Author Topic: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?  (Read 253555 times)

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Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1200 on: December 05, 2014, 09:43:49 PM »
he is now also the one to speak to about illegal parking etc as that is now on his card description..

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1201 on: December 06, 2014, 12:05:27 AM »
With reference to the thread title 'Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?', I think it is clear that the debate is over.

The Wi-Fi saga was a disgrace, but it is over to anyone who matters. Time to let it drop.

My girlfriend works for SBC and she makes a valid point about the amount of taxpayers money wasted on pointless FOI requests. Wi-Fi has happened and nothing is going to change that. Those who won't let it drop are adding to the tax payers burden.

Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1202 on: December 06, 2014, 08:10:12 AM »
My girlfriend works for SBC and she makes a valid point about the amount of taxpayers money wasted on pointless FOI requests. Wi-Fi has happened and nothing is going to change that. Those who won't let it drop are adding to the tax payers burden.

Try turning that on it's head. The amount of taxpayers money wasted because a Couple of people wouldn't put their hands up and say sorry we fucked up. In fact they insisted, and still insist nothing was wrong.

The amount of public money wasted because a couple of senior officers let themselves be bullied into defending the indefensible.

I do agree that there is no mileage in continuing to discuss wi-fi, unless the Council try to tell us it had any long tern benefit.

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1203 on: December 06, 2014, 08:41:02 AM »
Money spent on FOIs is not necessarily wasted.
If it keeps the spotlight on associated arrogant fools that burn money in idiotic "investments"  (and therefore keeping them in the firing line) it could be a long term investment.
In any case, it is not the fault of the public if FOI is the only way to make SBC communicate with the electorate
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1204 on: December 06, 2014, 09:20:35 AM »
However much is wasted on FOI's points to the public awareness of the issue. It cannot be simply swept under the carpet.

Those left in SBC involved in the issue, may not have been to the forefront of it, but nonetheless they either didn't have the strength to stop it, or didn't want to. Which is why it needs/needed proper independent scrutiny.

Maybe a town with a healthy bank balance could have risked half a million, we haven't ever been that rich.

Maybe there should be a blue plaque erected on the front of the Civic, right by the door, so that people will remember to stay humble with our money.

Being democratic costs - even at a community level we know this.

Better to spend the money consulting and picking it apart before up front than to be spending it opening letters and emails of complaint and responding afterwards! 

T
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Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1205 on: December 06, 2014, 09:31:13 AM »
Quote
I see Mr Perkins has just become a director with Swindon UTC...... I wonder if he'll pay a bit more attention this time

"Swindon University Technical College" no less!

Maybe Gary Perkins, ex Director of Digital City, Director of Swindon Commercial Services, will be a visiting lecturer of Business Studies?

What's it all about?

Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1206 on: December 06, 2014, 10:43:16 AM »
 :angel:
Quote
I see Mr Perkins has just become a director with Swindon UTC...... I wonder if he'll pay a bit more attention this time

"Swindon University Technical College" no less!

Maybe Gary Perkins, ex Director of Digital City, Director of Swindon Commercial Services, will be a visiting lecturer of Business Studies?
;D ;D ;D ;D

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1207 on: December 06, 2014, 11:22:18 AM »
Quote
I see Mr Perkins has just become a director with Swindon UTC...... I wonder if he'll pay a bit more attention this time

"Swindon University Technical College" no less!

Maybe Gary Perkins, ex Director of Digital City, Director of Swindon Commercial Services, will be a visiting lecturer of Business Studies?

Or invite Rikki Hunt to join the lecture team!!
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1208 on: December 06, 2014, 11:23:48 AM »
However much is wasted on FOI's points to the public awareness of the issue. It cannot be simply swept under the carpet.

Those left in SBC involved in the issue, may not have been to the forefront of it, but nonetheless they either didn't have the strength to stop it, or didn't want to. Which is why it needs/needed proper independent scrutiny.

Maybe a town with a healthy bank balance could have risked half a million, we haven't ever been that rich.

Maybe there should be a blue plaque erected on the front of the Civic, right by the door, so that people will remember to stay humble with our money.

Being democratic costs - even at a community level we know this.

Better to spend the money consulting and picking it apart before up front than to be spending it opening letters and emails of complaint and responding afterwards! 

At last we are in complete agreement on something M!!
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1209 on: December 06, 2014, 11:29:52 AM »
With reference to the thread title 'Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?', I think it is clear that the debate is over.

The Wi-Fi saga was a disgrace, but it is over to anyone who matters. Time to let it drop.

My girlfriend works for SBC and she makes a valid point about the amount of taxpayers money wasted on pointless FOI requests. Wi-Fi has happened and nothing is going to change that. Those who won't let it drop are adding to the tax payers burden.

Trying to get information or action out of this lot is like trying to pull teeth.

Can you suggest a better way than using FOI to get information please Spunky?

As regards the subject in hand, and I apologize now, in advance, is not going to lay down until someone in authority at the council admits they were in the wrong.  Not difficult, however unlikely.

We must not forget about this or it WILL happen again.
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Weebleman

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1210 on: December 06, 2014, 12:40:47 PM »
With reference to the thread title 'Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?', I think it is clear that the debate is over.

The Wi-Fi saga was a disgrace, but it is over to anyone who matters. Time to let it drop.

My girlfriend works for SBC and she makes a valid point about the amount of taxpayers money wasted on pointless FOI requests. Wi-Fi has happened and nothing is going to change that. Those who won't let it drop are adding to the tax payers burden.

Trying to get information or action out of this lot is like trying to pull teeth.

Can you suggest a better way than using FOI to get information please Spunky?

As regards the subject in hand, and I apologize now, in advance, is not going to lay down until someone in authority at the council admits they were in the wrong.  Not difficult, however unlikely.

We must not forget about this or it WILL happen again.

I agree. In fact the reply to Geoff's FOI request you re-posted yesterday exposes more about their arrogance and the incompetent way in which the project was (mis)managed than there would have been if they'd answered the questions properly and honestly.
Forget WiFi? In time possibly but we surely shouldn't forget the corrupt processes behind it.


Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1211 on: December 06, 2014, 03:41:48 PM »
Trying to get information or action out of this lot is like trying to pull teeth.
Agreed

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Can you suggest a better way than using FOI to get information please Spunky?
What new information are you hoping for after all this time? You indicate below that you want an apology. FOI is about information. An apology is something entirely different. Even if you get all of the facts, it doesn't mean that the main protagonists Messrs Hunt, Bluh and Perkins, will reach the same conclusion that you do.

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As regards the subject in hand, and I apologize now, in advance, is not going to lay down until someone in authority at the council admits they were in the wrong.  Not difficult, however unlikely.

That is your right, but when doing so please remember that you are doing so as an individual, not as a public representative. This is your personal crusade.

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We must not forget about this or it WILL happen again.
But it WILL happen again. Who mustn't forget about it?

If Rod Bluh and Garry Perkins think they have made a mistake, they won't do it again. An apology would be public act of contrition, but apart from point scoring it has the same effect as a private acceptance of wrongdoing. If they don't think they have done wrong, they will obviously do it again.

What does matter is whether the electorate have forgotten or forgiven. Garry Perkins was re-elected in Haydon Wick this year which suggests that the electorate have either forgotten, forgiven or just don't care. I didn't vote for him, but I respect the fact that the majority of my neighbours did.

I personally think Wi-Fi was a terrible idea driven along by inflated egos, but it has happened and is over. The horse has bolted, died, and flesh rotten away. You can bolt the stable door and flog the bones, but it won't make the tiniest difference.

I would suggest that FOI and complaints should be used sparingly. I know for a fact that complaints from serial complainers are treated less seriously by council staff. No one learns from these complaints. Someone fires off a letter in response and the matter is forgotten. In some cases the compliant isn't even passed on to the person responsible. 

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1212 on: December 06, 2014, 05:27:50 PM »
I think that we should clear up that as far as we know there have not been any recent FOI requests, reference Swindon Wi-Fi. They were made long ago, not recently.

Most interested parties now know almost all that they want to know about the ins and outs of Wi-Fi. The only open questions remain about the transfer of funds out of Digital City's bank account and where they went to and the only organisation able to look at this is the Police. The Police however are unable to act, as SBC has not asked them to investigate! SBC cabinet even ignored the SBC Scrutiny Committee Inquiry into the affair which recommended referral to the Police. A very clever story was then put out that the Police had already decided that here was no case to answer, with no mention made of the bank account of Digital City, which to many minds, is possibly the most crucial and perhaps incriminating, evidence.

 
What's it all about?

Offline Muggins

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1213 on: December 07, 2014, 09:29:58 AM »
#Outer Quote: I think that we should clear up that as far as we know there have not been any recent FOI requests, reference Swindon Wi-Fi. They were made long ago, not recently.

Ah, there lies the rub! 'as far as we know'.  Spunky says he has been told otherwise by his mole.   

I certainly know that written complaint or not, even the mildest, politically unaware person, who verbally complains in my hearing about anything to do with the Council ends that remark with, "Well look at that Wifi thing!!"

Using it as a mantra, by which to indicate they don't know what they are doing (even if they do) and it's applied across the board, from the bins to the traffic problems, to closing children's centres, etc. etc.

However there would be no forgiveness, even if everyone concerned held up their hands and took full responsibility. It has gone on so long now, it is entrenched in Swindon history. Anyone looking back can read goodness knows how many pages on it here on TS and reams on it elsewhere on the web. 

I can imagine that what Spunky says about 'serial complainers'  being ignored is very true.
We've had to deal with those types in the community and after the first few times of apologising and trying to make amends, (even if we weren't in the wrong) the complaints started to fall on deaf ears. But whatever issue it is still festers and the complainers find allies if only for  short while, doing untold damage outside of the general conversation.

Although we say there is strength in numbers - when it comes to complaining, it's numbers of people complaining not the number of complaints from one person, or the number of complaints on different subjects in one letter. And if the letters are long and complicated no one will bother to read it all.

Again, as the Wifi thing wasn't dealt with swiftly it has become entrenched in folk-lore so it won't be going away anytime soon, no matter how much we or anyone else wishes it would.   
 
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)

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1214 on: December 07, 2014, 09:35:53 AM »
I'd be interested to know how much money/time is actually spent handling FoI requests.

I don't know if this is an exhaustive list https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/swindon_borough_council

But flicking through some of them there are clearly time wasters, there are several requests about software being used that look like they could come from software salesmen, there's a request for how many people have got planning permission for external wall insulation, then there is one about paranormal site investigators!

Take this Mark Harwood character he seems to be contacting every council asking about software https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/mark_harwood or Victor Wagner doing the same https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/victor_wagner  that clearly is a waste of council time and money



Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1215 on: December 07, 2014, 11:21:06 AM »
And if the letters are long and complicated no one will bother to read it all.

At which point M I must admit that applies to some of your posts, unfortunately!
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Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1216 on: December 07, 2014, 11:53:46 AM »
Ah, there lies the rub! 'as far as we know'.  Spunky says he has been told otherwise by his mole.

I haven't said that. I am not aware of any new FOI requests and as these are made public there would be no need for a mole.

Quote
I certainly know that written complaint or not, even the mildest, politically unaware person, who verbally complains in my hearing about anything to do with the Council ends that remark with, "Well look at that Wifi thing!!"

The 'Wi-Fi thing' crops up a lot on the Adver comments section. On the other hand, I have mentioned Wi-Fi to loads of people who have replied 'What's that?'. We have had a full recycle of elections since it happened and there has been no change of administration. I think the majority have either forgotten or just don't care. Either that or they are so entrenched in tribal voting that they won't change allegiance under any circumstances. 

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However there would be no forgiveness, even if everyone concerned held up their hands and took full responsibility.

Exactly, there would be no forgiveness only more bad publicity. There is no incentive for anyone to apologise. They have got away with it this long, why apologise now.

My old boss at the council told his staff not to respond to Adver stories even if they were blatantly inaccurate. His theory was that any response however positive only extended the debate. It takes two have a debate or an argument. The Adver want a good scrap, but if no one comments, the journalists get bored and go away. I am not sure if this was my bosses personal tactic or wider council policy.

Batten down the hatches and weather the storm.

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I can imagine that what Spunky says about 'serial complainers'  being ignored is very true.

As a young engineer, I received a complaint about one of my projects. I was told not to take it personally as it is only from Joe Bloggs and he complains about everything. Joe Bloggs is an occasional poster on TS. Over the years, I have heard this many times.

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Although we say there is strength in numbers - when it comes to complaining, it's numbers of people complaining not the number of complaints from one person.....

That is how it should be. You need a tough skin to work in local government because someone will criticise whatever you do. If you do a cheap job, someone will complain about quality. If you do a good job, someone will complain about cost. Officers and councillors quickly realise that you can't please all of the people all of the time. If a project receives a couple of complaints that is considered acceptable .. or possibly good. Let's face it, for every person who makes a complaint there are thousands who haven't.

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.... or the number of complaints on different subjects in one letter.

This is like a big flashing light that says trouble maker. Most people won't write a single complaint in their lifetime. Several complaints on different subjects in one letter is bound to be seen as a pain in the arse. Councillors want your vote ..... but you can only threaten to withdraw it once. Officers want an easy life. If it is obvious that can't please you how ever hard they try ..... why try.


Offline Muggins

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1217 on: December 07, 2014, 06:47:23 PM »
Richard, just because I write 'em, you don't have to read 'em, most of the time they are not aimed at an audience of just yourself.

Spunky: "My old boss at the council told his staff not to respond to Adver stories even if they were blatantly inaccurate. His theory was that any response however positive only extended the debate."
I would agree wholeheartedly with your old boss - except, thinking about it, we pay their wages, does that give them the right to ignore even the serial complainers?? This is a genuine question - how do others feel? It's your money too.

Who decides who is going to be ignored, how far up the chain?

"My girlfriend works for SBC and she makes a valid point about the amount of taxpayers money wasted on pointless FOI requests"  I took this to be your mole, have re-read it and apologize for taking it out of context.


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)

Offline Des Moffatt

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1218 on: December 08, 2014, 10:26:15 AM »
Exactly Outoftowner

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1219 on: December 08, 2014, 01:05:00 PM »
Whether tax payers money is 'wasted' by answering FOI questions is entirely subjective.

Regarding the WiFi'asco: If certain councillors had simply answered questions which had been asked of them fewer FOI's would have been raised.  As it stands, comparing the published FOI responses against the public record as provided by SBC agenda documents and cabinets reports betrays an astonishing degree of mendacious behaviour by councillors and officers.

I make no comment on FOI requests submitted (re: WiFi) by others, but I'm content that the ones I submitted to West Lothian and SBC were worthwhile and in the public interest.  In at least one example I submitted an FOI because a serving councillor had lied about something someone had (not actually) done.  The FOI answer proved his allegation to be untrue so, in this case, the cost of that FOI can be firmly laid at the councillors feet.

That said, all my FOI's are published and available in the public domain. 

I do have some (subjective) issues surrounding large numbers of FOI's which are generated by a small number of individuals who don't share or publish the results.  One noteworthy case would be the Croft pressure group whose numerous FOI requests were eventually deemed 'vexatious' by SBC.   

I, and possibly many other interested readers, remain unable to decide whether the 'Crofties' FOI requests genuinely were vexatious because, despite being asked, they weren't shared publicly.  Thus I've always regarded them as a waste of taxpayers money, officers time and probably a self-interested abuse of the FOI facility.