plan or is Councillor Bluh still treating the Audit committee as if it's been gerrymandered ?

I am meeting Hitesh Patel (Director of Digital City & SBC) on Tuesday where the business plan / cash flow will be made available, but, as it's confidential I will not be able to discuss it

I spoke to Stephen Taylor yesterday & can arrange to see the contract (if I want to) - but more interested in the business plan rather than the contract (at the moment)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2010, 02:17:50 PM »
 
I am meeting Hitesh Patel (Director of Digital City & SBC) on Tuesday where the business plan / cash flow will be made available, but, as it's confidential I will not be able to discuss it

Of course you can't, and I wouldn't expect you to leak it either.  I don't think you'll be particularly surprised or impressed by anything in it though, much of it is already in the public domain and more bits come to light every week.

It's obvious that Rod Bluh, Mark Edwards and Stephen Taylor think that the Getsignal WiFi'asco is already in serious trouble and that the £150,000 already sunk into it is at risk unless the rest of the £450,000 loan of tax payers cash is made quickly, even though the project has not met many of it's performance indicators or other targets.

Quote
The key risk in delaying further funding is that Digital City will not be in a position to progress full Borough coverage, meaning that the project is likely to stall and the original loan amount of £150k will be in jeopardy.

So what's happened to the other £1,000,000 of funding we were told that Digital City had available to it?, is SBC, sorry, is the taxpayer now the sole financial backer of the WiFi'asco?

Serious and deep questions need to asked, and it's about time Bluh & Co answered them promptly and without concealment and obfuscation.  I suggest that the real reason so much effort has been put into preventing any scrutiny of the business 'plan' is that it has been 'weak' from day one.  Bluh has already admitted that the wifi 'deal' would not have survived public debate and this is probably why.  It is time to end the secrecy surrounding this project, remove the lid from Rod Bluh's Black Box Business Unit and shine a light into it.

As of Monday the 2nd March Digital City has just 5 paying customers yet was expected to have 100 paying customers after 3 months operation.

By this point Digital City was expected to have 25 paying business customers but, as there's no mention of these in the briefing document I am assuming they have 0.


Just in case anyone missed this question the first time round, I'll pose it again:


What's happened to the other £1,000,000 of funding we were told that Digital City had available to it?, is SBC, sorry, is the taxpayer now the only financial backer of the WiFi'asco?

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: lamplighters Bulletin #9: The Next Generation?
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2010, 08:54:49 PM »

Excellent, thanks for clearing that up Michael, we can adjust the SBC Cabinet 'Hokey-Cokey' sweepstake accordingly  :)

While you're here, any news on whether you have, as chair of the SBC Audit Committee, been given access to the Digital City/Getsignal business plan or is Councillor Bluh still treating the Audit committee as if it's been gerrymandered ?

I am meeting Hitesh Patel (Director of Digital City & SBC) on Tuesday where the business plan / cash flow will be made available, but, as it's confidential I will not be able to discuss it

I spoke to Stephen Taylor yesterday & can arrange to see the contract (if I want to) - but more interested in the business plan rather than the contract (at the moment)

I think you should see and read everything connected with this caper or it could just bite you. ....later.

As I have said to your face it still would have been better for you personally to have resigned when this information was not made immediately available to you when you requested it. 

What has changed for you to be given sight of it now?
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