Author Topic: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?  (Read 315299 times)

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Offline jennyb

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1040 on: December 06, 2012, 09:12:25 AM »
So , let me get this right....

About 1 year ago... a big exercise was initiated to look at the SBC organisation from the top down.

The 'board' of 4 was targetted to go down to 3. The outcome was that the 'board' went up to 5.

Ms C left with a nice package in Apr 2012?

Now SBC's management finds that 1 of the board of 5 is not needed. 

Not too hot on the overall planning then...

Is there a record of this exercise and what will Mr P's package be?

5 years service in the real world wouldn't get you much unless it was incentivised. 

In the real world.. if a senior post is not needed .. it doesn't usually get 4 months notice... methinks.

Now when is that Wifi review supposed to take place?
It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline DavidPayne

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1041 on: December 06, 2012, 10:26:32 AM »

Gavin Jones should also have his post 'deleted', partly because he's damned expensive to employ, partly because the council has been allowed to deteriorate so badly while he's been the Chief Exec and also because Wiltshire Council hums along quite nicely without one.

If we can do without gardeners, carers and I.T directors, we can do without Gavin.

Indeed, a disappointment this man who I knew in another life before he threw in his integrity for this grubby, over-valued role-play.

Only once have I had occasion to write to him, regarding woeful performance by Capita in their joint and heavily conflicted role in the handling of both Social Benefits and Council Tax, compelled by an accumulation of offences finally reaching critical mass. My letter, advising that I ‘wished’ to make a complaint, got a curt dismissal on the basis of his unreserved satisfaction with the role Capita was fulfilling, the complaint ‘handled’ even before it had been delivered. The expedience of a coffee-break tete-a-tete with Andrew Stevens, ([Interim] Head of Revenues and another head that should roll), to determine between them what the complaint might have been then deal with it in my absence, is SBC protocol it seems.

The kind of complacency that comes of hubris is a spectacle of Office, fascinating to behold and deserves only ridicule. Foolish enough to imagine that with an introduction as it were, by way of former association, I might receive the minimum of a professional hearing, I withdrew. One instance amongst the ever-expanding catalogue of abuse-by-Bureaucracy, still this particular expression of disdain fascinates me, perhaps because it is so much less at arms length than usual. I find a certain perverse satisfaction in being witness to it, an acute reminder never to lose your guard and remember that how ever bad you think it is, it’s worse.

So, if you or your officers keep abreast of TS Gavin, be sure that this matter has not gone away, is much bigger than you know (knowing of course, nothing of it) and has been filed in busy box marked ‘Contempt’, to re-visit you in due course, via whatever agency is finally obliged or shamed to act. To paraphrase from a recent submission elsewhere -

You seek root in what is a global forest of deceit, but from deep in the web The Axe-Man Cometh.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1042 on: December 06, 2012, 04:21:41 PM »

In the real world.. if a senior post is not needed .. it doesn't usually get 4 months notice... methinks.

And in the real world any other organisation would apply an equal-handedness to all employees it laid off.

But in SBC territory anyone below director level is shoved out of the door with the minimum possible (and legal) severance package.  It's also likely that a few councillors of the administration will quietly brief against those laid off, so the political administration can feel better about itself.  Think this doubtful?, re-read what happened when ex-councillor Mallinson decided to dump the Council Domicillary Home Care Team.

I'm sure that Mr Patels' departure will be heavily cushioned by the public purse.  Firstly he is being 'kept on' until the end of the financial year - another complete year of 'service' under his belt there then, (kerchiiiing!), with the associated benefits to his pension of course, not forgetting SBC, (our), contribution into the same.

Other SBC employees will learn next week that they are to lose their jobs, but they will be signing-on a long, long time before Mr Patel has even started thinking about moving his chair away from the desk and driving home to Chepstow for (hopefully) the last time.

It is, and I make no apology for swearing here, ferking disgraceful.  I don't mean that in an over-egged and typically 'Dale Heenan' politically hyperbolic way, I mean that I hold a deep-seated and viscerally felt disgust for 'professional' civil servants who take regular, scheduled shits on genuine public servants and taxpayers alike, and then hand each other the quilted toilet paper.

 

Offline DavidPayne

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1043 on: December 06, 2012, 06:26:54 PM »
It's snowing on TS! - Deck the halls with boughs of holleee, tralalala lummm, da dee dum dmm.....oooops, slipped out of character there - Baaaaahhh!, Humbug!

Offline Mart

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1044 on: December 06, 2012, 07:28:50 PM »
My screen has got funny white specks all over it.

Or is it my eyes? (You've got flies in your eyes)

I think the Wifi enquiry is now pretty much concluded, we have in effect just read the last page of the book.

I was hoping for a bit more condemnation, shattered public images and maybe an arrest or three.

I need to put 'Find Happy Place' on my list of possible resolutions, I'm sounding a bit bitter to myself now.
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 Des Morgan

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1045 on: December 06, 2012, 11:03:05 PM »
The decision to part company with Mr Patel was taken many months ago, possibly as far back as July. (oh yes it was Stephen and i have the proof)

After the departure of Ms Carrington in the last re-organisation the then Deputy Leader Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms) said: “It’s a total reorganisation of the whole management structure within the council. This is the beginning of trying to get the structure in place at the top end.”  Of course we all know that anything Coun Perkins syas should be taken with a liberal dose of salt.

In September 2012 the Chief executive stated "We are approaching a critical point with the Council’s two identified strategic projects; The Wichelstowe Development and the UKBroadband (4G LTE) Project.  Both these projects are significant for Swindon and it is important that the Council is in the best position to make the most out of both these opportunities. There is a need for a Board Director to be dedicated, over the next few months, to both these projects given the scale, complexity and tight timescales.
 
In order to do this, I have asked Hitesh Patel, Board Director for Transformation and Strategic Projects, to focus on delivering the priority milestones for these projects"

Making Mr Patel responsible for two 'significant projects, which are complex and have tight timescales' and then disposing of him as quickly as he was appointed is hardly a vote of confidence in the selection process for senior management.

Council leader Rod Bluh said in October 2011 of the new management structure and re-appointment of Hitesh Patel , “There was a very strong field of candidates for these vital roles".  Clearly the definition of 'vital' is very elastic as having been appointed in October 2011 he managed to cling on only until December 2012 (if you believe he wasn't selected to go before this date) 

As for Coun Bluh's claim that "This will lead us to the management structure for the new model: Stronger Together".  That is looking very thin now.

On a different level, I believe Mr Patel's continued employment at SBC was tainted by the significant part he played in the Wi-Fi fiasco especially the saga of the 'I didn't know i was a director'.

I wonder if his leaving will be accompanied by a 'compromise agreement' forbidding him from saying anything about Wi-Fi even to the sub-committee being set up to investigate the issue?

Incidentally Coun Perkins is being decidedly tight lipped about my letter enquiring whether Digital City ever had a bank loan in its own right.

ph1lc

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1046 on: December 06, 2012, 11:17:15 PM »
Attached are the accounts that DC published at CH. These show creditors of £472K, so someone apart from SBC was owed money.

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1047 on: December 06, 2012, 11:28:01 PM »
Overdraft £35
Trade Creditors £10,696
Other taxation £4,707
Other Creditors £456,661

SBC £400,000 plus outstanding interest of £3,918 plus £16,742 owed for 'shared infrastructure costs'. Total £420,660

aQovia are also owed £39,774

I remember Mr Hunt stating he wouldn't risk his reputation with failure, he didn't mind taking £105,067 in consultancy costs and 'possibly' other amounts paid under other headings, which i have asked Coun Perkins to clarify

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1048 on: December 07, 2012, 04:28:05 PM »
At last an answer to my question regarding whether Digital City ever had a bank loan.

I asked Coun Perkins - “I am trying to determine the amount of any Bank Loan within the accounts and cannot find any record of one being obtained or used. Please would you direct me to the relevant item within the accounts which relates to any bank loan secured by Digital City UK Limited” 

To which Coun Perkin’s answer was - “Digital City has not, in its own right, ever obtained bank funding”.

An Internal Audit report was prepared by Nick Hobbs and dated 9 April 2010 Ref IA inv /09-10 11. The report covered the background to the granting of a loan to Digital City UK Limited for that company to provide a Borough wide Wi-Fi facility. 

At page 8 of 18 of the report under sub heading (b) Credit worthiness of Digital City  in particular 3.1.16 Mr Hobbs reports “It is understood that since the commencement of the Wi-Fi project Digital City UK Limited has been successful in obtaining a bank loan in the (sic) own right”

Both statements cannot be true, either Digital City did or it did not obtain bank funding by way of a bank loan.


Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1049 on: December 07, 2012, 04:34:29 PM »
And here is a typical politicians 'response' as opposed to an answer to another simple question.

1.       Under ‘cost of sales’ there are four headings titled

a. Product management/sales support           £31,500

b. Business intelligence                                  £ 3,600

c. Customer service                                        £16,000

d. Billing Collections                                       £16,000

Question: Was any of this work undertaken by Mr Hunt or any member of Mr Hunt’s family and was any of the money paid to Mr Hunt or to any family member or company/organisation with which Mr Hunt had an association

The response given by Coun Perkins was - "I do not have this level of detail".

So after being the Council's representative on the board of DC for 30 months the best we can hope for is "I do not have this level of detail" or put another way 'I never asked where the money was being spent and i really never bothered myself with such detail as to whther the money was going to companies or individuals associated with RH'

What does this say about Coun Perkins stewardship of tax payers money?

Offline Weebleman

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1050 on: December 07, 2012, 05:15:34 PM »
Alternatively:

Question: Was any of this work undertaken by Mr Perkins or any member of Mr Perkins' family and was any of the money paid to Mr Perkins or to any family member or company/organisation with which Mr Perkins had an association?

He can't possibly not know the answer to that.

Offline makethem99

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1051 on: December 07, 2012, 05:30:13 PM »
Looks like Councillor Perkins has been busy?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1052 on: December 07, 2012, 05:44:57 PM »
You'll no doubt notice a slight but significant disparity between the Companies House record of the Appointment of Mr G Perkins as a director to Digital City (UK) Ltd, and the recently submitted (late) accounts which show him referred to as Councillor Garry Perkins.  (I haven't got time to link to the document tonight - will do so later unless someone else would be so kind, it is on TS somewhere)

Doubtless this is being done so SBC can pay all fines accrued by Mr Garry Perkins for his late submission of the Digital City Accounts from the public purse.

What's the betting that us taxpayers will also be paying Mustapha Arif's fines?

What do those fines total at present?

ph1lc

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1053 on: December 07, 2012, 05:57:11 PM »
I for one am at a loss to comprehend how you can reconcile Digital City filing non trading accounts with some of the vitriol aimed at the people who were questioning the second advance made by the Council by Rodders and others.
























Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1054 on: December 07, 2012, 08:05:56 PM »
can we have a hanging yet?
Proud to be gone

Offline Mart

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1055 on: December 07, 2012, 08:36:31 PM »
can we have a hanging yet?

I can tie a noose. It's a useful life skill I have yet to utilise.

We'll need a mob, we'll need to pick out a tree, maybe a lamp post if it's more convenient and not cluttered up with all that hugely successful yet surprisingly cheap WiFi tackle. I think I'd like a horse involved because I like that bit where they slap it's backside and it ambles off serenely unaware of the consequences of it's actions.

I reckon with a bit of practice we could partially hang someone who has been naughty but stayed within the rules, all encompassing not quite capital punishment.

Right, who's first then?
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 I Could Do That

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1056 on: December 07, 2012, 10:46:38 PM »
We could utilise the Magic Roundabout Christmas tree.

On second thoughts... that might not be too efficient (falling over and all that)

I've got some fence posts. Just need a few pallets and I'll start knocking up some gallows.

I'll send the bill to SBC (£400k sounds reasonable)

I'll even stick some tinsel on it to keep it seasonal

Let me know when you want it delivered
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1057 on: December 07, 2012, 11:06:58 PM »
I for one am at a loss to comprehend how you can reconcile Digital City filing non trading accounts with some of the vitriol aimed at the people who were questioning the second advance made by the Council by Rodders and others.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean?


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Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1058 on: December 08, 2012, 09:50:57 AM »
I asked Coun Perkins the following question:

In the forward to the accounts the directors state that the business plan was dependant on selling Wi-Fi to business units and the failure of Digital city to achieve this part of the plan was a reason why the commercial viability of the company was impaired.
 
Question: How does this claim accord with the ‘model’ presented to Council in which it was stated the objectives in year one were to 

Sell to 7% of households in year one
Having between 5,000 and 7,000 free users, and we expect that a proportion of these will want to upgrade to a paid service
Selling 1,000 business packages 

You will recall that the Leader of the Council went one step further when stating “We believe that Digital City are being realistic about target sales to households, business, public sector organisations and business visitors”

His response: 'The three objectives as set out in report are all inter-related.  The model as set out was, according to the information available at the time, accepted as attainable'.Not quite the answer to the question, but he is first and foremost a politician  - possibly with the same 'answer evasive' skills as the Chancellor.

However, let us consider the statement from the Chief Executive of SBC who said "I believe it has been clear since March 2010 that the Council had concerns about Digital City's ability to deliver on the agreed business plan"

I never asked Coun Perkins whether "The model as set out was, according to the information available at the time, accepted as attainable" - I accept the commercially illiterate numbskulls who considered that on a gross turnover of £1m the business would produce a net profit of £700k were also capable of mis-undertsanding and mis-interpreting a business plan conceived by the machiavellian RH. What I asked Coun Perkins was how the failure of DC could be attributed to the failure to sell business packages when the greater thrust was for the sale of home packages - 7% of Swindon house holds in year one.


ph1lc

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1059 on: December 08, 2012, 01:05:16 PM »
I asked Coun Perkins the following question:

In the forward to the accounts the directors state that the business plan was dependant on selling Wi-Fi to business units and the failure of Digital city to achieve this part of the plan was a reason why the commercial viability of the company was impaired.
 
Question: How does this claim accord with the ‘model’ presented to Council in which it was stated the objectives in year one were to 

Sell to 7% of households in year one
Having between 5,000 and 7,000 free users, and we expect that a proportion of these will want to upgrade to a paid service
Selling 1,000 business packages 



Therein lies the flaw that was obvious for all but the myopic collection of idiots pissing our money up the wall. Clearly the DC packages were of no usse to businesses unless there was a substantial wi-fi network whereas the DC business plan relied on the income from the sale of pakages to businesses to complete the network. Simply put - £450k was never enough money for this project to be delivered and was CERTAIN to be lost.

That is ignoring the fact that there was never likely to be a long term market. Bigger players with faster technologies were already waiting in the wings.


At scrutiny of the second tranche being advanced, Bluh was vitriolic in his condemnation of anyone who dared risk golden goose by questioning the viability of DC.

How can dear old Rodders reconcile the comments he made at that time with the fact that DC have published non trading accounts. For that to be possible Bluh would have to have known at the time that the project was dead in the water.

Des it's no use asking Perkins - he doesn't seem to know that Saturday follows Friday.